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Daily Bird

Daily Bird #1 – Stepping Out

With extra time for self reflection in this Pandemic year, some shortcomings have come to my attention. The unending quest to refine the caliber of my creative expression finds me bumping into some hurdles which led me to scour You-Tube for answers. I found the perfect video The Drawing Advice that Changed My Life https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6NsEDwHHiE at the perfect length (10:06) and so I settled in. What Struthless shared was powerful, bringing me right back to the very beginning (1987), and my painting dad Paul Kuo’s foundational advice, “If you want to be a really great painter, you must paint every day”. At the time I was working ten hours a day regularly during the week and painting only on the weekends. I began plotting then and there how I could quit my job and paint every day.

Two years later, quit my job I did and painted happily at first, then marriage, kids, family responsibilities, caregiving, love, loss and life seemed to constantly re-prioritize things. Fast forward thirty years and I am once again in a place where I am focusing more on art. I still seem to find lots of distractions and often inexplicably avoid being in the studio. Last year, events which will not be described here necessitated my studio being completed emptied and new flooring put in. I have somehow not made it my home again yet.

Struthless says, in his video, you must paint every day, and not only that, but paint the same thing every day. This eliminates the question, “what should I paint today?”, and one can get right to the business (or play) of creating. Another way to express the message came to my attention recently, “If you want to dig a well, you need to dig one fifty foot hole, not fifty one foot holes.”

Message received.

So off I go on another odyssey, (without leaving my house) to find the deepest, purest, most quenching wellspring of creativity. I’m going to paint a “Daily Bird”, for the next 100 days.

“Stepping Out” is day 1. You can follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/CCypmadHfn3/ to see the daily pieces if you’re curious. I know I am!

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“Sammy’s Gifts”

April 25, 2018 was an ordinary day until I found my myself slamming on the brakes to avoid a small ball of fluff I saw out of the corner of my eye, in the middle of busy Phoenix street (Northern Avenue!) in 5:00 traffic.  Somehow this 6-8 week old kitten had avoided being flattened, all but the tip of his little orange tail.  I had help from a Good Samaritan (hence the name) scooping him out from under my car and off to the vet we traveled.

I had no intentions of bringing another cat into my home, my senior cat Max is in his waning years and frankly doesn’t have the habit of playing well with others.  After a visit to the vet to determine the well-being (or lack of), age and sex of the kitty, I brought this strange little bundle home without really knowing what to do next.

The first thing we experienced was almost a deal breaker, Sammy was so tiny he really didn’t have the hang of eliminating efficiently, and kept stepping in his poop when he turned around in the cat box to cover it, then scampering happily out into the house, tracking kitten poop and kitty litter everywhere he went.  I coined the phrase “Shituation”.

Some adjustments were made, and I decided it was in part about me learning to adjust my belief that relationships are shitty and that in order to receive love and cuddles, I had to do a lot of damage control.

Sammy turned out to be so sweet and affectionate, and my appreciation grew that the  Universe had literally stopped me in my tracks to rescue this fur baby.  As he grew though, it became clear that his true love is hunting, (both Max and Sam are indoor/outdoor cats).  Initially, he would bring me cockroaches, lizards and even small snakes, and then larger and larger prey, frequently still very much alive for me to play with.

It became intolerable in March when he proudly presented me with a very large and viable rodent in  the wee hours of the morning, which required all my courage, creativity and the able assistance of my unseen friends (who I implored to help me) to evict said rodent from the house.  I began keeping the door (that leads from the laundry room with the doggie door in it) shut at night, which led to very restless nights.

This past week, two separate mornings included a double dose of critters (details provided upon request) and I began asking why Sammy and I are still together…he no longer seems affectionate, but obsessed with demonstrating his hunting prowess, more like a feral cat, and I simply could not understand what he was showing me, as Dr. Phil likes to say, “There’s something about that person (being) I just don’t like about myself!” 

This was also the week that the 100 day breathing practice (shared with my Qi Gong family on Zoom) came to completion, on Saturday.  As a part of this practice, various readings and quotes were shared, one of which led me to purchase the book that held it, “The Three Sisters of the Tao”.

