A Glimpse into my process – Sweet Seduction – part 2

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Ok, so as promised, here is my view of this painting.  It is a bit convoluted, but that is the magnificent thing about art!

So as mentioned, my initial thought was Eve as an apple tree…with the serpent whispering in her ear.  She is seen as deceitful and disobedient for taking and eating from the tree of knowledge, seductive for convincing Adam to follow her lead, and weak willed for listening to the serpent.  She was unfaithful and untrusting in God’s word and promise.  And for that one action, many believe all of mankind now suffers by death in order to repay her debt.

But did she do it as an intentional disobedient act?  Or was she so naive and innocent and sheltered that she hadn’t learned to think for herself yet?  Hmm.  Interesting.

Another interesting thought, is rather than the serpent being an actual snake that spoke to her, what if in this instance the serpent represents her inner voice?  Rather than tempting her, what if she was so critical of herself that she would do anything to prove her worth?  Perhaps she nit picked at herself…having been created in a perfect likeness to God, yet feeling that she wasn’t enough, unworthy of God’s gifts because in her mind she had questions and doubts and fears.  Perhaps those negative thoughts ate at her mind until she decided to taste the fruit for herself…hoping it would clear her mind and make everything make sense…while still picking away at her own self in shame, searching for her inner worth.  Now how do you feel about this Eve?

The latter is the Eve I see in this painting.  Surrounded by but removed from the beauty of the Garden of Eden.  Feeling alone and ashamed and unworthy of God’s unconditional love and the gifts he provided.  Feeling she needed to prove her worth and the only way she knew how was to use her gift of free will, and choose to make a mistake.  One, simple, mistake.  Listening to her inner critic and picking herself apart until she was unrecognizable.  And therefore leading into a self fulfilling prophecy…for by eating the fruit she proved that she was unworthy of God’s unconditional love and gifts.  And so now…we live lives where love is conditional, and we believe that this is the way to be.  And we constantly fear that we are not enough…constantly strive to be perfect and do better and better.  Constantly in comparison with our friends and family and neighbours.  Maybe…we aren’t that different from Eve.

Or maybe there is another interpretation!  Did you have an ah-ha moment with a post on last week’s blog?  Did something resonate with you or get your gears turning?  Do you have a totally different outlook on this image?  I would LOVE to hear it!!!  Cheers!

A Glimpse into my process – Leap of Faith

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This painting is likely my favourite of the series so far…and that is saying a lot because I love them all for different reasons!  My first 30×30 inch painting…the largest I had done at that point in time…I was inspired and intimidated all at the same time.

This is such an empowering piece.  It reminds me to trust my roots, AND believe in my wings.  That there will always be obstacles and chaos in life, but just because they are there doesn’t mean that excitement and freedom are impossible to achieve.  She is leaving the tension behind her and leaning into the brightest light.  She is not looking down for she trusts the universe will take care of her.  It is the ultimate trust fall…believe in yourself and go after your dreams and make them into real goals with an action plan to achieve them, every…single…one.  And yes, there are going to be more obstacles, and potential failures, but it is through those experiences that one rises up with new knowledge and experience to tackle the next step or goal successfully.  She is truly owning her power, fearless in her confidence.  There is so much beauty and grace in her belief in herself, it is inspiring.  I look to her with admiration, longing to one day be all in for myself and my dreams.

Someone recently told me that 5 minutes of discomfort can lead to a lifetime of happiness.  Are you willing to push your limits, and stand on the edge of your comfort zone?  Do you believe you deserve to be happy and that your dreams are achievable?  No matter how big or small, we are all allowed to dream, and make our souls happy.  What does this painting mean or say to you?  I would love to hear it!  Comment below, or if it is personal, send me a PM or email.  Cheers!

A Glimpse into my process – Sweet Seduction – part 1

 

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This painting came to me as an idea based on another painting i have, where i am asked all the time if it is Eve. No…the original portrait people think is Eve was actually based on Snow White, but somehow i didn’t get the innocence portrayed in the portrait while she was tempted to bite the apple. In this painting, I WAS thinking of Eve.

What if Eve was an apple tree? What would that mean? I would LOVE to hear your interpretations of this one! I know what I think, but art is always up for interpretation by each person who views it. What is she saying to you?  Do you see Eve as a disobedient temptress?  Or is she the victim of self doubt and criticism, listening to her own inner critic and picking herself apart?  I am leaving this with you for a week.  Stay tuned for MY interpretation.  😉

A Glimpse into my process – Forget-Me-Not

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This painting has received a lot of connection and interest since I started sharing it, and especially now that it is hanging in a solo exhibition, Renewal, at the Hearty Hooligan in Hamilton.  Many people connect to the emotion of it right away.  Some feel comforted, some feel sad.  I would like to share my story and why I painted this piece.

