I wrote the following on 14 August 2014, in response to a class I was taking about finding my voice.
.. I let it sit for a while (I think I am ready to share it now) it's personal, and yet it may be anyone's story.
Mary, Mary, I’m Contrary
Apparently (based on evidence all around me) I have been ‘calling in’ this energy of Mary.. the Madonna, Black Madonna,.. the Divine Feminine.. and Goddess... what that all means for me in my life is currently a wonder in progress... but sometimes the openings to my consciousness around it bring me insights.. like this week when I was so drawn to paint a Madonna & Child/Black Madonna.
Seeing the image I’ve been painting this morning.. the Feminine.. holding the masculine with such tender love .. and the little hand around the tender part of a woman’s neck ...
A tender part in myself is touched.
I got that it wasn’t Mary’s fault that my catholic upbringing did nothing to instill in me the concept of a divine Source of love, without hell and damnation at the forefront of the message, with huge doses of fear and guilt thrown in the mix, for ‘good measure’.
Right now, I don’t believe God is a Him any more than I believe God is a Her, thanks to the head fuq, that I experienced two forms of christianity to be (catholicism and born again fundamentalism) I don’t always know exactly what to make of it all, except to say, I want none of it. So.. my paradox.. being drawn to this Mary/Madonna energy whilst rejecting the ‘container’ ie the church/religion that she was always presented to me to belong inside of.
* Another observation, is that my parents home was filled with statues and images of Mary.. and Jesus.. and I witnessed my own Mother place enormous amounts of faith, time and trust in her blessed virgin Mary. The effects of alcoholism in my father kindof took over the energy in our home to a large degree growing up, so.. I did not experience a huge amount of peace from the religion or from Mary back then... as far as I can remember, looking back. Although, apparently when I was 4 I wanted to be a Nun? (and I realise, memory is a trickster and will call forth perhaps what it wants to.. and leave out bits) yes this smacks of judgement & victimhood, both true, I would add to that.. resilience, discernment and taking responsibility for my now.
I also bump up against my ‘what will people think’ button... the ‘I don’t want people to think I am a christian’.. just because I am painting the Madonna. You see, I think/thought the two are/were inseparable. I am exploring the idea that they are not mutually exclusive. An awareness with that too... I can be as judgmental about christianity as I perceive Christians to be about the rest of the world. The I’m right you’re wrong standpoint is not the most expansive view I can take.
My concept of Mother is a comfort and a deep soul truth … interestingly (or not surprisingly) the “Father” part has been really tainted .. and so... the idea of “Loving Father” and “God” in the same sentence - you may as well be speaking a foreign language to me. My head wants to tilt and I get a blankness in my understanding .. a void lives there. (thinking back to imagery of a white haired old man with a stick railing against everyone with fire and brimstone)
Perhaps this is why I gravitate towards the feminine so readily..
I TRUST the feminine.. and deeply MISTRUST the masculine...
because of my experience ... it doesn’t mean the masculine is untrustworthy it’s (just) my perception - not ‘just’ it’s a big fuqing deal. to me.
WOMEN HAVE BEEN PERSECUTED, A LOT BY THE MASCULINE/PATRIARCHY
OF COURSE I DON’T FUQING TRUST THAT.
I am of the opinion that FEMININE/MATRIARCHY is not the complete answer either
.. but a balance of the two.
I can feel I have a lot of rage around this.
more time will be spent with this.
* with respect, these are my views, I have no way of knowing the entirety of the beliefs of my parents, this is more about my own healing journey and less about judging them. I do have issues around religion. obviously. - Denise.
A lovely lady came to me for a private class seeking to paint Mother Mary… here is what we created, without having an end in mind.
Acknowledgement to one of my recent teachers Shiloh Sophie McCloud, she paints the Lady in many many forms, and it was during my time as a student of hers last year; Color of Woman Teacher Training that I learned a way to paint her, and to teach others a way to paint their divine feminine imagery.
I had my very helpful daughter deliver my newest painting up to the gallery today.. and I thought I'd share a little bit more about this painting.
Stand Tall . . . with those poppies
I have taken the longest time to complete this painting because I have been back and forwarding over the colours.. the background.. the eyes.. the hair.. honestly… it's driven me a little nuts… but the reason I have sent it to the gallery now.. is that i LOVE the way she looks directly at me in a DEFIANT way.. like… STOP THIS NONENSE.. I AM COMPLETE. enough.
You know that tall poppy bs right? .. it's a well known phenomena in Australia and New Zealand.. where anyone who is doing well at something.. anything.. is put down in someway by those who feel 'less that' or whateverthehellelseisgoingonintheirhead.
