Tag Archives: Trees

Winter Day Dream

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Detail of one of my recent paintings Elaine Clayton copyright 2015

Snow changes the acoustics, making a sanctuary of the surroundings. There is a hushed, majestic quality. As I stand on the snow, there is something present within it, spiritually intrinsic and obvious to me–it is an extraordinary something– might be that each flash of light from each crystal snowflake (though we cannot see that beauty without a microscope) reaches the psyche, the heart in winter. After snow has been on the ground for many weeks or months, there is a formidable sense of endurance that comes with each step taken across the cool whiteness. Wanting the bitter cold to subside, the shadows across snowy mounds that have known us for a while whisper that Spring is not too far away.

Eve’s Dreams

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“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.

Dimension of Being

IMG_6865Detail from a recent painting

I had a dream where there was a very frightened woman, so much so that she jumped face-up into a creek, shrieking as she looked up at something very terrifying in the sky. But when I looked up, all I saw was a shower of yellow-gold leaves streaming down into my hands, all over my head and filling me with a feeling of love. At that moment I woke up, and still in the hypnogogic state, I saw the face of a spooky ghost. Eyes seething, teeth rotten and gnashing. I felt sorry for him and said, “God bless you.” I repeated this several times. Then, as though this image of the spooky ghost were on a screen, the screen tilted back and I saw that it was only paper-thin. This negative apparition was only a projection, it was not “real”. I then seemed filled with an understanding that all of our emotions, thoughts and intentions are also like projections which we send out, and each one is like an area or plane of existence that are all stacked up like paper in the Universe: the angry area, the fear-filled area, the revenge area, the love area, the joy area, etc.. We play out or actions and reactions based on life events. If the negative ghost which seemed to be angry, mean, full of fear, was  actually on a paper-thin type of area or screen or plane, then there would be many more such areas, all filled with other kinds of emotions and thoughts and intentions. Which one are you in right now? I’m at this moment feeling a mixture (can we be in more than one area at a time?). I feel expectation of a big blizzard coming, I feel creative bliss, I feel slightly uncomfortable in my body because I am sore from painting for so many hours.

So what dimension would we want to be in? We all know what it is like to have emotions like anger and fear, to feel as though we cannot forgive one who wronged and hurt us. These are human emotions. But we also know that when consumed by those, it feels like we are “in a bad place” as they say. And we want out of it. I think it is true, the only way out of those emotions is to be conscious of them and our response to them, and to practice compassion where we are able to, to love in each moment as best we are able to. Forgiveness often comes in time. Being free of anger is such a great feeling. When we hold positive feelings, thoughts and intentions, cultivating love and calmness, we must then be in an area or dimension of being. I want to stay under the shower of light-filled leaves, catching them in my hands.

A Recent Spirit Painting: Springing into a New Life

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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.

 

Born of the Moon

IMG_1766Detail from a commissioned Spirit Painting Elaine Clayton copyright 2011

“You are a crown of glory for those who are borne in the womb, for they, like you, are destined to be renewed.” (Traditional Jewish blessing honoring the waxing moon)

 

Winter Inspiration

IMG_4770Detail from Shabbat, Autumn Elaine Clayton copyright 2014

Even though it is about 5 degrees outside and frozen snow is stiff, like white styrofoam, covering every surface, the trees are singing to me. I am painting the colors of emotion and thought, the colors of memory and dreams.  The gray bare limbs I see out the window become bright and vibrant in my studio, I am inspired.  Winter whispers to me, snow falling or on the ground lulls me into another realm where anything good is possible.

 

Trees Have Near Death Experiences

 

Tree NDE Elaine Clayton copyright 2014

Tree NDE Elaine Clayton copyright 2014

Today I just realized that I think trees have Near Death Experiences. Or rather, they leave the earth in winter and go to heaven until spring, when they bring all the colors, magic, love and abundance from heaven back to us on earth. The only ones who do not do this are the everlasting evergreens who for some reason have volunteered to remain with us all throughout the winter, to nurture us and make the air smell so green and good. They’re noble for that, so I think I’ll go give one a sappy hug. You, too?

The Spirit of Life in All Things

Ken’s Spirit  copyright Elaine Clayton 2013

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.

If You Have Writer’s or Artist’s Block, Try This!

Sometimes I get into the studio and don’t know what it is I want to do. I may feel very inspired, but just not sure what it is that needs to come forth. Usually, just getting playful with art materials or into a stream-of-consciousness with writing helps get things going, but other days it’s best to do something else. Try these things and see if they help you, I’d love to hear your ideas as well!

Behold: Wizard Sculpture

Wizard Carving for me, by artist Dariusz Kozicki

Today I am featuring the wonderful works of artist Dariusz Kozicki. He is from Poland and is very sensitive, skilled and thoughtful. It shows when you speak to him and when you behold his artwork. He is a sculptor, carving with wood.

I have seen, in dreams and visions, a wizard many times. I have been fascinated by this, who wouldn’t want to learn from or befriend a kind and wise wizard? So when I saw the art of Dariusz Kozicki, I immediately wanted my very own carved wizard.  He told me that he sought the wood that he felt would be right for me, and then much in the same way I do Spirit Paintings, he began carving for me, feeling the essence of the wizard as it came into being in his hands. I love mine, and treasure it as a symbol of creativity and wisdom, optimism and magic experiences in life.

If you’d like to commission your very own wizard wooden carving, contact Kozicki at 203-219-1333!

Contact artist Dariusz Kozicki at 203-219-1333