Tag: art

Your idea is your treasure (c) Marika Reinke 2015

How to Make Magic: A 6 Step Primer (Part 2 of 3)

This post is a continuation from Part 1 posted last week.  In order to be successful with Part 2, Part 1 is required reading.  You can’t make magic by skipping steps.  Come on, you know that.  😉

Step 3: Plan

Yes, I know, planning isn’t really the way it works in the movies or in fairytales. Unfortunately or fortunately, real magic does not require a magic wand, staff or mirror. And magic isn’t going to happen if you just wish for it or say some magic words. Sorry. Life would be easier wouldn’t it? But then, it wouldn’t be such an adventure either.

Like any good potion though, it does require ingredients, and planning is one of them. So we must add a Plan to our potion.

Idea. Believe. Plan (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Idea. Believe. Plan (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Remember, you are an apprentice. Like any good apprentice, you will have to work hard, study and learn in order to make this potion work. Think about Harry Potter, he had Hogwarts, a whole school and curriculum to study magic! Even Gandolf the Grey learned, toiled and practiced until he became the White Wizard.  Don’t you want to be like him?  I do.

If you want to practice magic, you must commit to being a student of magic. You must always plan.

It will help to think of your plan as a treasure map that will help you get from where you are now to your Idea.

X marks the spot (c) Marika reinke 2015
X marks the spot (c) Marika reinke 2015

You are building a map to attain your Idea. The more detailed this map, the better.

So lets do it.

1. Articulate Your Idea

In words, pictures, writing, song, you must spend time really understanding your Idea. You must know this Idea inside and out. You must create a vision of what the world would like if your idea came true. How would your life change? What will you have accomplished? How will the world be different? What artifacts will have been created as a result of this idea?

See yourself in the middle of your idea. What does it feel like? taste like? sound like? Put yourself there and then describe it, record it, perform it in whatever method works for you.

Be as specific as possible.” I kinda think it will look like this…”, “I’ll try…” or “I hope…” does not cut it! Use direct action words, start with ” I will…”

Your Idea is Your Treasure (c) Marika reinke 2015
Your Idea is Your Treasure (c) Marika reinke 2015

Paint exactly what your Idea looks so you know it when you get there without a doubt. This is your treasure, treat it like a treasure!

As you learn more about yourself and your Idea, you will come back to this vision, over and over again, adding facts, tweaking and rewriting. That is life. But the Idea is the same, do not waiver from the Idea. You must believe ( see step 1).

2. Create Goals

Goals are the key markers to getting to the treasure. Think about a treasure map. It will take 2-5 years to get to the treasure, but in three days you want to cross the river. Crossing the river is a goal. It is the smaller steps towards getting to your Idea, it marks progress and gives you a sense of accomplishment. It gives you hope. You will need hope.

Magic. Is. Hard.

The bigger your Idea, the more goals you will need. Why? Some goals will be easier to attain and some might come easier than you think. If you have the goal, you will know you made progress. It will give you hope and keep you motivated.


What can you achieve that will mark your path on your way to your Idea? Think about this, research this question, read some books and talk to people. They will have different ways of getting to your Idea and they will be helpful. As you think and research start brainstorming goals.

Write or draw each goal on a separate piece of paper.

When you create your goals make sure they have these components:

  • What will happen?
  • How much?
  • When?

Keep creating goals. Brainstorm all the goals you can that will help you feel closer to your idea. Remember you are putting each goal on a separate piece of paper. This is important!

So many Goals (c) Marika Reinke
So many Goals (c) Marika Reinke

It’s a mess isn’t it? Maybe even overwhelming? Here is a sad truth; somethings must get worse before they get better. (Sorry…suck it up…and keep goal crafting.)

Goal Map

Once you have a good set of goals, let’s make it better. Detangle them. Make a map.

Which goal needs to happen before others? Which needs to happen first? Which ones last?

Lay each goal out from first to last. Some goals can run parallel to each other, overlap a little and some will happen at the same time. This is ok. This is great!

