I felt quite content when I started this painting. It was the day before my birthday. The yellow gold strokes easily flowed onto the white canvas and later, reds blended into yellow to create orange. A wide brush laden with teal blue brought the undulating shapes we now see on the bottom. I don’t remember if at day’s end I had scumbled magenta on the upper right.
The following day turned out to be quite difficult, yet soon yielded a marvelous gift.
You see, sometimes our inner guidance leads us into darkness. Our consciousness constantly mapping our path, sets the stage so that we can learn something valuable. Perhaps we are stuck and unaware that we are no longer moving in alignment with our purpose. Or maybe out of pure unconsciousness, we either cause harm, or we receive it. Perhaps we face a traumatic situation and realize that we had been there before and felt as powerless.
In a sudden flash of insight, we could begin to see these conundrums as a way to heal old pain and past karma. We could decide to mentally step away and hear our high heart, our connection to Spirit, asking us to integrate the lessons. We may be guided to heal ourselves by using the reappeared trauma as the fertilizer to enrich the soil where new seeds of love and light can sprout.
Finding myself at the receiving end of volatile anger, my instinctive reaction was to fight or fly. But something amazing occurred to me on that day amidst loud verbal attacks; I clearly saw the raw pain in the one hurting me and my heart opened up.
I became very quiet and tapped into the vastness, the place of potential, divinity’s abode and the realm of supreme wisdom. In the surreal inner silence, I prayed for guidance and expressed regret and bewilderment, as I can’t say that I understood then my role in the conflict.
What I knew for sure is that I did not want to manipulate or be manipulated. While I did not identify a perpetrator or a victim, I knew that I was no longer available to be unkind or be the recipient of unkindness. At that moment I perceived a bright light emanating from my heart and noticed that the other person had left.
The heart mind had done a great job leading me out of harm, however, over the next few hours, my body experienced what I can safely call “aftershocks”, so I began to practice Tonglen.
The next morning, I went into the studio and continued painting. I refined the shapes in the blue area and added the soft white layer between the yellow and teal colors, thus creating a foreground. The magenta hue in the upper right now became the background, green sticks were painted on the teal surface and, in the process, I felt divinely nurtured.
In such state I agreed to meet with the other person and lo and behold, we both came away knowing that the situation provided us both with profound healing. We each had faith in our bond, but saw that in order to move forward, we not only had to be fully present; we had to trust in that bond as we are now. We had to let go of thoughts and emotions based on the past, on fear, guilt and shame and we had to forgive ourselves and each other for past unconscious beliefs and behaviors.
In the end we both realized that the past is now the compost that will help us build a more wholesome relationship. We had grown from the harrowing experience and released the accumulated toxicity by surrounding it with pure love and utter compassion. We both remarked that this was a marvelous gift!
A state of happiness when we experience great joy; a sense of profound love:
Very busy with painting commissions, teaching and interior design work, I had been unable to set aside sustained time in my studio to just connect with Spirit and paint together.
On an unusually warm winter’s day I not only began a new painting but followed it with a lot of cleaning and organizing until quite late in the evening. I should have suspected that something was afoot when I awoke at 3:30 AM but did not fret or tossed and turned. I accepted the perfection of the moment and immediately felt light, loved and loving. A sense of happiness enveloped me and in time, I felt asleep again, naturally waking a bit passed 7:30 AM.
In my journal I recorded how easy it was to enter the studio on such bright morning and start a new work. I left all mental machinations behind and opened to play. What I did not notice until today, was that on the night before I had asked for a way to understand Bliss, and that just before I fell asleep, I found a poem by Rumi…
Lose your head!
Not a single thread that has a head
can go through the eye of the needle.
I also did not know that on that night, the moon was on its first quarter phase, when its brightness was at 50% visibility from earth, marking exactly seven days before the full eclipse of a Super Red Wolf Moon!
