The photo is one of my early paintings: “Listening for the Golden Visions.”
As you have seen in some of my photos, I HAVE STARTED PAINTING. . . . AND. . . ART JOURNALING. . . AND I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!
The “cut to the chase story” is: I started painting in January of this year, and soon after, began art journaling. I can’t begin to put into words how much this has been a wonderful surprise gift in my life.
The “story with the juicy details in it” is: Around Solstice/Christmas time of last year I began to realize that I was starting into a depression. Nothing was too serious, yet, but I felt strongly that I needed to do something to. .. . to what? I wondered. Sitting with it some more brought me the words “I need some colour in my life.” Well, I didn’t know what that meant. My days were already full; I don’t like to travel because most of the time it’s just too much trouble considering my health and all the planning that has to go into it; I already had some very good friends that I didn’t have time enough to see as much as I liked. The biggest thing was that I really didn’t have the energy to “go out there and make something happen”.
Then “out of the blue” (does this ever happen to you?), totally unconnected with the thoughts of beginning to sink into depression, I remembered a woman, an artist, who had been to two of the Mysterium trainings I had been at. The trainings, by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, are for “helping professionals,”, and have been held each summer for the past 3 years. They have been HUGE blessings in my life.
So I googled my colleague, curious to see if she had a website. And DID she! Shiloh Sophia McCloud is an amazing, visionary artist, and entrepreneur. One of her on-line offerings is a year long course called the Red Madonna. In it, (totally summarizing here), each month she teaches through a series of videos how to paint a particular holy woman, while her mother, a writer, encourages the members to write a poem or prayer about the holy woman and how she exemplifies one of the Sephira from the Jewish Tree of Life teachings. It is geared towards both artists and non-artists alike — or shall I say, “not-yet-artists”?
I couldn’t forget about the Red Madonna program. I tried to, as I didn’t feel I had time to start some new project. But I kept going back to the website, figuring out if I could do it somehow. One thing led to another and here we are on month 10 of the Red Madonna: Tree of Life, and I have 9 or 10 paintings I’ve completed. I had NEVER painted before. I mean, not even as a little kid do I EVER remember painting anything! I had taken piano lessons, nothing about art.
Not too long after that I began art journaling through on-line classes with Effy Wild. Both artists, like me, have a commitment to exploring the inner life of spirituality or the depth dimension.
I didn’t sink into depression this year. In fact, it’s been one of the happiest years I’ve had. Maybe art really does save lives.
I’m not technically proficient, but that’s never been a primary goal. As I’ve said in a previous post, I find that my inner symbolism has a new language with which to express itself, and I find that exciting and deeply satisfying. My intention is to include photos of my work with my posts, and sometimes tell you about the symbolism. For example (briefly), in “Listening for the Golden Visions” I’ve included a spiral at the “third eye” chakra, the locus of the inner eye, and an “egg” necklace of possibilities at the throat chakra, the source of my voice in the world. I find crows and ravens to be messengers and reminders of the Sacred Mystery within life, so she’s also listening to what the raven might tell her. There are seven roses; roses are my symbol of mysteries unfolding, and seven is an ancient sacred number which alludes to many meanings throughout history.
What I can also tell you is that while it’s often quite challenging to find and to take the time to art, I either don’t have pain while I’m arting, or don’t notice the pain. That’s WONDERFUL! And I love these side effects: journals of images and a wall of canvases.
Do you have a satisfying way to art? Has it helped you in any particular way? Is it difficult to take the time to actually do it?
What a fabulous surprise to discover a talent later on in life that you didn’t know you had! I am going to try to use art to cope with the challenges of life. Thank you for this beautiful post.
That’s been the wonder of this year: finding something within myself that I had no idea was there. It makes me seriously curious about what else might be in there that might bring joy and peace and beauty! Also it’s taught me that you CAN teach an old dog (uh. . . “Cat”) new tricks. It helps me face the prospect of aging in my 70’s and 80’s (assuming I live that long); there’s a hope that there will always be new interests, activities, people, ideas, and that those things will be there even if I’m disabled and/or not able to get out much. HOPE! Thanks for commenting, Cat
It is hard to believe that you’ve never painted before! What a beautiful gift to uncover a talent later on in life. Your post encourages me to use art as a form of coping. Thank you!
Thanks, Susan. Good to know you had a look-see onto my blog. I’m not only arting, but doing more writing, and it feels really good. Best to you. Cat
I really like that painting! And I’m happy for the peace art has brought to you.