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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Resilience, Tears, Light, Joy...

Happy Weekend!

"Sea Dream"
Updates Galore!

Boy is there a lot to recap you all on - let me start with something in the works that is very exciting!

Sorry for the bad phone photo!

Yesterday afternoon I had the honor and privilege to meet with some inspiring artists who had also been through trauma, to collaborate on Beechwood Art's Immersion Salon:  "Resilience".  I am so touched by how these artists live every day as an affirmation of life and have healed through their art.  It will be so exciting to collaborate with them in the immersive art experience.  You can read more about the Salon Immersions that Beechwood Arts have done in the past here: Arts Immersion Salons with Salons Around the World.

Here is the specific Resilience Salon Description.
Resilience - what does resilience mean to you?

 As we all put our heads together and thought about the best way to artistically represent "Resilience" we were asked what visual image comes to mind.   I said I imagine resilience to be walking very slowly and steadily with this dogged energy through crashing tidal waves, and you can see a fierce light ahead of you, but just a tiny pinprick of light shooting straight towards your gut, your soul.
"Trauma" - I created this right after I was discharged from the hospital.
You see it, and just keep walking towards it, and there is some sort of universal spirit above you, holding up the crown of your head, like a bright neon hot electric string, so you stay upright, and you have this intuitive trust in a greater energy pushing you forward, and an energy pulling you upwards, so you are unable to fall back or get tossed by the waves, whatever you do.
When you're going through hell, keep going...
Then we talked about feeling empty after a trauma, and then I said it’s less of feeling empty but more of an emptying out that you need to do – you need to forgive, release, surrender, forgive circumstances and yourself, let go, but don't forget.  You have to remember – life is the pleasure AND the pain.  By suppressing the wounded areas of your life, those hidden memories just act out in destructive ways, such as negative coping devices, and  then no productive healing can be done.
My paintings always have hearts and tears - sadness is a relief sometimes, because at least I can feel something.  And feeling anything on this earth fills me with aliveness and gratitude.
Healing from trauma always brings that "mosaic" metaphor to mind - something is broken apart and comes back together differently, but beautiful still in its own rite.  When I brought that up, another artist related another image - she views trauma's effect on the self like geological strata - each layer forming as part of you, just like layers solidify on a mountain.

Lots of tears in all my work...
That's the wonderful thing about art.  We can all see differently, and we're all right.  These are images that connect us all, and some we related to more than others.  For example, I can't leave a painting alone without finishing it off with a tear - something inside me doesn't feel right if I don't.  Yet my paintings still always feel joyous.  I really do think it's because the most fulfilling life encompasses the grief and sorrows as well as the elation and frolicking happiness of life - that's what makes it so delicious, rich and beautiful.  
Sadness and Joy = connection to the world = makes the hard parts worth the journey
Plus, I always think about how if I hadn't gone through 27 surgeries and have been so down after the last (and very disastrous) one, I would never have been so courageous to create my first online dating account ever, go on my first date ever, have my first boyfriend ever and...
Be wedding planning for this June!!!!
I always find comfort in nature in dark times.  Where do you find your greatest comfort?

So know that everything will be okay in the end if you make it so, and in the meantime, enjoy the ride.  Even in the midst of tidal waves and hardship.  It always gets better.  It really does.

In the studio...

Speaking of comfort, I could have been in the studio all day today!  But I didn't.  Unfortunately.  But here's what I did in four hours:
This was the gesso magazine page I colored in and painting yesterday:

Plus I had a background I made a few days back...
Figuring out where to place it is always the tricky part to beginning...

There's really no method to my madness.  I just build up the border of the painting with lots of napkins, tissues, etc.

And had quite a lot of fun with it!  
 Sometimes, it's hard for me to know when to stop, take a break, back away, etc...
Too much?  Not sure - but all or nothing, that's what I always say!!!  :)
I started to look for what I could connect the entire piece with.  And what could balance out the tears with the joy.  So my birds always offer happiness to my paintings, as well as the flowers.  Usually I have the birds and flowers releasing some sunlight onto the sad figure in the painting, or at least catching her teardrops.
 Then I dug up some old magnetic poetry words and had some fun with them.  I rummaged through the words and two words stuck out to me, based on my Resilience meeting yesterday:


This is how the painting turned out:

 I think about trauma, healing, moving on, and letting go of the past, and I keep coming back tot he idea of surrendering - you have no choice but to embrace what trauma has created in you, and take that in as a part of you - more glimmer to add to your own "uniqueness" on this earth.
 My trauma has made me who I am, and I wouldn't give it back for the world. I am not what happened to me...
 ---But I am greater for it.  And so thankful, so blessed.

So there's my painting.  There's a girl there who is clearly scarred and sad.  But she's feeling.  And there's a peacefulness and presence that comes with that.  An "aaaah, yes, this is life I am feeling right now, in all its darkness in light, every color, every hue!"

If I am living.  I would like to live fully.  And that is why every day is a celebration of life for me.  Because hey, I love a good party.

Before I go...

Here's an interesting quote for you:  The child is the first artist. Out of the material around him he creates a world of his own. - You can read the rest of the quote at that link.  Every child has an artist within them - if you don't think you can be "creative" - think again - or just don't think at all!  Look to a child who so fearlessly takes crayons and scribbles on paper - there is not wrong art.  Just fear.  So get rid of it!  Or embrace it and color THAT!
Back when I used to teach nursery school - boy did they love crafts - but mostly getting messy!
It's never too late to start creating.  See differently...

Have a wonderful Spring Day folks!!!


  1. what a wonderful story of resilience and hope

  2. Thank you for this lovely post.

  3. Great post! You are very inspirational. I love the quote at the end too!

  4. You are an amazing artist. I used to work as a teacher's assistant with Pre-K students. They were the best!

  5. I love the quote and I enjoy your "hearts and tears" theme - I think it's a great symbol!

  6. I enjoy doing crafts with my little ones. There's no talent beyond that. Lol

  7. I enjoy doing crafts with my little ones. There's no talent beyond that. Lol

  8. The wedding planning piece is so pretty!!

  9. I love your art! You can tell that you have so much fun

  10. This is such beautiful art. This is actually the first art blog I've come across, and I'm loving it! I'm loving the diversity in content.