How Will You Know?

Now that you have a Map take a look at the first few goals and ask:

How will I know that I have accomplished this goal?

In other words, how will you measure this? If you don’t know, go back and rewrite your goal. You must have a way of measuring your goal. It is simple, if you don’t, you won’t know that you have achieved your goal.

Because seriously, how can you celebrate if you don’t know what you are actually achieving?


This is the fun part! What is the use of goal if you don’t have fun? You Must Have Fun! Fun is deadly serious necessary business.


Create a reward system for attaining a goal.

You want to make $1000 dollars in a month? When you do, have some chocolate, drink some wine, buy your favorite sweater in that catalogue, ring a bell, dance, do it all and just make sure you do something that makes you feel good.

When you achieve a goal, record it somewhere. Create a book of goals you have achieved, or put it in a fancy box, sing a song or paste it on a poster. Make it colorful. Make it real. Make it feel like your goal really did just happen!

You want to watch the pile of achieved goals accumulate.

Pile of Goal All Done! (C) Marika Reinke 2015
Pile of Goal All Done! (C) Marika Reinke 2015

This will make you powerful!

The more powerful you feel, the stronger your magic.

As much as ideas define you, goals define the attainment of your Idea. Without goals, a map, and a celebration, no magic.

3. Strategize

Strategy is the how, what, where and who you need to make your goals happen.

Think of your treasure map. Are you going to go through the woods or over the mountains? Are you going on horseback? How will you get a horse? by boat? by caravan? running or walking? Will you do this alone? bring your family? what about friends? when will you do this?

Pick 1-3 Goals that you are comfortable starting now. These should be ones at the front of your map.

Ask of these goals:

As I stand right now, do I have what I need to achieve this goal?

Do you need additional

  • skills
  • resources
  • people
  • money
  • time
  • knowledge

to attain that goal?

You may need to take classes, educate yourself, practice, research, read, meet people, talk to people, develop yourself or stop doing something that is killing your time. You may need people with those skills you don’t have and who want to help you.

If you need more of the above, make a goal to get it and add it to your map.

Refine your goals. Make sure you have everything you need to make them happen. Be honest with yourself.

Are you sure you have the right 1-3 goals to start with and everything you need to achieve them?

Let’s move on.

Think in NOTS.

Ask the following of your goal;

What can I possibly do to make sure this goal does NOT happen?

No, seriously. Try it out.

Here is an example:

Goal: Sell $1000 in paintings this month.

My list of NOTs:

Let no one know I sell paintings. Do not price my work. Do not reasonably price my work. Do not show people my paintings. Do not talk to people about my painting. Do not show any enthusiasm for my painting. Do not love my painting. Do not post my work online. Do not share it on facebook or other social media. Do not contact galleries about my work. Do not contact interior designers about my paintings. Do not ask people if they want to buy my painting or commission my work. Do not actively search for people who like and buy art. Do not seek out ways to provide alternative affordable options for buying my work.

Now try it. Go on, get it out of your system. Give me all the NOTS you can think of. Take your time. It kind of feels good to get negative…in a productive way.

Is it clear now?

The point is:
Plan to Give Your Goals Opportunities! Lots of Opportunities!

I must say it again. A goal will never be achieved unless you plan to give it opportunities.

After you have listed as many NOTs as possible, delete the NOTs and you have the beginnings of your tactics.

Now get specific.

Spell out the when, where and how for each tactic.

Your tactics need to be flexible, this is a strategy. Make sure you have more than one tactic for how to achieve a goal. Why? One tactic will be more successful than another and sometimes it will surprise you!

Here is an Example:

  • I’ll share my work every week day (when) online on Facebook (where) and twice a week on my blog (where and when) These posts will include a picture of my work, a description, price and a means to contact me (how).
  • I will contact via email or phone (where) one potential buyer once a week (when), introduce myself and my work and ask for a brief meeting or studio visit to discuss my painting (how).
  • I will hold an Open studio party at my studio (where) once a year when (March 28th to be exact!) and invite people to review my work, purchase prints, paintings, commissions and socialize.

