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Roots & Wings: The Journey from Winter to Spring

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

I usually experience some degree of seasonal depression. It often starts when the time changes in early November. I go into the void, to hibernate in my cave until the spring. This winter was one of my most difficult in recent memory. My heart felt broken, my soul empty and my mind numb. It was a challenge to bring myself to the canvas at all, and yet, I knew that it would be the best way to begin healing. So, just after Samhain last year, I started a new painting. I didn’t have a plan or an agenda. Just a brave heart and a willingness to dance with whatever came up from within me. This is a record of my journey over the last few months. From winter to spring. From depression to hope.

For the first few layers, I let my brush flow across the canvas to the rhythm of the music. The movement and direction a painting takes is heavily influenced by the music that moves through me while I work. I like to listen to Pandora while I paint because it becomes a part of the adventure. I never know what’s going to come up. Every song that plays stirs my emotions in a new way, or unlocks the door on thoughts that have been locked away. I keep a notebook nearby while I paint, to jot down notes about feelings and thoughts that come to me during the process.

I started off the way I usually do, layering warms and cools, dripping paint randomly, playing with various shapes and finding different ways of making marks. This stage is just about getting the flow started. To break the ice of the emotional walls. Then, I started to see things emerge in the canvas. Like the woman on the top left, wrapped in a cloak, facing the horizon of the unknown. Her path is paved with blessing cairns, an offering to the earth spirits as they guide her on her way. From the light into the darkness, she descends.

I let go of the cloaked woman as I began to be drawn in by the larger image on the top left of the canvas: a woman’s face with windswept hair. I made an intuitive decision to rotate the canvas. The first thing that caught my eye (and heart!) was what looked to me like a beautiful tree in the center. Beneath that, the woman appeared to be sleeping. I added the dreamcatcher and the words, “Deep Rest,” a re-imagining of the word “depressed.”

The woman’s face became a cave, housing a crone and her fire, illuminating the sacred drawings adorning the rock walls. As I continued to work, the image transformed again, into a seated woman, cradling her inner flame. It was the end of November by this point and the painting stayed in this state, untouched for several months.

I didn’t revisit this canvas until April of this year. It was around this time that I created a new station on Pandora for the band, Wildlight. The infusion of new music combined with the energy of springtime took the piece in an entirely new direction, while maintaining some of the energetic elements of the early stages. The only part of the canvas that I felt connected to was the tree in the center. The rest, I was willing to let go of. So, I made some bold moves to get the energy moving. It worked so well, and I became so immersed in the process that I forgot to stop and take photos.

I found myself crying with joy often during the process. I looked forward with excitement to each session. The flowing stream emerged, followed by a vision of Mother Earth’s silent presence, offering comfort. As the painting was nearing completion, the title came to me: Roots & Wings. Her body grounded into the earth, her heart and soul soaring towards the sky.

“Do you remember who you were before they told you who to be?…Press your ear up against your soul and listen hard…She started listening to the birds and trees, found a new authority…go on and make yourself a life that you don’t want to be rescued from….” ~ Morgan Bolender

{Full Circle} {Grace} {Healing} {Peace}

Roots & Wings, 2016

This painting is available for purchase in my shop.

Blessings, Fellow Travelers


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