But what I saw the next morning upon glancing at the unfinished painting left me speechless. Depicted was something akin to an Aurora. This is the natural electrical phenomenon characterized by the appearance of streamers of reddish or greenish lights in the sky, seen near dawn during the winter months on the southern and northern poles of the earth. Aurora Borealis are the northern lights and Aurora Australis are best observed by the South Pole. What was most unusual in the art were the countless blooming flowers; an unlikely find on the Arctic dawn.
The unfinished canvas sat in my bedroom for another week before I was ready to complete it, but memories of an all-around fulfilling and productive day, completing long overdue projects with ease and a sense of joy lingered and helped me turn in every night of that week feeling profound love.
I treasure my painting sessions for in creating I practice surrender and listen to the guidance of my heart. I easily allow for surprises and the entire process brings me to a place of unabashed contentment.
I completed the painting on the morning of the eclipse, and then again cleaned my house, prepared for a special meditation of release and at night, from my bedroom window, I followed the path of the silvery moon until it was above the roof of my house, casting a ring of light around it captured by pristine snow on the ground.
Given the very cold night, I did not go outdoors when the earth’s shadow began to block the sun’s light, which otherwise reflects off the moon. Instead I watched the bright light dim until near total darkness diffused the landscape. I didn’t see the sun flecks that made the moon appear red. I instead visualized and internalized the process until I fell asleep.
When I awoke, I realized that I had lost all hearing from my left ear!
It was hard to miss the connection between the painting and its process, the intention I stated beforehand, the eclipse, an unusual cosmic occurrence and the sudden hearing loss. And it was to this connection that I relied upon as I navigated what I knew was a temporary physical event.
I contemplated the art to learn what was teaching me about experiencing bliss and consulted traditional medical resources and so-called alternative pathways to regain my hearing. It all pointed to an existential crossroads.
What did I need to shift and release to dwell in Bliss?
Answers came as I was ready to face and integrate them. Karmic events reflected in family issues appeared but to be seen in a different light. One morning I focused on the little blooms atop wiry stems quivering high in the sky within the painting, and realized that they depicted old fears surfacing. As soon as they were exposed for the stories they really were, they transformed into unexpected gifts: magnificent winter blossoms able to withstand the harshest of conditions.
Another day I looked intently at the sky I painted and learned more about what causes an Aurora event to happen and why it occurs mostly near the earth’s magnetic poles. Essentially, powerful solar winds stemming from the sun’s own magnetic field push on the earth’s magnetic field, changing shape and thus squeezing and compressing said earth’s field. At the same time, the sun’s coronal mass ejects high voltage charged particles that can more easily penetrate the earth’s atmosphere at its poles. These speeding electrons collide and explode with the mixture of gas atoms that comprise the air we breathe, fueling the gases and causing them to release both light and more electrons.
An Aurora, a dawn spectacle is a magnificent and colorful array of movement best seen in the wee hours that triumphantly heralds a new day, a new beginning and maybe a new way to see life. If we understand that “when a blade of grass is cut, the whole universe quivers”, then you can begin to see how I was guided to paint the picture I call Bliss Blossoms.
By the end of last week I was besieged by a powerful flu virus and was forced to completely surrender to my physical needs yet, I recovered most of my hearing ability!
While I could hear better, I now could not speak racked by a sore throat and could only focus on containing my body’s coronal mass ejections. I continued to meditate and contemplate the painting to learn all that it was teaching me.
I now see that what I am experiencing is serving and mirrors the travails of all my fellow humans. I felt the eclipse’s vibration, one of introspection, reflection and release at my core, next I experienced diminished ability to hear, speak and even breathe well-a sinus infection and the probable physical cause of my deafness.
The illness provided me with time and a safe cover to shift to the consciousness of bliss.
