The Evolution of my Artist's Journey

Category: Insights & Discoveries

Theme(s): Personal Journey, Professional Journey, Finding Joy, Being, The Evolution of Being an Artist

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Those of you who have been following along consistently for awhile now have seen the evolution that my work has taken over the past several years. It's become a paint party!

Through my own recovery work, I have rediscovered (and am still continuing to do so) my Inner Artist and have found that this IS a vital aspect, if not THE FOUNDATION of who I am.  As I've continued to let go of layers and protections day after day, year after year,  I have found that my true joy is in the form of art and creating! Sharing these art forms and creations is a way to honor and express myself and it feels in line with everything that has been leading me up to this point. However, it is truly the gel that brings everything else together.

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For many years I felt like something was missing when it came to my work and what I was teaching. I still lacked a true effortless joy and this translated to my message. I couldn't write. I couldn't stick to a consistent plan or intention. My mind changed many times about what it is I wished to offer in my business and how I wished to spend my personal days. 

After spending a lot of time over these past years teaching workshops, classes courses and individual clients in my office about mindfulness, healing the wounded parts of ourselves and many other spiritual, psychological, emotional and physical principles, a little over a year ago I found myself needing to completely PAUSE and decline from all teaching and workshops.

While I maintained my private practice, I spent the rest of the time tuning into myself. It was a necessity. My body was being awakened after taking an intensive yoga training, committing myself to a 12 Step Program based on Emotional Sobriety & Action coming from Love and taking a leap into some areas of modern medicine that I had been resistant to. 

As I truly listened, I recognized the pain that had been frozen under decades of muscle tension. Muscle fiber by muscle fiber was unfreezing itself and my body felt heavy, fatigued, exhausted and...on fire. 

As I have mentioned to many, I spent each day starting to build myself from the ground up. I essentially needed to drop to the floor and give myself permission to start over. Letting go of the judgments and comparing myself to others and their own yoga practices, I could barely do a forward fold without feeling like I was going to cry.

All of the years of mindfulness practice had led me up to this point. The ability to be present with the sensation in my body without judgment and with an understanding that this pain was emotional. 

This went on for days and months and is still continuing. Yet, one of the awakenings that surfaced during this time was my explosion of artistic energy that started last July and has continued since. 

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I'm sure I will go into more detail about this, but for now, I just want to share that this was something completely unexpected and unplanned. Yet, at the same time, feels like it makes the most sense in the world to me! I have been told by several friends that my soul as an Artist was quite obvious. And yes, I was a little artist growing up (more on my creative wounding later). However, it is the true freedom, self expression and journey into paint and then shortly thereafter, abstraction and expressionism that made me realize that my essence is that of a painter.

I have found that art & creativity is the vessel through which my highest power and inner messenger can teach. It is a way for me to tangibly work with my intuition, loving parental voice, inner child's curiosity and joy and learn how to understand my inner critic.  It is a place where my mind quiets and calms. It is a place where I look forward to playing in most days, in both my personal and professional work. It has also been another thread that has helped me really connect with my community as well as with people who have already been in my life. 

While I enjoy words and I'd even call myself a writer, I find that art, color, form and movement (to name a few inspirations) are able to say things in a deeper way that words just don't do justice. There is an inner communication going on between heart and hand, hand and body, nervous system and energy that goes beyond words, that speaks through me in impressions.  Which makes sense, considering we are beings first and language second!

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So after spending much of the time painting away in my living room at my previous apartment, I am now moved in with my boyfriend. Since January,  I have a dedicated space and art studio just for me. 

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Lot's of works in progress that each represent my emotional and healing journey as well as my liberation into a joy!

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Some artists never decide to sell their work and others feel called to do so. While I have received several requests for larger paintings, that is currently a venture I am exploring on my own. I am sharing my process on Instagram and will be doing so here as well. Currently, I find myself called to specifically share my paintings from a year ago when I created hundreds of works on paper. There are well over 30 high quality soulscapes (seems like a good work for my magical & colorful little worlds) and you can find them in my shop for an affordable price on beautiful watercolor paper.  They are meant to be shared in hopes that they will speak to your soul and maybe cause some ripples and stirrings of your very own spark within. If you haven't checked out my gallery/shop, I am very proud of my little creations. I also am offering 15% off for those of you who want to make a first time purchase. 

Feel free to share any comments below! I love hearing from you. xo Jen

Resting in the Process

So here we are where spring has sprung in the Northeast States.

There's the usual crispness in the air around this time of year and the first signs of flowers peaking through the soil. 

Flowers always are fascinating to me because right under the surface there is a whole magical world that we cannot see.

The flower is growing from a seed and yet if we dig it up to watch every moment of this process, it will actually interfere with the flower's growth. 

 

A great metaphor for life isn't it?

 

Where in our lives do we constantly dig, dig, dig when we have already done all the planting/watering/sunlight giving and all that is left is to wait? 

 

Sometimes, as we await in transition, we want things to go faster than they are going.

