This Wise Little Slothhas taught me to follow my path, play in the soulful, pay attention to signs, have faith in my craft and always stay true to myself. This moment is almost always joyful. Leave space for joy, there is no use forcing it, it will come.
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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.
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.
But here’s a challenge: define Beauty. And why does it matter?
I intuit Beauty is important to the human experience. I’m sure some happiness researcher has done a study that shows Beauty is important to cultivating happiness. And geesh, happiness is so important these days that scientists study it. The magic happiness pill makes lots of money.
Beauty is healing too. And Beauty is more.
Here is a story
I’ve started to sell a little on Etsy. A customer approached me in a conversation about a print Fertility. She has been having a hard time conceiving and she wanted a piece of art that would help her imagine conceiving but also a healthy reproductive system. She wanted to know what my thought process was going into this painting.
It took me a year to conceive my daughter. I relate to this struggle. It was one of my most difficult times.
Here is my response.
I painted this when I was having a hard time conceiving as well. It is such an exhaustingly emotional and baffling time. I didn’t know what was wrong or if there was something wrong. It was just hard and trying and gut wrenching. As you know. I was learning a different relationship with my body. I didn’t have full control of it. I was powerless in a way I never expected.
With this painting I was trying to imagine what my body looked like from within. I was learning to love me as I was. That it could be beautiful, not a scientific drawing, an x-Ray or broken somehow. It was and is amazing.
So it is a painting of a beautiful womb, artistically experienced (not scientifically rendered) from the heart. There are ovaries, and layers of red, shapes of the feminine ovals, circles and hearts. It is a place of love and power as it is. It is a place of potential.
There are suggestions of implantation. Yes. At the time that was my dream. But not a reality.
The blues are deeply soothing and mark and frame the womb. They bring power and contrast to the subject. They are organic shapes to suggest movement, other organs and life. I love that you see feathers! Yes!
Personally, I love the colors in this painting.
For my limited edition prints, I will hand highlight and embellish the painting with iridescent paints, silver or gold. If you have an idea you would like me to embed in the painting when I do this, I’d be honored to mark it that way for you as well. I embellish them when the order comes in. If you decided to purchase it, just send me a message and I can do this. They are high quality prints on watercolor paper and take this paint beautifully.
My hope is that it would help give you some peace and self-love in a difficult time and it would be meaningful for you as well.
In all, we exchanged 37 messages. By the 6th or 7th exchange she purchased a print. For the next dozen or so, we exchanged messages on how to hand embellish the print. This customer took full ownership of her print, directing me to mix a 1:1 ratio of gold and silver and very specifically directing me to the places she wanted highlighted. Here is the result:
I loved the exchange. We collaborated and connected. As we communicated, I learned about her and her trying time. I have deep empathy and hope for her. I hope that she loves herself and through her process she becomes a mother.
Equally, the process made us both vulnerable. I had hopes this print would bring her peace and support. She had hope this print would touch her and bring her beauty, healing, peace in an emotionally exhausting time.
I mailed the print and we waited, holding our breath that our hopes would be realized.
Here is the beginning of her 5 star review. I say we succeeded:
“When I saw my painting I could not restrain tears of joy and hope that filled me up. Thank you, Marika, for a beautiful custom work! …”Read more here (In my opinion, it’s a good read).
But also this is Beauty. Not just Art the Product, but the Whole Process. Beauty.