Hiljaisuus (Silence), 15x23

Silence. We don’t get enough of it today in our over-stimulation-seeking culture...in fact, silence makes many of us uncomfortable and we need to fill it with noise, the tv running in the background, or responding, Pavlovian-like, to noisy alerts on our iPhones, etc.

If I learned anything from my Finnish heritage it is how to do silence. Silence in the Finnish culture is valued. (Please read the articles I’ve attached).

Growing up in northern Minnesota my family and I spent a lot of time outdoors. We were constantly being told, rain, snow or -40 below, to get outside! Most of my childhood memories are of simply being outside,often times recreating (swimming, skiing, fishing, etc), but also just being with nature with no other agenda. My imagination was ripe with a world of Faeries and my backyard was a secret garden known only to me. So many hours spent in silence, looking, listening, feeling, learning about the flora and fauna surrounding me in a non-invasive way.

Silence, as the article mentions, in our cultural has a negative connotation, equated with a “lack of social skills”. In Finland it is a positive trait and culturally valued.

Stop. Breathe. Step outside. Find a quiet place. Engage your senses. Be still. Listen to the silence. There is much to hear, it may just not be sound.

https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/finnish_silence_can_be_golden_says_american_expert/6454371

https://nomadisbeautiful.com/travel-blogs/finding-serenity-and-silence-finland/

The Herald, 22x18, oil on linen, 2017.

When creating an image I never have a solid idea. Rather I find a location that inspires me, take along some props (maybe), and start shooting.

Later in my studio I sift through hundreds of images and choose the ones my spirit responds to...usually it’s a compilation of images. What story they will tell is only revealed later during the painting process or even upon completion of the work.

I think it’s fascinating that while my mind is responsible for the “engineering” component of the painting, it is my spirit that allows the painting to tell its story, and that something deep inside me, something that appeals to my psyche, knows the story before my mind does. It’s like a riddle I get to solve and the answer can only be revealed by working the brush against the canvas.

When I was pregnant with Willow (but did not know it yet) I remember walking our dog, Yeti, along the airport road in Gunnison and wondering why in the world I had butterflies in my stomach. This went on all day. I would find out just days later that I was, indeed, pregnant.

I always tell Willow that it was her beautiful spirit making itself known to me in utero.

The painting: Here is Willow, a beautiful, & magical spirit (who flits about like a butterfly herself) with one of those butterflies that heralded her arrival. They continue to invisibly flit around her, imbuing her spirit with light, laughter, & lightness. Or perhaps this is an annunciation of sorts, and this Herald Butterfly bestows something of magic upon this child, because children truly are the stuff that magic is made of.

With so much darkness in our world we need more magic, beauty, & light. Let this butterfly remind you to spread your light through playfulness and wonderment in the magic all around us...with the eyes of a child.

Release, 40x58, oil on linen, 2017.

When my oldest was 4 she nicknamed a white butterfly Rosie. Two years later she still exclaims, “Rosie!” upon seeing a white butterfly. She knows it’s a different butterfly, but in her wisdom she wants to hold on to each magical moment, to push pause, to slow it down, savor it. I suppose painting these moments is cathartic for me in some way, perhaps preserving this magic in paint.  This painting symbolizes the inevitable, the change, the flying away that will one day happen, for her and I.