As I was putting the final brushstrokes on the little hedgehog heads peeking out of the bicycle basket, I briefly felt a smidge of disappointment. Really? How could anyone be disappointed when looking at a purple bicycle. . .much less one that has a wicker basket filled with freshly cut lavender and cute little hedgehogs? But I did! The vision I had when I initially began this painting was so perfect, so technically correct that my college art teachers would have been proud. Yet, here I was standing before these silly little guys going for a ride doubting, questioning, and wondering if I should keep or scrap this piece. Ahhh, this “Joy Ride” looked so fun as I stepped away from my technical perspective and began thinking of the places I could ride and the smiles that would come. And then, I realized that the painting process is indeed much like the ride. . .it is a journey, a joy ride. I want to learn to let go of the final result. I want to become peaceful with the idea that painting is a journey and rarely, if ever, does that perfect image imagined at first stroke end up on the final canvas. I am recognizing that after the idea is conceived and the paints begin to blend and move, the painting comes to life. . .it is indeed part of the journey, and the joy is in that journey. I am releasing the expectation of technical perfection and embracing the love of the art, the elements of paint and color, and most of all the joy that this blend brings to me and to others. And even though we are taught not to have favorite “children,” certain pieces do have a special place in my heart. They have become mile markers on my journey as an artist and a person. For this journey, I am grateful. . .yes, “Joy Ride” stays. . .but wait until I tell you about galloping away with “Gemini” next week. . .
Looking outside of the studio window, I see sunshine, new green leaves on the oaks, and butterflies dancing among the milkweed. Looking inside my studio, I see original paintings drying on the easel, prints all packaged and ready to share, pillows all fluffed to add to my art show tent, all tucked within the atmosphere of anticipation, creativity, and love. But the universe has other plans. . .the Leesburg Art Show is officially postponed until October 24 and 25 due to the virus. City officials of Leesburg in coordination with the Director of the Leesburg Center of the Arts decided to postpone the event in an abundance of caution. Upon the surface, it is quite easy to read this “caution” as fear. However, upon a closer look, this same caution can be viewed as love. Love? Yes, love: love for our community. Perhaps we have forgotten to shop local or learn to know our neighbors or local farmers. Time is always in short supply, it seems, and we may find it easier to one-stop shop at big box stores where the crowds and deals seem huge. So perhaps this virus gives us the chance to return to the community, to local. . .and ultimately to ourselves. Love for self: sure, why not. . .have we forgotten how much fun it can be to reconnect at home either with family, friends, animals, or garden? I am choosing to spend the gift of time in the studio painting and creating…remembering that love is indeed the heart of everything. So even during a time of, or perhaps especially at a time of, great fear that itself seems to be the pandemic, we need to change our perspective to love. Love our local medical personnel, respect the resources our cities and local governments provide for us, but most of all love ourselves enough to reconnect to self–loving the time that we can unplug from the chaotic cyber world and reconnect locally with our family, friends, and neighbors. Off to paint. . .I’ll share more next week, and until then, since we won’t be able to meet at the Leesburg Art Festival this weekend or the WomanMade Art Exhibit Opening at Mount Dora Center for the Arts tonight, please find and enjoy peace and love at my ETSY shop where I have recently posted much of the art that we could have smiled over, giggled about, and loved on this weekend. Nicki
I’m so excited! My dear friend Melanie is joining the blog as a guest speaker. That’s her, discovering a new way to play in the dirt. If there’s anyone out there that draws on her heart for inspiration and love, it’s Melanie. Melanie reminds us that creativity expresses itself in so many ways – it’s not just a luxury for those who call themselves artists. It’s every human being’s natural state. To me, Melanie creates space. Her home’s interior is soothing and beautiful. Her garden is lush with edibles and contained by well-thought-out raised beds, paths and sitting areas. She also has a magical way about her – an ability to create space that feels safe to be in when you’re in her presence. People, animals and gardens thrive when she holds space for them. I think she’s one of the most creative people I know, and I’m lucky to have her as a friend, and as a guest blogger! Enjoy!
Drawing on my Heart is the perfect name for this site. . .I have known Nicki for years and have enjoyed her talents through her sketches, paintings, graphic designs, and cottage garden. It goes without saying that she is “always drawing.” Watercolors, color pencils, or garden spade in hand…Nicki is bringing forth life through her creativity. It occurs to me that the act of “bringing forth” or “drawing” is a wonderful way to create. I was always too quick to say that I was not creative because I could not “draw.” However, as I sat before a slab of clay last week I did just that: I drew–I drew from my heart. The feelings of love and gratitude I hold for the earth in general and my garden specifically came forth as I pounded, tweaked, scored, and pinched that slab of clay into a beautiful vessel that will one day hold cut flowers from my garden. I realized that I could create; I am an artist. Isn’t that the way? We get our mind set on a specific meaning or idea and hold so fast to that belief that we in effect put blinders on, roll the shade down over our creative eye. Our hearts are like a deep well, and my goal is to make sure that the contents of my well remain pure, positive, and loving–the perfect source to draw from regardless of the day. . .creativity flows as the life giving energy of the universe. Drawing on My Heart. . .you betcha!
As my early afternoon cravings for caffeine hit me with a stifled yawn, I longingly looked over at my empty coffee cup. I then realized an empty vessel just begs to be filled. So with eager anticipation of that hot, magic elixir, I stuffed my cold toes into my slippers and got up from my graphic design desk to see if there was anything left in the coffee pot downstairs.
Cup filled. Cup emptied. Ready to be filled again.
A cup without coffee.
A page without a sketch.
A patch of earth without a garden.
A vase without flowers.
A body without bliss.
All these things need to be emptied before they can receive sweet abundance. It’s a cycle of give and take, of renewal. What better time than the beginning of a new year to empty our vessels to only allow them to fill up again.
I try to lose my mind at least once a day. My mind is a terribly busy place – full of distractions, lists, chores. Living from my head is not nearly as fulfilling as living from my heart. Any sense of fulfillment I experience from my head’s perspective is shallow. Superficial… without deeper meaning. Ah, but when my mind goes still, the sounds of love and joy move forward, keeping time with the beating of my heart… there is peace, timelessness, unconditional love. Fulfillment is a state of being not something to strive for.
The heart is where my consciousness, my divine playfulness, my dreams, all grow and flourish. It’s fertile ground. I plant my intentions here. I find my bliss here.
Gardening and drawing are meditations that release my mind from center stage and allow my heart to step forward. I get lost to be found. I go inward to expand outward. I disconnect to become part of the whole.