Painting – Free Falling into Stillness

Free Falling into Stillness. 36″x24″

“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” – T.S. Eliot

“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” – Lao Tzu

“Whenever you deeply accept this moment as it is — no matter what form it takes — you are still, you are at peace.” – Eckhart Tolle

This painting began as an assignment; “Paint as the neutral observer instead of the creative director.” My mind immediately wanted to have at least an outline, a subject, an assignment, and a deadline. It was beside itself. No plan? That was fine for daily life, but how do you create without an idea, without seeing it in your mind, first? It was two months before I could even sit down to work. I needed to discover what this meant…….

This was a journey into discovering an inner stillness, and the true creativity within the present moment.

In the present moment, in the stillness, is everything I need to know. Listening, and then responding is a rhythm in alignment within our very being, without the mind and its judgements. It didn’t happen overnight, but a time came when the hostages were set free, and there was acceptance, peace, and the joy of creating in the present moment. Not simply for art, but in each and every moment.

– Thank you.

Drawing — Falling Angel

What if?

What if deep within each human being, is an original design of angelic grace, love, and wonder?

What if,

within each moment of our lives, and each experience, an awareness was present and available for us to realize this true design, step by step?

What if,

this could be achieved by asking for the truth in each moment, beyond the emotional reactions and fears?

What if,

our purpose in life is to trust, and remember what we have forgotten?

What if,

this spread, and man’s inhumanity to man and the planet, became part of the past?

What if,

this was all simply, a choice within each of us, and we became “Angels Rising?”

These are the thoughts that inspired the drawing “Falling Angel”. — Thank you

Illustrating Mother and Child

Stage 1 – Sketching and base washes

This piece began with listening to an inspired thought. I was going forward with the intuition to let the work create itself.  A new illustration technique arrived in my mind. I think I was vacuuming at the time.

I saw the face, and I saw the kindness and the strength within the eyes simultaneously. I didn’t worry about the challenge, although I wanted to. I wanted to commit to stepping back, and let the work develop itself. I assured myself it was just an experiment in trying. Lets see what happens.

Stage 2 – Sketching Hair, Adding Washes and Detail

We moved on to the hair. This was created by sketching and adding washes. This stage enforces patience. It feels like a thousand strokes, and with the right focus, can also be a meditation. It’s interesting how much I wanted to know the “outcome”, as if commiting to trusting that step by step process depended on if I liked the final work. I found this quite similar to life in many ways. The temptation is not to take a risk that involves your inner knowingness and time, unless you have an advanced guarantee of the outcome you hope for. In this case, I didn’t. And most work can take up to sixty hours.

Painting the Peals (of Wisdom).

I have never worked with pearls in an image, and this was fun.
Pearls represent calmness and centeredness. They also represent faith, loyalty, truth, purity, and personal integrity. Pearls of wisdom. Something was cooking here…..

Stage 4 – Peonies and Butterflies

The next time I sat down to work, the flower arrived in my mind, and the butterflies. Peonies represent riches and honor. Butterflies represent change, hope and transformation.

Then the work became quite. Was it done? Was it finished? I wanted it to be, I wanted to move on, but…I wasn’t sure. I left it up where i could see it. I would peek at it from time to time while I cooked or cleaned. At times I would sit looking at it. Nothing. All was quiet. It wasn’t done and I didn’t know why.

Days passed and I started a new illustration. I checked back, but still, there was no “green light” feeling. I had no inspiration for a next step, still I trusted that it just wasn’t finished.

While working on something else, I saw this illustration in my mind, and the next inspiration arrived. Her baby. And just like babies, we are not exactly sure when inspiration will arrive, but it will.

All that is represented here is about the challenges of trusting ourselves, trusting our inner compass. It’s about approaching each moment with the faith of a child, and caring for our faith as if we were our own children. It requires loyalty, truth, and personal integrity. It also requires patience, perseverance and a great sense of humor.

I think not knowing the outcome was worth the endeavor, and I am pleased. Which also includes the ability to celebrate ourselves. – Thank you.

