Creative Flows

I’ve been busy! Between pickleball sessions, a lot of paint has been wandering around on canvas. Check out my most recent creations below and let me know what you think (prices do not include shipping). To request a quote for a commissioned painting, email ripplesofinsight@gmail.com with color scheme, painting size, your location, and, if desired, pouring style. I require a deposit for a commission, which would apply to the final price of your piece. Please note that paint pouring does not lend itself to exact replications.

Click here to take a look at some of my other work.

As always, thanks for reading!

Namaste,

~C

Finding My Flow in North Georgia

It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then. 

Lewis Carroll

This is a continuation of the journey I began early in the summer of 2019.

I have long understood that everything in our physical realm is made up of invisible energy. This energy must flow freely or our lives will be filled with pain, chaos, and misery. Maybe that’s why I love fluid art so much. Pouring paint has helped me to learn to tap into the flow. But this summer it came to my attention that something was blocking the natural flow of energy inside me. I reached out to Dr. Tom and Emily to see if they could help me identify and eradicate it for good.

At approximately 11:00 in the morning on July 20, Tom Dill offered me a seat on a massage table in his office in the North Georgia Wellness Center. “So what brought you here today?” he asked, graciously omitting the unspoken but implied, all the way from Woodbridge, VA. Emily Francis sat on the couch to my right, preparing to take notes on her phone. At the time, I was unaware that Emily no longer accepted patients and that Dr. Tom never agreed to treat anyone who lived out of state. I still do not know how or why my email persuaded them to see me, only that I am so very grateful it did.

In the middle of my narrative, Dr. Tom glanced at Emily and said, “Do you see that?” “I sure do,” was her immediate response. He waited until I finished before asking, “Can you take a deep breath for me?” It was my first clue that I had come to the right place. Sometime in 2018 I had lost the ability to breathe deeply, as if a stone had lodged in the center of my chest. I felt pain in the area from time to time. I did not know what it was, but I did know that it was completely unrelated to my physical heart. I had an energy problem.

Most of us are unaware of the beliefs and thought patterns we carry around in our subconscious minds. When those beliefs tend towards the negative, they can become blocks in the energy field that eventually cause problems in our physical bodies. While there are several ways to hack the subconscious (many of which I already use, like meditation), I knew that whatever I was dealing with needed something more. I needed help from people who were trained to work directly with energy.

We skipped over the conventional NAET tests for allergens. Instead, Dr. Tom muscle tested me for various emotional issues, beginning with the general heading of ‘my past’. During this portion of the treatment, Tom made some interesting discoveries.

  1. I ‘tread lightly’, fearful of making mistakes.
  2. I hold patterns from my childhood in my chest (go figure).
  3. My heart was broken in the past (like most everybody else).
  4. My fifth chakra (throat) has always been weak. I found this one the most enlightening – a reminder that the gift of gab does not indicate a healthy throat chakra. The ability to effectively speak my truth has long been an issue.

NAET practitioners typically identify negative memories, beliefs, and thought patterns that have morphed into energetic blocks, then clear them using acupressure along the meridian points of the spine. It was quite similar to some of the treatment I have undergone with my acupuncturist. Dr. Tom wanted to know when I first experienced the block in my chest. While trying to remember, I commented how odd it was to me that I could not take a deep breath. “Every trained singer knows full well how to belly breathe,” I said. But I had lost the skill – even during meditation. Muscle testing revealed it began around November 22, 2018. “That was moving day!” I exclaimed. “The day we moved into the house that we love.”

“That makes sense,” Tom said, “since you have trouble allowing yourself to be happy.” Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Which it rarely does. But if you believe you are not allowed to be happy and you are happy, self sabotage is your only recourse. Dr. Tom proceeded to clear my subconscious aversion to happiness. I couldn’t help but wonder if it would ‘stick.’

Emily’s turn came. The raw pain in my connective tissue brought me up from the table several times. I knew in my head that her brutality was a necessary evil and reminded myself that I hadn’t made the 10-hour drive to be coddled and left in my current condition. Something had to shake my body from its chains. When the massage was over, Dr. Tom returned for a final round of clearing and we were done. Other than the pain I had experienced at Emily’s hand, nothing particularly earth-shattering had happened. I drove back to my friend’s house in Marietta and wondered what I had really accomplished by coming all the way to Georgia.

The next morning I woke up and took the first deep breath I had taken in almost a year. I understood then that my trip had been worth every second and every penny. Life is all about flow, and Tom and Emily had helped my body find it once more.

