comments 2

Compassion Won

Compassion Won

This piece, completed on Easter, began nearly a month ago when I sanded down a failed floral (failed in my opinion) and started over.

When I look back now, the floral was not as awful as my eyes had told me it was, and it set me off on a journey, from failed to fabulous…I felt I could see the beginning of a Quan Yin figure in this abstract.

I found a statue of Quan Yin my boys (pre-teen at the time) gave me years ago and began bringing her forward.

This is already a week into the process…I was struggling with something most of the month of March, I felt it was unprocessed grief, but something else was happening, that made me feel wrong no matter what I was doing. I mean everything, what I was saying, wearing, eating, activities chosen, direction for the painting, all wrong…what was happening?

I re-worked the painting again and again (a reel of the process will show up on Instagram soon). I was determined and yet baffled at my indecision and waffling. My inner critic scoffed and shouted…”What is wrong with you, why can’t you do this, you’re an artist for God’s sake!”

The painting kept drawing me softly back. Quan Yin is, after all, the Goddess of Compassion, a bodhisattva (a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so in order to ease the suffering of human beings). My treatment of myself was anything but compassionate.

The weeks wore on, revision after revision did not feel right. Today, I believe the answer came, when what to my wondering ears should appear, but a Podcast from Sounds True, http://Turning Shame Into an Ally

As I listened, I felt a deep knowing that this is what has been asking for my attention, shame was separating me from my wisest, most loving, most compassionate self and this information (a six-week course, available Tuesday) is (has been) a missing piece for me.

I am so looking forward to turning my shame into an ally instead of a tormentor, an emotional terrorist. I know this will help me be a better artist, more loving parent, partner and friend. I can now enjoy “Compassion Won” because it does not need to be perfect or fabulous, I know and accept that I am human and humans are flawed. I’m so grateful for the ways my art helps reveal my healing path and vice versa.

comments 4

Enhancing Creativity by

Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Neuroscience All Agree: Your Daily Routine Needs More ‘Non-time’ While your busy daily routine is healthy and productive, it may also be killing your creativity.

That headline from a recent article in Inc. by Jessica Stillman really caught my attention.

Jessica adds, “TED speaker Steven Kotler explained recently on the TED Ideas blog, non-time is basically a fancy word for quiet alone time when you are insulated from the world’s noise and demands.” 

How many of us schedule “Non-time” for ourselves? Are we successful in taking even mini-breaks throughout the day to assess our well-being and sanity, or is the hamster wheel or treadmill running incessantly?

“Pressure forces the brain to focus on the details, activating the left hemisphere and blocking out that bigger picture. Worse, when pressed, we’re often stressed. We’re unhappy about the hurry, which sours our mood and further tightens our focus. Being time-strapped, then, can be kryptonite for creativity,” Steven explains. 

Fortunately, we live in a time where there are many options to decompress, even if you have less than ten minutes. A quick trip outside to experience nature is the optimal choice. If that is not an option…then have I got a treat for you!

I recently remastered the Chakra Mandala Meditation initially created in 2010 and viewed over 9,000 times on YouTube. I’ve added mandalas created since that time and improved the image quality. Both the mandalas created and the accompanying music are specifically designed for healing and soothing.

Begin your mini-vacation with a few deep breaths. Inhale through your nose and let the breath originate in your belly, extend your exhale and add an audible sigh. Deep breathing while extending the exhale is proven to slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and assist in re-setting the autonomic nervous system. Let your gaze soften, eyes remaining open but unfocused, as the mandalas appear and dissolve before your eyes.

Let me know how you feel after your journey. Lather, rinse and repeat (as Brad Yates is famous for saying).

If you would like to be the first to know when new blog posts, videos and painting tutorials are released, you can join my e-mail community here: https://paintbyheart.com

comments 2

Finding Consistency

Vikki Reed in Studio 3-1-21

Ever on the search for finding that sweet spot of success, I was listening to a Podcast yesterday on Sounds True, with guest author (and personal branding expert) Jessica Zweig, who was promoting her book and sharing some tips. She had quite a bit of valuable information to impart and just as I was feeling hopeful, she said, “A very critical component to your success is…CONSISTENCY!”

Well crap…I thought instantly, the only thing I bring true consistency to is being inconsistent.

But as the aspiring optimist, I kept turning the idea around in my mind, and although at first glance I seem to be highly inconsistent, creating artwork over my career that includes desert landscape and botanical watercolors, mandalas in both watercolor and oil, and now mixed media acrylic pieces featuring an endless variety of subjects, women, birds, hearts, angels, florals, abstracts and horses, I recognize now that the consistency of creating beauty is the foundation.

