Lessons from a Big-headed Girl

Big-headed Girl 3


“Intuition can also mean an instant recognition of a truth, sensing that you are doing the right thing in making a choice or decision even if it is not the immediately obvious option, or an experience of knowing the probable outcome just as it is beginning to unfold. The dictionary defines it as immediate unreasoned perception.”
― Sylvia Clare, Trusting Your Intuition: Rediscover Your True Self to Achieve a Richer, More Rewarding Life

Some pages, paintings and images have a lot to say.  I have long been keenly aware of that dynamic in the work of others.  I’m a total art museum/symphony cry baby.   Beautiful art moves me.  But it took me a little longer to listen to my own work.  After years of practicing and teaching traditional drawing & composition, painting and color theory, my main motivator when I approached a blank canvas was to get it right or make something that would sell.

And then I began journal keeping and decorating pages.  I began to marry my creative practice and my spiritual practice.  My intuition began to pour out onto the page – first in streams of words and poems and then in images.  I allowed my deepest heart to emerge in my journals and I began to explore painting with no regard for technique or audience.

One of the first paintings that I painted intuitively, was a self portrait.  I didn’t sketch first and I chose the paint colors without thought.  I painted with my intuition.  And I hated the painting.

Big-headed Girl 1

She shook me up.

The proportions were off.

The colors were strange.

And she didn’t really look like me, but she did.

I wanted to paint over her.  Add.  Correct.  Fix.  Just start over.

But, I sensed there was more there.

So, I hung her on the wall in my studio and waited.

Eventually, she spoke.

She told me stories of moving without worry.   And pointed me to tales filled with accuracy and inaccuracy and freedom.  She showed me that I could weave grace into my painting process.  And reassured me that my serious-minded ways are just fine.

She taught me to stay when things go south.  Stay and paint through.  Stay and listen.  Just stay.

She taught me not to think too much.  My head gets so big.  So full of ideals and expectations.  Pride and needing-to-know block so much of my creative process.  And if I’m honest, my living.  Shame and less-than-perfect execution muddy the water.  So, I stall.  Or look at someone else’s work and feel small.

She reminds me that sometimes unfinished is finished.

I look at her and I breathe.  I look at her and I feel grace.  She handed me permission and voice that I could only give myself.

Big-headed Girl 2

She reminds me to hold my hand open.  To wear fire and a crown as daily garments.  To courageously hold out my heart even though the risk is high that it will be broken from all the exposure.

Perhaps she has something to say to you, too.

Breathe deeply.  Be in your life.



“Intuition is seeing with the soul.” – Dean Koontz

By |2016-10-19T14:20:31-04:00June 4th, 2014|Art is Life is Art, Sacred Art, Uncategorized|0 Comments

on creating vessels and containers

I continue to explore the ideas of vessels and containers.   In the studio the containers are varied.  There are jars that hold embellishments and pens and bins filled with paper, textiles and tools.  In a large, corner cupboard filled with a repurposed toy storage system are workshop supplies and stuff that I hope to turn into other stuffs.  And up on the wall are photo holders holding ephemera that I took out of drawers because I just needed to see.

I also view the journals that I create as vessels, waiting for my story and my ideas.  In IGNITE, the Fearless Painting teacher training, we are creating another sort of vessel.  The assignment was to create a sacred art piece, a reliquary, to hold the relics and discoveries of our journey through IGNITE.

This reliquary necklace was born out of a magnetic pull to the pendants that saw when I first began to research reliquaries from the Medieval & Renaissance period.  This was a shift from my first idea which was to use a storage cupboard that I have in the studio that contains small jars of beads and embellishments and houses jars of ink.  I liked the idea of relics in glass that I could look up and see rather than a box with things tucked away.

True confession:  I fought and fought this project.  I know nothing about jewelry making and the size of pendants initially seemed prohibitive.  But, I kept going back to the idea of lockets and charms as a way to document this journey and ultimately decided that the discomfort of learning something new was a small price to pay for listening to my inside voice and following my instinct.   So, I headed off to the store and came home with a bag full of empty lockets and lengths of chain.

Part of our assignment was to reflect on the source of the materials that we were using; it was in this process, that I settled.  Listing off the materials and tracking them to the earth began to reveal the draw and brought the work to life for me.

  •  Metals – Pendants made of brass, copper, and my beloved silver speak of support, borders/boundaries and are malleable.
  • Metal charms, which have always fascinated me and I’m looking forward to collecting, point to magic and whimsy.
  • Paper/Wood/Trees speak of words and voice.
  • Glass/Sand  point to transparency and transformation in the fire.


I’ve created pendants with bits of nature and poetry that represent our different assignments and discoveries and have a lovely collection of charms, that to me, document a truth learned or a milestone crossed.  I must mention that this piece, by definition of the assignment, is a piece of sacred art.  For me, that means that not only is the piece itself sacred, the process of creating this piece {which is ongoing} is sacred. I have said for years that I don’t separate my spiritual practice from my creative practice.  If something is sacred it is infused with the Divine and set apart.  And so, when I engage in the act of creating, I welcome the Divine and set the space apart.  For me that means entering my literal space with rituals and mindfulness, and tending to my internal spaces before, and as, I create.  Anything born out of that space and mindfulness is then sacred.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:32-04:00November 1st, 2012|Sacred Art|6 Comments