This painting, for me, is about grieving.  Both in the sense of grieving the loss of a loved one, my mother, but on an even deeper level, grieving the loss of my previous self.  I sustained a head injury over 4 years ago that changed my personality and outlook on life.  It left me depressed and anxious in circumstances and environments that I use to love and crave.  It has left me and my family to relearn how to relate to each other.  It has left me questioning who I am as a person, and what my life purpose is meant to be.  Who am I meant to be?  Why did this happen to me?  And why have I not “healed” and returned to my previous self after so long?  I often feel like a burden to my family, a liability to my job, and an all around failure.  Where did I go?

This painting, captures a moment in time, one of several that I have experienced, where I know I am surrounded by loved ones, and yet I feel completely alone, hopeless, and lost in sadness.  I am surrounded by beauty, but I cannot see it because I am focused inward.  But all is not lost…there is hope.  There is a ray of light streaking through the air, shining on me, comforting me.  Nurturing me.  Feeding my soul.  I am grounded, in touch with source and mother earth, connected to who I truly am.  And I am growing.  Despite the debilitating sadness, I have buds ready to bloom when the time is right.  The potential is there, the seed is planted, waiting…waiting for me to recognize my strength and worth – AS I AM.  Waiting for me to come out of my self-made darkness and SEE the light and the beauty that surrounds me.

Although I am different than those that surround me, I am still beautiful and loved.  I cannot be lost in the crowd, just another number in a never ending sea of people, because I am unique.  Trying to fit in is a waste of time.  I need to embrace myself, as I am, and accept the lovely being that I am.  Full of love and magic and wonder.  Whole – not broken.  Just rediscovering my roots, and creating new ones in order to nurture my full potential and grow into success.

It may initially trigger emotions of sadness and loss, possibly even regret, but there is also inspiration and hope in this piece.

How do you feel when you look at this painting?  Does it resonate with you or no?  Can you relate to my story?  Or does the image provoke other emotions and memories for you?  Please, if you are willing to share, I would love to connect with you.  Even if just in a PM or email and not publicly…I LOVE hearing how other people can connect my art to THEIR life stories.  And I would LOVE to hear YOUR story.  Thank you.

Absence

Hello my friends.

I am very sorry for my absence this past few weeks.  As many of you know, and some may not, I struggle with my mental health, since an incident (head injury at work) over 4 years ago.  This past month I have been in a very low place.  I don’t want to dwell on this, but I thought you should be aware.

Sometimes, as mysterious as it seems, a crash can occur following a really exciting or positive event.  And some times, a small seemingly minimal or meaningless negative or stressful thing can trigger a downward spiral.

I am still here.  I am trying to continue creating…but it has been very hard.  I struggle to paint when I am in a negative frame of mind.  It’s as though deep down I feel like if I don’t feel happy and grateful all day, I am not allowed to feel happy and grateful for even just a few moments in time creating.  But I know, logically, this just isn’t true.  Every single moment we feel happy, we encourage a greater sense of happiness and desire more joy, which when we seek and discover, turns into a spiral of chasing joy and happiness and raising our mood and energy level.  This is what I need right now.

Baby steps are so important, focusing on one step at a time, and just taking that very first step in the right direction is the key.

So I am taking some time to seek professional help, and put into place a self-care routine.  For example, I just took a class about creative writing, focusing on journaling through your thoughts, the good the bad and the ugly.  It was incredible, thanks to Darcy Patrick, the creator of the course and author of the book.  In the end, we were directed and inspired to write our own guided meditations!  The flow of the course was beautiful, and it all came together in the end.  I loved it, and have been practicing daily journaling for a few weeks now…trying to improve on it as I go in order to face my feelings more openly and honestly, in a more healthy manner.

There are other things I am working on adding into my daily routine, such as meditation, and other things that I don’t wish to share with you at this time.  But I will, when the time is right for us all.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Sincerely,

Liz

 

Super Crawl…here I come!

Good morning friends!  Happy Friday!  I have so much excitement in my life right now, I don’t even know where to start…

In one week’s time, I will be set up inside Steel City Fab at 288 James Street North, in Hamilton, Ontario as a part of Super Crawl!  This is an annual event where artisans of multiple talents set up along a closed city street to show and sell their craft.  Live music will be available at multiple places along the street as well.  I am SO grateful for this opportunity, and so very nervous as this is my first BIG event…and second market as a vendor…ever.

