Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dear reader,

I didn't expect to fall in love. I didn't expect to be swept off my feet.

But there it was. A book full of humans in every size and shape, different genders and colors, all bodypainted head to toe.

I swooned. In one moment, my entire life changed, though I had no idea at the time.

When something sends electric shock currents through your body, when it makes your jaw drop and your heart race, you'd think it would be worth paying deeper attention.

For a few years, I just wished and dreamed. I longed for and desired. But did little to nothing.
One day, I cautiously stuck my toe in the shallow end; I purchased paint.

Just a handful of bodypaint cakes, and some play. That play led to my first bodypainting exhibition, then another, and another...all local. Eventually the tug on my heart kept pulling me along, to classes, and other bodypainters, to competitions and even assisting an artist at the World Bodypainting Festival in Austria.

Those tugs on the heart are powerful things. Little, powerful things we can often ignore....at our own peril.

What I hadn't fully realized in the beginning;  bodypainting was healing me. With every brushstroke, and every human encountered, with every story told, and connection made, we were healing each other.

I was telling their stories, and healing my relationship with art. Falling back in love again, and again, and again.

The culmination of all these years, all this paint, and this love was brought to the forefront when my friend Sharon hired me to paint something I had never dreamed of painting. Pain. Her pain.

Her ongoing battle with chronic illness, inflammation, and bad medicine. I was to paint this experience of searing pain across her scarred body.

How does one paint pain? How could I help her express something to personal, so esoteric, and so intense? I paint beauty on people. I help them change their inner dialogue. I help them SEE differently. I don't know how to paint hurt and pain.

But she, the gracious and wise elder, gave me exactly the energy and words I needed. Once again, trusting the tugs of the heart led me directly where it needed.

I painted with my whole heart. A fierce fire-breathing dragon, shooting reds and streaks of pain, barbed wire and twisting electricity. So many things that needed to surface, that needed to be told. Pain that doctors dismissed. Pain that was now paint on skin.

I think in that one session, I finally realized how powerful this gift of bodypainting is for me. How much of a gift it can be for others in caring hands. How much the paint loves every body. How many of us need our stories on our skin.

It brought me home to my artist self. It changed the way I see human forms. It makes me fall in love again, and again, and again. I intend to serve this gift well.

Create, connect, be brilliant, beautiful readers.

Colorfully yours,

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Skin Deep

"I became a woman who learned her own skin and dug into her soul and found it full." 

Sometimes I plan a body paint because I see things in my head at night while I need to be sleeping instead.

Sometimes another person's art, or words, or ideas spark a painting.

This time it was an Anne Sexton quote and I knew exactly who would model for this, and that it would be heavy on abstract color.

It came out even better than I imagined. I felt that the inner colors had made it to the skin.

This quote spoke to me on so many levels....a bit of the back story;

Model: Emma Dubin
Photographer; Keith Dixon Studios

It took me a very long time, and a lot of hard experiences to understand that my soul (whatever that may mean) was full. FULL. Brimming over.

Not broken, or damaged, or lacking in any way. Full.

I spent most of my teen and early adult years completely at war with myself. With those desires born of earth and air. It felt like they were constantly fighting inside of me.....fighting with me....me fighting against all that I was.

So eventually I called a truce. The truce meant I gave myself permission to love what I love, to embrace what I chose, to do exactly as I please, and to build a life of my choosing.

I did. I have. I will continue.

The pain was not about earth and air desires being in conflict with each other, the pain was in believing I had to choose.

In a sense I DID have to choose...so I chose both.

Yes, I can be a full time artist AND a good parent.
Yes. I can garden/homestead AND travel.
Yes, I can be both full of ideas AND grounded.
Yes to all of it.

How are we saying no to ourselves before anyone else can beat us to it?

Maybe it's time to put down the tools of self-war, and pick up some self-kindness.

As for me, I'm going to keep learning this skin and digging into this soul and see what else I can find.