This is “Mother and Child”

 

Painting the Beekeepers Gift

Everyone has natural gifts, whether they are aware of them or not.

Bee within hexagons.

This painting started out abstract and simplistic. Just a few notes, like a melody. A bee surrounded by light, with a few hexagons to represent the honeycomb. However, the painting continued to expand, and so did its message.

Some people have gifts that they may be completely unaware of, however, these gifts are very valuable to each individual they interact with. True kindness, a sense of humor, patience, or compassion are just a few. Gifts do not require a tangible creation, like beautiful music, or a wonderful story. Gifts can not be put on like fashion accessory, or used for manipulation. All gifts are something that serve life, and live on within the recipient, lifting them up to a lighter self.

Bees symbolize community, light, and the sweetness of life. They also represent the heart, and personal power. Bees respond to, and respect the gentleness within an individual. Most people do as well. They become alarmed and threatened by insensitivity and disrespect. Bees can intuit true intentions. The Beekeeper symbolizes a pure heart, that cares deeply, and respectfully for the sweetness in life, dispelling fears.

“The Beekeepers Gift” represents the courage, and the great power of sharing our gifts in thought, word, and deed.  — Thank you.

This is “The Beekeepers Gift”

 

 

Painting “Tribal Garden”

Sketching in my notebook, I began to play with a design and listen. It felt tribal, and I thought of tattoos, but I also felt a garden, and realized this image would represent a combination of the essence, thoughtfulness, and the respect many cultures live by, deeply connected in reverence with nature, honoring the gifts of the earth, and that which created it.

Beginning Tribal Garden, Sketch

The sketch is a connection for me, and when I begin to paint, I get to listen and learn.

Tribal Design – Representing a way of choosing to live, spiritual beliefs, and could be seen as a transition in life, embracing wisdom and understanding the grace of being truly aware and alive.

Garden – The original paradise created by God as a safe enclosure. The soul, and innocence, consciousness, happiness, salvation, and purity. Gardens represent the essence of the space between people that is a true state of living in peace, because gardens represent inclusion, community, and a sense of well-being.

Tribal Garden Design

Hibiscus Flower –  Delicate beauty, immortality, and the natural beauty of being one with God. The hibiscus, represents a state of royalty in the connection to that which created this earth, respecting and honoring the hospitality that the earth has always been generously giving to us.

I then painted two more panels of this piece.

Tribal Garden Center Panel

Tribal Garden – Third Panel

And I thought about this experience, about the tribal significance of living on this generous planet, and listening to what the garden and its creator is so diligently offering to teach us. Do I listen and make time to connect to the earth? Do I honor the planet in my life choices, in what I choose to support, and do I and thank nature each day for its wisdom, and the nurturing sustenance it offers?

This is the “Tribal Garden”

Tribal Garden

Thank you.

Painting “Opportunities & Choices”

I heard this painting before I saw it in my mind. I listened to the rythmic sound of the tracks. I drew my sketch and painted a train shortly after pulling into a station. As I painted the passengers, I realized they felt dull, and resigned to their continuous, and repetitive journey of this train. That became the symbolism of the train itself, outdated, dark and uninspired.

Sketch & Train Body

Symbolism
 The train represents traveling through life with only the tools of a “mass form of thought” that is void of any questions, awareness, joy, or truth. The repetitive sound of this train represents all of the unconscious judgements, ignorance, and fear that has been repeated over and over again all around us, accepted, and then passed on, and pressed on, to the next generation.

Train with Background & Foreground

I painted the background architecture next, and the platform, wondering where this image was going? Was it meant to be this dark?

An elephant appeared on the platform and was quickly joined by a few friends. I chuckled at this.

Elephant, Zebra & Parrot

Elephant
Symbolizes nourishment,
instincts, focus, and family. Nourishing the true instincts within us, that we arrive with, daily shifting our focus to the bigger picture, to the bigger family of all of life that surrounds us, every person, place and thing. Practicing patience, and asking for guidance for the understanding of others while we question our own ignorance.
Elephant symbolizes letting go of the lies we may have been warned to “never forget”, and we may have held onto through our loyalty to those that gave them to us, as others had given to them, possibly believing they created some sort of safety.