Now, you have a lot of work to do, don’t you?

I’m tired too.

I’ll leave you to it. It takes time to articulate your Idea, create your goals and build your strategy. And like all the steps, they are dynamic and you will return and tweak them. Over and over again.

But the more time you spend thinking and working on your plan, the stronger your magic will become.

It may seem like we are close to done, but we are only half way there. There are 3 more steps and they are just as critical as the first 3.

Magic is serious business.

Until next week.

Part 3 of 3: How to Make Magic


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Dana's Tutrle in Progress (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Dana’s Turtle: A Mother Daughter Dance

Dana's Tutrle in Progress (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Dana’s Tutrle in Progress (c) Marika Reinke 2015

It is interesting to me how the practice of art is a melding of personalities and roles.  The artist is the giver and the receiver is the subject or client or both.  But somewhere in this process, I feel I’m gaining a very precious gift and our roles are reversed.  I am grateful.

My daughter wants me to paint her turtle drawing (this is absolutely necessary since I finished Daire’s Dragon).

Daire's Dragon (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Daire’s Dragon (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Daire’s dragon in many ways reflects him. It is all energy, desire and a frenetic wanting of everything without compromise.  My son is 5, almost 6.

This turtle is calmer and more grounded, like my daughter. We saw baby turtles in Mexico this winter and large green turtles laying eggs in Costa Rica a couple years ago.  It was magical, of the real life kind, both experiences were awe-inspiring.  Unlike a dragon, turtles are a real life story. She draws what she sees and learns, she is very scientific and loves the natural world.

Dana's Tutrle in Progress (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Dana’s Tutrle in Progress (c) Marika Reinke 2015

When she saw my progress, she was clear she wants more stimulating colors like the dragon – a golden head for example. This surprised me a little.  She wants, in many ways, more of me in the painting. She also expressed the knowledge that I was only just beginning, and had confidence the end would be a lot different.  She pays attention that way.  

What I’m noticing is that through art, the giver and receiver express their relationship and that relationship matures in the process. It is very intimate and so wonderfully human.

I feel this in all the paintings I have done for others, but witnessing it being expressed from my daughters point of view is very touching and expanding. She is 8 almost 9, and really defining herself as a person. In doing so she is also defining me as her mother. She is making sense of me.

And this is in part what this painting is about, a mother making sense of her daughter and her daughter doing it right back.

Something we will do for the rest of our lives I suspect.  I am grateful for it.


Let me know what you think with a comment or send me an email at [email protected]


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Nurture (c) Marika Reinke 2015

To Nurture a Watercolor

Being pregnant is a victory and triumph. It is a miracle that, even if you experience it differently, is not a simple task. It is complex, complicated, at a point inexplicable and by virtue of this - absolutely awe-inspiring. That accomplishment deserves a loud colorful scream - I did it! I did this! Look at what my body can do! Celebrate!

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A Light Embrace (c) Marika Reinke 2015

A Light Embraced

This painting is inspired by a friendship and her vision. To know her, is to know someone embedded in a journey with peace, not just of her own but to those most suffering. And in her journey, her deep strength unseen, her soothing calm beneath the surface. She carefully tends to herself as she rushes to tend yours. Her ability to do this is awe-inspiring.

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Borderless Doubt

I don’t know about you, but this has been a difficult week. It is as if I have been traveling for so long that the wonders of the world no longer shine with their marvelous newness.  I know what’s happening is awesome, but I just don’t feel it.   Once there were highs with each success, now there is just a “BLAH” – done it before.

I have been doubting myself and my goals.  Maybe, I’m not good at this.  Maybe I can’t possibly make this work.   Maybe I was wrong about synchronicity and meaning.  Maybe, I need a new high? I’m good at other things, and unlike art, “proven” to be good at it. Seriously, I’m a really good teacher, project manager, designer and other things.  I’m an ideal employee.

BUT, it really did seem like when I started sharing my art that I was making not just a good choice, but one that cracked open a view of the world that made everything fall into place.  An authentically, meaningful choice.  

