You know when you are looking for magic, but forget to open your eyes? Recently, I realized this is a big one for me. How much time I spend wishing and hoping, walking, running, and crawling deep in the search for the grace of good fortune to strike me. And then, I close my eyes, shut down and think it just isn't meant to be. How small of a life I have created for myself. BUT this week an experience had me opening my eyes (just for a peek!) and seeing the world as it is, not as I assume.
Looking back this past summer I was creating all new work that was way out of my comfort zone. I am talking about going from painting small to EXPANDING into large, commanding works. This is where the first bit of magic struck. Instead of running from challenging myself, I uncharacteristically dove headfirst. When I think about the 9 paintings I created at this time it is hard to remember specifics about how I got over the fear. In fact, it all seems like a dream. The work was flowing out of me. I was living and breathing the ever sought after artist flow. My mind was not judging my work before it was created, instead, it was open allowing my creativity to pick up the brush. Thank goodness!! Sadly, I reverted back to my old habits and ignored this great fortune. For the past 6 months, I have trudged through the mess these thoughts bring to my work and business. Obviously this is a sucky place to be!
Enter a second (third, fourth, fifth...) chance.
Towards the end of the summer, I had a collector interested in seeing my large scale work of the women I paint. This person was going to make a visit to the studio to look over what was in progress. I had one painting pinned in my mind ("Niamh" pronounced "Neeve". Gorgeous painting!) that would be perfect for her home and aesthetic. Sometimes I am spot on. In this case, I was wrong. And thank goodness, because what came to be was chilling.
At the time of this meeting I had one painting I was TOTALLY in love with but was currently on the edge of "done or not done???" I couldn't decide! For the studio visit, I put "Niamh" on my easel, front and center and this other to the side. My friend walked in and glanced at "Niahm" and walked right past it. Whoa, ok. That was a surprise. She was drawn to the painting hiding in the corner. She took one look and said, "that's the one" and told me a chilling story. This painting was a spitting image of her mother, from a photo that was taken long ago. I couldn't believe it. I had never even seen her mother nor this picture of her. My friend showed me the picture and my skin tingled. THIS painting was created in her mother's likeness. Pure. MAGIC. The magic of the creative ideas that crawl the earth and if you are lucky enough to grab it, this is what happens. And just like that, Carol Jean was born.
This summer I challenged myself to sit with the women I was painting and feel them. To know their story and create a portrait that held their power and raised them up. Goodness, I must have been listening. Not through the lens of my judgments, but with my heart. And look at what came from opening up and trusting the process.
This week I got to deliver Carol Jean to live in her forever home. This whole experience left me thinking about the goodness that comes to life when two people get to connect over the act of creating and the art that is made in the process. What if these moments can be my focus? What would happen if I stepped into the abundance of connection and love that happens when art is made from a place of joy and graciousness? Let this be an invitation to live life with my eyes open, focused on all the magic that dusts my path.