Humanity is in deep need of introspection, reflection and release of old ego-based stories and attachments that divide us, diminish our capacity to experience lasting happiness and find us searching for love mostly in eventually unfulfilling circumstances. A shift will only happen through experiencing a powerful personal eclipse; a meaningful change in the way we perceive ourselves and our role in this lifetime, in how we perceive each other and the world we cohabitate.
My personal eclipse led me to dwell in bliss but before I understood it, I had to “lose my head”
As I journeyed through the situations that life provided me these past few weeks, I realized that the shutdown afforded me the opportunity to awake to a dawn unlike even the most amazing ones I see out of my bedroom window, thus I gave in.
I surrendered impatience for what I didn’t yet have and allowed for the natural unfoldment of my desires into form. I placed trust in the perfection of each moment. I did not judge myself; I did not worry about my extensive to-do list, I slept when I felt the urge and I spent time in stillness, sometimes just following my breath; my wind, and at other times, I contemplated my unusual depiction of an Aurora.
Feeling open, curious and present, my quiet mind could more easily discern what I had magnetized, and I turned my focus on how I could manifest more of my goodness, my inner light in the world. It became clear to me that the answer was in the act of creating.
If I experience bliss every time I paint, I can also live each life situation as it if were a fresh canvas!
As a result, I experienced a rather swift physical recovery, my to-do list was breezily managed, and it included releasing outgrown expectations of myself and others; noticing if my time commitments elicit a sense of well-being and joy, and looking at how these commitments connect to my path of service.
Personal creative time moved up to the top of my daily routine, for like meditation, it is my practice for living a wholesome life and fulfilling my path of service.
Out of my bedroom window the sight of a wondrous Aurora greeted me today. It is exactly a month since it all began, and it coincides with a complete moon cycle. My state is one of happiness; I am experiencing great joy. I turned my gaze to the painting and smiled at the icy field of violet flowers in vibrant bloom at the height of winter.
A sense of profound love erupted from deep within my core. I now knew bliss and recognized the flowers as Bliss Blossoms!
Purchase Bliss Blossoms and install it in a room where you can lose your head and enter a state of happiness when you experience great joy; a sense of profound love. It is also a good idea to let others to see it too!
Do you normally feel rapturous joy? I remember feeling it as I dragged orange acrylic paint into creamy yellow to cover the canvas. This sense continued beyond writing my signature.
If you have been following my writing, you know that the physical act of creating is separate from the mental, emotional and spiritual part of naming the piece and dialoguing about what showed up on the canvas.
Pre-painting I sit quietly and use my breath to clear my mind. I observe thoughts come and I let them go, until I am possessed by the silence and a sense of openness akin to the endless sky.
At some point I move into the studio and pick up what I will use to go on an adventure of sorts. Akin to a shamanic journey, I use the surface as a portal, then materials, colors, textures and shapes show up along the way and become part of a life lesson I will learn and hopefully integrate and release after the painting is completed.
The finished art moves to a prominent place where I can contemplate the images to discern what it’s teaching me, what it wants to be called and how to best describe it for others to get the most benefits.
Sometimes the art sits in my bedroom for several weeks before I understand the theme, or the life lesson. At other times it moves out until its time comes.
This painting went to an exhibit so I had to call upon my Spirit Guides for quick help in naming it until I was ready to have a longer conversation with it.
I looked at the flat female figure with an empty head and holes in her energy centers dancing in a sea of golden and white light. Her childlike demeanor beckoned me in. I merged with her and I felt bright and beautiful.
An Ancient Chinese proverb came to mind…
When there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person.
I now see that the painting is showing me that in consciously inviting Divine Light, I became beautiful. “You are radiant” became an often heard comment.
Childlike giddiness prevails as I visualize my salt and pepper hair turning into strands of Cerulean Blue and Red Cadmium Light. I notice that calmness pervades my present interactions with strangers, loved ones and friends. People seem eager to learn about my “jewels” –the wisdom they perceive in the words I speak.
When there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation.
