There is no hope in understanding a marriage. It is bound by love and faith, not analysis. There is love in one another and more importantly love in what they create together. This home, this family, this feeling, this conversation, this intimacy, this strength, the gift giving, forgiveness and courage they form together and this friendship only exists in this marriage. It is incomprehensible… and a wondrous fact.
Are you looking for inspiration? A little down to earth reflection and renewal? Want to stay current on what’s new and what to expect from Marika? My emails are food for thought packaged with color, soul and humor.
This commission is taking me a long time to finish. I make three decisions and then I’m exhausted, and the paint needs to dry. I walk away.
As I work, I think about my client. She has an irreversible and deadly disease. This painting is for her life partner as a parting gift, in memory of their life together. Their best memories are in the water, the mantas are metaphors and symbols.
Thrilling, intimate, scary, flowing, connecting …. fill in the rest here.
We all know life is finite. But it is another thing to know death is looming. It is another thing to be touched intimately by it and be asked to partake in the goodbyes.
I love her (my client). Every decision is a worth a million more than the thought that goes into it. I want to have all the time in the world to finish this painting. I want anything to slow down goodbyes. I never want this painting done so she can never give it to him. So she will never die.
So I slow down. And reflect on color and life.
The Birth story: color and life
Of the images she gave me, there were sea turtles, mantas, sea life, water, underwater corral. Of the words she gave me, mantas, moving together, light and colors, love and the stories she has shared with me about them.
This image burned for me. This is sketched and painted on 9 x 12″.
Which eventually led to a rough idea and agreement.
I changed the mantas as little as I worked on the larger image which is about 26″ x 26″. They are purple; regal and spiritual. They come together in a more fluid shape. They merge so one is undecipherable from the other. The energize each other at the connection point.
And then I add background color. I also altered the color scheme a little, adding deeper blues and simplifying. The challenge is to keep the eye on the mantas while creating motion, energy, support and a story with color. A vivid purple draws the eye in just the right places, there should be color and contrast where meaning occurs.
The aquamarine frames the mantas. Dark colors keep the eye inward. The yellow draws the eyes to it and the mantas. Purple and yellow are complimentary colors, they glow next to each other.
Now I’m happy with the basic composition which is different than the first sketch. I took what worked from it and added and subtracted. Then, I return to the blues and yellows, softening, shading, darkening and adding depth.
This week, I came back to the mantas with more layers of colors and shading. The rewards for patience pay back huge in vibrancy and motion. The mantas are deeper purple now, the result is higher contrast which builds more energy and richness to the painting.
What is left?
I need to keep working the shading in the two mantas, their upper bodies are still a bit ill-defined and the background colors still need a few more layers for richness and just the right frame.
She loves it. Believe me, she would tell me if she didn’t. I’m relieved and joyful. This project aches, but I’m so pleased that this painting is doing what she wants and needs it to do.
I live for family vacations. Time with my family is life-giving and I love getting to know my kids 24/7. This time I watched as my son flourished in the pool and kicked his swimming skills up another notch. My daughter continually warms us with her love of nature and animals, she explores both thoroughly.
I love Costa Rica too. It is a magical place. It slows me down to the rhythm of my heartbeat and I settle into the slow pulse of the blood in my veins. A wonderful slow dance.
It was hot in Playa Potrero but we had a pool, great whole food, awesome tropical fruit, met some wonderful people and enjoyed some beautiful beaches nearby. We didn’t move fast on this vacation, some mini-golf and horseback riding for the kids and pure relaxation for everyone.
I’ve been back since last Monday. The journey home was tough: delayed departures, delayed arrivals, missed connections, lost baggage, taxi drivers that wouldn’t take our fare at 2 am and a 3 hour drive home from Portland in a rental car for lack of better alternatives.
Seattle has a different speed that I find difficult to adjust to. I’ve felt a little down and lack energy from plane rides, a stressful return and change in weather and food.
Here, I’m being pushed forward at life speed. Things move differently here.
But I’m grateful. Seattle has given me much to report and prepare for! Aside from having a commission already lined up upon my return the following happened:
News #1. I’ve been accepted into a juried art fair Art in the Park at South Lake Union on May 7th from 11-6. I’ll be posting more about this shortly.
This was awesome news already but this weekend, this happened:
News #2.The Northwest Arts Alliance has picked me as their featured artist for May! Yes, I’ll be featured in their May newsletter and in marketing for the South Lake Union Art Walk coming up on May 7th. Already, this site is getting a lot more hits on my gallery and shop, thanks to a preliminary post on their site. What will this bring? The news was entirely unexpected.
It is bittersweet, but for now I bid Costa Rica goodbye to don my many work hats. I’ve got a lot to accomplish in a week and a half.
At my studio party on Saturday, a few people asked me last night if it was hard to let my paintings go. And I answered no. As I’ve let them go one by one I have prepared myself for each sale and it has felt good. I love my new profession.