I’ve been trying.  I’ve been coaching myself and telling myself this:

 Doubt is a natural part of the artistic process, dance with it.  

But doubt is a sucky dance partner, all he does is step on my feet and piss me off and he won’t leave me alone!  Grrrrr….

This morning, I woke to two unsolicited messages.  Seriously, they were in my inbox when I woke up from two separate but wonderful souls.

One is a cartoon from a friend from: http://themetapicture.com/born-like-an-artist.

Born Like an Artist - http://themetapicture.com/born-like-an-artist/
Born Like an Artist – http://themetapicture.com/born-like-an-artist/

And then this one:

“So since I’m still up at 3 this morning, I want to tell you how incredibly beautiful your print is, and how much it means to me. The gold details bring such life to the vivid colors. The curves and circle touch something deeply feminine in me. And the reds and oranges takes the pain and hurt that has been my life-long companion and turned it into beauty. You created art that speaks to my soul, and I will forever be proud to have your work grace my home.”

Garden on Fire Detail (C) Marika Reinke
Garden on Fire Detail (C) Marika Reinke

And there it is again; this is meaningful!  This is the right choice.  

Dang, it is hard though.  It is a boiling pot full of doubt, self-reflection, points of weakness, victory, beauty, vision and giving, giving, giving but… it is the right choice. And there are no borders – it is messy.

More awe-inspiring are two in-tuned people out there who snapped doubt back in place for me this morning.  Thank you.  Keep doing that to everyone in your life.

I think we all should.


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Love Interbred with Fear (c) Marika Reinke 2015

In Search of the *Perfect* Companion

Meet Hate.

Hate (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Hate (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Hate is a very time consuming, energy sucking, and destructive pet.  Not only does he ruin every rug in the house, pilfer every cabinet and consume all food; he is sure to eventually eat you.  And you will be Dead.

For this reason, I do not recommend Hate. When you are in sustained pain or in a series of painful events, Hate may lurk under the porch light.   My advice, let pain swell, listen to Hate knocking, but leave him at the door.  He is not for you. You are better off.

No Pain is better than Hate.  But being the absence of something is boring and shapeless.  It is the epitome of “Eh” with a shoulder shrug.  No Pain is numb, dull, anesthetized and blobby.  No Pain will not kill you but will definitely waste your time and life.

No Pain (c) Marika Reinke 2015
No Pain (c) Marika Reinke 2015

If you are looking for a permanent companion, I do not recommend No Pain.  There may be moments when you welcome No Pain; after a visit from Hate, or a really tough day at work or in the family.  But No Pain should always be a temporary acquaintance.

I guarantee you will love Love.  Everyone loves Love.  Love feels good, warm, comfortable, life affirming and joyful.  Love is a warm kiss and hug, a cup of hot chocolate, a cuddle, a heart bursting life affirmation, a good laugh, a connection and a purpose.  Love promises much and can deliver on it and more.

Love (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Love (c) Marika Reinke 2015

I promise, you will be happy with this companion. Love is an excellent choice.

But, Love is only as good as her conditions.

For an even better life companion, I recommend a special crossbreed that will bring all the benefits of Love plus a thousand more.  This crossbreed brings purpose, satisfaction, energy, empowerment, meaning, wisdom and unconditional Love.  She may not be as beautiful, neat or symmetrical as Love, but this partnership will change your world, challenge you and return more than you expected.

This happens when Love is bred with a healthy understanding and acceptance of your Fear.  



Love Interbred with Fear (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Love Interbred with Fear (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Warning: This interbreeding takes time, tending, reflection, constant care and a lot of forgiveness.  But, it is when these two opposites interbreed that a life of magic can unfold. When you commit to live with Love while embracing your Fear, you are unstoppable.







This is living with Courage, a perfect companion.