                     “The way of your true self is this, you are a temple of miracles, a living altar of soul and cells.  As a love child of heaven and earth, you are angel and animal entwined, a creative genius illuminating cellular structure.”

                                                                   (Terah Kathryn Collins)

I am still early on in the book (page 23) and as I read this page yesterday, the primary gift that Sammy brings became crystal clear.

As you know I don’t write all the time, I have become increasingly bored with too much content, and this might be more of the same, but when I am shown the precise choreography that the Creator employs in order to evolve me lovingly into my best self, I feel compelled to share, in hopes you may recognize the same effects in your own experience.

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The Old Warrior

May 19th will always be my Dad’s birthday, first and foremost in my mind, not totally sure why that is and although I still celebrate him, he is no longer on this plane, at least in the physical form.

He came to mind strongly last night, a little song he used to sing…“Show me the way to go home, I’m tired and I want to go to bed, I had a little drink about an hour ago and it went right to my head, Oh…wherever I may roam, be it land or sea or foam, you can always hear me singing this song, show me the way to go home.”

My Dad liked to sing a lot, he still knew his high school fight song by heart, nearly eighty years after first learning it.  When he had forgotten a lot of other things, that song was still fresh in his mind. That was of course, not the only thing to love about my Dad, he exemplified so many admirable qualities; intelligence, a quick smile and dry sense of humor, a fierce loyalty, a generous nature and a way of facing adversity with enthusiastic trust that a solution would be found.  It is not so much that he was fearless, but rather that he knew he could trust his courage, coherence and creativity to bring him safely through any storm.

The idea of painting a lion began a week or so ago after a particularly moving Panache Desai Meditation during which he suggested we call forth our inner lions.  I love big cats and had an inspiring reference so I began the piece.  I liked the title “Braveheart”, and felt it aptly named this lion; strong and fierce but not ferocious, with a quiet wisdom in his eyes, evidence of the power one has when one already knows one is powerful and there is no need to prove it.

When the creative dance began, I had a strong direction, then the painting shifted, and I let it lead.  The push and pull was thrilling, then frustrating, I stumbled a few times, but feel pleased with and accepting of the outcome.

With the last few brushstrokes, as I was telling myself to step away from the painting, I heard the title…“The Old Warrior”, the name by which my father called himself during the last years of his life.  The tears came immediately, not so much tears of sadness, but of appreciation, as the realization dawns once again that although separated physically, the energetic connection remains, that our loved ones in non-physical are intimately present for our daily affairs, and the sequence of synchronicities that brought this crescendo moment are nothing short of miraculous.

Art always brings a message.  This piece is meant to express that love is ever present , that there is peace and wisdom in trusting the power within you, and that the help we need to overcome any challenge always travels right beside us, just a whisper away.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

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Re-Emerging

2020 dawned with hope for great change, which came “in spades” but it was not the change most of us had envisioned, or better stated the instigator of the change was not expected to be a deadly and mysterious virus…

I was doing my best to be in the studio, bringing forth what wanted to be expressed, and a canvas that felt particularly intriguing to me had already rejected several of what I thought were very fine ideas.

Then I saw her…Nefertiti, how exciting!  I found reference and she came forth quite magically.  I called her “Re-Emerging”.  So enchanted was I that I did not share her with anyone at first, keeping her at home as we began quarantine and the months went by.

It is the middle of May as we begin re-entry into life with little resemblance of “as we knew it”, and I set about writing her story.

Nefertiti means “the beautiful one has come forth”.  She was described as “a grown woman with harmonic and balanced beauty.”  She was chief consort (wife) to Akhenaten as he created upheaval in Egypt by dismissing polytheism in favor of worshipping the Sun God Aten disrupting  the established power structure.  He also relocated the national capital and supported a new style of artwork that broke long standing conventions by depicting people, animals and objects more realistically, with curves, imperfections and the illusion of movement.

What is her message as she comes forth in 2020?  I was struck by her beauty, but due to the heavily textured canvas, she is not unblemished, and I appreciated that as well, authentically beautiful even with her scars, not feeling the need to hide them.  How ironic to discover that the “hidden” face of Nefertiti had wrinkles, less defined cheek bones and a bump on the nose.  The sculptor (of the bust) chose to use a final layer of stucco to smooth her edges and perfect the features.