Today I dream of running an art studio where fluid art and metaphysics come together. Until I open the doors I will learn everything I can about both, thanks to amazing teachers like Aaron Abke, Gilly Kube, Joe Dispenza, Gina Deluca, and many others. For now, I will set my intention, dream my dreams, and learn to live in the flow.

How about you? Is flow something that comes naturally or is it a struggle for you to find? When you detect blocks, how do you go about clearing them? Let me hear from you in the comments.

Thanks so much for reading!

Namaste,

~C

The Art of Finding a Soul

The pleasant female voice on the radio described the composer as a Renaissance Man. She elaborated with the words “musician, writer, and painter, among other things”. I couldn’t help but think, That sounds like me!

A whirlwind of music blew through the first half of my life. As a teenager, I stood on my bed belting “I am Woman” out of the open windows, to the chagrin of my neighbors; my senior year in college, I performed a vocal recital in four different languages, none of them English; and for 25 years I led a congregation of worshipers behind a guitar and sometimes a conductor’s wand. Today the only exercise my vocal cords will get is either in what I like to call ‘car karaoke’ or joining my daughter and son-in-law around the family upright. Here is a humorous sample of what I used to do.

A coffeehouse in Johnson City, TN, circa 2010. In the evenings, alcohol was served.
The drunk man dancing to and from the bar makes this piece a classic.

I am so passionate about reading that I finally created a novel of my own, and hopefully a few more to come. Over the years I have engaged in all sorts of arts and crafts, including sewing, gardening, and even putting together bird feeders using vintage dishes, wire, and beads. But the 1940’s sewing machine my mother gave me is long gone, I sold all of the bird feeders when I left my yard behind, and most of the other crafts in my life have given way to a new-found passion for acrylic paint. With four family members who are painters in their own right, I often wondered if I would ever create something of beauty on a canvas, especially after this nightmare experience I had as a child. In December of 2018, while investigating abstract art, I stumbled upon paint pouring and decided to give it a try. Interspersed in this post are some of the pieces I have made (and sold).

12X12 Acrylic on Canvas

We have all heard the saying,

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

Today as I scrolled through the Go Make Some Art! Facebook page, it occurred to me that true beauty is in the soul of the creator, kind of like the difference between the technically savvy pianist and the one who can make the instrument sing. You know what I mean. Writers whose words come to life, painters, singers, even cooks who ply their craft with such heart that those who partake of their works are moved to deep emotion. This is the connection we crave, for without it, what meaning can we give to the things we create?

There is something about working with the hands that bridges the gap between body and soul. When I plant a seed, push a needle, or tilt a canvas, my mind is forced to let go its heady thoughts and focus on that space inside me where the real life of me lies. As an outer reflection of what the inner eye sees, the visual arts demand the most of a person. But to lay anything to canvas is to subject one’s soul to the judgements of every passerby, and if the artist does not love his or her own heart well, there is the possibility of self-loathing and despair. But excusing what the hands have made diminishes the life of the soul within, even if just a little.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the hands are the expression of it.

I commented on a post in that same forum that perhaps artists (of any kind) have a unique avenue to discovering their own worthiness. We all know the feeling of ‘not good enough’ – not smart enough, not pretty enough, not strong enough, not thin enough, not, not, not… E N O U G H. But there is something healing in the physical expression of that invisible part of ourselves – at least it can be, if we will let go our judgements of good, bad, beautiful, ugly, worthy, unworthy. Perhaps all that has ever been necessary is connection – the commitment to transform the invisible into something tangible.

Last week my daughter gave me permission to go to India – or anywhere else in the world – if I ever felt the need to ‘find myself.’ As much as I appreciate the freedom she afforded me, the idea makes me laugh! I have learned the hard way that wherever you go, there you are.

Galaxy Rising
9X20 Acrylic on Canvas

As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.

Proverbs 23:7

If you lose touch with yourself, a new address will not suffice to find you. Truly nothing outside of you has the power to discover the you that exists in that mysterious unknown of the heart, where no tangible road goes – except the one that travels outward.

Mystic Garden Spray
8X10 Acrylic on Canvas

Creating a work of art requires connecting with that invisible part. If the artist succeeds in ignoring the critical mind, a true understanding of the self emerges. With understanding comes a healing of the breach. All that is needed is acceptance. When we know who we are and learn to love what we have come to know, then not only can nothing outside of us discover us, but nothing outside of us can ever judge or harm us again.

Today, may you be inspired to create.* Go make some art! ~ and discover parts of you that up until now, you never knew existed. In the making, in the doing, in the expressing, and in the seeing, be kind to yourself, and may that kindness be your road to wholeness. Remember that you are a soul on a journey of self-discovery. A journey that never ends.

Namaste, and thank you for reading.

~C

*If you or someone you know in the Hopewell, VA area would be interested in exploring using intuition to create an abstract acrylic pour, please contact Cindy at ripplesofinsight@gmail.com to book a class.

Classes offered at $40 per person, max 6 people per class. After delving within, you will create on a canvas of your choice with colors of your choice: up to 11X14 inches. Paint, pouring medium, canvas, and tools are included. Pours take 3 weeks to cure before adding a gloss finish. When your masterpiece is complete, I will contact you to arrange for pickup.

Dream Realized

It’s Monday – no, wait! Tuesday. *sigh* This always happens to me the day after a Monday Holiday. Not that I’m ungrateful for the time off! But I’ll spend all week trying to remember it’s not the day it feels like it is.

When I’m not trying to figure out what day it is, I’ll be smiling with gratitude and a smidgen of pride because this weekend I completed – kind of a new and novel concept in itself – a project I’ve been working on/thinking about for more than a year! It’s pretty cool when you realize a dream, even a small one.

Last year I wrote about some ways I was being stretched creatively. Some of the new things I learned about and did you’ve seen here. Today’s post unveils the solar birdbath/fountain I started designing in my head in 2013 which yesterday, May 26, 2014 began to delight my eyes and ears in the side garden!

You may be wondering why such a thing would be worthy of its very own blog post, but if that’s the case, then I wonder if you’ve ever had a dream that if pursued would take you outside of the comfort zone of things you already know into a whole new world of possibilities. That’s what this project was for me – and its completion feels like a coming of age of sorts. Appropriate for my 1/2-century year, I think. 🙂

My husband is usually the dreamer … I’m the realist of the family. This year I found out I can dream too – and make it happen! Don’t get me wrong, none of it would have been possible without help from many different people (especially my Hubby); and for each one’s input I am very grateful. That’s another reason for this post: So many folks took the time to listen, freely offering ideas and encouragement; I feel I owe it to them to make this a ‘public’ announcement. This wasn’t just my project – I feel like it ‘belongs’ to everyone who participated in its creation and to the faithful readers who followed along in the process.

So whether you’re part of the creative genius or just read about it here, if you ever find yourself wandering through Middle Tennessee looking for a break from the heat, and a little R&R complete with colorful and entertaining birds, give me a shout. I’d love nothing more than to sit and have a chat with you on my side porch, cool drinks in hand, watching the birds and enjoying this*, together:

2014 Birdbath/Fountain
2014 Birdbath/Fountain

*Sometimes when you design something, you can’t really be sure how it’s going to work until you see it in action. Turns out, the froggy plate I had wanted to use causes the water to splash out of my too-shallow basin (the pump will burn up if it is left running dry), so, while I peruse antique stores for a deeper basin to fit in my stand (or perhaps figure out a way to make one out of ceramic), I have taken out the plate so the fountain looks like this now:

Basic Fountain, 2014
I actually like the cleaner lines of this design, but miss my froggy-woggy.

Art and Community

It all started with something a friend pinned to her Facebook Page:

Teacup Bird Feeder on Pinterest

I saw it, fell in love with it, and thought, “I could make one of those!”

Since that day, almost a year ago, I have been on a journey of metamorphosis. Rather surprisingly (and delightfully), I found I am not alone. And that is remarkable considering how alone I have felt for the past 7 years.

Throughout my life I’ve come to appreciate that “art” manifests itself in many different ways. For instance, my sister graduated college with an art degree: she can sketch, paint, arrange flowers/botanicals, among other things, but spent most of her career in the graphic arts department of GM creating art on a computer screen. Then there’s me, the music major, singer/guitarist/photographer/gardener/writer/sometimes poet who used to cross stitch and sew clothes for her children. This past year I’ve occasionally taken some time to reflect back on my life (looking hard at 50 will make you do that sometimes) and the different phases I’ve walked through. I worked 25+ years in Church music of one kind (choir) or another (worship bands), but it’s been about a year now since I’ve picked up the guitar and almost 4 years since I’ve led worship officially anywhere. My musical “phase” just seems to be over, at least for now (singing to CD’s to and from work notwithstanding). Homeschooling, public speaking, and blogging assumed that creative niche for awhile, but it looks like (until today), April, 2013 was the last time I blogged anything of consequence and the homeschooling ended in 2009 when I was forced to look outside the home for a full-time job.

Working with my hands – other than sewing or gardening – is really new territory for me. My husband is a carpenter in his own right, but woodworking was never my forte. Being captured by the teacup bird feeders pictured above began what I see as a new ‘chapter’ of sorts in my creative life. As a result, I started collecting vintage cups, saucers, and silverware from Good Will stores, antique shops, yard sales – basically anywhere I could find them. Next I began looking around for ways to hang my feeders. Shying away from drilling holes (drills lie WAY outside my comfort zone), which might crack the delicate porcelains I was collecting, I went back to Pinterest to see other teacup bird feeders and discovered brilliance:

Teacup Birdfeeder II

Can you see how the little rings are attached by gluing the other side of a metal ring to the bottom of the saucer? A short trip to Ace Hardware and some enjoyable conversation with the helpful staff (their ads are true, apparently ;)) soon put the solution in my hand.

Photo0196
Little rings to mount on Teacup Saucers for Hanging

Unfortunately, these little buggers are kinda steep. They don’t look it, I know… I don’t use them anymore. I have learned to make a sort of ‘basket’ out of wire for hanging, which I like much better anyway. At the same time that I was amassing teacup bird feeder supplies, I started thinking of putting a bird bath in my cool side garden:

Side Garden
Mini-Jungle on the side of my house

The flowers, trees, and shrubs attract all kinds of birds, including hummingbirds. Colorful berries and multiple feeders have turned my side porch into a relaxing haven – that is, until the mosquitoes decide to feast. Because of aforementioned blood-sucking menaces, I do not allow ANY standing water ANYWHERE in my yard. I can’t afford to lose anymore blood! (I’m so serious about this that in March, 2013 I made hubby put up a bat house. Apparently it isn’t interesting enough to attract any bats, but I patiently await their change of heart.) Still, the thought of the sound of dripping, dancing water, and the desire to attract as many birds as possible, pushed me to search for a fountain.

Dilemma #1: No power source. The majority of the solar-powered fountains out there are just what they say: solar-powered, When a cloud goes by or when the sun goes down there is no power.

Dilemma #2: No Power = standing water = increased mosquito population. We can’t have that! It turns out that a solar fountain is rather more expensive than an electric one, but not nearly as expensive as a solar-powered fountain with a battery back-up.

Dilemma #3: I just couldn’t see dumping $250+ into a water feature so began to despair of ever having a fountain in my garden.

Weeks dragged by as I tried to puzzle out my fountain question, while every day on my way to work, I walked past bags of teacups, saucers, copper wire, glue, beads, and some river rocks I purchased on impulse thinking I could find some use for – all sitting in the garage exactly where I left them – unopened and gathering greasy dust and cobwebs. I felt stuck between a river rock and a hard place.

I knew that something was driving me to create. I mean, I was amassing supplies to make something, but this something was a something unlike any of the somethings I had ever made before (that was a LOT of somethings!)

A few months back I came down with an extreme (for me) case of writer’s block. It felt like the well of words that used to pour out of me had run completely dry … had I said everything I could find to say? Some days, just thinking about writing left me exhausted, as if over the past few years I had written the well dry … or as if life had drained all of the words worth writing out of me. (One day maybe I’ll blog about the details of my journey just to give you a glimmer of understanding – suffice to say, my exhaustion is well-earned.) My lack of writing produced all sorts of guilt in me – irrational, I know – but what is the point of having a blog if you never write anything??

At some point the truth dawned on me: it was okay to take a break from writing. Beyond that, I came to realize my desire to work with my hands was a new creative outlet that, while different from writing, still came from the same source inside – the same place the music, sewing, gardening, all of it came from. Breathing a huge sigh of relief, I began to let go of guilt, (no blogging = guilt = creativity stymied) and that’s when things got interesting. I literally waved goodbye to my blog, certain that my writer’s block was seasonal (everything comes to pass, right?), picked up my vintage cups and saucers and started mining my brain for ideas like looking for miniature puzzle pieces to somehow make sense of where this journey was taking me.

Since I knew I did not want to pay the high cost for a solar (with battery backup) fountain, I started to imagine building one. Maybe I could even figure out how to use the supplies I already had. But, how?? The first order of business would be finding a water pump.

It so happens that I work for a pump and power company (irony abounds). I started hounding my coworkers, asking every question I could think of about water pumps (I sell pumps, mind you, but not ones this small – the massive ones we rent/sell move ponds from place to place or bypass sewer lines for maintenance and repair). But thanks to my job, I kind of knew what questions needed asking: How much pressure was I looking for from a pump? How high was I going to push the water? How many gallons per minute was I looking for – a gully-wash or a trickle? And those were just the pump questions. From whether to spray the water up or suspend an outlet to let it drip down to what kind of stand to mount it all on – the questions left my head spinning. I am not an engineer, people! But as fate would have it, turns out I am. 🙂 (Would it be ridiculous to tell you that in the middle of teacups and fountains, I also decided to convert 2 – not one, but TWO – bookshelves into closed cabinets? Now you know I’m truly insane, or maybe just compulsive stupid.)