What are my fears?  I am afraid of not selling and being out the cost of space, prints and display supplies.  I fear embarrassment and feeling like a failure.  I fear not connecting with people, and having art that is “nice” but not worthy of hanging in one’s home.  I fear having the wrong sizes or price points available.  I fear social burn out…as since my head injury I still struggle in crowds.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, I fear selling out of original pieces and not having enough to display for the entire weekend, AND having to start completely fresh for the Artisan Bazaar markets in November and December.  However, I keep telling myself that THIS would be a really good problem to have.  🙂

Mostly I am excited.  Grateful to be a part of this amazingly well known and established market.  Excited to share my passions with more people, and BE an artist for 3 days in a row!  To tell people about my solo exhibit, Renewal.  To talk about the emotion behind these paintings, available as prints only for Super Crawl, and relate to other people’s stories.  And to share with other artists about the upcoming workshop with Donna Downey.

And so now, I struggle with focusing my energy in preparation.  Everything I currently have available is packaged and safely placed in totes, ready to transport and set up.  I have never used the particular display I am planning to use, so I don’t know how to work with my space yet.  So that gives me a little anxiety.  And my original art looks like such a small amount now that it is wrapped and packaged…so do I continue working on minis for Super Crawl?  Or do I consider myself done and focus on my commission work and solo exhibit pieces?  It amazes me how I could be painting all day every day happily, but the anxiety still kicks into gear with “am I doing the right thing?”.  Silliness, I tell you!

This pre-event anxiety is not a new feeling to me.  And this is comforting, because that means I know how to deal with it, and that I will be ok.  I feel this way EVERY TIME a run comes up.  The last 2 weeks, during my taper, I get nervous about my abilities and question my abilities, and what I was thinking when I signed up for such a task.  And in the end, I always pull through, and it is always fun and exhilarating.  I have confidence I can do this market because of the practice I have had running.  Even when I sprained my ankle, badly, during the Cottage Country Ragnar, I was able to pull myself together and complete the loop and the course.  Which proves to me that I can do hard things, and that when unexpected things happen, I can roll with the punches and get what I need to do done.  And again, the link between art and running becomes clear to me.  The lessons learned and practiced through running, DO apply to every day life scenarios, and really do provide empowerment, confidence and courage.  Bring on Super Crawl!!!

Cheers!

“To Do” Lists

 

Friends, do you write “To Do” lists?  Do you write them for the month, the week, or the day?  Or just a big list that you pick away at and never seem to get to the end of?  Do you rewrite the list every day or find joy in seeing it mostly scratched off?  Do you prioritize your lists or just go with whatever you feel like doing at the time?  Does the hard thing get done or left until you can no longer procrastinate?  Do you stick to your list regardless how you feel or do you move through your day more intuitively?  What is the most productive for you?

I am currently going through a workbook called “Eat that Frog” by Brian Tracy.  And no, I am not going to start actually eating frogs.  Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” -Mark Twain.  It’s a metaphor for doing the least desirable job first and getting it over with so that you can go on and enjoy the rest of your day and feel productive by the end. 

I will be honest…I haven’t actually tried it yet.  But I have been working my way through the exercises, writing lists upon lists to help me prioritize my goals and the tasks that work directly towards achieving those goals.  I have, in the past, been a chronic list writer that has not ever felt like I’ve accomplished “enough” in a day, even working from the list, because the list is ALWAYS bigger than the time available in a day, not to mention that the list is also continually growing at least as fast as it is shrinking.  I felt like I was wasting time writing the lists, but without a list I float though the day and totally forget what I really needed to get done because I am so easily distracted.  So I need some form of a list.

This book came highly recommended, and I am hoping that I can organize myself through this process so that I am more productive towards reaching my art goals!  I mean, if I am an artist, painting is a necessary part of my life now, and not just a way of relaxing.  I can’t keep considering it as an extra curricular thing to do.  And I have to let go of the guilt I feel about leaving the “house chores” in order to fit in a few hours of painting each day.

I think my frog is the business stuff…financial tracking and setting up Quickbooks, because it isn’t easy and super intuitive to me.  And I am afraid of messing it up because it is involved in my taxes for next year.  I have perfection paralysis around it.  But this is my frog, and once I am finished this blog post, I will attack this frog and hopefully get it down.  And I will NOT feel guilty for the time it takes me to research and figure out.  And even better, when I get it set up, I will be rewarding myself with painting time!!!

How do you attack your daily to do list?  Do you eat your frog first or stare at it until you can’t ignore it anymore?  I am interested to hear what works for you!  Wish me luck!