Shine Fearlessly

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I have learned many tools that I am using and working to incorporate into my daily life in order to create the life I so desperately desire.  I am committing in 2019 to Shine Fearlessly…to be my true self and let the world know it, without fear of rejection.  Sure, some people won’t understand or approve, but that is on them, not on me.  I can no longer be the person I think I am suppose to be.  I need to be ME.

It seems with every high comes a low equal in magnitude.  So I am riding the waves, weathering the storm, and learning to dance in the rain.  Every day, in every respect, I am getting better and better.

The most profound discovery I made was the other night, I realized that I feel guilty for wanting to make something of my art as a business.  Because I am educated in health care, and I have a great job that I use to love, and I have the opportunity to help multiple people every single day.  I make a difference in peoples lives, every day that I work at the hospital.  And yet, I don’t feel fulfilled.  I don’t feel satisfied.  Instead, I feel drained and lacking.  Even with knowing my job well, having done it for over 14 years, I have very little confidence or pride in my work anymore.  I live in constant fear of making a life altering mistake for someone else.  Always striving for perfection, never reaching it, and always questioning if I have done a good enough job.  And this way of thinking is supported by the hospital environment and community.  I feel like I am not important, I am not an individual there.  I am replaceable.  I am a worker bee, doing as much as humanly possible, ignoring my self care needs in order to take care of others to a level that is not maintainable.  Burn out is real, folks.  And leaves me feeling like I have failed, not just myself or my work, but the entire world and all the people that I love.  It’s a heavy feeling.

I am focusing on knowing that my art also makes a difference to people.  It speaks to people and reaches them on an emotional level.  Whether it comforts them or reminds them of their strength and courage, or it inspires them.  People can relate to my paintings, and know that they are not alone in this world.  Many of my paintings have a dark and a light side to them, intentionally.  Despite how dark it seems, there is always light.  We witness and experience what we focus on.  And sometimes we miss the light because we are focused on the dark, or the fear.  But if we look to the light, and focus on opportunity, the dark won’t feel so daunting.  In fact, we may not even notice it after a while.  🙂

How do you intend to shine fearlessly and be true to yourself in 2019? 97d1728e3f0c7b330292f7508c80ef4b

A Mini a Day

It is that time of year again, where we all make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier, or to exercise, or make more money.  Resolutions are easy to allow to get away from us.  Our goal to lose 50lbs when you have a whole year to do it sounds realistic…until a few months in and you’re “only” down 5-10 lbs.  Celebrate your successes!!!  And make sure you follow the SMART goal setting template when setting your resolutions.  Even, perhaps, break down each goal into monthly action plans, to help you get started right away, and be successful in maintaining your momentum throughout the year.

For me…I have some pretty big goals I am working towards for 2019.  I have some big dreams that I am not yet sharing, that I would love to come true this year.  One of them is applying for and being accepted into The Artist Project for 2020.  That’s a big deal for me.

But on a smaller, much more doable and even more important level, I want to integrate self care into every single day.  As well as I want to continue to establish myself as an artist and entrepreneur.  So…starting January 1st, I intend to paint at least one 6×6 per day.  I love this size as it is very satisfying and can be completed in a short amount of time…as in during one sitting.  And multiple 6x6s look fantastic grouped together on display.  The themes may change, but I am committing to doing one a day.  As a warm up or as an individual project.

How is this a beneficial resolution you ask?  Well…for a few reasons.  Firstly, art is my way of expressing my emotions and experiencing joy.  So if I paint every day, it is like journaling or meditating for me.  Also, in order to grow my art business, I need to be creating constantly, rather than binge painting the way I do now, which is very stressful.  So by committing to one a day, even on my busy with other life stuff days, I will have completed a task for my business and that will make me feel productive, proud and positive.  It’s a win win!

What is one of your resolutions for 2019?  Please, share with us!  I would love to see what you are wanting to manifest this year!  Cheers!

3 Tiny Dancers

I know that people LOVE my 6×6 “mini” paintings.  It’s an easily justified price point, and can fit pretty much anywhere in your home.  I decided to only make 3 for the show, Renewal, because, well, I was having so much fun with the detail on the big one’s, I was disappointed with the way my small one’s were turning out.  Like seriously, I gessoed over about 5 or 6 of the one’s that I had attempted before I settled on liking these three.  They are ideas I would LOVE to do larger versions of, especially the pink and purple background…ooo…I love that one!