Could her message be that living authentically and vulnerably is both beautiful and powerful? That acceptance of all aspects of ourselves, especially the ones we have always rejected, is the path to freedom and peace?  That one can remain balanced and in harmony even during times of upheaval and great change?  Finally, that we are both human and divine and embracing both may give us the richest and most satisfying experience of this life?

My hope is that she inspires you to embrace yourself fully and find the courage to live authentically and vulnerably.  Once again this painting informs me that while I think I am creating art, the art is really creating me.

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Hello Again

For almost four years now, I’ve been asking for the paintings to lead me, that is, rather than me deciding what I want to paint (I still do that sometimes too) I play on the canvas with color, stencils and collage until I see something and then attempt to bring it into being.

Playing with this piece initially, I saw what I thought was a dragon…

So I began to bring the dragon “out”. There are things that I loved and lost about the initial piece, and I continue to learn so much about life, and about myself through the process of each painting.

This time of the Great Pandemic has brought incredible gifts, along with the terrible loss and suffering many are experiencing. For me, it is a time of coming to acceptance of the parts of myself I have always tried to pretend weren’t there (imagine how that feels to those unintegrated parts!)

I’ve had the tremendous benefits of daily QiGong Breathing practices with my QiGong family on Zoom. There is Panache Desai’s daily Call to Calm Meditation. Synchronicities are showing themselves in delightful ways, and the dragon showing up is certainly one of them.

Once the door to the dragons had been opened, I started seeing them everywhere. I was directed to a presentation on Dragons by Patrick MacManahan, (fascinating). Then in the breathing practice on Mother’s Day, I heard “Open the Dragon’s Gate”. I asked my friend Google and was led to a book “Opening the Dragon Gate”, the authorized biography of the contemporary Taoist expert Wang Liping, which I am now devouring!

This particular painting revealed to me how much I feel the need to do things “the right way” and how lost I feel when I don’t know what that is…for example, what my dragon looks like and/or what a fantasy landscape that I have not seen “should” look like. I began to wonder whose rules I was trying to follow and why. I believe another gift of the pandemic is to realize that the way we have been living our lives may be out of balance with our True Nature, that some parts of our lives absolutely need to change, that we have the fortitude, creativity and resilience to accomplish those changes and that doing so will vastly improve the quality of our lives and the earth as a whole.

The dragon symbolizes protection, success, wisdom, loyalty, fearlessness, strength, balance, and immense possibility. Being the master of all four elements of Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind, it also embodies primordial power (qi).

I welcome dragon energy back into my life, I can’t think of a better companion to have, through this challenge and beyond!

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“Love You Mama”

“Love You Mama”

There is a LOT of content out there right now and I don’t wish to add to anyone’s overwhelm, but today brought me a pretty unforgettable insight, and in the off chance that it will be helpful to any of you, I’m sharing it.

The painting has less to do with today’s message specifically, except that today actually is my Mom’s birthday (April 3rd) and although she is gone thirteen years now, I still think of her most days.

A lovely gift has come from the “stay at home” orders, the gift of daily ZBE practice with my much loved Qi Gong family (via Zoom) and before you tune out, I mention that because ZBE (Zhineng Breathing Exercises) have demonstrated to me on multiple occasions that they beautifully connect me with my deepest wisdom.

Today, day 10 of our group practice, I got off to a rough start. As the meditation began, my heart was hurting to a frightening point.  I grabbed my (Biofield) Tuning forks and directed coherent vibration into my body, specifically at the thymus point.  I was checking my pulse oximeter to see if my O2 sats were good, and they were, but my heart rate was jumping around erratically.  I requested, “Please stabilize me and whoever else is going through this”, as I felt it perhaps was not mine.  Things returned to normal very quickly and then as we started breathing, the police helicopter started circling my neighborhood.  “What is that?  I thought…”I should check, what if I need to take action?”

Then the gold dropped in.

Whatever is happening, Vikki, you can choose to contribute chaos (fear) or coherence (love, harmonized qi), and the choice is yours to make again and again.  Yes, there is chaos happening, but your response can be coherence which can perhaps diffuse things, but even if not, you won’t compound the “problem”, but instead be contributing to the eventual solution. Conversely, if you choose chaos, and more fear, basically it is like trying to extinguish a fire by dousing it with gasoline.”


