Image“Might I have a bit of earth?” Chapter XII The Secret Garden by  Frances Hodgson Burnett

Sharing another big lesson from my 10 month immersion in IGNITE, intuitive painting teacher training:

In order to obtain any level of sustainability in an endeavor, you have to pace yourself and you have to obtain sustenance.  This goes for creative endeavors as well as marathons and 9-5 jobs.    And it goes for the body, as well as the soul.   In my life, making art is part of showing up to regular life in a healthy fashion.  Art can increase emotional and spiritual health and capacity.

The tension came when I had to choose between art-for-life-and-breath and art-with-deadlines-and-assignments.  They weren’t always the same; and I had to figure out a different aspect of the sustainability formula.  In order to show up to art with deadlines, I had to be oriented and clear.  For me, that means time with my hands in the earth.  My little bit of earth in the front garden is one of the places that I find my bearings.  The rhythm of my day begins with a cup of coffee and a little bit of weeding or dreaming.

In my attempts to manage details and meet deadlines, I thought that I simply needed to free up some time on my calendar.   I stopped visiting the front garden and let my little bit of earth get a little weedy and go a little wild.  I knew that I could ignore the weeding and tending in the garden for a season.  What I didn’t realize was that it wasn’t the garden’s maintenance that was at hand; it was my own tending that was falling through the cracks.

I mistakenly thought that time in the garden was a calendar thing, when really, it was a soul thing.


[1000 Pieces of my heart Page 3:

Zinnia studies: watercolor botanicals, cellular studies in acrylic, macro photography]

Because of these revelations, I had to include some garden studies in this final body of work.  The garden holds lessons, places of curiosity and inspiration galore!  The cellular studies are based on microscopic studies of actual plants grown in my little garden.   As in, I pulled out the microscope from homeschool days that are over, and am continuing my own studies.  I studied biology before I studied fine art and Botany class was one of my favorite classes.  Although, this time around, I’m immersing in pattern and color instead of biochemistry.

Returning to the garden has been essential.   Stepping away from the garden, and the subsequent disorientation, revealed how important the earth is to me.  Like Mary in The Secret Garden, I discovered, that the secret to being alive is in tending my “little bit of earth” on a regular basis.

From quick studies, en plein air, to photo walks, I orient and am inspired.

“It was the garden that did it… and the creatures – and the Magic.”

“It came alive.”

The found text, from the book, The Secret Garden,  reminded me that I needed the magic and cycles of the garden to right-size myself.

My current fascination is with the volunteer zinnias that are spilling over the front sidewalk.

My friend Rozy, laughed as she walked into the house this morning:

“You are untamable!  You just won’t be contained.  Your garden gives you away.”

Oh, I hope so.  I really, really hope so.


[1000 Pieces of my heart  Page 5:  More verbs and daily photos from the garden]