That night was a good night. Beyond expectations.
Six of my originals sold and all ten original watercolor pendants as well as many prints and scarves and cards. At one point there was a line for sales and our house was hard to move in. My husband commandeered me; no more socializing, I had to help him take credit cards.
After everyone left, I finally had a glass of wine. The next day I tried to let it sink in. There is a strange disconnection that occurs for me as I watch my goals unfold. It takes me awhile to quit doing and just absorb the reality, the lovely reality. I’m flying.
My husband, family and I chatted about what went well and what could go better. I had a goal for 2015 to sell 10 original paintings, I’ve already exceeded this. I need a new goal. My son says maybe I should set a goal to make ten million dollars. 🙂
He knows I like to say anything is possible.
After the Studio Party
As I looked at this bare wall I ached a little bit at this mass departing. In a good way, it is bittersweet and joyful, but there is a little ache. Painting is an act of love and I love each one like a child or piece of me. They are moving on to loving homes.
The sale of the originals are the hardest parting. They carry the handprints of my thoughts, reflection, and the love and ache of painting. And the people who bought them will forever be stamped with the memories and emotions embedded in them. We are merged in some way, some friends and some strangers. That is what makes the parting so sweet and satisfying.
In memory and appreciation the following originals have moved on or will be shortly moving on.
And the watercolor pendants which lived such a short life in my hands! They are all gone! I love them and like children, I’m excited for the next phase of their lives.
There is lots of good news but the best news is I’ve got some serious painting to do!
And I’m incredibly grateful for the support of the community. What a wonderful lift off. Thank you!
March 28th, I’m having my first Studio Party at my house. And I’m just going to confess this: I’m excited but terrified. If I thought I could get away with it, I wouldn’t do this. But, I know I have to. My husband insisted and he is even more of an introvert than I am. I can’t say that I want to be an artist and not invite people to enjoy my work. Well, duh.
In many ways, this will be a coming out. This is the official event announcing my transformation from teaching faculty to professional artist. It really is something to celebrate!
But on my list of things I’m not so comfortable with: crowds and being the center of attention. Sigh.
I actually like a good party. And I love to eat. And don’t get me started about wine. 🙂 And I love that art is about people and relationships. I love the mutual gift that is art-making.
So head down, I persist. We will have art, gift cards, scarves, some pendants, wine (for my nerves) and appetizers.
So far we expect maybe 40 people. I will see good friends, old colleagues and a good handful will be bringing friends and people I don’t know.
And another plus; I’m going to apply to some art fairs this year. The jurors want a picture of an art booth. So in the next few days, I’m transforming the dining room into an art booth for the Studio Party. Why not?
My vision; navy walls, cream and/or gold tablecloths, classic wood furniture, accents of burgundy and fiery orange. Flowers and chocolate. Paintings dripping from the walls and furniture. Classy, formal and someplace you want to stay and peek around for awhile.
I can hear my husband rolling his eyes. Me and my visions mean a lot of work for him.
Wish me luck! I can’t wait to see some of you soon!
My father, who died 17 years ago, used to keep a 5 gallon water jug for spare change. It was a way of saving, a game and my confession: my brother and I used to “steal/borrow” from it as children.
Dad wanted to see if he could fill it up but he expected to live much longer than 49 years…so he didn’t. And our sneaking didn’t help his goal, the quarters disappeared fast.
After he died, my mom kept it and added a little to it over the years.
Today, she handed it over to our kids; a heavy bowlful of change that can’t be counted in one sitting. It is a gift from a ghost and from a time when having kids were little more than maybe a thought to the 23-year-old me.
My kids are through-the-roof excited.
Dad touches them, with a small habit, very tangibly right now like a small bit of time travel. I’m happy he could give them something they feel at this age, a small brushing of souls.
He touches us in many unseen ways too.
And maybe he meant to save the money for them and maybe he didn’t. I don’t know.
But legacies play this way. We think we know what we leave behind, but we don’t. We just do our best and leave it for the people left behind to make meaning of it. The meaning making is our legacy.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
A healed body is a fit body copyright Marika Reinke.
SOLD: Casting Prayers in Puerto Vallarta (c) Marika Reinke Read the Full Story: https://marikareinke.com/2015/01/06/casting-prayers-in-puerto-vallarta-january-2015/
SOLD: Road to Recover (Fall 2014) copyright Marika Reinke Read the Full Story: https://marikareinke.com/2014/11/12/roads-to-recovery-fall-2014/
Conception by Marika Reinke Watercolor
Metamorphosis copyright Marika Reinke Read the Full Story: https://marikareinke.com/2014/12/17/metamorphosis-dec-2014/
SOLD: 2011: Dragon in the Tree copyright Marika Reinke Full Story Here: https://marikareinke.com/2014/10/31/2011-dragon-in-the-tree/
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?