I am also bumping right up against my own 'upper limit' in that I am learning right now how to create and launch my own little ecourse. It's FREAKING ME OUT.. and .. making me excited. So… I am trusting the second part.. and learning to live with the first part.
I'm working with a word for this month.. it happened upon me the other day.. RELEASE… I even have some oil called the same from Young Living oils. It may even inform the theme for my ecourse… releasing my own limitations is an ongoing thing … you too?
that's it for now,
view 'Stand Tall' in person at Tiffany Jones Fine Art Gallery, Buderim.
(it will be on their site within the next day or two)
"What a difference an app makes!"
Several hours on this painting again today and still the man's face and head look redonkulous. nope.. can't even share it. I'm having some fun though.. pouring lots of love into this painting.. it's like a gift to my marriage.. which may sound weird.. but all the love I pour into other paintings.. they're most bound for another location.. but this one.. if/when I ever finish it to a point i love it all… can hang in my house :) I mean.. who else is going to want a Chagall like tribute.. that includes a star ship enterprise.. and until a few hours ago.. a giant tea pot, tea cups and a large colourful chicken on that tea table.. GRRR.. see.. I painted over that chicken as it 'wasn't quite right' .. but (^(%(*&*( it.. sometimes I want to keep the .. not quite right.. interesting.. my fingers just typed that without me filtering … hmmm.. curious. Ok.. note to self… I have permission to put whatever the hell I want into this painting because it's for meeee.
The more I have this awareness called 'intentional creativity' as a companion in my day the more fascinated and interested I have become in symbols, and symbology … I have a bunch of reference books and cards of all kinds. Below you'll see dramatic black and red image on a card.. that is one from the Liquid Crystal Oracle by Justin Moikeha Asar - Black Onyx is linked to Grounded Self-Awareness. So… when I use these symbols in my artwork, most often I am intending/desiring the essence of that for my own life, but really.. these qualities will be infused into the creation of that painting, and so, I would hope that they would go on having their healing effect for future owners of the works when/if they are sold or given away.
Seriously.. sometimes you wonder if you should leaveitthehellalone… but.. something makes you keep on adding.. taking away… adding.. taking away… it's a dance.. sometimes if feels like I'm a control freak.. other times like I'm in the steady slow flow.. and just to trust … trust… a little more there.. here… so.. this one below is still not finished.. but I have been so enjoyng her presence! Her steady gaze is so SURE of herself! I seek to not take that away.. but carry on around the canvas… honouring her in a way… that she's chosen to come through me… this painting has been transforming through several stages.. she began as a demo piece in my 'Lady of Clarity' workshop. I put the Liquid Crystal symbol of Grounded Self-Awareness on this painting.. even if it disappears beneath the layers.. it's there… for that matter.. the Lady of Clarity is also there!
and… WHOOAA.. if this isn't an inspired happening… I received a beautiful offer of a space near Noosa to hold a workshop if I would like to… so.. before I knew it I'd discussed dates.. theme.. and concept all within an hour of receiving the invitation! So this morning I also created a pdf with the details for a 2 day Workshop/Retreaty weekend, which is going to be on 26th & 27th July. So.. if you are interested to know more about that… send me a message. There will only be 8 spaces available, fully catered, and golden fluid's supplied. Yum! I'll be sending out the details to my mailing list in the next few days, then I'll open it to the public.
That's me for day 3 of 30 in June!
love Denise x
Good morning friends,
This makes me want to write one for myself… do you have one?
I shared the link to an interview in another blog post in January, but having listened again in the car this week to Jamie's and Tami's chat I heard again his 'Creativity Manifesto' and I wanted to keep it, read if often, and share it with all & sundry.
As I begin February, and the Year of the Wooden Horse, this realllly spoke to me, I have had a shit time this past week dealing with my hyper vigilant perfectionist, mild anxiety associated with my creativity resulting in feeling frozen and not painting, it's a new month, I'll be addressing it for sure, and this kind of truth telling (Jamie Catto's creativity manifesto shared below) goes a long way towards helping me release the crappola and move into some kind of grace, a space for self forgiveness and self love.
Insights at the Edge.
From a podcast called: Breaking the Approval Addiction and Expressing Our Creative Gifts
Tami Simon: " OK, here we go. So this is from Jamie Catto’s "Creativity Manifesto:"
Jamie Catto: "I’m in. I love hearing you say it."
full transcript of the interview can be found here:
Over the weekend I had several paintings in an exhibition "ART FROM THE HEART" for The Lady Musgrave Trust. Even though my exhibited pieces didn't sell. I am happy to say my donated painted sold, raising $1,000 which will go towards accommodation and support for young women in need.