At a low point in my life, while wondering what I contribute to a chaotic world, a dear teacher (Annie Bossingham) shared in a presentation that “Beauty is an antidote for violence.”

And what about the other work you do, Vikki? Biofield Tuning and the Emotion Code, how is that consistent?

It becomes clear to me that all the while, I have been working with frequency, whether in color, sound or vibration, to elicit a harmonizing effect. My intention since childhood has been to “help” (at times quite misguided) and now I understand that while it may appear that I am somewhat all over the place, the clear intention is to empower anyone inclined, by offering a menu of tools and techniques, creativity included, that can (may be able to) assist each in soul finding more presence, resonance, and a fully embodied journey through life, as we travel together on this magical, self guided adventure.

Be the first to hear about new videos, painting tutorials and new works, join my e-mail community at PaintbyHeart.com!

For more information on Jessica’s book “Be” https://www.jessicazweig.com/book

comments 2

Finding Stillness

Still Center by Vikki Reed

As world events grow increasingly chaotic, you may find a tendency to seek reassurance by managing outer circumstances.

Are my family and friends okay?  Can I pay my bills?  Is my job secure? Vaccine or no vaccine ?  What about increasing violence, climate change, the absolute uncertainty about the future?

It soon becomes obvious that if we wait for optimal outside circumstances to achieve inner peace, we will be waiting for an eternity.

Peace…finding stillness, can only be successfully achieved from within.  It is a shared truth across many spiritual teachings, as an example, many of us have heard “Be Still and Know That I Am God.”

On some level this is known by the wisest part of us and even so, ignored as we insist we are too busy for even brief meditations, walks in nature, a few deep breaths, somehow refusing to access the inner realm even though it can offer such relief.

In some ways it resembles organizing the junk drawer.  We know the peace and sense of accomplishment it will bring, but to achieve it, there is the daunting task of going through all our “junk”, and so we simply shut the drawer and go about more pressing business.

The “Still Center” mandala began in an unusual way, from the exterior edge (mandalas typically begin in the center).  First featured are hearts, protected by little spikes, followed by spirals.  Scrolls, diamonds and ovals cascade to the center, where an Om symbol resides, representing the soul itself, as well as the entirety of the universe.  Working the mandala in this way helped transition me from outer chaos to inner calm.

The image of a bicycle tire wheel comes to mind.  We are the wheel, one entity.  If positioned on the tire, where the rubber meets the road, the ride is going to be extremely rough, a predictable continuation of highs and lows.  If we can edge our way along the spokes to the center, the hub, our experience will feel much calmer.

These are challenging times filled with rapid (yet positive!) transformation.   I invite you to engage in the practices that provide the opportunity to rebalance… meditation, walking, absorbing nature, dancing, drumming, gardening, enjoying music, creating art/ mandalas; and return to them often.  Have compassion for yourself when you find your ride has become bumpy and ease your way back to your still center.

comment 0

Priority One

Priority One

Well, hello 2021, I had no idea you were going to be such a bitch.

It’s not even the second week of the year and I’ve had enough for now…enough sudden shocking events, painful realizations and deep disappointments. Yes, yes…I’m being overly dramatic, there have been some high points as well, and in reality, the lowest of the lows has given me a priceless gift, a gift wrapped in shit as one of my friends likes to refer to offerings such as this.

By Friday I was reeling. The same slap in the face kept coming, from different directions. With only one thing in common (me) I knew where to look more deeply. As I settled in to the morning breathing routine, I heard it…

“You keep hurting yourself and blaming others.”

Well, damn. I had a pretty good idea, but it’s so much more convenient to be mad at everybody else.

“You make others a high priority and expect that they will make you a high priority in return. When that doesn’t happen, you get hurt.”

Well, there it is.

Sure, from this perspective I can see what a bad idea that is and how it is a set-up for disaster, but I have never seen this pattern so clearly before. I get it now, I must make myself Priority One.

It’s easy to say, and we hear it again and again, “Fix your own oxygen mask first before you help another.” Yeah, yeah, I do that, but wait…

On closer observation, I almost NEVER do that. Then I get my undies in a bunch when what is important to me gets buried in someone else’s to-do stack.

Wow.

So happy I was working on (with) this horse and can align the lessons in and out of the studio. I believe this time I’ve gotten the message…

I am Priority One.

I’m sorry I called you a bitch, 2021, let’s be friends.

**Addendumless than 24 hours after this post, I received the following message in an e-mail from Suzanne Giesemann who channels Sanaya…it was just too synchronistic not to share!