I am thrilled to announce that one of these has sold before the end of my solo exhibition at The Heart Hooligan!  (The one with the swing).  If you’d like to get your hands on one of the other two before they’re gone, send me an email or private message on facebook or Instagram please.  

Which is your favourite of these three?

A Glimpse into my process – Winter’s Introspection

Hello friends!  Welcome to my insight on Winter’s Introspection! 

This one was interesting to me because I wanted to demonstrate a hibernation-like state.  An internal journey of self discovery, while still being exposed to the elements.  She is quiet, and still and has let go of everything.  And yet, she is still strong, and beautiful, as the snow gently wraps her branches and glistens in the dull light of the late afternoon sky.  The weight of the snow does not bother her, as she knows that this heaviness is temporary and necessary in her journey of self discovery.

Unless one goes to a rehab centre or hospital to sort their lives out, we are left to deal with life as it comes while making personal development changes in our lives. Like being exposed to the elements. You may know what to do or how you “should” respond, but sometimes it is hard not to react impulsively to the environment around us when we are in or near crisis. This is why she is in the middle of the snow, unprotected from the wind and cold. Notice that she does not crumble, however, she stands strong and remains grounded. Exposed to the elements, she focuses her energy inward, meditating and self soothing while she waits for a sunny, warmer day. She trusts that a shift in the weather is coming. And when it does, she will be ready to grow and bloom into her magnificent beauty and power. But for now, she remains still and quiet in her thoughts.  

I love the colours and the feel of this painting. It’s sweet simplicity and yet vibrancy of colour.

What does this painting say to you? How does it make you feel?

A Glimpse into my process – Striking Transformation

Woo, this is a powerful piece.  I will be honest, it didn’t come together as I had originally envisioned or expected.  But I do love her.  In my original sketch, her body position was different, as if the lightening was breaking her spirit.  When I chose the 24×48 inch panel to paint her on, I knew she needed to make a different statement. 

I can feel the chaos in the clouds above her, and the serenity in the distance. And I can feel her strength and confidence. 

To me, she demonstrates how we can take in negativity from our environment, and instead of letting it bring her down, she remains strong and allows it to return to the earth…similarly to the way many healings and meditations go.  By returning to the earth, the negativity is neutralized, no longer able to do harm.  Although the storm is right above her, she remains confident, and can see the clearing in the distance, with a beautiful sunset sky.  She is not afraid of the storm for her roots run deep and she knows she can withstand anything.

I have done both yoga and meditation where I have been encouraged to visualize roots from my feet into the earth, in order to ground myself, calm myself, and release any negative feelings, physical or emotional, into mother earth to allow for healing.  It has always seemed very helpful to me, even if I only take a minute when I feel like I am spinning to stand and focus on roots.  

What does this painting represent to you?  Does she say anything to you?  Have you been strong in the face of hardship and chaos?  Many of us have, if not everyone.  Tell me what you think!

A Glimpse into my process – Luminous Woods

This painting is magical and happy making!  In my opinion, anyways.  lol.  A golden cloud of fireflies coming out of the forest and dancing around the main tree figure, as she examines the beauty of a single creature.  This painting represents discovery through a newly-found innocence.  A child-like way of interacting with the world, where everything is new and mysterious, and magic is everywhere.  

I was inspired with this vision after scrolling pinterest and seeing a dancer in this position.  I immediately thought of fireflies dancing around her.  Funny how a single picture of a dancer turns into this in my head.  But that is what inspiration is all about.  And that is what art has done for me. 

My head injury forced me to reset, delving deep into myself, and being almost born-again as a new person.  Only I was broken and lost and looking for myself.  It was through art that I started to rediscover my joy, and developed a new perspective on life.  Things I had been taking for granted were now a big deal.  For example, it has taken me over 4 years to be able to sign my name and talk at the same time again…something I had done for close to 10 years knowingly in my job, who knows how long before that filling out other documentation.  I can now drive and listen to music IF I am alone and the weather and traffic conditions are amiable.  These seemingly simple tasks of multitasking were overwhelming to me.  In order to tame the overwhelm, I learned and began to practice mindfulness.  Being completely aware of your senses and surroundings and totally absorbed in a moment is refreshing and calming, and allowed me to appreciate the little things again.  Just like a child discovering the world for the first time.

And then, came art.  The joy of painting and playing with colour, letting go of rules and expectations.  Being mindful of how the paint felt between my fingers, and the way the colours danced and blended so beautifully.  Recently, I have begun burning inspirational incense while I paint, and listening to playful instrumental music.  By involving as many senses as possible, my experience is more joyful and focused, and the paintings take on more of my intention and emotion.  I may also include a tea or a glass of wine to indulge my taste buds.  😉  Don’t worry, I am not eating the yellow paint.  lol (Van Gogh reference…for those not following).

