Women of the Owl

In many cultures, a totem can be a sacred object, symbol, or a spirit being. The Totems class by Vanessa , on the Get Messy Art Journal website, has inspired many artists to examine what animal speaks to them...guides them...inspires them. What animal do we identify with that acts as a guide to help us complete tasks and head in the direction we need to be heading in our life right now?

It was not hard for me to find my spirit animal. I have always been drawn to owl. Owl flies into my life and perches in my brain as a reminder to be still and listen.

After the first lesson in Totems class, I created an owl and posted it to the community. Very quickly, other Women of the Owl emerged and a collaborative project was born. Sarah Rondon and Sofia from Tig Taghuri also identified the owl as their spirit animal. We each created a homemade journal, artwork on three pages, and sent them to the next person who did the same. After a year of flying and visiting each home, owl has returned to each of us.

When my journal returned to me, I had two more spreads to create. I spent a lovely Friday evening reflecting on owls. After finishing, I flipped through the book and was struck by how much my art has improved. Many artists say you should create everyday. I have done this during 2017. Seeing the difference in the owls I have drawn is a testament to that daily practice. How do you improve as an artist? Create everyday. It is as simple as that.

Owl taught many lessons during this past year.  I hope Owl’s lessons are valuable to you as well.

Owl wants you to remain true to your wisdom and voice. Owl values knOWLedge. Owl revels the  wisdom of silence. Owl reminds us to stay focused. Trust owl when you need to see truth. Hidden in the dark, owl watches over you with the secret of wisdom...wisdom which is also found in softness and selfcare. In some cultures, Owl is an omen of death. Death in the literal form, but also in a more figurative sense. Owl teaches us that change and transitions in life are not to be feared, but welcomed.  

 

Fly over to Sarah and Sofia’s blogs to see their journals. I am in awe of their art and vision. 

 

Here are the pages I created. The first four were done a year ago. The last two were done recently.

 

  This is the front cover of my zine. 

This is the front cover of my zine. 

     The word OWL is in the middle of knOWLedge. Seems fitting. 

 

The word OWL is in the middle of knOWLedge. Seems fitting. 

  I think this page shows my beginning status of art journalist. There are so many, MANY things I would do differently to this page today. I do like the owl's expression. I wanted to redo this page, but I am going to leave it to remind me of my growth. It is part of the journey, no?

I think this page shows my beginning status of art journalist. There are so many, MANY things I would do differently to this page today. I do like the owl's expression. I wanted to redo this page, but I am going to leave it to remind me of my growth. It is part of the journey, no?

  I drew this owl in November of 20`16. Compare it with the next two images. Is daily practice a necessity? Yes!

I drew this owl in November of 20`16. Compare it with the next two images. Is daily practice a necessity? Yes!

  I bought metallic watercolors. Who better to use them on than an owl with a crown?

I bought metallic watercolors. Who better to use them on than an owl with a crown?

  This is the latest owl I have created. I am struck by the difference between this owl and the one in the fourth image. Daily practice is important for growth. This owl has reinforced this lesson for me. 

This is the latest owl I have created. I am struck by the difference between this owl and the one in the fourth image. Daily practice is important for growth. This owl has reinforced this lesson for me. 

 

 

Sarah’s pages:

 

  I love how Sarah was inspired by the color of owls and used paper to communicate her message. Bravo!    

I love how Sarah was inspired by the color of owls and used paper to communicate her message. Bravo!

 

  Look at how Sarah cut the edges of these feathers. I am so inspired! This opens up a whole new world of possibility!

Look at how Sarah cut the edges of these feathers. I am so inspired! This opens up a whole new world of possibility!

  The softness of this page makes me feel calm. 

The softness of this page makes me feel calm. 

 

Sofia’s pages:

 

 

  Sofia's use of whitespace inspires me. I tend to cover my pages with color...mostly grays and blacks. This is beautiful.

Sofia's use of whitespace inspires me. I tend to cover my pages with color...mostly grays and blacks. This is beautiful.

 

 

  The depth of this page takes my breath away. Owl is truly hiding.

The depth of this page takes my breath away. Owl is truly hiding.

  Sofia must know how much I need this reminder. Self-care is not always my number one priority. 

