Sunday, September 25, 2011

Trusting In The Process & All That Comes With It...

Young Madonna

A year ago I told Artist Sophie Frieda that I wanted her to teach me how to paint in oils, when she asked what subjects appealed to me? What did I want to paint? I told her "Madonnas."

 I've been drawn to images of "The Mother," "Divine Feminine, " "Theotokos," or The Feminine Face Of God" for many, many years, and realized that this longing needed to be explored through art, so when Sophie agreed to teach me the principles of oil painting - I knew that once I understood some of the basic techniques I would try my hand at something that has been calling to me for as long as I can remember.

Above is my first finished Madonna.

She took a long time to complete.  On some days I found myself quite productive and made significant advances, and yet at other times,,, I  found myself frustrated and grudgingly having to wipe off all the paint that I'd carefully applied, because I knew that I'd "lost the plot" as it were in those precious two hours of class.  Leaving me wondering if I'd bitten off more than I could chew.

 Deep down though, I knew she was there, as if waiting in the wings to make her appearance.  Deep down, I trusted that when the time was right - even if I had to go a hundred times to class and paint nothing else, she would eventually appear to me and come through me,  I knew that it was my job to be patient, and allow myself the luxury of time to learn as much as I could about the process of painting a portrait AND to trust that everything was just as it should be...

One night before a class, I had a dream, and in it the Young Madonna spoke to me and said "I am ready to be completed."

The next day in class, I told Sophie about my dream.  She listened intently then gave me more encouragement and tips to work on the eyes, as they were and I believe are the key to making a painting work or not work... I'd spent class after class trying to make the eyes "see" and have expression They were the most difficult part of the painting with out a doubt.  Sophie popped off to make tea for the two of us, and I studied my Madonna and told myself that I would finish her today.  I picked up my brush and began painting...

Ten minutes later I stepped away from the easel, Sophie entered the studio with two cups of tea, and excitedly I asked her to come and look....  "You Did It!!!"  she exclaimed "you've figured out the eyes," and I had, I knew it..., my Madonna was complete.

I felt as if I'd given birth to a living person..., she's her own being..., she doesn't look like anyone I know, and I  feel a sense of love and pride for her...I am joyful in the fact that I've been able to bring her into the world... something I hadn't thought was possible - until recently...

Now she hangs on our wall at home, and in the weeks since I brought her home, I've been asked by various folks, friends, family if she was painted by me?  When I tell them "Yes", people are surprised then pay great compliments and tell me I'm an artist...

You know what's funny?  Until this particular creative endeavor I would have talked people out of their compliments by saying "oh no, its not that good," or "this or that's wrong with it," or "I'm not an artist!"

I've noticed that I'm not alone in this behavior,  many people, especially women tend to react like this when being complimented about their creativity.

 One of my favorite authors and storytellers,  Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes  talks about this very thing in her book "Seeing In The Dark," Myths, Stories To Reclaim The Buried, Knowing, Woman.   She talks about how to reclaim our creativity, and that when we create we are listening to the "psychic nudges to get us to unfurl," so that we can become what we came here to be... and yet we often sabotage and put down our creations, as she says "Perfection is the enemy of done."  She urges people not to go unconscious in response to our work as others are watching and listening to us and seeing how we act... such as our children, our family and our friends.  That instead of continuing the cycle of negativity about personal expression we can become "exemplars," for each other and know that "the world will be poorer without our creativity in it."

So yes,  I am learning how to paint in oils, and as important if not more, I am allowing the goodness and kindness of peoples words into my heart and it feels so right.

Thank you.






  1. She is gorgeous! Absolutely stunning!

    Well done, my friend, very well done, indeed.



  2. she radiates a painters love

    much love..