The Invitation

Sometimes, as an artist, as soon as you see something you know you need to paint it. This has happened twice in my life now. The first time, was in August 2015, driving into Jasper (Rocky Mountains, Alberta) and I saw “The Chief” mountain range.

It happened again in November 2016 when I was walking towards “The Hoodoos” (Drumheller’s Badlands, Alberta). The Hoodoos are the main attraction in Drumheller, but it wasn’t them that had gotten my attention- it was off in the distance, in the smooth cream coloured rolling rocks, it looked like a woman walking into a cave. As soon as I saw this, I knew I would paint it. It was this feeling of being invited in, lead by this (imagined) wise woman, that stays with me since visiting this land (and sacred site in my opinion).

When I told a friend about the painting I was planning, and calling it “The Invitation” she asked me if I had ever read the book “The Invitation” which I had not. I recently looked it up, and found the poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer:
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
1999 All rights reserved

This powerful poem, goes well with this painting. It’s about going deep within: yourself, others, the earth, Life… Spirit. It reminds me of all my wise women friends, who have traveled with me and seen my wildness (A.K.A. crying at the overwhelm of this Earth’s beauty), and I feel so fortunate and grateful and humbled by their support. This painting is for all women, brave enough to walk into that cave. To walk into the unknown darkness, light a fire, and sit alone. You are my strength and my inspiration; and together we lead the way, inviting others to do the same.

 

 

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Northumberland Hills Hospital

Since July my painting “Earth Energy” has been hanging in the gallery hall at the Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg. I consider this a community piece, as half of the proceeds will be donated between the hospital and the art committee.

7th jasper complete

This acrylic painting will be hanging in the hall named “Sumac Street” until mid-December. It is my last piece from the original Jasper Series. It is also the largest canvas from that series, measuring 30″ x 30″ and is priced at $400.

If you are a lover of the outdoors, and want a painting that will bring the essence of the earth elements into your home, this is for you; or perhaps it could be a unique Christmas gift for someone you love?

I would love to see this sell from the show; please contact me directly if you are interested in purchasing (gentle_hatha@live.com). Go check it out when you have a chance, there’s a lovely collection of art/ists showing over the next two months. There will be a new show there in the New Year too!

 

Vision Quest

vision quest

The sacred landscape is complete. This is the final piece of the Jasper Series, the largest as well, and perhaps the most special. The first piece I did was a sketch of “Greeted by the Chief” and the final piece is this painting “Vision Quest.”

I knew I would paint a large landscape once I mastered some some smaller paintings. The first painting from the original sketch was a small detail of “The Chief.” Why are these three so special to me?

Well it all started before we drove into Jasper. I had been playing with an oracle deck “Earth Magic” at my friends house in Edmonton. Before anyone else woke up, the day we were doing our road trip, I decided to pull three cards. I received “Full Moon/completion” (which it was the full moon), “Desert/Vision Quest” (which I felt I was on during my week in Alberta), and “Lightening/power” (and we drove home from Jasper through a wicked storm- both sheet lightening and fork lightening danced over our heads). All three cards resonated.

earth cards

So what is a vision quest? As defined in the oracle card booklet: It is a time of travelling into wilderness alone, usually with only water and some sacred items. You spend the time praying or meditating. It is a powerful and life-altering experience with vivid and profound realizations.

the cheif

My experience was not a genuine vision quest (I wasn’t alone, I had more than water and sacred items, and although I wasn’t praying or meditating I was shaking to my bones in awe). However, it was a powerful, spiritual experience that 100% altered the direction and meaning of my life and work. The clearest vision was the one of this mountain, nicknamed Chief. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be a painting (upon returning to Edmonton I borrowed my friends sketch book to draw out the first vision).

As the Jasper Series come to a close, and I reflect back on the trip and how it propelled me forward in my art, I feel most excited that the new home for this piece is going to be in a Women’s Shelter. When art has been such a healing journey for me, it is very special for it to be in safe space where others can heal or are healing. It gives the piece even more meaning, more sacredness, and I hope it can be a beacon of hope or inspiration for others on their journey’s.

Each of us have turning points in our lives (whether it’s a vision quest or not) a time of clear vision and sometimes fast or forced change. It can leave one reeling out of control. This image is one of meditation and surrender. When you look deep within, and find that calm that exists within the chaos. It does exist. But sometimes we need to stop to see it.

MEANING AND SYMBOLISM

Vision Quest summarizes my spiritual experience of driving through the Rocky Mountains. As soon as I saw the mountains, I was overcome in emotion. I spent the drive into Jasper sobbing uncontrollably, while trying to snap pictures of every mountain. Two things were happening simultaneously: old energy was leaving me with brute force, while new energy was flushing me with clarity. It was like I was dying (grieving) while at the same time being reborn (celebrating). Overwhelm at it’s greatest!

