The Art of Veil Painting … Spirit of Australia

The Universe is full of mystery. I marvel at how connected we all are and how this manifests in so many different ways.

This became a very real concept for me a few years ago while meditating this painting into being.

I was almost ready to put the paint brush down for good on this one when I stood back  to contemplate what might be emerging. And there it was …  the incredibly clear outline of a kangaroo that appeared to have literally just jumped into the painting. (Perhaps you can see him.) And then behind him the faint outline of his keeper standing about his shoulder somewhat off in the distance.

Remember, in the art of veil painting there is no pre-determined destination. It’s all about being in the moment and allowing the washes of paint to work their magic over time, so when I saw this it simply floored me.

Getting back to the Universe and connection … the interesting thing about this painting is that it was completed the day before Lloyd’s daughter returned home from Australia where she’d been working as an intern at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo. That’s why this painting is called “Spirit of Australia.”

And the reason this painting comes to mind today is that C arrived yesterday from Sydney, where she now works full-time in her dream job at the zoo as an exotic bird trainer, to spend a week introducing her Australian husband-to-be to family and friends before their nuptials in November.

I’m strongly considering giving the original of this painting to the happy couple as their wedding gift.

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012

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The Art of Veil Painting — “The Artist as Singer”

Veil painting is a meditative art form based on the work of Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, esotericist and developer of the Waldorf education system, Rudolf Steiner. He believed in the healing qualities of colour, the nature of this colour “therapy” being to stimulate different emotional responses for each individual.

In veil painting, watercolours are thinned to a very light value and wet colours are applied one at a time only over dry colours.

With no preconceived idea of the final result, the artist patiently layers “veils” of colour one over another in varying patterns, never repeating exactly the same shapes in the same place. Ultimately the veils of colour will reveal an image or motif which the artist may then bring more into consciousness.

I took up veil painting several years ago during art therapy and fell in love with it. I loved its mystery which reminded me of my fondness for the semi-precious stone, Labradorite. At first glance the stone looks grey, but move it about under the light and it comes to life as a miracle of colour.

And so it is with veil painting. At first glance it looks to be only a mess of colour, but as one meditates upon it the shapes and patterns and colours start to come to life.

This is one of my early works, done when I was a member of a vocal trio called “ChoirGirlz.” The image reflected in this painting, to me at least, is a light silhouette of the profile of a female singer holding a microphone, her dark hair swept back as if the wind has blown through it. The woman is me and that’s why I call this painting “The Artist as Singer.” This image was not intentioned into the painting — it simply came into being as the work progressed. It is a reflection of the journey to self-awareness — ever-unfolding and enlightening to those who can see with a soft eye and an open heart.

I invite you to engage the singer, but encourage you to be satisfied with whatever comes into focus for you.

If you find her, let me know …

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012

Four Seasons

Dormant Season Photo: Dorothy McDonall

Winter, dormant season.
Where Mother Nature
Takes her rest,
Waiting for the
Warmth of Spring’s,

Sowing season.
Where Mother Nature
Blossoms bright,
Waiting for the
Heat of Summer’s,

Growing season.
Where Mother Nature
Nurtures all
Waiting for the
Coolness of Fall’s,

Reaping season.
Where Mother Nature
Harvests all
Waiting for the
Dormancy of Winter.

*

We forget, sometimes, that life goes in cycles.

I am reminded of verses from Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament that tell us “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under Heaven …”

This truth has held me through many of my most challenging times. It has also taught me there is a purpose to the arc of the cycle in which I find myself — it is preparing me for what’s coming next. And it also tells me that at some point there will be a period of dormancy — the bliss of rest.

Nature’s seasons serve as a powerful metaphor for the cycles in our own lives. Sowing, growing and reaping are popular concepts. However resting, in our stressed society, seems to take a back seat though it is every bit as important. For it is in restfulness, when we are still, that we create and germinate the ideas we’ll sow in our spring, and so on.

It is important to acknowledge the cycle of our own personal four seasons and live a well-balanced life. Our health and welfare, and the kind of  imprint we leave on the world around us, depend upon it.

Cheerz!