So I tell of times of honoring my truth when I could have otherwise caved in and of trusting the voice in my heart to uncover the light within. Divinity enters, Grace unfolds and my work becomes visible to those who need it. By owning the art or taking my classes, folks can invite Divine Light.
When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.
I explain that those who are en-lightened are not special. They are committed to water the seeds of goodness wherever they are. They embrace what is and respect everyone’s journey. They spread unconditional love, unbounded joy, infinite possibility, total forgiveness and sheer equanimity. They transform collective fear, insecurity, jealousy, anger and despair by healing their gardens first in whatever ways they can.
My way is to put forth images conceived in love and light that raise the vibration of the places where they are installed. They provide a mirror for those who behold it so they may uncover their own Light.
At a recent art exhibit a receptionist commented that she was no artist, but during the six weeks that she sat in front of The Light in the Soul, she felt inspired to look at her work and her life differently. For the first time she noticed that she was creating (Light) all the time by the way in which she thought and behaved. She began to understand her uniqueness; her power to bring forth that which only she could.
If you want to experience en-lightenment, bring The Light of the Soul into your space and feel rapturous joy!
This post is a reprint from the original posted a year ago. It is one of my favorite paintings and posts because of the powerful learning I received from working on the art and the writing. Read on and may you also learn to simply love yourself as never before!!!
Seating on the cushion, pondering on love, I soon uncovered some old wounds having a lively party with my “small self”. The revelry festering in the shadows soon became loud enough for me to notice and I began squirming on the cushion. I became snippy, short-tempered, and felt very hungry; all clear signs that I needed a bright light to crash the festivities and dance instead of eating.
I soon engaged with a confused little girl who was still playing with the remnants of long ago events that laden with emotional charge, were assigned a “not-good-enough” meaning. That little girl was stuck in a time capsule within the recesses of my mind and continued to interfere with all my relationships, but most of all, it deeply affected my relationship with myself.
Instead of becoming annoyed and impatient I went into the studio and began to paint as if the canvas was the bright light to shine in on the shadows. A heavy mixture of gold, silver and white paint became the undercoat. Yet gazing through the lustered paint I felt unable to hear my heart’s voice and ended the first session sponging and scraping a soft turquoise blue color.
Over the next few days I sat with the “little child who needed love” and patiently reassured her. I needed time to muster courage and forgive my adult self who “messed up” the various roles I was called to play and be ready to take charge of my life, own my wisdom, gifts and talents. I couldn’t lather glitter over it.
Each painting session allowed me time to connect to my heart center; my authentic self. The light emanating from the colors and materials invited a door to forgiveness, self-compassion and acceptance to crack open. This door is called “Maitri”, the Sanskrit word for unconditional love for oneself, enabling us to receive love and practice compassion.
As I knifed in modeling paste, the stylized image of two fully opened peonies and an unopened bud showed up. In Feng Shui practice, these gorgeous flowers are a metaphor for female beauty and the ability to bear offspring. Its delicious scent is a symbol for the sweetness of pure love, nobility, opulence and high value. When in full bloom, peonies symbolize peace and harmony. As I applied pink, purple and magenta acrylic to the hardened plaster-like surface, I practiced loving and accepting myself now.
On some days, I was only able to place a dab or two of color on the flowers….Not easy to say I love you to me. On the last day, I sat for nearly two hours in front of the canvas until tears began to flow and my heart expanded. The door now swung fully open to a rush of joyous enthusiasm and I surrounded the flowers with a soft yellow tint to help them glow while soft willowy ribbons, like those of a wedding bouquet appeared.
The flowing ribbons became a metaphor for releasing attachment to old and crippling thoughts, allowing love to blossom as fully and openly as peonies. Through creating Simply Love I healed the past and witnessed the loving, courageous and free ME bloom.
The completed painting is a banner for Valentine’s Day. It is also an excellent Feng Shui adjustment for the Relationship area, to boost peace and harmony within the family, enhance a relationship, or attract a new one, or to boost employee morale and interactions within a business.