Zebra
Symbolizes other viewpoints and new ideas, new ways of resolving problems, asking within to understand, and recognizing there is a higher truth connecting all individuals, and the world around us. Life is filled with millions of colours, and is not just black and white.

Parrot
Parrot is a symbol of mirroring habits, characteristics, or ways that are not necessarily reflective of who you really are. The parrot also represents the vigilance of paying attention to what you are saying unconsciously to yourself, and to the world around you with your words, attitudes, and behaviors, in the quest for acceptance.

The Child

In this painting, the child represents each moment of each day. In a moment of misunderstanding and confusion, we are being given an opportunity and a choice. Do we choose to shelter ourselves in judgements that condemn another individual as being less than ourselves? Does this unconscious reaction, really make us feel safe when misunderstanding another person, triggering a fear within us? Or do we trust in our connection to a much, much higher form of wisdom and grace, that will guide us into a larger awareness, unconditional love, and the patience to keep asking for the highest truth, until all of the lights come on within, and we see ourselves connected to all. Grace and wisdom has always been there in our suitcase, waiting to be open and unpacked.  Each moment is our opportunity. Do we board the train of mass thought, or do we choose to rise to a higher platform, and hold hands with the alignment of the greater good of all?  Thank you.

This is “Opportunities & Choices”

Opportunities & Choices

Painting “Change & The Center of Gravity”

It began with an image that had arrived in my mind. It was of a woman with a beautiful light shining from within her heart. Before I could get started on this new painting, a nagging tickle in my throat soon turned into a rib breaking cough, and days in bed with a cold.

During my waking moments, I continued to watch the image paint itself in my imagination. Once I recovered, I set to work on creating this painting. However, something had changed. The painting had changed, and it was different. I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. What I had imagined was no longer there to work from. This was very disconcerting, and I experienced a few moments of doubt. Each painting is an adventure, and I see it as a sort of movie that I participate with. Then, I finally began to understand. Feeling the discomfort of “change” was the first note of the music, or film score for this movie.

Stage Two, painting the hands

Doubt is uncomfortable and difficult. I waited, listened, and asked, “What am I painting?” The painting had changed, and the main figure was now a young man. While painting his face first, I saw that the image appeared only from the bridge of his nose down. This is the face of anyone, and everyone.

Next were the hands. The hands are protective and cherishing his heart, his center. This is the home of his “knowingness”, his light, and his truth. The truth is there waiting to offer its wisdom, and only the truth can see through the limited perceptions of his eyes and emotions.

Stage Three, tattoos and the message on the tee-shirt

As I began to paint the arms, I saw the tattoos. I thought about the stereotypes that society has placed upon men, and women for thousands of years, telling them who they “should be”  and “should not be” in order to be safe, valuable, and loved. I thought about the confusion and disappointment this causes within each person, and within their expectations towards each other.  A decade later, these stereotypes will change again, and so will the expectations of who each person “should” be.

I continued to paint this young man, who is cherishing the light and the knowingness within his heart. I began to understand the symbolism, the adventure, the message, and the painting itself. We all have the truth available and running through us in each moment. Accessing this truth, and the choice to honor and cherish this truth is ours, and requires the courage of a personal change. We also have the choice to see only with our eyes, feel only our emotional reactions in a situation, and be guided by the opinions of others. However, these perceptions are not the whole truth.

The message on the young man’s tee-shirt presented itself. “Question Everything”. The question is “what is the truth?” We can choose the gift we  have been given, to listen without an agenda or judgement. This is our greatest gift and power, and our center of gravity as we navigate through illusions, and the constant change of each day. Our center of gravity is our “knowingness”, the light within that supersedes the doubt, discomfort and fear. We have all been given this. Maybe it’s time to make friends with our knowingness, have a long talk and form a great, lifetime relationship.

Finally I painted the fabric background, symbolizing this young man’s “wings of protection and flight” as he trusts, continues to “Question Everything” and treasures the highest truth from within the core of his being. Thank you.

This is “Change & The Center of Gravity”

 

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