Painting has become a meditative process for me.  I am discovering happy accidents all of the time, as well as what brings me joy.  In fact, many of my paintings I don’t really know or understand the full meaning of until it is complete, when I look at it with fresh eyes, and see what it really means to me.  It is such an interesting process!  I love to play and experiment and allow one move to lead to the next and then the next.  Most of all, art has allowed me to take on a child-like view of the world, seeing things for what seems like the first time, with a fresh outlook.  And when I get into my head and start over thinking the details, it is time for me to stop painting for the night…or at least leave that project and work on something else for a while.  This is why I have many partially finished paintings.  lol.  

What does this painting say to you?  Do you have something that helps you find your inner child?  Please share it!  I would love to know!  Cheers!

A Glimpse into my process – Weathering the Storm

I find this painting to be very interesting.  It was also amusing to me to see how it was accepted when I shared it with a few of my friends before publicly at my solo exhibition, Renewal.  This didn’t make sense to my one friend…but because it so perfectly portrays how I feel and what I was thinking at the time of creating it, i chose not to take her suggestions and make changes.  Here is the story for this piece.

Firstly, notice how she is rooted, but her roots are not deep and strong, and she is not stable looking, her life is sitting on a fence, delicately balanced, yet awaiting the anticipated fall.

She has left the darkness of her past state of mind, and yet, she keeps looking back to it rather than focusing on what lies ahead.  Because there are obstacles between where she currently exists and the light at the other side of the turmoil.  She must decide…will she fall back into the feeling of familiarity and stillness of depression?  Or will she face the approaching waves, stand strong in her truth, and in time arrive at the other side of the storm?  This is a huge decision, and every moment contributes to which way she will go.  She may even go forward and back a few times, and wade in the water for a while until her roots grow deeper and stronger.  There is hope, and she know is, but is she doubts her strength and ability to get through it.  And she is alone in this battle…there is no support around her, no one to hold her hand and help her through.  She must face this path herself.

She is also learning to let go of what no longer serves her.  For now, she is holding on with all her might, bracing for the storm.  But in the end, once she weathers the storm, she knows that she will have shed the pieces of herself that she no longer needs…all of her limiting beliefs, all of her negative, criticizing voices.  She knows that they will be washed away in the storm, and although she wants to release these harmful pieces of herself, she is stuck in the fear of wondering, “what will I be without these parts of me that I have lived with for so long?”  And what will she discover no longer serves her in her life once she has let go of these thought patterns?  Will she even recognize herself after the storm?  Or will she be transformed into a new, beautiful and confident version of herself?  That is the hope…but she must believe it and look towards the light, and trust her inner truth in order to weather the storm.

What do you see in this painting?  What does she make you feel?  Do you relate to this painting?  Or does it make you feel uneasy?  I would love to hear your interpretation!  Thank you!  And cheers until next time!

A Glimpse into my process – Creative Rebirth

jjjjkThis painting makes me very happy and means a lot to me on my personal journey.  And as with many of my paintings, there are many levels.  “Creative Rebirth” is a story of spring, nurturing, growing and motherhood, whether that be actual human motherhood or related to the birthing of a new project or idea.  It all fits into this piece beautifully.

So firstly, and mostly on the surface, she reminds me of my mother.  I have my mother’s magnolia tree in my back yard, and I think of her every time I look at it or stand with it.  Sometimes, I even will spend time with the tree and share my thoughts and respects to my mother, the way that many people do when they visit a cemetery plot.  This is my place to connect with my mother’s spirit…if you believe in that…which I do.  This tree reminds me of love and strength and rebirth.  In the fall, when the leaves drop from the branches, the magnolia tree has already fostered many buds that will bloom in the spring.  These buds are incredibly resilient and strong, as they protect the delicate flowers from our harsh cold in the winter.  Many deciduous trees wait to bud and bloom in the spring all at once.  I find the magnolia fascinating in this respect. 