The original has been purchased by a talented art lover and consistent supporter. But limited edition giclee reproductions are still available to assure the presence of Simply Love in your life, a pre-requisite to experience it in all its dimensions.
It started as a question…What is after “embracing grace”?
And as I made this query the centerpiece of my meditation practice of the past few weeks, events and circumstances appeared gently leading me to answers.
In early December, I was invited to participate in a “super full moon” celebration that included time for introspective journeying and deep contemplation. That night the moon appeared very large as it orbited closest to Earth and this phenomenon was said to cause geophysical stress.
Mystics termed it an extremely powerful celestial event, occurring in the sign of Gemini with the planet Mercury beginning a long period of retrograde movement.
The conjunction was about hyper-illuminating the truth, especially in the area of communications, highlighting motives and intentions. Mercury starting a retrograde cycle would be particularly helpful in noticing when someone was holding back the truth or being purposely deceitful.
But this alignment was also a good time to ask important life questions, for the answers could be revealed under the bright moonlight and be held to the scrutiny of our past actions and beliefs.
That night I reflected on my chosen theme for this year; learning to embrace what came my way while monitoring how I perceived opportunities, endings and beginnings in many areas of my life. I became aware that I was no longer devastated when I expected strawberries and got lemons. In fact, I tasted the most amazing lemonades! When I was in pain, I accepted it yet focused on what I was learning from the suffering. I experienced much joy while adventurously unwrapped unexpected “gifts”.
If Embracing Grace was about deepening my relationship with Spirit and being grateful for everything, the super moon introspection implied that Light maybe the theme of my next life cycle.
This weekend I celebrated Chanukah, the festival of Lights with family and close friends. The theme of the super moon was duplicated in many ways, as it again highlighted issues of communication, motivation and intention.
Lighting the candles on the menorah also offered opportunities to bring forth our inner lights, joining with others to further goodness and heal through sharing deep love, sweet gifts, hope and joy.
I ended the weekend with marvelous people, chanting gratefulness to the Indian teacher Anandamayi Ma, the “Great Mother of Love and Light”, and later on vividly encountering Red Tara in my dreams.
Known as the “Mother of all Buddhas”, or the female Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism, Red Tara is the embodiment of Light and Love, reincarnating always as a female and compassionately assisting people in removing difficult obstacles. In fact, her energy appears in times of stress and amidst great social strife.
This morning, as I was completing this card I painted for a very dear friend, I noticed that the flower I depicted had four perfect petals, while the fifth was being pulled away by the wind.
It is said that at birth, Red Tara implants the light of awareness on the minds of certain individuals to awaken during stressful time periods and teach the four qualities of Light: equanimity, compassion, love and joy.
She also awakens collective wisdom so that a society may realize the true nature of reality. Tara shines a bright light on seemingly insurmountable obstacles and offers to swiftly remove them by practicing the four qualities.
Who wants to let the wind take dire difficulties and receive enlightenment by contemplating the flower?
I am offering a free download of this card as a gift to those who wish to practice seeing everyone as divine, to encourage helping anyone without expecting a pay-back, to pledge unconditional love for all beings and to celebrate life without attachments or aversions. Such awareness will render us all strong, beautiful, blissful and useful!
Claim your free card @ Contact, write “Red Tara” in the message box and commit to shine Light everywhere.
This past weekend I was working on a commissioned silk tie, and while the art was drying, I started cleaning up the studio. I picked up an unfinished painting left over by a student who became disillusioned at her inability to “create what was in [her] head” and I thought…There is so much ink here, why not play with it?
Alcohol based inks are easy to reconstitute, simply by re-wetting all or portions of a painting with clear alcohol and, since I had nothing in my head, I began by rubbing off areas of what looked like stones on the shores of a pond.
Gently pouring more alcohol I encouraged some of the middle portions of the former pond to drip and expand. When I turned the image, I decided that what was intended to be the sky looked better at the bottom.