Courage (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Courage (c) Marika Reinke 2015









Goodbye Adrian (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Goodbye Adrian: A Story of Miscarriage (Jan 2015)

Goodbye Adrian: A Story of Miscarriage (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Goodbye Adrian: A Story of Miscarriage (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Through the echoes of death, love, blood, fear and sad slow tears we rode this goodbye learning that being lost in the unknowable, uncontrollable, unimaginable only brings wordless awe for the mystery of life.

All things happen for incomprehensible reasons. Souls were meant to meet. This soul needed a fleeting chance to feel our love and a name to be complete.

watercolor 16″ x 12″ 

about My Miscarriage

In 2008, I miscarried.  I sensed something was wrong and an early  7 week ultrasound proved the pregnancy was not viable.  Adrian had not developed past 5 weeks.  We grieved; our already-named baby, our hopes, our plans for our kids and our imaginary family.

I waited for the miscarriage to happen naturally.

Week by week went by and nothing happened.  I still felt pregnant, I was nauseous and irritable.  My confused body still wanted to tend to the Adrian’s lifeless form.  I felt weak, tired and sad in my waiting.  It was a time of intense numbness and many tears.

After 4 weeks, I began to miscarry and it went terribly wrong.  The bleeding was too heavy.  At the ER waiting room it went from somewhat concerning to intense and scary.  I passed out.  A black, cold, viscous faint that sucked my life force and took away my capacity to think.  I lost far too much blood.

I was revived and received an emergency D & C.  When I woke from the operation, I was enveloped in a deep sadness.  Adrian almost took me with him. I felt stuck and empty from the violent parting.  My capacity to create life had almost taken my own life.  

Untitled Chaos (c) Marika Reinke 2008
Untitled Chaos (c) Marika Reinke 2008 –  I painted after I miscarried 2008.

It is not a coincidence that I became pregnant with my son the same month that Adrian would have been born.  It was our last goodbye and parting blessing.

Miscarriage is a silent and common grief many women bare.  At least 10% – 35% pregnancies are estimated to end preemptively.


This painting was featured on the cover of the German magazine raum&zeit May 2016 issue.



Original Available: $500

Prints Available: $75

Email me for details.


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Break Through (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Break Through

Break Through (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Break Through (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Growth emerges in surprising places.  A bloom can crack concrete or fire.  The rigid is lost as life flexes and expands; an articulate chaos, inscrutable design, unstoppable change.

Watercolor 8″ x 5″

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If Frida Kahlo Defined a Woman: Six Lessons

 She did not create to please you

Look at her.

Self Portrait with Thorn Neclace and Hummingbird. Frida Kahlo
Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird. Frida Kahlo

She is un-impressed with you, the viewer.   You must prove that you are “good” enough for her.  You must come to her and on her terms.  Can you even begin to understand her?

She is fierce, defiant, unabashedly sorrowful and reserved.   Her reserve is ever-present like a question mark in her work.  A sign of pain, distrust and distance despite the intimacy of her work.  Her work is authentically hers and it is your privilege to be viewing her.

She did not care if you thought her beautiful

Equally, she accentuates the flaws that most modern woman would Photoshop;  the mono-brow and mustache.  They highlight the realness of her, a person, not a beauty to behold.  They highlight the masculine and feminine; the not-one-or-the-other and certainly not afraid of the un-attractive.

These “flaws” invite you to look inside her through the symbols of her work; entrapped in a thorn necklace or held up by a broken column.  Her goal is to be real, so that you might understand and become more authentic with her.  In order to do this, she painted what you would not call beautiful and with un-seeable symbols whose only life was on canvas and in her mind.