Your needs may not always coincide with another’s. What is important to you is not always what is important to others. This can cause frustration. It may produce thoughts within you that the other does not care. Perhaps in different circumstances they care very much, but you have had many times when people do not know what is going on inside of you or in your earthly life. Could it be that way with the other who does not respond the way you would like? There is always another approach, another angle to move forward, and it may not involve that other. In fact, the lack of response may be just the opening you need that leads to a better way. Trust the Web, the Sea of Love that connects you all. Something better is brewing. Life … it is all about growing and loving and experiencing.

You are so very loved.

comment 0

More Questions than Answers, Not Simply Black and White


I loved having the answers. From the time I was a young student in grammar school, it was exciting to be called on and hear the teacher say, “That’s correct!” It felt so gratifying and affirming to know, to be right.

As I grew successively into the roles of employee, artist, wife, mother, friend and confidant, it was a source of satisfaction for me that people in my life often came to me for guidance in times of trouble. Knowing who I was, what to do, and be able to offer help to others gave me a sense of purpose.

The shift began in 2000 and everything changed. My marriage failed, my creative expression evolved and became more challenging, relationships crumbled, my confidence eroded rapidly. I began my quest in earnest for healing, a deeper spiritual connection, essentially to find out what was “wrong” with me.

In the 20 years that followed, my life has undergone, shall we say, a heavy remodel, basically, demolition to the very foundation. I have (erroneously) viewed this less often as an opportunity and more as tragic loss after loss. Creating mandalas, such as “More Questions Than Answers, Not Simply Black and White”, (from 2016!) has been one way to make peace with this experience.

It has been suggested to me that it is time to begin teaching. My response is that I feel more in the space of not knowing, without the answers that I assume everyone is seeking.

A friend offered…“What if you invited people into your process and let them see your search?”

This syncs up perfectly with the vulnerability practice I have been studying. It never occurred to me that I could be of value to others as I “sit with the unanswered questions”, which to me seems about as comfortable as letting a large spider crawl slowly up my arm.

Reflecting on this, it makes perfect sense. These are times of unparalleled transformation and change. I am simply one of the collective who is being called upon to question everything, feel the discomfort of the unknown, and take courageous and confident steps into the unseen future, trusting fully in benevolent collaboration with the Divine.

It is time to reawaken to a greater truth, access the eternal part of us that knows on the deepest level. How brilliant that we can encourage each other by being authentic and vulnerable along the way, offering presence instead of answers.

comments 4

Afraid to Fail

Afraid to Fail – Dark Horse

“Dark Horse” started off with such freedom and ease. I actually filmed the beginning for a YouTube video on using Golden Fluid Acrylics. I really loved the way the piece looked after stage one, and I enjoyed the process.

“In Process 1”

Part of me now wishes that I had added scribble or two and called it here…but I did not think it was “enough”.

I went back for Round 2 and at the end of that I had something “more” but I liked it less…

“In Process 2”

From here, things got a bit dramatic as I added and subtracted color and form, applied more layers, scraped, squinted, fussed and fumed, all the while trying to get it done “enough”.

I showed it to a friend and spoke a bit of my “process”.

Her response? You’re afraid to finish…

Wait…what?

My mind quickly disagreed, assuring me that she was wrong, I certainly am not afraid to finish, I relish a successful, satisfying completion! I asked for clarification.

She said, “While you are in process, working, it is yours, but once you finish, you will reveal it to the world and the potential exists for you to experience a negative reaction, judgement or rejection.”

In short, I am afraid to fail.

It makes so much sense now…before it is complete, I can say, “Well, this is just the beginning, just an underpainting, it’s going to be so much grander when I finish!”

Then my scrutiny and second guessing commence, squashing the freedom and joy first experienced in the beginning stages.

As with all things, this awareness brings new possibilities. Now that the shadowy, shy “Afraid to Fail” Vikki has made herself known, I can remind her, “Hey, we paint for US! Painting is an expression of creative energy. It doesn’t need to be explained or justified, and especially not buffed to an even sheen before presented to the public.”

Am I ready to paint solely for my own approval?

“Dark Horse” indicates some progress toward this goal.

I was comfortable leaving more undefined. The spiral at the neck of the horse with the green glow behind it is my way of expressing healing…of healing expression. I look forward to more exploration of painting with freedom and playfulness, releasing the need for anyone else’s stamp of approval.

Wikipedia defines a dark horse as a previously less known person or thing that emerges to prominence in a situation. I look forward to learning more about this fiercely independent and daring creator.