Although there are some clouds coming in, this figure is focused on the warm golden rays of sun shining down on her.  She is basking in the opportunities that present themselves to her, and is nurturing a new path in her life, believing in her dreams and moving towards her goals, no matter how out of reach they may seem.  She knows she is worthy of happiness and capable of doing so much, as she has survived the cold, depressive loneliness of the winter while still nurturing her buds and entertaining the ideas of her dreams and passions.  She is ready to take the necessary action steps toward achieving these goals, even though she may not be aware of what exactly needs to be done.  She trusts that the universe will provide, and she believes in her own inner strength, for her roots are strong and she can rely on them to keep her sturdy and grounded.  She embraces her own beauty, and her imperfections compassionately, and gives of herself to others, while maintaining the balance of self-care.  She is ready to take on the world, to bloom and let go of what no longer serves her in every moment, and welcome in the wondrous changes that are about to unfold.  Every growing, ever changing, always trusting the journey and the process and embracing each and every step with love.

What do you see in this painting?  How does she speak to you?  What does she make you feel?  Do you believe in her?  Do you believe in you? 

I would LOVE to hear your interpretation!  Please, lets get a conversation started!  Thank you for reading and appreciating my art!  Cheers!

A Glimpse into my process – Sweet Seduction – part 2

Untitled 3 (3)

Ok, so as promised, here is my view of this painting.  It is a bit convoluted, but that is the magnificent thing about art!

So as mentioned, my initial thought was Eve as an apple tree…with the serpent whispering in her ear.  She is seen as deceitful and disobedient for taking and eating from the tree of knowledge, seductive for convincing Adam to follow her lead, and weak willed for listening to the serpent.  She was unfaithful and untrusting in God’s word and promise.  And for that one action, many believe all of mankind now suffers by death in order to repay her debt.

But did she do it as an intentional disobedient act?  Or was she so naive and innocent and sheltered that she hadn’t learned to think for herself yet?  Hmm.  Interesting.

Another interesting thought, is rather than the serpent being an actual snake that spoke to her, what if in this instance the serpent represents her inner voice?  Rather than tempting her, what if she was so critical of herself that she would do anything to prove her worth?  Perhaps she nit picked at herself…having been created in a perfect likeness to God, yet feeling that she wasn’t enough, unworthy of God’s gifts because in her mind she had questions and doubts and fears.  Perhaps those negative thoughts ate at her mind until she decided to taste the fruit for herself…hoping it would clear her mind and make everything make sense…while still picking away at her own self in shame, searching for her inner worth.  Now how do you feel about this Eve?

The latter is the Eve I see in this painting.  Surrounded by but removed from the beauty of the Garden of Eden.  Feeling alone and ashamed and unworthy of God’s unconditional love and the gifts he provided.  Feeling she needed to prove her worth and the only way she knew how was to use her gift of free will, and choose to make a mistake.  One, simple, mistake.  Listening to her inner critic and picking herself apart until she was unrecognizable.  And therefore leading into a self fulfilling prophecy…for by eating the fruit she proved that she was unworthy of God’s unconditional love and gifts.  And so now…we live lives where love is conditional, and we believe that this is the way to be.  And we constantly fear that we are not enough…constantly strive to be perfect and do better and better.  Constantly in comparison with our friends and family and neighbours.  Maybe…we aren’t that different from Eve.

Or maybe there is another interpretation!  Did you have an ah-ha moment with a post on last week’s blog?  Did something resonate with you or get your gears turning?  Do you have a totally different outlook on this image?  I would LOVE to hear it!!!  Cheers!

A Glimpse into my process – Leap of Faith

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This painting is likely my favourite of the series so far…and that is saying a lot because I love them all for different reasons!  My first 30×30 inch painting…the largest I had done at that point in time…I was inspired and intimidated all at the same time.

This is such an empowering piece.  It reminds me to trust my roots, AND believe in my wings.  That there will always be obstacles and chaos in life, but just because they are there doesn’t mean that excitement and freedom are impossible to achieve.  She is leaving the tension behind her and leaning into the brightest light.  She is not looking down for she trusts the universe will take care of her.  It is the ultimate trust fall…believe in yourself and go after your dreams and make them into real goals with an action plan to achieve them, every…single…one.  And yes, there are going to be more obstacles, and potential failures, but it is through those experiences that one rises up with new knowledge and experience to tackle the next step or goal successfully.  She is truly owning her power, fearless in her confidence.  There is so much beauty and grace in her belief in herself, it is inspiring.  I look to her with admiration, longing to one day be all in for myself and my dreams.

Someone recently told me that 5 minutes of discomfort can lead to a lifetime of happiness.  Are you willing to push your limits, and stand on the edge of your comfort zone?  Do you believe you deserve to be happy and that your dreams are achievable?  No matter how big or small, we are all allowed to dream, and make our souls happy.  What does this painting mean or say to you?  I would love to hear it!  Comment below, or if it is personal, send me a PM or email.  Cheers!