When I gingerly edged the darker shapes with a cotton tip, a beautiful yellow strip appeared among the clearest of blue tints. And by carefully spraying alcohol, the original edges of the “pond” were erased. The resulting jewel-like shapes were truly pleasing. I added purple dots with a stubby marker, and played with the rose colored tip of another.
With fascination I observed how five drops of Magenta ink “bloomed” into the typical spread when colored dyes land on the Yupo paper and an almost dry brush helped me mimic blossoms seeming to appear from nowhere.
It wasn’t until today, and after experiencing a powerful solar eclipse, that I understood the significance of what I had created and how it all reflected the celestial event.
Gazing at the art I instantly relived the physical, emotional and spiritual journey when I was, more or less in alignment with 2 significant forces; the yang sun and the yin moon.
Illumination and introspection collided at the moment when the moon covered much of the sun’s light; and even though just 69% of the moon blocked the sun’s glare, its power was profound.
The normally busy and noisy park where I was became quiet near and during the 2 minutes when the two celestial bodies reached the near totality.
In silence we beheld the sight of the waning black gibbous moon acquiring the brilliant orange headpiece formed by the sun.
The light turned a cool gray with green overtones, casting dusk-like shadows beneath the trees, and little jewel-like duplicates of what was seen above, showed up on the ground among the trees’ foliage.
As the moon began to move away from the sun, children and adults, many perfect strangers to one another, slowly started moving about, smiling and embracing each other.
There was magic as we witnessed darkness disappearing and the sun shining once again. Showers of light poured down and turned into bright pink spots on the vegetation and on people’s faces.
It was like Love was raining upon the earth.
Solar eclipses are magical gifts surprising us with a rare moment of darkness when it should be light. It makes us stop and observe our role in a constantly moving planet, orbiting around the sun, while the moon orbits around the earth. And it is the moon’s travel around the earth that impacts tides, flora and fauna and causes eclipses when it aligns in a certain way with the earth and the sun.
The moon also affects our emotional life, and solar eclipses offer a cosmic experience of introspection’s value and importance. It tells that we must honor the darkness within with gravitas, loving-kindness and perspective; trusting that whatever at a moment is shadowing our inner light, it will soon pass. In time, we will once again feel as if Love was Raining to heal the wounds and flowers may appear, as if from nowhere to add joy and breathe new life into the day.
Original art is available here, to be a constant reminder of the wonderful eclipse of the sun on August 21, 2017. Who knows? Beholding it may cause you to always walk around with a smile etched on your face!
A final thought,
Never insist on painting what’s in your head. Take up a brush, or whatever, and let your heart guide you to what needs to be created through you.
It was on July 9th and on my mother’s birthday that I started working on this painting. The colors showed up while I was meditating, and somehow I knew that it would become a significant creation. I completed it on July 29th, my birthday.
As I sat contemplating on a proper title, thoughts of clearing up old wounds appeared, encouraging me to identify mental habits or constructs that required change in order to further evolve into the bright beacon shining lights of love here on earth.
And I saw that the mental process easily dovetailed that of birthing the art. The painting however, showed me the attitude I needed to maintain throughout the discovery period.
When you think that our conflicting mental constructs are rooted in childhood, and if undetected, continue to affect us well into adulthood, an adventurous spirit is most useful.
The painting’s rose colored background permeates everything. It can even be seen through the grayed blue crumbling structure on the bottom. Can this be Gaia eventually rising healed and embracing a mantle of bright green growth to become whole again?
Destruction of past hurts is possible and even liberating.
Pink colored skies are hard to ignore and even harder to not cause feelings of wonderment. It helped me understand that exploring old wounds was best done with the same demeanor.
Gaia, the benevolent looking shape on the right appears to carelessly utter playful sounds into the pink space. These melodies merge with the warm sunlight streaming down to help heal the cracks on the bottom.