To view the video on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9z3Mf_HGAo

To join my mailing list tiny.cc/paintbyheart3

comments 2

Solemn Season

Solemn Season”

From January of this year, this blog post was somewhat prophetic, as we headed into the Pandemic, a volatile year filled with political and social unrest…

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.

We are now headed into another January, this one different from each that preceded it. We have all experienced loss upon loss, and learned so much about ourselves and our priorities.

My beloved Studio 6020 is gone, at least in the form that nurtured me through the most challenging creative evolution of my life so far. It has been reborn into something new as we all must be. Surrendering gracefully to change, and using loss as fuel, we enter 2021. We have unlimited potential to recreate ourselves and our world.

I will be offering opportunities to reconnect with your creative spirit, as I continue exploring how to stay connected with mine! You can join me here…

tiny.cc/paintbyheart3

comment 0

Let Go – Being Your Authentic Self

“Let Go”

Still working on the “no longer Daily” Bird Challenge, and doing the occasional Biofield Tune and Emotion Code Sessions for folks as well. While working on Bird 72, “Let Go”, I had the opportunity to work with a client who demonstrated for me in an unforgettable way, the pain of not being your authentic self.

Let Go…

I had the bird in progress and the let go text was hidden beneath the two dashes of red paint on the woodpecker’s head.

The session revealed to me a client who was desperately trying to hold in an enormous energy. Trying to be a small fish in a big pond. Why would one try to do this? I remembered back to my first days in a ten week long show. I was set up across from a very successful and prominent artist with a double booth display. Somehow on the first day I managed to sell two large pieces! I could feel the displeasure from across the aisle. The scowl and crossed arms I subsequently viewed confirmed what I sensed. I cowered and froze. The rest of the show was MUCH less abundant for me and conversely much more so for her.

This was a mistaken attempt to “people please”, avoid discomfort for others, a misguided act of generosity that is actually self-punishing and enabling in a destructive way. The time for behavior of this kind has passed. We are currently called to be our best and most authentic selves. It is essential that we be so.

Let Go…

Huge effort is required to keep a large energetic being small and contained. To do so will lead to exhaustion, confusion and depression. The idea that this is beneficial for anyone must be abandoned. It is simply a misunderstanding.

Living your authentic life can be alternately exhilarating and terrifying. You are simultaneously more vulnerable and more powerful. You may experience more criticism or disapproval from the outside, but the Department of the Interior will open up vast stores of resources previously unknown to you, and the resulting self appreciation will embolden you.

Let Go…

As I observed the client in session and began to sense just the tip of the iceberg of their talent and potential, and felt the suffering that was caused by trying to deny these gifts, I resolved to deploy my own authenticity, vulnerability and creative risk taking in more courageous ways.

I came back to the painting and covered it with the text…

Let Go…

Won’t you join me? Let Go and Be Your Authentic Self

comments 2

Portraying Emotion in Art – The Raven

Portraying Emotion in Art – The Raven

“Discovering Your Soul’s Purpose” certainly seemed like an important thing to do, so I spent the weekend in an astrology workshop that promised to show me. Unfortunately, the information was not penetrating my brain and my frustration level grew until I had to walk away from the workshop and relocate to my studio. I’m so fortunate that I can portray emotion in art and I proceeded to do just that.

There was an interesting under-painting on the canvas already, regrettably I don’t have a photo to show you. I felt that a raven would develop well from the foundation already in place and so I began painting, collaging and then scraping. Creating art that evokes emotion is so healing! I moved so much anger that my palette knife snapped right in half!

I really had not been aware of how much aggression was coming through until the palette knife broke and the business end of it clattered to the floor.

Stepping back to look at the raven, I didn’t love what I saw, but could feel the emotion in the piece, anger, frustration, deep grief…I wasn’t sure I would let anyone see it, I like to create beauty and did not see this as such.

In this time of polarity and division, my heart feels broken for the distance between us. I realized rather quickly that it is the inner conflict that cries out for healing. The wounded, excluded, ignored, “ugly” parts of myself (yourself?) that simultaneously beg for soothing and reject it.

This is our “work”, our assignment to heal our country, our planet, ourselves. Find the Shadow and love her/him, feel the light around her/him. Use your art, your creativity to come home to yourself. The more we are able to do this, the greater harmony, balance and tolerance we will cultivate within ourselves, and the inner will generate, radiate out…

If you would like more guidance on creativity, or if you are feeling blocked, get your 3 Step Guide for Reconnecting to Your Creative Spirit right here, tiny.cc/paintbyheart3

I am gathering together a group of souls interested in joining me to co-create/experience a 6 week course in mixed media art/creative living in early 2021. Leave me a comment if you’re interested and let me know your challenges, we can solve them together as creators.