Once again, I am the work in progress!

When I first began to paint, back in 2017, I did it the way I had done many things before. I watched the demonstrations and listened to the directions and tried to do what Shiloh Sophia McCloud was teaching.

Despite having been told endlessly, as a child, that I was NOT the artistic kid, it went pretty well. Probably because it was about process at least as much as outcome. And I loved the process!

I’ve had at least one painting going ever since. (At this moment there are four projects on my #work-in-progress list!)

And, yes, they tend to all “talk” at once!

Maybe it’s the intensity of this time sensitive moment, but something new is happening. At least new for me.

Instead of trying to decide what I want to put on the canvas, I’ve begun to look for what I see in the canvas and try to draw it out.

And, yes… it feels pretty weird!

It started with the close up of a really big canvas you met recently… the one with a whole lot of purple going on. And my seeing a being – or perhaps a presence – near the bottom.

Then, I sat with it more. The whole thing, in different light. The first being stayed. And a second one appeared. A huge second head.

Please stick with me. No horror stories ahead… I promise!

Then, the background got night-sky blue. And I saw hands. And I painted them! I was thrilled. I love hands and the word for hand which, in ancient Aramaic, also meant power!

And, just in case you’re wondering… she’s not being held up. She’s witnessing all the wonder! Which seems to be a big thing just now!

Then, I took a couple of days off for time with our visiting kids and the Guardian painting and a big addition to my Temple painting, who has a name now… Em-power-ing Venus! (They’re together in the top photo… juggling for space and attention, in the studio!

And, I’m noticing another thing in the midst of all the paint. There’s something magical about seeing what wants to become! About working with the canvas instead of simply on it.

ps… if you squint just a bit at the photo just above, you might notice a face in the big circle which is becoming the moon… and so much more!

pps… got chaos? Want hope? On a mission to BE hope? More comfortable in an individual setting than a group space??? There is room in my world for 3 new 1:1 clients! All the Medicine Basket Coaching (which basically means access to all the stuff I know!) could be your next right step! Check this out and let me know if you’d like to talk! suesvoice@gmail.com

Beginning to hope…

This is a glimpse into the beginning of one of my favorite paintings. I know. It’s not real exciting in this phase. Hang with me, though… there’s a story!

According to the elves who stash the photos, it was taken November 29, 2020.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed into her future. The 3rd US President ever tried for impeachment was acquitted. Biden had just won the Presidential election, though opposition efforts to challenge the result were rampant.

It felt like a really good time for a Legend painting. The kind about the future we – the artists – hope to grow into.

We began, she and I, with a lot of coding. Mostly the dots surrounded by parentheses which represent, in my own personal symbolic language, the old story which ends with an astounding, scripturally inspired claim that, The chains which bound me are broken and I am free, already.

And another familiar one for me… a determined hand raised in blessing! And an insistent sunflower growing bigger and brighter around her eye.

(I get the right/left thing confused but, for me, it’s her visionary eye. And I felt like we were both squinting and straining to see hope!)

You know what was coming… January 6. A violent insurrection, attempting to overturn the election, in the US Capitol. MSNBC and paint! Dots beyond number. Peace. Justice. Sanity. Hope…. Until we arrived here.

And later, in February of 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. The land where sunflowers are symbols of hope. There was room on the edges of the canvas for more dots and so I painted more. The fingerprint kind… no longer trying to steer, but to follow, instead.

And, just in case you’re feeling the chaos, too, there’s this… which is what happened on that canvas before the image began to appear.

Tonight, I’m painting more. A different canvas. Wisteria vines. The Muse insisted!

Different views of sunflowers. Many, many, many dots. And more to come.

As long as it takes. As long as I have breath.

I have 2 grand-teens trying very hard to grow up in this world. They are teaching me every moment.

Out of chaos… hope!

ps… got chaos? Want hope? On a mission to BE hope? More comfortable in an individual setting than a group space??? There is room in my world for 3 new 1:1 clients! All the Medicine Basket Coaching could be your next right step! Check this out and let me know if you’d like to talk! suesvoice@gmail.com

pps… the wise owl above the sunflower is formed from pages of my book… Grandmothers Are In Charge Of Hope! Just click the link to get your copy, now!

ppps… huge thanks to Taylor for brilliant help painting!!!

