"Beluga" and "Baleen" - mixed media on cradleboard, 8" x 8"
My niece recently went to Hawaii on vacation, where she watched a behemoth whale glide underneath the modestly-sized boat she and her dad were on. I've never had the experience, personally, but found myself mesmerized by her description and in awe of what that moment must have felt like.
Whales have always seemed a bit like a superior alien species to me. A closely knit community with a communication style both haunting and musical, peaceful sentient beings with wise, calm eyes. I've often wondered what grooviness the universe was channeling when whales were imagined and created. Something wonderful and higher thinking than perhaps when rodents burst on the scene a bazillion years ago.
So what message does the whale have for me? The whale teaches about listening to your inner voice (there's that listening message again) understanding emotion and their impact on your day, and following your own truth. The whale as a totem animal symbolizes creativity, communication, physical strength and emotional healing and rebirth.
Whales, with their magical, musical language, communicate over thousands of miles. The whale teaches us to communicate clearly from our heart center to span the gap between ourselves and other people (which can feel enormous at times). The whales immense size can point to our feeling overwhelmed, overburdened and over scheduled (the words beginning with "over" are prevalent in my life right now!), and they remind us to cut back a bit until things feel manageable.
So today I will channel my inner whale and focus on clear communication and truth, perhaps while immersed in a small body of water (i.e.: bathtub). And then maybe cross a couple of things off my calendar.
These pieces are available. Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Messenger & Muse” - mixed media on canvas, 16” x 20"
There’s a new moon today, combined with the start of a new mercury retrograde. I should have known, given I’ve been extremely clumsy and my computer, phone and camera are acting a bit bratty. Little things seem much more challenging than they ought to be, and my energy level is on the sofa with a book. I should have known…but I didn’t, because I wasn’t listening.
I’m reading a book about listening. And reading it with a group of women I adore. Women who keep me accountable and provide wisdom. Rare intellectuals with an abundance of compassion and introspection. And the book could not have come at a better time. Listening to others is something I work at - keeping my mental chatter quiet so I can really hear what others are saying, trying to hear what they’re not saying and waiting to hear if they are asking me for anything in response. But listening to the quiet things…signs, symptoms, similarities and synchronicity - these can be a challenge for me, especially when life is busy.
Lately I’ve been visited by crows. One at a time, larger than life, strutting around wherever I am. Looking in my window when I’m painting. Waiting in the yard when I come home. Silent sentinal by the driveway when I leave. Crows in the art people post on sites I follow. Crows on the covers of books at the store. Crows. It was a bit unnerving after awhile. Because I wasn’t really listening. So, of course, I had to find out what the crows were trying to tell me, since they seemed pretty insistent.
Crows are the bringers of messages from the spirit world. They warn you to let go of old thinking and embrace a new way of seeing yourself and the world. They are a sign of change; that all you have been working toward is coming together. Congruence between your actions and your beliefs.
There is a lot of change in my life right now, and a new way of thinking seems like just the right thing to go along with that change. In making this piece of art, I followed the crow’s advice and went with my urge to try something new. One of my students recently sent me these beautiful leaf skeletons, which hint at ethereal trees from another time. They were perfect feathers for the crow, bringing his message from beyond. Hopefully, the crow now knows I am listening.
This piece is available. Currently unframed. Inquiries: email@example.com
“I Think They Are Sleeping” - mixed media on paper, 9 x 11 (unframed)
Yesterday was Mother’s Day. And I received the most beautiful bouquet of flowers from my daughter who lives far away. The flowers arrived as stems still in the bud stage…even the colors of the flowers were hidden. Over the course of the day, each flower slowly opened, revealing the colors (and fragrance) hidden inside. It was almost as if the stems were sleeping, and slowly awakened over time. It was the most remarkable bouquet - almost like performance art. I was mesmerized.
We’re preparing for a big move this month, relocating to another state and a new adventure. Much of our time now is spent figuring out which items to take and which items to leave behind. So yesterday we sorted though some boxes and bins of things we hadn’t even looked at in years. You know the stuff - every piece of prose and poetry you children ever wrote, every piece of art, every book they ever owned and the toys they loved too much to part with but had outgrown long ago. Seeing all of these snapshots of our children’s lives in one afternoon was a bit like watching the flowers bloom over the course of a day - like a time lapse film of the growth of a human. And I realized the experience of watching our children bloom over the last three decades was surely the most amazing performance art on earth.
It was a new “aha moment” for me. Seeing the flowers blooming and our children’s lives displayed over time simultaneously was both surreal and lovely. Motherhood encompasses my greatest joys, my biggest worries and my deepest fears. It is high adventure, maddening frustration and piles of love all rolled into one. And it is a front row seat at the best show of all.
This piece is available. Currently unframed. Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Go Fly A Kite” - mixed media on board, 20” x 10"
There was a magic moment in our family about seventeen years ago. My son was a baby, and my daughter and bonus boy were the perfect age for a day in the park. We had a couple of super fancy kites we had never used before (you know, chinese dragons and box kites and things I dreamed of as a kid) and the perfect Sunday afternoon for kite flying.
It took us awhile, but we eventually had both kites aloft and the kids holding them in place (with an occasional assist from parents). The wind was good, the sky was clear, and the kites were high in the sky, so far up they were hard to see clearly. We spent hours there, and the kites were magnificent! Easy to guide, sturdy and beautiful. I remember how excited we were on the way home (grown-ups and kids alike) and how we decided kite flying was something we wanted to do all the time after that.
But we didn’t. First one thing, then another. Then winter. Then a move. Then another winter. And another move. And seventeen years later, we had not flown the kites again. I’m pretty sure no one else in the family thinks about this other than me, wondering why we never tried to repeat that halcyon day in the park.
So then the theme for the June show at Ciel came up. Beach Party! Something fun, light-hearted and less serious than most art shows. And I wondered for the briefest of moments why we hadn’t selected something more sophisticated…and then I remembered the kites. Play! We need to play! Of course a beach party is the perfect theme! And delightful to create art to capture those delicious morsels of life which are pure playful bliss.
This piece is a reminder for me. Grab the halcyon moments. Then repeat. And while you’re at it, go fly a kite.
This piece is available. Inquiries: email@example.com
Jen Walls and her imaJENation