When I look at this painting I feel joyful, hopeful. I wanted it to be a summary of opposites uniting, dancing, and reflecting one another: Light and Dark, Stillness and Movement, Calm and Chaos, Feminine and Masculine, Life and Death. I wanted the earth to be reflected in the sky, and vice versa. Spirit and energy reflected in the physical. Everything in existence and time, blending into one universal moment. Unending (notice the blue of sky and water create an infinity symbol?).

This final work of the Jasper Series is not only special, it is Sacred. I release it with Love and Light and immense gratitude.

 

 

 

 

 

Art & Community

art panorama
Panorama of all pieces going to “Earth & Sky” show

So much has been going on in my art-life. In one week “Earth & Sky” happens. Other then varnishing, I’m pretty prepared for the show. The 3 new paintings are complete and will be for sale, plus 1 large one (Sacred Landscape) will be at the show incomplete and not for sale.

 

There will be one of the Jasper Series missing from the show; Earth Energy ($400) is currently hanging in a show put on by Spirit of the Hills, and hosted by The Northumberland Hills Hospital. If you are in the Cobourg area, or visiting the hospital for any reason feel free to stroll down “Sumac Street” to view the show. 50% of sale for my painting go back into the community (25% spirit of hills and 25% donated to hospital). I can’t think of a better way to support both arts and wellness!

 

Don’t forget I also do custom work; if you like this style and are interested in exploring some personal art certainly contact me! I look forward to seeing some of you at the show, and for those of you who are unable to make it… stay tuned for next blog!

 

 

Sacred Sundays

Lately my weekends have been consumed by art. No complaints here! Between custom pieces and preparing for the upcoming art show (July 30th), I have my hands full. I consider my weekends sacred, and use my time quite deliberately. However, last night I found myself alone on a Saturday night, not quite ready to paint but unsure of what to do with myself. Luckily a friend who knows me well invited me out for a little adventure…

bluffs landscape

This is a panorama of the amazing skies last night. We did a small hike out to some local bluffs, and watched the sun go down. I also brought my sketch book, but didn’t have time to do much before I lost the light of day…

bluffs

I’m happy to say the inspiration stayed with me today and I’ve managed to finish the custom pup I started 3 weeks ago. Introducing “Cajun The Defender”…

cajun the defender

Along with him I also used this sacred Sunday to finish “Gateway” a painting for the next Jasper Series (and show). Plus I improvised on another large canvas, and decided to begin”Vision Quest” which I consider an energy landscape, this one has the full mountain range of The Chief.

Feeling pretty excited about gathering the Jasper paintings together again. There will now be 7 paintings on display (5 for sale)! Plus new line drawings! Speaking of which, if you are in the area be sure to check out “An Intimate Evening of Art” a fundraiser for The Northumberland Players theatre camp summer programs. Tickets are only $15 and I have donated my “Three Sisters” line drawing to the silent auction! Please e-mail NPartsnight@gmail.com for tickets or more info.

three sisters matted

Hope you’ve all been enjoying your weekend, and don’t forget to mark your calendar for our show “Earth & Sky” July 30th!

 

Earth & Sky

Mark your calendar for Saturday, July 30th!

Jennifer Trefiak and I will be hosting our art show “Earth & Sky”

12:30 – 4:30pm in Port Hope (St.Mark’s Church).

guardians
“Guardians” by Jenni Burke

Since the first Jasper Series has been completed, I’ve started a second one. This one focuses more on the magic of the sky spirits. Of course, the mountains will still make their mark as well!

aurora
Unofficial Name “Aurora” by Jennifer Trefiak

Check out our event page on Facebook for more updates or to join our guest list. Feel free to invite your friends too! “Earth & Sky

Sailboats and Shenanigans

This long weekend has proven to be pretty productive for creating!

mikes sailboat cropped

I finished custom order #3 (below)…

simons sailboat

…and began custom order #4 (rough outline and paint dabs below)…

patricks colours

I am literally waiting for paint to dry as I write.

The custom pup is a 30″x40″ canvas, which I’ve laid out the background on. I’ve prepped 3 new canvases for the art show coming up in July: some new Jasper paintings. I bought new pens for the line drawings too, but realized when I got home I needed a new sketch book as well! I guess a trip to the Painted Tree is due this week…

sneak peak new jaspers

Feeling super excited about another show, this time co-hosting with my friend and fellow artist Jennifer Trefiak (and a sneak peak of what she’s working on below).

jennifer trefiak lights

Stay tuned for more updates and invites!