 

Maybe if they do, we think, I don't have to sit with my fears that what I want is not going to happen, or something bad will erupt instead of beautifully bloom. 

 

We can practice living life from a different perspective.

 

The Great Round is a model using the circular nature of life and the symbol of the mandalas to interpret and understand the different phases we go in and out of.

 

The first stage in The Great Round is The Void.

 

It validates life cycles and rhythms so we can trust that while ebb, flow and change happen, there are themes to these stages and that our waiting, or our action, will bear fruits or in this case, flowers. 

 

The Void is that place, like the womb, like a seed planted in the fertile earth, that is quiet, full of rest, stillness and surrender.

 

Often times we find that we have fear of the Void, this emptiness, this spaciousness.

 

Maybe our womb wasn't so secure.

 

Maybe there was no room for space or rest in our lives because the underlying message was, "it's not okay to do nothing."

 

Maybe we've felt so alone that being in the stillness is terrifying and that is why we want to bolt right out of it. 

 

The Void is a wonderful place to explore and one that is my favorite to paint. It is simple. A circle. A splotch. A whoosh of mark or line. 

 

In it's simplicity a mandala created in the void could look like a seed. And because of its simple nature, it is a great place to acknowledge when we feel a lack of energy or a great need for sleep. 

 

Instead of judging it this time, why not embrace that you are in the womb of the Void?

 

That this is a necessary part of your process and you can rest here, trusting that you will move into the next stage, and even more likely when you don't force yourself out of this one. 

 

Like a seed sprouting its roots into the deep soil.

 

The layers of its form unfolding until the strength of its growth becomes greater than the ground can contain it.

 

We can be like the seed in the void of the unknown, trusting that something is brewing under there and we will eventually see those first sprouts and eventual blossoms. 

How I Realized I Was Painting Parts of Me

It's been a healing time and a blessing to share my art these days. 

I've been fortunate enough to be able to share these therapeutic art practices with clients as well, many of whom were skeptical at first to even go to this nonverbal place and now they are creating pictures every week!

There is a large epidemic of creative wounding in our culture so when we are asked to draw, paint, or create, there may be parts of us that want to shut down. Interestingly, art and creativity can be the very thing that help us to open up more!

I have been creating several bodies of work, one of which has hundreds of little paintings that I just felt compelled to keep creating...and I still do.

The above mandalas (Mandala means Sacred Circle in sanskrit) are just some of the many circular forms I have been captivated by for over the past 5 months. I see each mandala as a mini world. Sometimes they look like moons or planets.

 But what stands out to me the most is their organic nature. How when I use the inks and water, they each become unique and expressive. How each image has so much movement even though they are in two dimensional form.

I realized something more deep and meaningful was going on here after laying out all the pieces. They are like a gigantic tapestry of my life and all of the experience I have had to heal from. 

After really sitting with the feelings of familiarity, adoration, fascination, and attraction to these little minis, I have realized that they are mini me's.

Each one represents a wound I have experienced. When each wound comes through artistically to be expressed, the finished piece often represents their healing. Sometimes the very act of painting them finalizes the Healing. Some show that they are still in the healing process.

Once I shared with my boyfriend about the meaning behind these paintings, he told me he became sad because he was visualizing my child self looking like a slice of swiss cheese.

All these holes where the daggers that had poked and prodded and penetrated my vulnerable child skin. I feel emotional too when I contemplate this work, a deep grief when I think back through my journey.

However, simultaneously, now I feel deep gratitude. Gratitude that I can feel. Gratitude that I have climbed mountains and hurdles that I never thought I would.

Gratitude that healing is possible.

Gratitude that I went from a hole to a box to a place unknown, until I finally could see a horizon line. Many times over.

That now I am not only seeing a horizon line...I am being offered long stretches and moments to sit back and bask in the sunrise.

That's what's so powerful about the mandala. The circular nature just breathes movement, the cycle of life, and connection.

Which is also similar to the model of Internal Family Systems which I use that says we each have True Self and we each have parts that have become disconnected from our Self.

When we can give these parts attention, they start orbiting harmoniously within our internal system receiving the love of our Inner True Self (the bindu/center point) of our being. 

Just like the celestial bodies that inhabit our universe, these paintings portray the parts of me that exist in my personal universe, my internal system and each one has own it's image, thoughts, and experiences. 

If you would like to get to know your parts better, I am releasing a new Expressive Art Journaling course at the end of this month that will specifically address the topic of releasing relationship wounds. 

The beginning of a new year is a great time to deepen our mindfulness and compassion of any past hurts and resentments we may be holding onto (family, romantic, work, friendship etc.)

Writing and simple art practices will be used to deepen the release by connecting mind with body. Beginners and people who deem themselves are "non-artists" are encouraged to join*!

(*Not only do I think everyone has a creator within, these are not technical practices. They are journaling practices to help assist you with witnessing the parts of yourself that need attention.)

Click here for the free signup!

Some examples of the Many Parts of Me

Some examples of the Many Parts of Me