Mother Earth seems aware of the activity, yet her attention is focused on a teal colored glass. Might there be jewels lurking in the cracks of habits and emotions created long ago?
Indeed I noticed feelings of not belonging, not being good enough and an inner need to be outwardly validated lurking on the canvas bottom. These constructs continue to affect my present, yet the painting showed me that now there was an opportunity to quit tormenting myself.
I saw that although I couldn’t pinpoint the genesis of the pain; it was rooted in the past and it was time to let it go.
Meditating and painting meditatively allowed me to see the essence of the pain and have the courage to transform it. July 9th and July 29th are dates that speak to me of generational pain and of allowing crumbling structures to naturally become the fertile soil for new growth.
In the silence I can always reach my heart center, hear my true voice and find the freedom of forgiveness.
Creating allows me to connect with the consciousness that is and in experiencing this bond, I trust. I feel love, joy, abundance and total acceptance. When I paint, I dwell in the state of grace where delight abounds. This feeling continues as I sit in front of the art to write about it and pick a title.
May I tempt you to get the art; original or blessed prints, sit with it and adventurously explore your old pain?
From this narrative you can see that, if allowed to crumble, it will invite in the spiritual and emotional evolution to help you become a bright beacon of Love in the world.
The art is also intended as an object of beauty, delight and joy. Get July 9th now!
One day, Aniruddha, a poor farmer working in the fields spotted a holy man whom he deemed very hungry and even poorer than he and offered his only bowl of rice. This meant that the farmer would have nothing to eat that day. Aniruddha went back to his labors and forgot all about having given his rice away. Suddenly a rabbit hopped alongside the farmer and jumped on his back. The surprised farmer tried to brush it off but the rabbit wouldn’t budge. He shook it off, tried to knock it down, but the rabbit would not detach.
Confused and annoyed the farmer ran home to his wife, crying, “Get this rabbit off my back!” The wife was even more confused, because by this time the rabbit had turned into solid gold! She flipped the rabbit into the air and it hit the floor with an enormous crackling sound. One of its golden legs broke off but… another one magically grew in its place.
From that day on, whenever the farmer and his wife needed money, they would break off a piece of the golden rabbit and thereafter, Aniruddha was never poor. The Golden Rabbit was his reward for selflessly giving.
Aniruddha and the Golden Rabbit is a Jataka Tale, Collection of stories depicting the Buddha’s past lives showing behaviors leading to enlightenment. In these stories, the Buddha is often depicted as an animal)
The painting started with a coral colored ground and as I sat observing the luscious pigment, my chest swelled with joy. I felt a sense of optimism akin to seeing the sun rising over the horizon at the height of summer. Then, a blue second layer invited the fiery orange to dance. It was as if a vast and constantly moving sky was announcing the start of a magnificent day and inviting me and you to play. Lovely celestial music arose from the center of soft cottony pink rolls and bright yellow streamers heralded riots of laughter to the amusement of billowy lavender beings that seemed to grow out of the sea of fire.
I called the painting The Garden of Love and Compassion, as it reminded me of Aniruddha’s tale, and saw that our lives are like a garden. Whatever seeds we sow, with our thoughts, our beliefs and our actions will grow and blossom.
We can decide to grow seeds of compassion, embracing not only our foibles, but those of others whom we may perceive as hurting or bothering us, or we can pick to harvest the blossoms of fear, separateness and resentment.
We may choose to bring joy and understanding to whatever we are doing, or we can complain and blame others for our life situation.
We can decide to see through the eyes of love and kindness, or we can notice poverty and swiftly flee.
We may punish those who are less able by giving them even less, or we can share our wealth and like the farmer, shake the Golden Rabbit to keep sowing abundance at all levels and reap a deep sense of satisfaction.
We can see ourselves and others as Buddhas, or we can put on the goggles of enmity and embrace wars near and far.
