Like most young children, I asked for a horse every birthday, Christmas, and special occasion in between. And. . .like most young children, my wish remained unfulfilled. Unless….that is….you count the number of Breyer horse figurines I received as gifts or even more exciting, the number of horses whose manes I braided with daisies on my walks home from the school bus stop in rural Okeechobee. I can only imagine the looks of surprise from my parents when I tried to ride my tiny plastic horse, Palomino Mare–even as a two year old, these Sears Wishbook beauties were not meant for galloping. Or even more surprising would be my unsuspecting neighbors coming home from work to feed their horses only to find the manes beautifully braided and filled with wildflowers. Finally, at the age of 13, my brave dad got me my first horse. Even though Darlin’ was one of the meanest little ponies to trot on the earth, I loved her dearly. Later I got Taco, who ended up being the kindest, most gentle gelding one could ever hope to have even though he definitely had that thoroughbred mixed with quarterhorse blood running through his veins. We developed a love, a trust and no doubt taught each other more than I recount even today.
So it is with this love of horses that I come to the canvas. With every stroke, every paint blend, every eye sparkle it almost feels like I can touch a live horse. I know the curve of a shoulder, the solid weight of a leg in my hands as I pick a hoof, and the warm steam of breath on my neck. When I am “running with the horses,” time passes quickly. When I am with the horses, it is not only they who run freely, but also my thoughts and emotions as well. I recall memories that bring smiles, tears, and all out laughter. . .but more than anything, I confirm my love for these beautiful animals and am grateful for their presence in my life and the gifts they once and continue to give to me. “Gemini” is a special painting. . .those two boys. . .filled with love, hope, and wisdom. . .their eyes tell the whole story, and I am blessed. —Nicki
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 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.
For 23 years I’ve worked as a graphic artist – for advertising agencies, graphic design firms, print shops, and now on my own as a freelancer. I enjoy the work and the process. It allows me to use a talent and skill to serve others, all while wearing my comfy pants adorned with cat hair. It’s a career that’s been good to me. But I have to admit, I might have become too comfortable in those pants. It’s time to shake things up!
When my friend Michelle became a life coach, I signed right up. I figured I sure needed coaching if I was ever going to live the life I really wanted. She is an amazing coach, teacher and friend. Through her gentle guidance I’ve discovered struggle is an illusion, and I not only can do what I want, I deserve to.
During our journey, she was hit hard with a need to write a book, and she wanted me to illustrate it. I felt the ground shake under my feet with excitement, and a little bit of fear. Would I be good enough? How would I make the time? Things were officially being shaken up!
We’ve been working on this labor of love for some time, and it’s kindled a fire in me to create artwork for myself, too. For me, for you, for everyone! Through Etsy… someday. I have a little ways to go before I can open my store, oh but the idea of it! It’s been a little more than exciting. Getting back to my roots, picking up pencils and watercolors, feels like home.
My first offering of love are these little English Robins. I can see them on wedding invitations, can’t you?
I’m Nicki Forde, and I created this little art and illustration business called Drawing on my Heart as a way for me to get back to my early dreams of creating fun art with love and positive vibes. It’s my mission to make beautiful, meaningful art that moves you in a way you need to be moved whether that’s courage to follow a dream, to allow love to flow, to reconnect… whatever it needs to be. My goal is to put a smile on your face, to lift your mood, to give you a little inspiration… to make your world a happier place, even if it’s just for a moment. Whether it’s business or pleasure, my philosophy is the same – to show up with love and compassion.
I’m an artist on a secret mission – to be an example of how amazing and fulfilling life is when it’s lived from the heart.