As above… so below!

A funny thing happened on the way to this blog post!

Like many of us, I have two feet. Last night I dreamed that, perhaps like my paint friend the Pyrenean Brown Bear, I had four feet and each of them was on a different skate board!

This was NOT a restful dream!

It was, however, helpful. Here’s what happened…

I painted a lot, today, and found some places beyond my recent adventures with stuck.

Stay tuned for more photos! For this moment, though…

Today, I gave myself permission to take time for processing!!!

Ever the “good” student, it was, admittedly, a challenge. Picture a Zoom room with a fabulously perceptive and encouraging leader, a flock of wise women ready to change their lives and the world… and a question.

What offer could you make in the next couple of weeks, without taking a year to plan it out???

Followed, of course, by another question…

Will you???

I declined, with gratitude. By which I mean that I answered a different question. One of those talking to myself in a room full of other people kind of responses!

I owned the 4 skate board feeling and committed to returning to the question after I make it through the first week in March.

And you know what??? My response was met with gentle witnessing and honor!!!

So, why am I sharing this with you in this moment?

Well, because I can’t possibly be the only one on team 4 skate boards in this moment! And, just in case you relate, I’m so hoping you’ll leave me a comment and we can witness each other. (Really!)

When you get right down to it, we are all our own works-in-progress and life gets enormously easier when we claim it!

Also, more hopeful!!!

So… a glimpse or two of what’s on my easel. And my table! (The studio is shrinking by the moment!!!)

First up, fresh from big, scary glaze… Guardians of Fierce Compassion… Then. Now. Always.

And, then… Constellation of Being, temporarily on her side. And very excited!

And, last but not least… a journal page insisting that you might welcome this message, too! (The little horseshoe shaped image made from circles toward the bottom is, depending on your perspective, a six-petaled rose or my map of reality!)

You are seen and heard in this place! And, if you’d like more information about how we might create the world you’re longing for, just click here for more information! I do have time for you!

Muse mischief is afoot!

Saturday. 5am. The Muse, aka Grandmother Moon, decided it was time to play! Not unwelcome… just a wee bit off on the optimal timing scale!

I managed to float with the plotting and planning until about 7am. Then, paper and pencil were required. And…. drum roll, please… we have a plan!

I know… you’ve seen this view before. I’ve been pondering what finished might look like for several days and now I know.

Well, not really! What I actually know is what the next couple of steps are. And a feeling about where we’re heading. And why.

Which is really big progress!

To be honest, I wasn’t really planning such a big change.

We’ve been through a lot… Grandmother Moon, The Muse, this canvas and I. This is where we were, back in November when I was busy with the whole oral surgery adventure which led to the last big change…

And a quote from a blog post back then…

What I know for sure is that I feel better. (Well, not my jaw, so much, but ME!) And, I’m kind of glad that the canvas needs more work, though I have no idea where we’re headed. And some big news… a week or so ago, it occurred to me that I was become-ing a Medicine Painter. Not just doing, but being. Then, while I was slinging paint and tears all over the place, I realized that I have also become my own Medicine Basket!

All of which felt like a whole lot of learning! And, there is still more learning going on…

It seems, now, that in order for this work to become my Constellation of Being, we’re going to have to work on less before we get to more!

And, yes… a good bit of white paint will be involved!

You know that old saying about anxiety and excitement feeling pretty much the same, neurologically?

Well, it’s true! (At least for me…) And the next part of the thought is that we use one of my favorite notions – CONTEXT – to decide what to call what we’re feeling!

I’m going with excitement!

Right after I start a load of laundry and finish my tea!

Fast forward to…

Art is not for the weak of heart! It is for those who love learning. And become-ing!

ps… even more become-ing has happened! Here’s where we are nowall 48×60 inches of it!

pps… look again, please, at the purple canvas. Do you see her? I just did… Oh, Holy Wow!!!

ppps… stay tuned! And, if you’re feeling the need for a safe perspective shift, come check out FierceArtWithHeart! From mugs to leggings to museum quality prints to original art, and more… Daphne’s got you!