Dorothy

All rights reserved. Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2011

Farewell to the Children

Barren, I feel,
And empty inside
Where no child
Has dwelt and
Still none will
Reside.
Those years
Are behind me
Those chances
Are gone.
It wasn’t
My choice
But the way
Life moved on.
Am I less of
A woman?
Is that what
You perceive
With no child
In my arms
Proof that I could
Conceive?

What you think
Doesn’t matter,
What I feel
Is all mine.
It’s a path I
Have walked
All alone all
This time.
Though my
Womb may be
Sealed and this
Dream has
Now died I
Feel nothing
But hope that
Creation
Abide. So,
Farewell to
The children
That I might
Have had, for
They’ll not know
My pain, and
For that I am
Glad.

*

Yes, this is very personal, and why I choose to share it today I don’t know. But I’m at a time in my life when I’m coming to terms with some things and recently I’ve been reflecting on the fact that I don’t have children.

For years I didn’t understand why I couldn’t conceive. I felt empty and incomplete as a woman; a barren outsider in a world of baby formula and Barney The Dinosaur. For years I avoided gatherings of women, especially baby showers, where conversations centred on junior’s accomplishments and whose child had endured the measles the longest. It was all just too painful.

When I was married and having difficulties getting pregnant, I ended up in a fertility clinic and endured two attempts at intra-uterine insemination. Neither effort was successful. When I had an emotional breakdown after the second failed attempt, my husband, ever the insensitive, told me without an ounce of emotion that I belonged in “a nut house.” I announced to him there and then that children would come naturally, or not at all. They didn’t come at all.

In the end it was just as well, as a few years later I finally found the strength to get a divorce and set out on the journey to self-awareness. I was 36 at the time. The biological clock was definitely ticking. A part of me desperately wanted a child and I briefly considered “going it alone.” Yet, as much as I was in terrible emotional shape, I knew in my heart that for me to bring a child into the world without the benefit of a loving father was the worst start I could give a child. I knew only too well the emotional price to be paid by the one-parent child raised by a working mother and abandoned emotionally by  a disinterested and self-absorbed father. I wouldn’t, and couldn’t, consciously do this to my own child.

So instead I focused my mothering instincts on my animals. My passion for horses also lifted me from my childless malaise and had an unanticipated benefit. It seems that many childless women find solace among the equine. I had finally found women with whom I could relate.

And then I met and fell in love with a man 15 years older who’s own children were grown and who wasn’t interested in having any more. My fate was sealed. I would not be a mother — at least not in the conventional sense.

Upon reflection, I believe my childless fate was sealed early on. Recently, while working with a hormone specialist and psychotherapist, I’ve learned that my body, due to severe hormone deficiencies and coping with post-traumatic stress disorder my entire life (a story for another day), couldn’t have sustained a pregnancy. Without realizing it I’ve been in chronic survival mode since early childhood and suffering from adrenal fatigue. My body has been over-taxed just keeping me going on a day-to-day basis. It’s never had the capacity to give life to another.

So, I have said farewell to the children I might have had, and turned my energies toward creation through writing, art, establishing a loving home and nurturing my companion animals. My partner is wonderfully supportive and when I look at the beauty we have created in our world, I realize my life is not so empty after all.

Writer’s Block

Some days it’s not so easy to write
The ideas they just won’t flow.
My mind it certainly wanders
But seems to have no place to go.

The door to the channel won’t open;
The windows too seem to be closed.
The key has been lost for the moment
While I’m sitting here searching for prose.

Abandoned by the amusing;
Rejected by what might inspire;
I’m feeling run down and dejected
As the synapses seem to misfire.

But then, it’s only this moment.
There are so many others ahead
When I will, no doubt, be inspired
To write something brilliant instead.

*

It’s all a part of the process, this thing called “writer’s block.” It’s a nuisance; it’s frustrating … and it’s an absolutely necessary part of the creative process. As annoying as it may seem, writer’s block actually gives our creative muscles an opportunity to rest.

Think about it … a blockage implies a back up. In this case of words and ideas which cannot filter through to the page because they’re clogged up in the mind somewhere trying to push their way past each other into consciousness. Getting worked up about this achieves nothing — it only makes the blockage more impregnable. Time and patience are the solvents needed to dissolve this dam of creative frustration.

While you’re waiting,  enjoy the forced “holiday” from writing and consider it an opportunity to set the table for a fiesta of creativity to follow.

Enjoy!

 

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2011