Tag: family

Bent Rib drawing by Marika Reinke 2015

This Year, I Own Mother’s Day

Bent Rib drawing by Marika Reinke 2015
Bent Rib drawing by Marika Reinke 2015

This year, I own Mother’s Day.

It used to be about others; my mother, my kids, the mothers I know and many birthdays.  I let the day pass without a thought but a card, a few texts from friends and some flowers for my mother.  It was an afterthought; “Oh yeah, I’m a mother too.”

This year is different.

This year it is about me.  I accept that I am thoroughly, totally and bone shakenly a mother. It has taken me 11 years to consciously get it.

Why so long?

I’ve been busy figuring out motherhood while simultaneously being in denial and clinging to the remnants of my past life. Apparently, I’m a slow learner.

I have been surviving; occupied with the daily, physical and psychological tasks of being not only a mother, but a wife, a colleague, a teacher, a leader, an employee, a daughter, a traveler, a sister and friend. Amongst all this, I didn’t quite realize I had transformed into a mother, if atypical.

Add to that that I’m a whole bunch of “nots”.

I’m not amazing. I’m not super woman. I’m not loving, ever-giving and kind. I’m not the mother in flowery greeting cards with perfumed and pink envelopes. I don’t bake cookies in a flowered apron. I dislike pink for what it stands for. I don’t know ego-less love. I’m not an archetype. I am not always there for my kids. I’m not a perfect role model. I’m not like other moms.

I admit, sometimes I swear in front of them.  I definitely get mad at my kids. Sometimes, I put myself on time out so I won’t scream what I want to scream. Sometimes I yell anyway. I have endless guilt. I fear I will ruin their lives.  I’m sure I will ruin their lives.

I am an anti-mother. I’m hard on my kids. I push them and sometimes I make them uncomfortable and cry. I have been honest and direct with them, choosing truth over comfort even when it made them tense.  I have given them cupcakes for breakfast and stolen their Halloween candy. I have been inconsistent, kind and ruthless. I have been selfish, selfless, loving and cold. I have failed my kids individual needs. I have given my kids what I needed.  I unconsciously and always put my family first even when it wasn’t for the best.  I am a fierce fighter. Do not stand between me and my kids. I will not be soft, kind, graceful if you do. I will not hesitate to use my fists if I have to. Write that on a Mother’s Day card and make it black.

And there is this…

I tell my kids that their job is to make me happy. I tell them that other parents don’t love their kids as much as I love them because I don’t let them (fill in the blank). I tell my son he is nagging and needs to work on better strategies for managing his boredom.  I tell my daughter her organization skills suck. I tell them that fair is a fairytale.

I tell them they are perfection. I tell them I’m so grateful for them. I love them, passionately and deeply, every single day.

I have been physically transformed by them, my hips are wider, my breast varying shapes and sensations from them. I have a bent, sometimes achy rib from my son’s pregnancy. I endured the richest and most deliberate pain giving birth to my kids. I experienced crazy, irrational love, exhausted relief and accompanying rage.  I have not enjoyed sleep as luxuriously as before motherhood. I have been in the worst shape of my life after their birth.

Motherhood almost took my life after a black and bloody miscarriage. I sobbed silently, numbly and uncontrollably in the recovery room after an emergency DNC. It scared my husband and I intensely. A byproduct of motherhood is that it can kill you.

I have been isolated by motherhood.  I lost friends as I learned to mother.  My energy to give generously to others waned. As my social world collapsed into hyper-focus on two little souls, I became a shitty friend. I became a crappy daughter that desperately didn’t want to become my mother. I am a strange mother, an outsider with parenting quirks. I chose natural childbirth, breastfeeding, a career throughout and I believe nurturing looks more like tough love than coddling.

Motherhood was a 9.0 earthquake to my marriage.  Now, it is rebuilt and an unrecognizable form. I almost can’t remember what it was.

I’ve not paid attention to Mother’s Day because I’ve been so busy picking up the pieces of my identity since it rocked us.

It has been my dirty, messy, disturbed hero’s journey not into spiritual enlightenment but into grounded and unhinged motherhood. Not a cycle, not a pretty path, not a journey into something better but a journey into furious acceptance, a rich relationship with anxiety and fear and a deep, layered and textured understanding of love.

I believe…

Motherhood happens to a mom. Mothers do not courageously lead families. These kids and their experiences, they choose us as their adventure. We manage the damage as it occurs.