A day of mixed metaphors…

True confession…. Valentine’s Day has always been a challenge for me.

I liked making cards with hearts. I didn’t like the elementary school tradition of giving them out in classrooms. There were always the heartbroken kids who either didn’t get as many cards in the paper bag taped to their desk, or didn’t have any cards to give.

We moved a lot in those years and I was the new kid often enough that, early on, I worried about those who felt left out.

There were times when I was a teen that I would have sworn that Valentine’s Day was a good excuse for boys to pressure girls into proving their love.

As a young single mom, there were a couple of years when I skimped on real food to have treats to share with Dave’s pre-school class.

Years later, after the Legendary Husband came along, we developed the tradition of actually asking each other what we wanted to do, and when, to mark the tradition which often coincided with church calendar issues, as it does this year.

One of the more recent surprises, for me at least, has been learning the old stories of St. Valentine. Go ahead and google it, if you’re curious. Let’s just say that there are lots of stories that seem to have a great deal to do with who was writing them and why.

I opted, last night, for a new-fangled riff on tradition by hanging with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin at an online event known as Galentine’s Day, a fundraiser for the environment. It consisted of live table readings from Grace and Frankie.

There were, however, technical difficulties, so I wandered back to the land of Madam Secretary. It’s less of a nail-biter than the actual news! And, I’ve done some new noticing lately.

M Sec is a filters thing!

Elizabeth McCord has become something of a role model for me.

(For a bit of context, let me just say that my inner-teen remembers the days when a woman wasn’t guaranteed the right to open a checking account without a husband’s signature.)

Then there’s Bess. An extremely capable woman with a tremendous amount of responsibility. She speaks her mind, even when she’s up to her eyebrows in power struggles and assertive egos. Even when her voice shakes!

She’s a whole person with a challenging history, huge hope, and a passion for the experiment called democracy.

She does her best to live what she values. Love. Justice. Freedom. Voice. Choice. Sovereignty.

And, from what I’ve learned recently, had she lived in Salem in the late 1600’s, she might well have been hanged as a witch, along with two of my great aunts!

Now, you, wise reader, may be wondering how all this fits with Valentine’s Day. I have two answers.

Love should be about power for, rather than power over.

And, one of the things love is about – at least in our home – is an actual conversation like this:

The Legendary Husband, a couple days ago… “What would you like to do for Valentine’s Day?”

Me... “Honestly, I’d like to move it to May, when Origins is complete and the weather is good enough to eat on our favorite sidewalk!”

Blessedly, it works for us!

For now, though… fingerprint dots. For love and voice and choice. For my kids, who walked their beloved dog, Hazel, to the Rainbow Bridge yesterday. For healing friends.

The dots start out looking like the blob on the paint tray, above. And wind up helping me create a reality filled with hope, on canvas, and in the world.

Which feels a lot like love! At least according to the lovely fingerprint being known as What the World Needs Now.

ps… just between us, she represents the kind of role model many, many of my ancestors were, too!

pps… she’s also available for adoption! The original!!! And there’s a sale at FierceArtWithHeart! Just enter the code HIPPO at checkout for any item over $45. And hurry! The discount expires at midnight EST on Sunday, 2/18.

Trees and beasts and brushes… oh, my!

Just between us, my head and my heart are spinning with the learning. And with the (figurative) leaping!

It might be helpful, dear heart, to imagine this missive as a word-quilt, patched together out of bits and pieces longing to be comfort.

Let’s start with the photo…

A journal prompt for my Temple painting adventure suggested that we go out into our neighborhoods and notice a tree which called to us. A connecting with our root system sort of thing…

As you may recall, I spent Wednesday in a deeply familiar neighborhood known as the Columbia Theological Seminary campus, surrounded by deep, deep roots, some very welcome newness, and considerable practice extrovert-ing!

Just as I was heading home, I encountered this tree. This tree I’ve undoubtedly passed hundreds of times and never really noticed. It was too dark at that point, for good photos, so I went back today.

What you’re seeing, above, is what I suspect virtually everybody sees as they come out of the parking lot behind the library, headed for whatever’s next on their list. I, however, glimpsed it from another perspective… from the side street, headed up the hill.