Frida The Broken Column
Frida The Broken Column

 She was not squeamish

The Two Fridas 1939
The Two Fridas 1939

Blood is a life force, it sustains and connects.  It binded her many selves and kept her alive at times she didn’t want to live.  She had much blood in her life; in her accident that left her immobilized and subject to intermittent bouts of pain and in the miscarriages she suffered.  She was not afraid to paint the painful truth even if it contained blood or made you uncomfortable.  Discomfort makes you think differently, it teaches compassion and it transforms.  It is a fact of life and you can not hide from it.  But you can learn from it, feel from it, think about it, connect with it and experience life more deeply because of it.

she unleashed her passion

She felt all her emotions fully, and held them with equal weight in all her relationships.  She did not brush them aside to please her lover’s passion.  This was true in her passionate, unfaithful and complicated love of her off and on husband Diego Rivera (and famous Mexican painter) and other lovers both male and female. And equally apparent in her fierce loyalty to Mexico, her home and birthright which bruised her with its macho and sexist culture both unfaithful and unjust.  She loved deeply and fully with equal pain, complexity and intensity, enveloping the connection as close as atom to atom and as large as the universe.   

The Love Embrace of the Universe,the Earth,Myself,Diego and Senor Xolotl,1949
The Love Embrace of the Universe,the Earth,Myself,Diego and Senor Xolotl,1949

 she could not be silenced

Ultimately, through her persistence, her voice was heard (and even more loudly in death).  Despite criticism, troublesome health, consistent and debilitating pain and deceit, she remained stubbornly steadfast that her voice mattered and painted on.

The Wounded Deer by Frida Kahlo
The Wounded Deer by Frida Kahlo

Life = Art

It is impossible to talk about Frida Kahlo‘s art without referencing her life.  Art = life and few artists are as intimately and personally raw as Frida Kahlo.   And she was right.  In  work, family, friends, leisure, in love and grief, in joy, tragedy and triumph – it is life, un-separated and without compartments, where art begins.  This space that holds the hours, events, the world and people paradoxically together, is a brave and lonely space and yet strangely connects and unites us.

If you would like to learn more about Frida Kahlo I recommend reading this book.  Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo – October 1, 2002  by Hayden Herrera

You can also learn more on the Artsy.com Frida page here: https://www.artsy.net/artist/frida-kahlo

It is the book that inspired me to begin my journey as painter which I’ve referred to in the following posts.

Where Does *Talent* Come From?

I’ve been thinking about this lately.

7th Grade Report Card
7th Grade Report Card  – Conduct Needs Improvement

My report card from middle school.  A regular “A” student and good kid, but something is wrong in Art class.  I remember being unsatisfied and I don’t remember why.  I can’t recall the teacher’s face.  She was mediocre and made it clear that I was a mediocre art student (B’s were mediocre in my family and the highlighting is mine).   And by the way, I was good at Math but I didn’t like Math. That “A” had very little to do with “Like”.  I liked art, my friends, writing, playing sports and reading.

And this

My old work from 2002 when I was inspired to pick up a paint brush and paint.  I painted from photographs, read books and pushed through countless so-so paintings (I only kept the best of them).  I was heartened knowing that Frida Khalo didn’t start painting until she was 19 when she was suddenly bedridden and immobile after a horrible accident.  I always thought  creative talent was a birthright and to be an artist you needed to express it in youth like the genius Mozart.  (I can’t comprehend that statement now, especially after having kids.) The realization that this wasn’t true inspired me to work, knowing the more I worked the better I would get.

And now, 2015.

I paint well enough that it touches people (not everyone), sometimes to tears, sometimes to buy my originals and printshire me and even to consider tattooing my work on their bodies.

Painting is important to me because painting is an act of love, and one that I’ve committed to making the center of my life.  Love at the center of life – that is powerful.     

It is easy to blame that teacher for stifling my creative expression.  It is easy to blame a culture that creates the fantasy that talent, (especially creative talent), is born, not worked for.  Or I can blame my  “Type A” family that let that “B” slide because it was Art class and therefor not important.

But faults are in the past.  Blame is useless.  Blaming takes no responsibility for the future.    I tell my kids, there is no use telling me whose fault it is, the question really is “How will you move forward learning from the experience?”

It is never too late to start answering that question.  How would you?

If you would like to learn more about Frida Kahlo I recommend reading this book.  Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo – October 1, 2002  by Hayden Herrera

You can also learn more on the Artsy.com Frida page here: https://www.artsy.net/artist/frida-kahlo