“Eve in a Shift Dress”, from my new series, Painting Midrash: Eve’s Dreams
This weekend at Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport, CT, we are having an art show. Tomorrow we have a reception and conversation with the artists, if you’re local, please come by around 4:30! Tonight is a Shabbat dinner with special guest, Bella Meyer, the granddaughter of Marc Chagall, one of my absolute favorite artists. I am thrilled about it.
I have been working on a series, Painting Midrash: Eve’s Dreams. Dreams and intuitive sensing are such major themes in my life, and I have been learning to chant Jacob’s Ladder in Hebrew. It got me wondering what about the dreams of women, and are there any in Torah? I imagined the first woman, Eve, and thought about what her dreams would be. I had a sudden realization that her dreams are the same as ours: longing for Paradise. We long for something we cannot quite capture, or we do in glimpses, but there is always “trouble in Paradise” in one way or another. We live in a world of shadows and light, it is not perfect, it can be very painful. These paintings in this series represent that longing for harmony, self fulfillment, love and bliss in general, or even just basic safety and comfort.
This is a recent Spirit Painting commission Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
In a recent Spirit Painting commission, while meditating on the one who commissioned it, I felt the sense of deep inner peace commingling with movement and change and felt I was in a realm of the possible. Memories of the past blended with future visions of good days ahead, sunshine and a return to the sea. This painting took me on some adventures, but I still felt at peace inside through the many places and changes the painting the painting took me to. I felt as though the most real adventure is the internal one, and all external experiences are strongly influenced by how we perceive them. I felt a sense of grace and love while painting this, and it made me realize that when we feel grace and love inside, we bring that out into every place we go and to every person we meet. Then that inner peace truly is in our surroundings, as we are the host or vessel of that peace.
A recent commissioned Spirit Painting/ Elaine Clayton copyright 2014
In this recent commissioned Spirit Painting, I felt the feeling of great creative energy, a sense of the new based on past knowledge gained, and of working with a spiritual openness. The gift of nature bringing a wisdom and feeling of security, in that life renews time and time again, also came forth in this one.
Life is sacred, when we engage with it as sacred. Every leaf, every speck is full of vibrance–the Spirit of Life is everywhere. I painted this thinking of my brother Ken and his richly poetic way of weaving words and images and stories into visions of humorous and life-enhacing awareness. He has inspired me and many to recognize the living spirit in my surroundings.
Commissions for Spirit Paintings come in throughout the year. I consider it a privilege to offer this as a healing art, as each painting is created in meditation in honor of the recipient. I keep the commission fee lower than low for these so that really anyone who truly wants one could have one. No two are alike, just as no two people are exactly alike, and with each painting, a new and different image arrives. Sometimes there is a narrative feel, other times a symbolic kind of energy. My intention is to allow whatever would most benefit the recipient to emerge on canvas.
Pieces of Sky/Gesso, acrylic on paper Elaine Clayton copyright 2013
Just because you don’t have something, doesn’t mean it isn’t “yours”. We don’t have to own everything we love, in fact, just loving and appreciating something is often motivating and inspiring. Edgar Cayce made the very empowering of point of reminding us to stay aligned with our ideals, and I have found that acknowledging what we love and appreciate, is in essence, a way to align with our soul’s purpose. For example, during a phase of moving around in rentals that didn’t reflect any of my personal ideals, I forgot to have that soul-aligning conversation with myself about the kinds of houses I idealize. I just didn’t focus on the material at all, and we thrived as a family during that non-materialistic phase of being. After several years of not even thinking of what kind of house I truly love, I was struck by the ideals I hold, and told my husband I love solar houses. Not long after that, we found a place we now call home and are no longer roaming. It is not a solar house, but is filled with sunlight and makes us happy. One day it may have solar panels. The point wasn’t that I have exactly the thing I love, but just to know what I love and be fulfilled just loving the idea of it. An African American psychic I met once while in my early 20’s (she was a corporate psychic working for a multi-million dollar West Coast corporation) held my hand and said, “Just because you don’t have it doesn’t mean it isn’t yours.” She went on to explain basically what Cayce said, that to love something makes it “yours” on a spiritual level, because you appreciate and value it. I notice, too, that not being in the “I must have!” frenzy of feeling lacking in some way truly does bring peace. I listen to Eldon Taylor’s InnerTalk cds and one of my favorite is the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want,” is a line that really, when I feel that calm inside, that there is nothing I must have right now, is the best feeling ever. At home when any of us get into that frenzy of “I must have”, we hiss and slither around and say, “Precious” like Gollum in Lord of the Rings. I’d rather own a love for something than to be owned by that something.
Once a few years ago, I was dreaming (just before waking up at dawn) and was hovering over some rocks and plants. I had the complete sensation of being not just one with everything, but of BEING everything. The feeling was as if in an instance, but a forever kind of feeling. I can’t really explain it, but I felt I was not limited to this body, I was everywhere all at once. Now that it’s spring, I love walking around outside and trying to feel myself blend in with everything, the trees, the leaves, the sky. The blurry leaves shimmering in the distance, the rocks and even the air. When I do this I feel a kind of “zing” that is elating and for a moment I almost have that “I am everything, everywhere” feeling again.
Spirit Painting for J.R. 2013 copyright Elaine Clayton www.illuminara.com
This is a recent Spirit Painting commission that had a powerful synchronistic happening connected with it. I noted for the client that there is a “cloud bird”—a dove flying overhead in her Spirit Painting, and I knew inwardly while meditating and painting that this bird had to be in the painting, even if I did not exactly know why. This bird, like the other elements in the painting are what arrived into my consciousness while meditating specifically on behalf of the one who commissioned the piece. AMAZINGLY, after she received the Spirit Painting, a white dove visited her while she worked in her garden!!! She said that the dove watched her tend to her plants from very close by, and she and others were actually able to hold this dove in their hands. I felt this was an enormously important synchronicity, and a truly wonderful event because, how often after having a dove painted for you, does a dove come visit for a while?
This is number 19 in my well-worn deck, Illuminara Intuitive Journal with Cards.
I painted this because I love clouds, and because this is a scene from my first decade of life on earth in the Panhandle of Texas. But what this card means to me doesn’t matter as much as it means to you, when you look at it.
In a recent intuitive-psychic reading, a client drew this card during the session. He identified with the cloud. “I’m the cloud,” he said, “and I worry about the effect I have on others.” This client has a lot of responsibilities and is reviewing his life anew, so he is going over life and his choices. He worries he casts shadows, or feels he is responsible for all his employees in ways that may be ominous in their lives. So for him, this card represents his desire to gather up and fully comprehend his life in terms of how his choices effect others.
Another client felt that the house below the cloud represented isolation of some kind, but with the knowledge that the sky is full and rich, dreams abound and potential can be fulfilled, no matter what.
Today, in my Illuminara Card of the Week weekly newsletter (subscribe if you like!) I focused on creativity and intuition. Sometimes we feel we have to “work” at something to be good at it, and really what we need is to enjoy it, like a child at play. I have found that intuitive knowledge doesn’t come easily if I try too hard. Relaxing and feeling true joy, creative flow and imagination (unlimited expansion of feeling and thought) is what seems to bring me into quiet knowing. Jesus said that we have to become like children to enter the gates of heaven. Children play, dream, imagine and put everything they have into what they love.