What I caught, out of the corner of my eye, was this…

And the first thing that popped into my artist brain was hippo! As in, hippopotamus!!!

Do you see her???

I hurried home and – because I’ve spent some time hanging with an indigenous mama named Maria – I looked up hippo spirit animal. Here’s what I read…

The Hippopotamus Spirit brings wisdom, healing, and imagination, and links the human world to the Divine. Your Spirit Hippopotamus can help you eliminate and clarify negative emotions and aid you in finding your true path.

Really! And trust me when I tell you, that was a message I was happy to receive… non-canonical though it may be.

You see, my new adventure, known as Oh, I See… Consciously! began on Thursday.

A great group of curious, adventurous people. New notions of – you know – Filters!

And, by the time we finished day one, a bit more possibility… a bit more wisdom, healing, and imagination set free in the world!

Then, I went back to the easel!

This #work-in-progress has chosen an official title… Guardians of Fierce Compassion… then, now, always!

Just between us, the painting has been slow going. Probably because there’s a whole lot going on!

Also, because I’m simultaneously creating and claiming myself. And my path.

Canvas. Brush. Paint. Inspiration. Courage… Newness!

(And, yes, the bear will be back before too long… she’s a Guardian, too!)

For now, a bit more time with my journal and Joan Baez!

And a question… What might the hippo be whispering to you??? Really!

It’s easy to leave a comment, below… or email me! suesvoice@gmail.com

ps… CTS has been here, in Decatur for very nearly 100 years. Don’t you just hope that tree’s been there, growing in wisdom, healing, and imagination, all that time?

pps… need some art to inspire you? There’s lots at FierceArtWithHeart… and a special offer. Just use the code HIPPO at checkout to save 15% on all items over $45! (Why $45??? So leggings are included, too!) And hurry. This offer expires on Sunday, 2/18 at midnight EST!

Do you remember Saturday mornings???

Yucky cold cereal… the kind that made the milk look like melted crayons.

Cartoons. Specifically, battles with my sister over what to watch. (We had very different tastes!)

Rocky and Bullwinkle was among my favorites. And I loved the idea of the WABAC – read that wayback – machine. You know… setting the machine to some historical time and place and poof! Mr. Peabody and Sherman were somewhere else.

There were times, in those years, when I thought that would be a really cool machine to have.

I’ve had similar thoughts, lately!

My trip to France last summer was a whole lot like the WABAC machine. And, now I know more!

Today was a whole lot like that, too. A reunion sort of event down the road at Columbia Theological Seminary… my alma mater – a couple of times – and the place where the Legendary Husband and I met!

Let’s just say that many things have changed!

Blessedly, the red giraffe is still on duty.

The one off to the right side of the stained glass window in the chapel I know best, even though – back then – we didn’t do images.

In fact, images are still pretty rare around there. (I’m working on it!)

The music, however, has gotten considerably more fun. And diverse! Kind of like what happens when the WABAC machine is also the future!

And, yes, there was a bit of preachin’ involved!

Anna Carter-Florence was telling the story of Abraham and Sarah on their trip from Ur to Canaan. It was a very, very long trip with a rest stop of twenty years or so along the way.

And then she said something that surprised me! The notion that part of what slowed the travelers down might have been old certitudes that wouldn’t fit in the bags they packed for the trip to a new place.

Did you catch it?

It’s a Filters story!!!

And I suspect that you might relate to the notion of things which seem certain turning out to be simply excess baggage that we really can lay down!

There’s still time to join the party, just in case you could use some company on the road from…

If only… to I AM!

We start tomorrow, though, so you’ll want to hurry and check this out!

There was one more thing that popped into my mind while I was hanging in the WABAC machine today…

A bit of the 90th Psalm, which I learned when I was in Hungary in 1989, shortly before the Eastern Block fell…

The work of our hands, establish Thou it.

That takes a bit of layin’ it down, too! And we’ve got this!

ps… we’re making progress, the painting you see a bit of at the top, and I. And they have a name… Guardians of Fierce Compassion… then, now, always!

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach