Rebirth, After the Fire
On July 31st my family and I had a fire in our home that claimed about 95% of our belongings and changed my life from the inside out.
Why the fire happened has many layers and meanings and it happened for so many reasons it hurts my head to think about it. But I'm not writing to talk about why it happened I'm writing to talk about what has come after the fire.
Fire is a great cleanser. It wipes out everything to create space and fertile ground for new growth. The charred remains and ashes feed the new growth and it can be a beautiful process of pain, vulnerability and the birthing of new life.
This painting titled Rebirth was a huge part of my healing process. I started painting it about two weeks after our house burned and we were in our new home. In retrospect I can't believe that I was able to focus on it so soon after the fire but then again it was paramount in my process of connecting with my emotional body, being present with it and expressing it, which to me, is the essence of authentic art. The reason (in my head) that I started the painting so soon was that it was supposed to be a commissioned painting for a client that hired me before my house burned to create a painting for her. The most amazing aspect of this project is that my client experienced the fires in Fort Murray 2 years ago. She did not end up purchasing the painting in the end but the process of it's creation was very eye opening for me and showed me just how intuitive a painter I really am. You would think that I would know that without question by now but I suppose I had not really thought about it until my intuitive process was challenged by this project.
The painting you see above is not the first, or second, or third version of the painting I did for the client but about the 5th version. It went on a journey with this painting and ended up coming out of the other side with a story to tell.
I preface this story in saying that I lay no blame what-so-ever on this client. I take full responsibility for not honouring my boundaries and listening to what my inner wisdom was telling me, and most importantly for not celebrating my intuitive gift and process. This is why I needed to experience this, so I could see for myself what pain and suffering I cause myself when I am not being deeply honest with myself and trusting that it is the only path to my freedom and abundance. The project began differently than my commissioned projects normally do. Normally, my client and I determine the animal spirit that I will be painting, often through my animal spirit guided meditation and I go to work channelling the soul imprint that is the essence of the animal spirit's gifts they hold for the client. The client usually receives the painting with open arms when it is complete. They trust me because they have seen my work and appreciate it for it's authenticity. This project was different however and I was influenced by my need for money at the time. I even allowed the price of the finished work to come down substantially and it was especially different because this was not an animal spirit painting for my client specifically as much as it was a piece to match the interior of her home. She also had a print of a painting that I had done 10 years ago and I feel she really wanted me to recreate that painting for her. The piece I created 10 years came from an authentic place within me 10 years ago and has stood the test of time. It is still a wonderful and powerful piece, but I am not that person now. I explained that but I'm not sure we were on the same page or that we were ever on the same page. Before I started my client wanted to get progress photos of the painting as I was working which is not how I work but I agreed to send a photo when it was at about 80% complete.
Fast forward two weeks....the painting was at 80% complete and I was very pleased with it. It was exactly as it needed to be, 100% authentic and stunningly beautiful to me. I was, however, very apprehensive about sending her a progress photo. I did send it to her though and that is where the project really went sideways. She was not pleased at all. She said that all she saw was fire in the sky, the ravens did not look like ravens and the ground was the incorrect perspective. Basically every aspect of the painting was wrong to her and I was absolutely. heartbroken. I told her I needed time to decide what I was going to do, and this is where I abandoned myself.
I can still see the little girl in me crying as I tried to take the fire out of the sky by adding grey and very quickly destroyed the painting. The young intuitive girl within me was watching me and feeling, once again, like the real her was not good enough. She had poured out her heart in pure expression and I covered it, tried to control it and ruined it and I could see how I have tried to control and cover myself to try to please others in my life. This torture went on for a couple of weeks as the painting got worse and worse and finally the sky turned into a blotchy mess of rainbow colours. Then I stopped. Not only was I processing my house burning down but I was putting myself through creative hell. Then I realised that the two were connected. The fire had shown me that I had to listen to myself and be myself all of the time. Not just some of the time and that is what this painting was showing me as well.
When I feel back into when I was destroying the painting I can feel how overwhelmed and disconnected I felt to myself and spirit. I was in my head trying to fix and control instead of allowing myself to Be myself and do what I do. That is the only way for me to create.
When I realised that me and my client we never going to be a good fit I discontinued the project with her, took a bit of time to mourn my painting, be in the discomfort of my emotions so that I could integrate those emotions and then I went back to it with love and easily reclaimed and completed the painting. It is different than the first original version but it went on a necessary journey to discovery that I am a 100% Intuitive artist and what an intuitive artist really is.
Much love to you and thank you for reading,