Open Bookshelf
Unattractive Shelf Twin, Pre-Conversion

Over the years I have come to accept that I work through my problems out loud. For me, writing is one way of doing that … when I write I hear my voice narrating in my head as the words take shape on the page. I understand, of course, that not everyone does this. My husband, for example, works through almost every problem in his head before he talks about it. I’m just the opposite. I’ve often wondered if my brain needs to hear the words come out of my mouth (appear on the page) for my ears to make sense of them, whereas if my husband heard his thoughts aloud he might get that confused look my blabbering so often seems to evoke. So, to work out my fountain problem, I talked about it to anyone who would listen, and even some who wouldn’t.

My bird-loving neighbor topped the list since she shares wine with me on the side porch while we invent disparaging names for squirrels and new curse words for mosquitoes and outdoor cats (bird stalkers). She’s the creative type as well, so please check out her ETSY store here.

As I talked to people, asked questions, and most importantly, began processing ideas, a funny thing happened. In my mind I started “seeing” a fountain begin to take form. Almost every conversation I had became an idea mill and I started wandering through antique stores with a whispered mantra on my breath: try to think outside the box. It doesn’t come naturally for me to look at an object and imagine it being used in a different way. Still, whether it was something someone suggested, or just another person’s willingness to let me process the problems out loud didn’t matter … my ideas continued to take shape. The internet helped too. Researching other fountains, I ran across a tutorial on making one using a teapot and basin:

DIY Teapot Fountain Instructions

The way the teapot was mounted over the pump inspired me. I have a glass bowl with a metal stand which used to hold shells. The shells are packed away so I turned the stand over and created a way to mount a frog plate in a basin like this:

Photo0148
Froggy Fountain (with impulse buy river rocks)

You probably can’t see the metal stand supporting my frog’s lily pad, but trust me, it’s there. The solar pump I finally decided on fits perfectly underneath.

In the meantime, I found a way to use the teacups and saucers I had been gathering as well:

Photo0204
Sampling of my Staked Bird Feeders

This past weekend I attended my first ever craft fair as a vendor and managed to make a few bucks:

FHS Fall Fest 2013
Fall Festival 2013
Sporting Hanging Feeders
Above the Staked Ones

Over time, my journey became more about the conversation – the connection I made with other people – than the yard art. Lucky for ME I was open enough to talk it through with so many patient people (my husband’s response when I tried to explain my fountain idea: “You’re gonna have to draw me a picture…” 😉 ). Now every time I walk into my local Ace Hardware or the little antique shops in my area, the folks who work there ask for a progress report with pictures and inquire what new project I’ve taken on now. One of them came to the festival and recognized a sugar bowl I converted into a bird feeder which came from her shop. I have this whole network of people I never knew before – who I never would have known had I shied away from this new (and kinda scary) creative process. Reminds me of blogging a whole, whole lot. 😀

I am in serious doubt as to whether I would have found a way to create any of these pieces without the input of so many others. I think when all of the projects are done it’s going to be time for a garden party (there will be WINE)! Meanwhile, please feel free to contribute any ideas you might have on how I can beautify my (or someone else’s) garden. I have found the actual doing of the work to be therapeutic, and would love to branch out into new areas, incorporating your ideas into my thought processes. So, please, share away!

As always, thanks for reading. And, in case you’re interested, here are close-ups of some finished pieces:

Hanging Feeder
Hanging Feeder

Staked Feeder
Staked Feeder

Garden Candle to Hang from a Tree or Shepherd's Hook
Garden Candle to Hang from a Tree or Shepherd’s Hook

Bathroom Chest with Open Door
Did I tell you I found the shutters at a junk store for $15? They cleaned up nicely, don’t-cha think?

Master Bathroom with Chest
My phone just will not capture the colors: beige outside and in, antique white doors, bronze hinges/knobs. We used magnets to keep the doors closed.

The one in my dining room is definitely my favorite. When we had to extend the middle shelf’s overhang to accommodate the doors (which were too short), I thought a little tile accent might do the trick. I was not wrong. My husband cut out the top shelf’s backing (peg board) and put in a 1/4 piece of plywood for the finishing touch. Voila!

I'm so happy with the way this one accents my dining room - bright and cheery!
I’m so happy with the way this one accents my dining room – bright and cheery!

Both cabinets are now complete … the fountain will not be ready for display until Spring, 2014, so you’ll just have to patiently await the final unveiling.