Sofia must know how much I need this reminder. Self-care is not always my number one priority. 

Yes.

It is my nature to make others happy. If someone asks me for help, I help. If I am asked to be on a committee, I volunteer. If I am asked to mentor a new teacher, I mentor. I pick up after my family. I give of my time and my energy...to a fault.

The result? I am tired. I am a tiny bit resentful. I am drained.

However, I have decided to change my mindset and philosophy over the past year. I had too much anxiety and had gained that menopausal/cortisol belly so many women acquire after the age of 45.

After discovering how empowering art has been for my soul, I have adopted a new philosophy:

I will say YES to things I normally would say NO to out of fear, and NO to things I normally would say YES to out of obligation.

This new philosophy has opened exciting doors for me that I was not expecting.

After posting my artwork on Instagram, as encouraged by the Get Messy Art Journal community, I got a message from a friend who owns a funky clothing boutique. She wondered if I would be her Winter Downtown Art Walk artist. My work would hang in her shop for the month of December and be featured for the December 8th Art Walk.

Me? An Art Walk artist? I felt the fear bubble up and Imposter Syndrome begin to descend. I could never do this. Would people come? Would people like my work? Could I make a cohesive show that could be taken seriously? Should I sell my work? Would my friend be happy? Am I good enough?

I almost said no. But that voice that has been nagging me for so long slapped me across my face and said, “This is your chance to breakout of your shell. This is your chance to show people your soul. This is your chance. Say yes. Say yes.”

Yes.

YES.

The result? I have one WEEK to finish my show. Imposter Syndrome still brings the questions of self-doubt to the surface, but I am feeling more confident. I am doing this show for myself. If others come and like my work, that’s a bonus. This show is ultimately for me. I am excited to prove to myself that I can do this. I am excited to see where YES leads me.

YES!

Here is the invitation to my show. I would love to see you there.

ANIMALS OF MY SPIRIT.jpg
Invite.jpg

It's My Time

It’s my time.

I still feel a bit guilty writing those words. I am trying to let that guilt go… all guilt for that matter. So confidently and unapologetically, I write it again:

It’s my time.

Mothers, if we have done our job right, tend to set aside so many things for our children… our passions, our hobbies, our dreams, our oases… ourselves. Mothers by our very nature, put aside our own needs for the needs of our children. We feed ourselves last, nurture ourselves last, stay up nights worrying about our kids while our husbands snore the night away.  We are instructed to put on our oxygen masks first, before putting them on our children. But how many mothers actually do as instructed? We put on our oxygen masks last.

So, I put my kid’s needs and passions before my own and I regret none of it. I have raised two amazing humans. Humans who are going to make a difference in this crazy world. Humans who are going to bring beauty into the world. Humans who are already doing these things. The pride I feel in my children cannot be described. It has been, and continues to be, my privilege and honor to be their mom. I will always feel the pull to do whatever it takes to make my kids safe, happy, and successful.

But it’s my time now.

For years I drove my kids to their music lessons, practices, and performances. I cried tears of joy when they beamed out at audiences applauding them wildly. Laughed gleefully when their passion shone through their performances. I proudly affirmed that yes, those are my kids. Yes, I certainly am proud of them. Yes.

But inside I felt jealous of my kids. Jealous of my kids? After these performances we’d go home, the kids would go to bed, my husband and I would chat about how lucky we are to have such great kids. Then, I would lie awake and feel sad. I missed making my own music. I missed creativity. I yearned to rediscover the artist within myself I had let go into hiding so many years before.

Five years ago, after working up the courage, I called my son’s piano teacher and asked if she took adult vocal students. “Of course,” she replied, “but you have to bring the wine.” I have been bringing the wine, singing, laughing, talking, crying, and rediscovering my creativity with her ever since. But there has been a nagging voice within me encouraging me to create visual art.

Create visual art? Me? I was told I really was not a great artist during an Art 101 class in college by a teacher’s assistant who “taught” our studio time. I listened to him and hung up that dream.

Until recently.

I wanted to create. So I did. So I am. And I love it. I am an artist, no matter what some teacher’s assistant says. (The educator in me says he will never make a great teacher if he makes blanket judgements as he did to me.)

So I offer my words and my art to you on this website. I hope you enjoy.