I believe that the right of self expression extends to all of us whether we consider ourselves to be artistic or not. Creativity is our birthright, and all of us can enjoy the beauty, pleasure, and inner peace that expressing ourselves provides.
I came to art later in life, at 56, after never having painted in my life, not even as a child. My family encouraged the sciences, and looked down on handmade things and art in general. Life was busy, and dabbling in art seemed a self-indulgent time waster.
In the winter of 2013, though, I could feel myself sinking into a depression. Having been clinically depressed before in my life, I recognized the signs. Going deep within, I asked myself what I needed, and I thought, “I need color!” — the opposite of gray skies, dirty snow, cold wind and ho-hum activities that was my life then.
But what did “I need color” mean? A few days later, seemingly unconnected yet wonderfully synchronistic, I remembered that I had met an artist at a training I had taken with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes the summer before. I wondered what kind of art she did, so decided to see if she had a website. Well, she did! And she offered online classes! And I signed up — and painting brought to a halt my incipient depression!
I was encouraged by her,, to go within through Intentional Creativity and represent my inner world in color, symbol, and image. I’d never been brave enough before to join a class in “art,” even though I had dabbled in calligraphy, sewing, and cooking as forms of self expression — things that my overly ambitious mind at that time judged “useful” as well as creative.
Since then, there have been few days when I haven’t played around with color and pattern. Paintings poured out of my brushes, and smaller meditative pieces started my days. Whereas I had previously focused on journal writing, now I had found new ways to explore my own depths each day before interacting with this busy world. I had found a new language, one without words, that helped me to articulate the Depth Dimensions of life.
For me, what allowed me to quiet the (harsh and productivity obsessed) inner critic was to tell myself that my art didn’t need to be pretty, and I didn’t need to share any of it with anybody if I didn’t want to. I justified the time it took by reminding myself that I didn’t watch TV (and social media wasn’t yet a “thing”, at least for me). Complete respect for my inner freedom allowed me to create without coercion.
As you will see, my art is not spectacular. You could look at much of it and say “Oh, I could do that myself!” And that’s the point: I want you to do it yourself! I want to encourage you to quell the inner critic and express your own self in ways that intrigue you. If you do, you will discover parts of yourself that are just waiting to come into your consciousness, and your life will become deeper and richer —- or at least more colorful!
Besides painting in acrylics, I enjoy playing with watercolors, collage, and, just generally, “making stuff!”
Within each of us are many worlds, many stories; in my artwork I seek to express my inner knowings through image and word. My art is inspired by my personal history, dreams, my studies, my ancestors both familial and spiritual, and by the collective ideas and symbols found in many cultures. I access these symbols through visionings, inner journeys, "in-the-world" journeys through the art and writings of spiritual seekers through the ages, and in the spiritual and dream symbolisms from around the world.
My images and my words are my record of navigating life’s depth
dimensions. I dig deep, bring up treasures, and express them on canvas
and the page. What is the beauty within? Where is the wisdom
within? The world reflects back to us so much heartbreak, and we’ve all
lived through our own difficult times. Many of us, too many of us, have
survived great traumas. Having already thoroughly explored that territory, I
now choose to create intriguing and evocative reflections of spirit, love, and
the Feminine Divine which first of all inspire me. I hope to then inspire
and empower the viewer towards their own inner explorations and expression,
towards healing and life lived expansively, towards personal power and choice.
I choose to express the truths of beauty, hope, and the promise of
possibility as I see them.
I have been creative all of my life, through music, fabric arts, knitting and crochet, cooking, writing and journaling, scrapbooking and art journaling, and most recently through multi-media, poetry, and acrylic on canvas. I find that bright jewel tones best express the strong imagery I love, along with the multivalent meanings of the symbols I use. Sometimes an image or feeling spontaneously presents itself to me, needing to be expressed, but most often I explore within through active imagination or inner journeying with a specific inquiry or question. I bring back color or image, and then one image opens into another, and another, and meaning blossoms. I hope that my art unfolds meaning as a rose unfolds in beauty.
I believe that self-expression cannot belong only to those whom society recognizes and privileges as "the artist". I focus more on feeling and tone than on dramatic technique, and use media that are readily available to most of us: acrylic, watercolor, paper, and canvas.
I am deeply grateful to my painting teacherand her teacher , to , , Caron McCloud, Mary Oliver, Frida Kahlo, Frances Stefano, and to many others who have created out of original voice.
Stories within worlds within stories between worlds: In the paradoxes of daily life, I want always to remember the stories that create meaning and that we can access the treasures that already live deep within. And when someone resonates with what I’ve been inspired to put onto canvas or paper, I am filled with the joy of connection and the mysteries of life, symbol, story.
How do you really live a deeply meaningful life, living gracefully within the paradoxes and challenges life hands you? Where are the depths of soul? And how do you get to those depths? What is a soul, anyway? How do you let what’s within you be expressed in ways that are helpful and contribute to positive change? Do you ever fully heal from the traumas you survived? How can life be more colorful and creative?
These are the questions I live out of, every day. I do soul work. I’m a contemplative educator, counselor, and artist, and I help women and men navigate the Depth Dimensions of their embodied selves through image, word, silence, and dream. I believe that the most important work each of us can do is to live out our gifted self fully, creatively, and freely, in an overculture which too often wounds our bodies and souls and colonizes our minds with distractions, commercialization, and other people’s agendas.
I’m a master of the labyrinth, the way of experiencing life’s twists and turns as pilgrimage — through having lived it. I believe that there’s always the unexpected — my greatest ones were becoming a mother at 40, and an artist at 56. I work in the ways of women’s wisdom — and have gotten skilled at unraveling knots of internalized oppression. I live expansively and joyfully — and also with serious chronic pain.
Professionally, I’m a student of the wisdom traditions of the world, with a
Masters in Education, 4 years’ graduate study and a B.A. in Theology, plus more
than 35 years’ experience in service and education, including as counsellor and
Executive Director of a sexual assault center. I am trained in
post-trauma counseling and as an Intentional Creativity Coach. I have taught in
university, in high school, in professional development, and in my own
workshops and classes. I also home educated my son to the university
level. I live creatively with the limitations of several chronic illnesses
and engage actively in ongoing learning and reflection, most recently with
) in 17 of her
training intensives over the past 12 years.
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