A message from the President to those attending the auction and exhibition.
Your contribution to this weekend event will enable us to further our work in providing accommodation and support for young women who are homeless or at risk of being homeless..
I LOVE this message in the catalogue by the Arts Minister
Art has the power to transform lives and bring positive change to individuals and communities . . .
I wholeheartedly believe this to be true. I am also donating a painting to a local Women's Shelter on the Sunshine Coast, because I believe in the power and love behind the art. I'll share more on that in another post.
This has been unearthed.. or stirred up during the Color of Woman course... I can't even recall if I've already shared this here on the blog (sorry for repetition if I have... maybe I better get some more iron suppliments to assist memory)
I've left it in an 'interview like format' because I really liked answering it in that way.. and editing down to a succint, slick, paragraph just is NOT my current happy place forte!
One of the most interesting things for me to note when spending time with these questions.. was my subject choice and the feeling I desire to evoke in my paintings... I didn't know it at the time, but perhaps each one was healing a little part of me.... and I guess it goes without saying.. why there may be a tinge or more than a tinge of sadness in some of the faces that have showed up on my canvas's. It's a curious path.
WHY YOU MAKE YOUR ART,
I make art to ease the agitation I feel when I am not creating something. I make art to free a part of myself that needs this to be alive. For over a decade I made art as a celebration of fun and freedom, now I am learning to explore other avenues into my creative expression and not just when I am feeling happy.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE IT,
I have been inspired by my teachers and other artists who have gone before me, there is something in me that positively lights up when I visit a gallery or exhibition, some artworks take me to a place of pure bliss and even a natural high at the energy and beauty I sense and feel in their presence. The fact that an image can come through an artist onto a blank canvas is still a mystery for me and I love that. I have been drawn to images of feminine figures long before I started learning to paint in 1999. Some I have been inspired by include : Chagall, Klimt, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Whitely, fashion designer Valentino, and icon Audrey Hepburn.
WHAT IT SIGNIFIES OR REPRESENTS,
I would say most of my artwork at least in the first decade signified or represented a light and happy side of life, celebratory of feminine fun and freedom. It was in contrast to all of the negativity I had experienced in the preceding years before painting became such an integral and wonderful part of my life. Things such as alcoholism in a parent, domestic violence, hideously low self esteem, an abusive relationship, a cult-like church experience for many years, and the absolutely life shattering event of my sister being murdered. I made no place to paint any of this. I did not know how to approach it creatively.
WHAT ABOUT FORMAL STUDY,
I have not engaged in traditional university study of art. Partly due to fear of not meeting the standards they require and partly due to just plain not wanting to fit into the deemed worthy parameters of academic artistic value and expression. To be judged and moulded and critiqued...(my inner critic has done a pretty savage job of that already) my fragile self just wasn't up for that. As I write and contemplate this, my current leaning is that my arrogant or bold self just won’t have it. Maybe one day when I grow up I might venture in to that, maybe not.
HOW YOU MAKE IT,
I make my art mostly by a process of many layers, it undergoes fine tuning and transformations along the way until it reaches a place that I am satisfied to let it be. (I have had to adopt a sense of the 80/20 rule... if I can’t be 100% happy with it, then 80% is workable, and there is always another opportunity on the next canvas/board/paper). Perfectionism is a harsh master, and I cannot let her rule entirely because I would never deem anything as done or enough.
In 2013 I have been studying under Artist Shiloh Sophia McCloud who has introduced me to her Color of Woman Method, which is based heavily in Contemporary Symbolism. It is a welcome extension to my previous style and subject - still working with the feminine, but in a richer, deeper, more soulful context I feel.
WHAT IT'S MADE OUT OF,
I began by exclusively using acrylic on canvas, guided for 4 years with lessons from talented artist Peter Hales, in recent times I have been introduced to the wild wonderful world of art journaling by Effy Wild, thereby giving way to working on paper. Another new medium I am exploring and enjoying is working on wood.
WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU
Painting has become my sacred practice, it connects me to Source and celebrates all of my feelings and emotions. My passion is to connect with others in ways that have us both feeling nurtured, energised, validated and liberated. It means I have found my place in the world, creative expression is home to me, it’s not always easy and comfortable, but it’s where I feel drawn to, time and time again.
I had the absolute pleasure of painting a commission a few months ago, I wanted to share a few pics of it here and the absolutely beautiful letter I received from the couple who commissioned it. Often as an artist we create a painting and never hear from the ones who choose to take it to their home. When I get to meet someone and we discuss the piece they would really like me to create for them a special bond is formed. I love hearing their likes and dislikes so that I can fine tune it as much as possible to meet the desired outcome.
