Tag: love

Mantas: A Love Story (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Working with Color & Life

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″.

just mantas number 1

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.

just mantas

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.

mantas with color

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.

mantas with background

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.

more background

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.

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

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 could work on this forever.

She might have to tell me when to stop.

The beginning, a blank sheet.

There is so much about this whole being human thing that I can find wanting. My imagination paints the ideal picture and nothing will measure up. It is after all, my imagination. And my perfectionism. And my idealism. Which are flip sides of criticism. It is easy to criticize. And sometimes criticism is good. It can make us better.

I’ve finally got this watercolor paper prepped to my standards, (my perfectionism) for my next commission.

The beginning, a blank sheet.
The beginning, a blank sheet.

This next commission is not a perfect story. It is a completely wanting story and one that breaks my heart. Because we are human. Because we are mortal. Because in the end, we may not get everything we want out of this life. It doesn’t really all lay in our hands, there is fate and forces completely out of control. There is death.

And the most not perfect thing of all is love. There is Love. Love is not wanting. It just is. The act of appreciating Love in the face of nothing perfect is what this commission is about.

The trust placed in me in enormous.

It is teaching me to balance my perfectionism with pure and loving appreciation.

If you were trapped in the jungle for 8 days… what would you take?

Tomorrow, the family is heading to Costa Rica for spring break. We expect lots of sun, beach, relaxation, pool time, monkeys, maybe a zip line or horse back ride and definitely a lot of exploring. We are going to Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste. It is hot, it is beachy and the jungle literally spills into the ocean. There is nothing like a change in scenery to shake off the winter grime.

So trapped here, voluntarily and blissfully. What will I take?

I took these to Mexico. The brushes hold water in the stem and I can paint on the plane pretty easily with them. From Seattle, this is going to be around 10 hours of travel time. Though I don’t love them, they are packable.

The pan watercolors are not my favorite. I have a lot more flexibility with tubes. But they are portable. Plus, I have this huge set of new ones, not even opened.

I used up my watercolor paper journal and the art store didn’t have any. So I grabbed some small Arches Watercolor blocks.

This time maybe I’m going to take some high chroma QoR tubes, my silver and gold watercolor, and nicer brushes and one palette so I can do some real painting. My husband is going to think I’m crazy. The last time we were in Costa Rica we were robbed – maybe not. But I can’t bare to part with them!

Oh yeah, and a sketch book and pencils with pencil sharpener.

Addiction? Maybe.

I really I can’t decide what to take.

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.

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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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









Me Love (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Love is Not Mine

What if... Love is a chemical reaction that occurs when I discard my likes and surrender to love?

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Daire's Dragon Photo 4 (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Scream. Cry. Love. Hate. Repeat

Daire's Dragon Photo 4 (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Daire’s Dragon Photo 4 (c) Marika Reinke 2015


I’ve been sporadically working on my son’s Dragon and have some  in-progress pictures here.  I was inspired by a picture he drew with passionate energy.  The post has been a lovely vignette of an enchanting kids painting in-progress (written with a touch of sarcasm).  

But now

I could scream 

Maybe I did.  I can’t remember clearly.  There was a rush of something – maybe adrenaline – that clouded my vision, my heart beat accelerated and a trembling wave of shock radiated from my chest.  Thinking rationally – gone.  Control of my hands – gone.

The watercolor has a mind of its own! I can’t control it! Oh My God!  Its running all the way into the green!  The yellow!  Oh no the yellow! All the hours in this painting lost.  Where are the Q-Tips! They aren’t working!  F*ck Watercolors!  

I dropped the Q-Tips and brushes.

I.  Must. Walk. Away.


I hate this painting 

It is so trite and cliche.  I’ve seen it before, not original, definitely done somewhere else by someone else more skilled.  A kids vision.  Not sophisticated.  I’m stealing his vision because I have no vision.  I’m an idiot in over my head.  The rainbow is too much, I can’t handle it.   This is taking me too long.

I love this Painting

I love the story.  I love my son.  I love the way this painting has pushed me.  I love the crazy colors.  I love that Daire made the lower jaw bigger because when the dragon closes his mouth you can’t see how big his teeth are.  I love that he breathes fire and water and stars.  The dragon has no arms. Poor little arm-less dragon, I love you.


And Repeat.


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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

Love is a Beautiful Burn copyright Marika Reinke

Love is a Beautiful Burn (2014)

Love is a Beautiful Burn copyright Marika Reinke
Love is a Beautiful Burn copyright Marika Reinke

The sum of two ones is not an even number, or numerical. When two ones meet, the universe unfolds, creating an infinity that burns. Its slow heat gently soothes and violently simmers all the knots and can’ts. A practical alchemy that un-peals once invisible layers. Water becomes fire, stone to steam, breath to lava. Leftover, is a newly-colored numberless world of hope, anticipation and possibility.

Watercolor 12″ x 16″

This painting was a commission and handed over to a happy client today.  My client told me a love story, gave me a sense of preferences and then gave me creative freedom to interpret it.


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

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