Won’t you play with me in this beautiful garden and make your heart the fertile ground for more seeds of Love and Compassion? You can find the art by clicking on The Garden of Love and Compassion and harvest the blooms of Joy now and at any time of the year. Who knows, you may find a golden rabbit stuck on your back!
*Please note that this post has been edited and updated from the original one published in 2014. I felt compelled to re-read it first, then refresh it with new material and insights as an antidote to strong emotions I felt bubbling around me. May you enjoy the new version even more. Have a lovely week!
Acrylic transparencies and alcohol have been part of my creating toolkit for quite a while now, and seeking more saturated colors, I added acrylic inks to the mix. Without the binder’s presence, the inks’ hues were clearer, brighter and when exposed to alcohol, offered felicitous effects. So it seemed natural to heed one of my student’s suggestions and explore alcohol-based inks in class.
With gusto, I dove into the vivid palette and explored ways to use the quickly drying, yet easily changeable medium. I tried them on canvas and on Yupo; the latter, a synthetic non-porous and non-absorbent machine-made paper, used by watercolorists, allowed me to more efficiently practice the many ways to affect and move the inks. As soon as I began to post mine and my students’ art, I received teaching requests from outside my studio.
And once you prepare a class, you learn even more!
The first attempts, using cellophane paper to create texture, watching the inks react to each other and easily create masterpieces were such fun that I moved on to painting on ceramic tiles, to the oohs and ahhs of delighted students.
Inherent in using the medium is the element of surprise.
The inks are fluid and fast-drying. Recipes are few, and the best intention a newbie can put forth is to work with what shows up. Thus, if one is willing to suspend judgment and see the results of the inks on the surface as colors, textures, shapes and interact with them as play, the results are always outstanding.
The card on left was created by moving the inks using a straw while they were still wet, and after the art dried, dots were added with the tip of a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Additional marks were made with water-based pens before sealing the art.
In the tile on right inks gets layered to create new effects. They bloom when clear alcohol or another color is added and the size of the dots is controlled by mastering the amount of ink absorbed by the cotton swabs. Misting causes another texturing.
And then, I stumbled upon silk fabric and I was hooked!
The scarf above was created with alcohol inks and markers set by heat. When cooled, the fabric retains the familiar softness and lustrous feel. The inks vivid hues add luxury to the mix.
Here is an example of a scarf that started with a linear design, got a heavy dose of alcohol and was sprinkled with salt while still wet, then the fabric was swooshed around and when dried, it turned out with a really interesting mottled texture in a gorgeous blue tint. The student later added amorphous shapes by randomly dripping alcohol. She finished it with silvery dots inside the random shapes, and the effect is truly celestial.
And then I got it.
This technique was not only the easiest way to teach people to paint intuitively and encourage presence; it helps students engage in play, observe ego-based thoughts as they surface and assists them in managing the mind with courage and joy. Everyone left the class proudly wearing their creations and asked for more instruction.
I began to see scarves as another way to become intimately involved with the art I create and experience its transformative and healing energy.
Just as I do with my students, meditation and grounding precludes encountering the materials to be used. In the stillness, my heart opens fully and I invite Spirit to guide my hand. What is created through me has a powerful message embedded in each color, shape or texture.
When a viewer or a wearer beholds the art, the energy produced by the combination of all the elements becomes available. It gains power when users intentionally open their heart to what is there to learn.
When this happens, it is an “aha” moment. Something becomes clearer as the wind catches their scarf; and a solution to an issue is found, or a new viewpoint is suddenly available, when carrying an item blessed with the artworks.
Everything is energy and we are all connected to it. When you select a painting co-created with Spirit, you have begun to heal, although you may not know what needs healing at the moment. If you are attracted to a particular painting, or a scarf, maybe a tote bag; Spirit beckons!
Today I opened a new gallery on the website called Cloth Art. Go get this scarf now and open your heart to hear its voice. It is Healing Cloth!