Finding me on Fine Art America is no easy feat! haha, so I was happily surprised to receive Toni's warm email enquiry earlier this year and we went on a little journey together from there, by email and phone to come to a conclusion of three lovely lady's enjoying eachothers company and seated on a leopard print couch, comfortably on their dining room wall.
I was just so heart warmed to received this stunning email,
Thanks so much Toni and Tom for the warmest and most fun commission experience I could ask for.
Hello creative one,
I have been mentioning the idea of 'Visionary Painting' a little more of late... and so I wanted to share a new painting I just did this week, using this visionary painting method. I had a canvas that I'd covered in pictures creating a vision board back in 2009.. most if came true in the following 12-18 month time period. (yes, imagine that, amazing!) So... I painted over it and dripped paint, stenciled did a bunch of playing.. then set it aside deciding... uuuhm.. I've kindof ruined that, may as well throw it out.. but in true artist form... put it in a stack of 'wtf-do-i-do-with-these-canvas' against the wall in the corner of my studio.
So.. when I was given a video series in my Color of Woman course by Shiloh.. I thought .. hey.. I'll give that a whirl.. and voila this gorgeous lady appeared... I'm jazzed about her because.. the intention I wrote in behind the layers of paint was for her to find me gorgeous venues to hold my painting workshops, I am gearing up to be teaching this beautiful method of painting and it would be ever so helpful for me to find just the right spaces in which to welcome you if you would like to come paint with me and a circle of women.
"You must give from the overflow"
I rarely use glitter... but this Lady of the Divine Spark asked for some! She has a sparkling candle, rose and magical tea is pouring from her teapot into those cups.. and the overflow onto the saucer - reminding me of a valuable lesson... You must give from your overflow, so that you're not depleted all the time. Fill yourself up with the things that strengthen you and keep you grounded, fueled, inspired, feeling loved.. THEN... you have so much more to give.
Secret wish... I'm sharing with you ... I have a desire to travel to New Zealand once or twice a year and teach a workshop or two.. and visit my Mum & Dad on the Kapiti Coast ... so... I'm putting that out there, with this Lady of the Divine Spark watching over top... that we will be welcomed to just the right places, meet just the people who are calling out to be able to paint a visionary painting with me... and be in circle with a red thread ceremony. Christchurch is on the horizon for May 2014 with a friend of mine who is also a teacher of this painting method.
Visionary Painting Workshops are coming...
I'm hoping to offer one in Buderim in September.. and another in October ... this kind of painting above can be created in a one day workshop, if you have a group who already gather and you'd like to hold a red thread ceremony / visionary painting workshop with my facilitation, do contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org.
That's about it for the minute... and I'm sorry I'm not a prolific... organised... same time same place blogger... I do write on a whim a lot of the time... that may or may not change.. and I had thought I'd share a whole lot more of my CoW journey here... but truth is... it's been really full on.... a lot of inner work has been required, and I have been tending toward going within and not writing out here all that much about it... it needed to settle in me first. And.. I had my trip to California, which just blew me away, heart and soul so uplifted and loved up, truly amazing ... I don't think I've even written much about that here either? see... intermittant at best... sigh... if ever you have questions about this journey of mine.. you can ask.. and I'll do my best to answer.
.. “Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I'll meet you there” Rumi
As I embark on the newest little part of my creative ventures... mixed media works on wood and paper ... I hear 'those' voices... "Oh this isn't real art.. you should be painting every bit of it" ... "What... you're using cut out pictures in there" ... "this is crap... this really will not do" .... "grow up" .... Oh the list could go onnnnn and on.
But with the strengthening of my Muse voice... or my listening to her... I'm hearing other whispers too... really quickly.... following on from the mean bitch voice... like,
"This is a new adventure"... "we're here to have fun"... "if it's bringing you joy... then... hello... do.. it" ... "this little piece of art you're making.. is not going to hurt anyone.. and if you're filling it with such enjoyment then maybe someone else might actually love it too" ... "try it and see" ... "experiment" ... I'm taking a new bunch to the framer this week... and they'll make their debut up at the gorgeous gallery that has my work.. and if anyone has a critical comment to make about them... well... let them say it to my face and hear about the 2 years of being blocked and depressed about it.. hahaha.. that'll learn them!
I'll post pics of the new ones once they've been revealed at the gallery. ... I can maybe show some snippets . . .
I am returning to a place of play as much as I can when making these pieces... and that feels like a really good place to start.
ps. They'll be on display at Tiffany Jones Fine Art Gallery later this month.
Books I Love
“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”