I saw the vision of a woman. She coaxed me into the studio after these words popped onto the page of my journal one morning.
“He gave her paper flowers,
because he knew that she loved words.
Wax-pressed intent upon her heart,
that his voice within be heard.”
I thought this piece of art was finished when I framed and entered it in last year’s Artful Harvest show, hosted by my local art guild. Since then, she’s been hanging on a wall adjacent to my computer area. I walk by her every day.
She quietly holds space for me, like one of those tent cards that reserve your seat at a banquet table, waiting for me to venture back into the studio. Time in the studio, that once was Ray’s, comes with hurdles. It’s that grace and grief thing, creating a kind of chaos in my heart, healing through a cosmic codependency with my creative compadre, now on the other side of the veil after losing his fight with cancer. Expressing my creativity looks vastly different now as I work to heal beyond not only losing him, but also losing a breast to cancer just five months after his departure.
A couple weeks ago, my paper flowers lady told me that, though she might be in a frame, she wasn’t finished. Seems she wants to be adorned with more paper flowers, petals with words upon words, pouring down on her from the heavens. I am empathetic to her desire as I read the words left behind in cards and notes from Ray, place cards holding space in my heart, yet tiny in proportion to the love he sends me now. I embrace the wisdom of her determination not to be proclaimed “finished” when I douse in my quiet-time books and find Divine dialogs calling me forth into each day, as I journal and listen for the whispers. “Stop watching the clock,” my angels say. “You are given the heart to rise, the spirit to create beauty and reach for more. You are never alone. There are many with whom you share paper flowers on both sides of the veil. This you know!””
And indeed I do. When I uploaded my pictures for this post, appreciating the beauty found in the layers of textures, paint, and paper at every stage, I was reminded of this quote.
“Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul. And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know it. To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist. It is a melody that he sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination.” – W. Somerset Maugham.
Can’t quit now, right? As the writer-me puts the final touches on my first novel, The Luminous Slide, the artist-me yearns for messy visual wordplay in the studio, grateful for my love of paper flowers, the bouquets of words that pull me forward in this adventure to love life and express that love to the people in my life, grateful for the nudges that keep me evolving, never to be fully framed or finished.
Grateful for an intimate and active relationship with the creative process that lifts my spirit on good days and distracts me on bad days, for the patience it takes to cut and paste, and fashion word with art and spirit.
To make a thing of beauty within a messy life is a God thing. To appreciate beauty within a messy life is also a God thing – and our capacity to do that makes us all VeRy aMAZiNg beings.
Much Love heading your way, dEAr hEArTs, XO Bernadette
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