I have learned deep lessons. The hardest and longest ones of all have been about having compassion for myself. Compassion for my kids, that is easy.

The best thing so far; I removed the expectation that I control my kids character or destiny. Barring the crazy mind blowing miracle of pregnancy, I don’t make them into anything.  I can set up a framework; schools, activities, communities, nourishment, vacations, and most importantly a clear understanding of my views and values, that they work within and then I let them go.

They teach me. It is a deep truth. I must be a better person because of them.  They lead and I follow.   I survive. I am molded.  I will never return.  Motherhood defines me.

I own Mother’s Day, and it is everyday.


2014: A Wedding Vow After 12 Years copyright Marika Reinke

The Paintings I Carry

One week left in Seattle and then we hop on the plane for a new adventure in Costa Rica.  Mostly, packing has consisted of purging, the getting rid of and lightening, but I’m willing to carry a few items for sentimental reasons.  I will paint in Costa Rica.  I’m packing all my paints but I can’t realistically take all my paintings. I’ve settled on five and as usual they tell a collective story not only of my painting, but the reasons why we have made this decision to pick it all up and try something new for our family.

I’ll start at the beginning.

A Wedding Vow After 12 Years (c) Marika Reinke Sept 2014
A Wedding Vow After 12 Years (c) Marika Reinke Sept 2014

It has now been 13 years married and a partnership 15 years old.  But the sentiment of A Wedding Vow After 12 Years so perfectly describes the complexity of our marriage.  And believe me, this big move, the huge purging of a very settled life, the intentionally unsettling and the transition time is creating a few more explosions, merging and reconstituting.  We move in hopes of realizing some dreams but also in reconnecting over a slower paced life too.  This big change is also a renewal of our vows and the painting is a worthy reminder.

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

Continuing with the theme of bringing our family closer together, Daire’s Very Not Perfect and Wonderfully Uncompromising Dragon is dedicated to my son and his initial rendering, but also an illustration of the stubborn insistence on believing in magic and that you can have just about everything, even if it contradicts itself.  Because we believe this, we move to Costa Rica just to see what happens.

Life Begins at Sea (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Life Begins at Sea (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Life Begins at Sea is a painting based on my daughter’s drawing and commitment to our family.  But this also illustrates our commitment to sustainability and the natural world, not to mention we will be living in an area saturated with many nesting sea turtles.  The school the kids will be going to, La Paz Community School, is also committed to the legacy of sustainability and is a strong motivation for sending them there.  This one must come.

Unusual Weather (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Unusual Weather (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Unusual Weather is one of my personal favorites.  It is a story of climate change. As rapidly as the world is changing around us, I feel a deep need to go see it before it all slips away and reforms itself.  This is why now is the time; not retirement, not when the kids are out of the house.  Now.  Those years in the future are filled with doubt and likely unlike anything it is now when these other milestones hit.  I want my kids to have memories of the way the world is now, not an urban life or in the shadow of collective political panic of climate disruption.  Now we go.

A Beautiful Mind (c) Marika Reinke 2015
A Beautiful Mind (c) Marika Reinke 2015

A Beautiful Mind is dedicated to my son again, who we recently found out is dyslexic (and as a result we found out my husband is too). This realization has reconnected me to my passion for education, specifically for dyslexics and educational justice. I have been fascinated by the study this summer and will spend the next couple years helping my son literally re-wire his brain to become as fluent a reader as he can be. It represents another renewed commitment to the best I can give my family, not to mention I think the painting rocks.

They are now rolled up and waiting for their next adventures, just like us.

Mantas: A Love Story (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Mantas: A Love Story

Mantas: A Love Story (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Mantas: A Love Story (c) Marika Reinke 2015

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.

Watercolor 28″ x 27″

More of the Manta Story: A Story of Color and Life


[email protected]

Join My E-Mail List

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.

Join My E-Mail List! Be Inspired!

Join My E-Mail List!

Plus you will get access to exclusive content, sales and promotions.


Come join us here Marika’s Art Studio


Vacation Hangovers and Work at the Speed of Life


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.

Playing on the beach at Playa Tamarindo
Playing on the beach at Playa Tamarindo

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.

Playa Conchal
Playa Conchal

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.

My loved ones riding to Playa Conchal
My loved ones riding to Playa Conchal

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.

And now…

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.

But also…

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.