The helicopter circled for forty-five minutes.  I practiced inhaling and exhaling coherence and harmonized qi.  It was so beautiful.  I found out later that there had been a bad accident near my home.  Could I have helped?  Not by adding shock and horror, but by sending love and coherence.

For more information on Zhineng Breathing Exercises or Qi Gong, see https://qigong-for-life.com/

For more information on Biofield Tuning see https://www.biofieldtuning.com/

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Solemn Season

Solemn Season”

Time in the studio has been scarce these days, not so much because of events I can blame, but because I am avoiding the discomfort of the unknown, not feeling my direction, stumbling rather than striding confidently through my creative work.

The value of being able to take classes at Studio 6020 is absolutely immeasurable as it provides the opportunity to paint with a wonderfully creative and supportive group of artists, most of whom are not artists for their day job, but are talented designers, musicians, real estate and business professionals. Under the direction of our “Pied Piper of Creativity”, Kathy Taylor, we are stretched and encouraged, and the group energy provides something else hard to define.

Last night was the first class of 2020 and I was feeling particularly world weary. I started the assignment with my usual cheery palette, but felt the inauthenticity of that pretty quickly and the colors began to mute. I reverted back to subject matter that is deeply familiar, a path and sparse trees. The painting began to reveal to me the depth of what I was feeling and I was not initially grateful.

As much as I like to stay on the lighter side of things, life is not all fairy dust and unicorn farts. Sometimes things happen that hurt; grief and sadness rise up, fear and anger burst in, and the feelings of desolation cannot and will not be ignored.

If I want to show up for all of my life, and I do, I must be willing to experience the occasional solemn season, in fact trusting that there is beauty in it, even if it is just to reveal by contrast the fullness of joy that will return when the season passes.

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Liberation

Liberation Altar

I usually write about adventures while creating art (paintings), but today, as my phone blows up with messages from friends and acquaintances struggling with all manner of issues; relationship conflict, grief, loss, indecision, crippling self-doubt, fear about the future, and so on…I was asked to create an altar.

Forgiveness was what first came to me as the theme, but as I settled into the stillness for guidance, it was “Liberation” that wanted to express, and make itself available.  The “Liberation Mandala”, painted almost ten years ago, features the story of its creation, beginning January 23, 2010 with the words…”If I believe my jailer is anyone but myself, I can begin by disregarding that notion.”

While that statement might meet with loud protests, the familiar concept of choosing to be a victim or a creator is present here, with the option of choosing to reclaim one’s power when viewing any situation or perhaps better stated, rising up for the Eagle’s Eye view, seeing things from a higher perspective.

From the I Ching (Brian Browne Walker) “The Higher Power uses conflicts and obstacles to teach us lessons that we refuse to learn in an easier way, but they only darken our doorstep until we accept and acknowledge the lesson.”

It is often easier to believe in an outside villain, rather than coming to terms with the awareness that our suffering is for the most part self inflicted, or even if initially inflicted by others, self-perpetuated.  See The Work by Byron Katie.  But with the willingness to examine this also comes the freedom and power to liberate oneself from the old stories and limiting patterns.  One recently discovered tool for this is The Emotion Code, (in which I have recently become certified), but you can also use this technique on yourself.

This altar is created with the hope and intention that a reassuring energy will exude, that you will gently and lovingly find ways to accept liberation and let go; of old stories, the pain, struggle, limiting patterns, and fear…opening ever wider instead to a glorious new existence where miracles are the order of the day.

From the Course in Miracles (message for THIS day!)  “Perhaps it is not yet clear that each choice you make is one between a grievance and a miracle.  Each grievance stands as a dark shield hiding the miracle it would conceal.  Even on examination you will not see the miracle beyond, yet all the while it waits for you in the light.”

May your perception shift more and more toward seeing the miracles that are yours.

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Green Light

Green Light

The process of “Green Light” was so remarkable to me, I feel compelled to write about it, if for nothing else than to remind myself  how cathartic and magical the process of painting authentically can be.

