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“Fierce” is the third and final incarnation for the 30″ X 30″ canvas you see here.  Ten years ago, the canvas looked like this…

Land of Enchantment

and was titled “Land of Enchantment”.  It is from the hugely fun for me and equally poorly received “Plane Air Series” which began with my looking out the window during a flight over New Mexico and observing the circular irrigation systems.

Learning acrylics within the last year gave me hope that I could give this canvas another chance at love by sanding it down (it is an oil), gessoing over it and beginning again.  May of 2017, it looked like this…

Fierce underneath


The past few years of life have been characterized by a continual theme…reaching for stability that no longer exists, grieving relationships that have been dismantled, bewilderment over belief systems that disintegrated and most disheartening for me, the loss of what I felt was mastery in my field which I consider to be art/painting.

Not that I’ve ever “made it big”, but I have enjoyed some measure of success, and I’m very grateful and proud of my body of work, the desert landscapes and botanicals of the nineties, the mandala series beginning in 2004.

July 3rd of 2016 I began an (important) piece, the “Heart and Soul Mandala”, which took shape with amazing speed, Heart and Soul with leaves

what you see here was completed in two days, the “heart” portion of the piece, if you will.  What happened on July 5th completely knocked me to my knees and a year later there is no further visible progress on the piece.  The “soul” portion remains to be explored.  If you wish an explanation as to what happened on the 5th, please refer to Melissa Among the Wolves, a blog by my very dear next door neighbor George, but prepare to have your heart broken.

As I even now attempt to process what happened, for me it was/is a huge call from my soul, with whom I realized I have a very dysfunctional relationship.  I was completely unaware of this, considering myself a spiritual person and on an introspective journey for the last twenty years or so.  In the past year I have had the opportunity to work with several wonderful healers (I’m so happy to share and/or recommend if you reach out to me).  Books that have landed in my lap are “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer and “Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul” by Deepak Chopra.

I am slowly realizing that what I have been reaching for (comfort, stability, a sense of success and mastery) are not my true desires, but rather, as I begin to build a relationship with my soul, leaning into “the discomfort of not knowing” is the true path to freedom.

The glimpses of this have come through the painting process in the last few months.  If I can persist through the excruciating discomfort of not knowing what I’m doing/where I’m going, at some point, the magic takes over and the unfoldment of the painting is a collaborative process that leaves me with the unshakable knowledge that I am loved, guided and never truly alone.

I knew trying to express this in a short blog post would be challenging.  I hope to give some encouragement that this soul journey can be wildly rewarding, even when it feels like shit.  Stay “Fierce” my friends…Fierce-color


Filed under: Blogging, Creative Living, Healing Art, History, Loss, Mandalas

About the Author

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As a Phoenix native, Vikki Reed's vibrant watercolors of desert botanicals evolved from her love and appreciation of the desert's ability to produce tender beauty in the midst of harsh conditions. The mandala series which began in 2004 resurrects a childhood knowledge that mandalas are a primordial tool for centering and healing. Vikki studied in the 1980s with watercolor greats Irving Shapiro and Paul Kuo, and began exhibiting at the outdoor shows in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico after Paul's encouragement. This led to gallery representation with the Wickenburg Gallery and Work of Artist's Gallery. Vikki also exhibited at the Celebration of Fine Art for eight years. Before taking sabbatical to act as caregiver for her father in 2010, Vikki was featured in a one woman show at the Northern Trust Bank in January 2008 and was selected to create an ornament for the White House Christmas Tree that same year. Vikki's current focus, the Mandala Series, combines ancient symbolism and the healing power of color.


  1. You always express from the truth of your Soul Vikki.., even if at times the connection to it feels elusive to you. What a journey. What a privilege to be able to read your words and know the resonance of a shake-down. Truly a beautiful piece of writing and a fierce new work of art! Thank you for the inspiration! Love you!

    • I’m so grateful to you, Charles, I appreciate your reading and commenting, and always being supportive of me through all my soul phases, gently observing for me when I whine and celebrating me when I am fierce! The inspiration and the love is mutual!

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