Farewell Costa Rica, until we meet again…

Another day sharing the road with cattle
Playa Potrero, the beach is all to ourselves
Loving coconut
for the serious seashell collectors
we all worship the sun
Playa Conchal
Playa Conchal


Dana riding to Playa Conchal
Dana riding to Playa Conchal
That's a howler monkey
That’s a howler monkey


Spare Change

Spare Change and Legacies

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.

Dana’s Turtle Progress Report

Dana is happier with the turtles progress now. The water has pulled in the ideas she was exploring in her drawing. She notices this. She feels seen, she feels important. I have had a small moment of connection and motherly victory. I'll take what I can get. I get a lot of eye rolls and sighs these days too.

I also washed the head in some deep yellow because she suggested a golden head. I'm really going to have to think about the head now. I'll look at some pictures, but as I write some ideas are forming.

So much of painting is looking, studying, thinking. I often take long breaks and photos on my cell phone so I can just look. Before I had my studio, I used to prop my painting at at the end of the bed before I went to sleep, just to look at it and make decisions for my next painting session.

Her original drawing has a nest of eggs. She has told me not to include it now. Honestly, I'm glad to not include it, I knew it would be challenging to design. It will let me focus on the other elements more thoroughly. I think it will also reflect the experience of seeing the turtles more acurately. And in some way, that makes it more magical for me, and less scientific. Is that weird? The turtle just appears and we don't know where it comes from now.

For me, There is a point in painting, when a the painting goes from being a painting “of something” to a reflection of my viewpoint, where I and the painting merge. At this point I internally say “Now, this is me, now I'm heading somewhere,”. It is as if I and the painting are making our ways towards each other.


Ironically, often when I'm done, I laugh and think I must be a little insane. I don't mind being crazy as long as it makes me laugh.


The point is emerging, but I'm not there yet.


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]


Join my E-mail List Here to get current news of events and special deals. I respect your privacy and will not share this information with others.


I offer special deals and offers to my Facebook fans.   Come join us here Marika’s Art Studio

Mother copyright Marika Reinke

2003: Mother

Mother copyright Marika Reinke
Mother copyright Marika Reinke

At times, our most beloved feel most distant and those closest most mysterious. Their landscape is illusive, incomplete, and barely graspable. The more complex, the more unknowable. The more loved, the more blind.

Watercolor 16″ x 12″

2005: Fertility

2005: Fertility copyright Marika Reinke
2005: Fertility copyright Marika Reinke

The year of trying to get pregnant drew longer until I began to wonder if something was wrong with me. I wished I could see inside myself and withdraw some understanding.  Was I wounded? Broken? Was this karma? I held my belly; inhale, exhale, energy, light, healing, and please, some sight and insight.  Nothing came.  So I painted.  What emerged glowed with health and beauty – a wondrous soul-catcher.

13” x 10” Watercolor


Buy “Fertility” On Etsy Here

Buy Prints, Original and Cards at My Shop Here

Original: $250 with shipping

Customized Prints Available: $50 with shipping

Pack of 10 5″ x 7″ Art Cards: $35


[email protected]


Join my E-mail List Here to get current news of events and special deals. I respect your privacy and will not share this information with others.

Like my Facebook Page

I offer special deals and offers to my Facebook fans.   Come join us here Marika’s Art Studio

Conceptin by Marika Reinke

2005 Conception

Conceptin by Marika Reinke
Conception 2005, copyright Marika Reinke

It took me a year to conceive my first daughter. The year of waiting was a tough test of my character. I tried to maintain my hope and composure but often it felt impossible, frustrating and painful. During that time, I developed a completely different relationship with my body, one in which my mind and body were at odds. Each month the baby didn’t come, my desire grew stronger as did the awareness that I was at the whim of forces much larger than myself. This is an expression of the simplicity of desire and ultimately a meditation to ease my mind.

Watercolor 10 x 14

Buy Here

Currently all my prints will be ready to ship no later than November 24th, 2014. All orders will be shipped in 1-3 days with standard shipping included in the price. Please contact me directly at [email protected] for other shipping options or if you need to ship internationally in which case there will be an additional charge.

Original Painting: $225 Preview Image

Personalized Limited Edition Print (of 25) : $45 Preview Image What’s special about a limited edition print? Click on my Print Options

Open Edition Option: http://www.redbubble.com/people/marikareinke/shop

About print Options

To read complete details about the options for buying please read my About Print Options page.

Questions? CONTACT ME

The best way to contact me directly is at [email protected]

Follow me on Facebook, where all life unravels: https://www.facebook.com/marikasartstudio?ref=hl