In another lifetime (2008) I was offered a show (at Northern Trust Bank) for which I needed to provide 50 original pieces.  I had a great body of desert landscape/botanical pieces, some mandalas, and I was just developing a line of “Plane Air” pieces, inspired by flying over New Mexico and seeing the patterns of the farm land.  Although I was highly entertained by the Plane Air series, it remains my least popular work.  I knew it was time to give “Divided Land” a new lease on life…Divided Land

I turned the piece from horizontal to vertical and went to town, freely applying both white and black gesso, and used some newly discovered chalk paint and foam stamps.  It was FUN!

GL base

In keeping with my recent intention to paint what wants to be seen, be directed by the piece, I was delighted to see a face in the painting, it is about a third of the way down, I used line to show it here…

GL Face-edited

It was easy to find reference to support what I already saw and the face took shape on the painting.

 

GL Face begins

Things were progressing well, except that I was not liking what I saw!  Not only in the painting, but in life.  Parallel themes were running, message being, “this isn’t right”, “you’re not good enough”, “why can’t you get this?”  All the magic had disappeared, I was experiencing disappointment, disillusionment, self doubt and some very painful self judgment.

GL-not right

What happened to the exuberance and freedom of just last month when I was feeling on top of the world, Riding the Rainbow ?

Suddenly I was feeling like I hit some unseen bump and my iridescent steed galloped away without me, leaving me bruised and battered, face down with a mouth full of mud.

The feelings of frustration and failure were truly excruciating.  I had to walk away for a few days…I considered changing the name of the piece to “Me and My Shadow”…then, drastic measures were in order.

GL gessoed

I had to have a fresh start.  I really struggled to understand what was happening and how I could get to a better feeling place.  A friend said to me, “You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable”…YES!  That was it.  I was attempting to outrun my feelings of fear, failure, unworthiness…I could not tolerate my SELF!  When I calmed down and sat with what was, acknowledged, accepted, allowed…the desperation softened and I could return to work, eventually finding a satisfying outcome.

Green Light

So once again, I present, “Green Light”.  I SO appreciate what she taught me. “Be willing to look back, but without attachment.  Find satisfaction (at least acceptance) with what is, and the YOU that you currently are, freeing  yourself to create even more, without angst, grasping, proving, or concern about what is ahead.  Trust in a beautiful unfoldment, ease and elegance.  You have the green light.”

 

 

 

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Riding the Rainbow

Riding the Rainbow

Life is pretty great right now.  There aren’t many dilemmas, probably the biggest challenge I face is choosing a subject when I want to paint.  I got the message a few years ago that I was being asked to “paint what wants to be seen instead of what I see”, and for a (recovering?) control freak and rule follower, admittedly this is easier said than done.

I few months ago I learned about sigils and thought that was the greatest thing EVER, so I made a sigil for “I have a satisfying intimate relationship with my Inner Being”.

sigil-rough

I love that idea, but the painting was a mess and was not doing anything for me…Sigil-Inner Being

so I kept adding paint and pattern and waited.  Finally, I felt the idea of a horse nudge me, I found a suitable reference and began to paint.  As the horse took shape, I was having fun and this morning I heard the name of the painting drop in…”Riding the Rainbow”.  I googled it just for giggles and what to my wondering eyes (and ears) did appear but a YouTube video featuring Elvis singing a song that could be the Vikki Reed theme song.

While Elvis is singing, he repeatedly fiddles with the radio dial, which I interpret as his desire to strengthen the signal, be in greater resonance with the channel of his choosing, clearly receive the “Divine Broadcast” as my Dad would say with a grin and a twinkle in his eye.  Since my other preoccupation right now is Biofield Tuning, that seems deliciously uncanny.

 

The song makes reference to a heart open to connecting, but also being completely fine with being alone, “being alone don’t bother me…”I’m free to have fun, it’s fun to be free”, and this short but sweet mantra, “I’m living to love, I’m loving to live”.

Bashar says synchronicity is a form of abundance.  I agree and I feel wealthy with delight.  When things like this occur, it’s hard for me to contain myself, I want to share the marvel of what has happened, the joy of knowing that the Universe is conspiring on my behalf, and seriously, yours too, when you take time to observe.

It would appear that the sigil has worked its magic, and that I do indeed have a satisfying, intimate relationship with my Inner Being!  I wish you the same, along with abundance and synchronicities galore!