Essays

Portals 1: Cosmos

Well, that took a hot seven months.

Introducing Portals, a new series.

This is Cosmos:

(c) 2022, Hilary Clark, “Portals 1: Cosmos”, Fiber & Paint, 23″ x 23″, $750

Portals 1: Cosmos
Hand painted with acrylic paint on commercial fabric, raw edge fused applique, densely machine stitched.

This new direction I’m going — painting on fabric, adding my fused applique bits, continuing with my signature dense machine stitching — is really enjoyable. Even if this piece took many months to create.

To be clear, it was the stitching that took a while, not the design. The design piece is always something that comes together in a short period of time for me.

I’m not complaining about how long Cosmos took to finish. I’ve released timelines and deadlines and expectations. I’ve relaxed into my opportunities to create because I’ve let go of the need to be creative all.the.time.

And in the letting go, I find my Light is freed up to better listen to my intuition and follow it where it leads.

With joy and ease…

I’ll continue to create, as it calls me, following this new direction. I think the next Portal will be filled with bright color. I’ll share it as it comes alive.

xo

As always, I sign my art with a poem. Read “Portals 1: Cosmos” here.


Interested in my art, my writing, my poetry, or learning more about bringing consistent joy and ease into your life? Then let’s talk!

Contact me to schedule:
* A virtual coffee
* A private (virtual) art show of my art
* A commissioning conversation to discuss hiring me to create a textured fiber painting uniquely yours

If you enjoyed this art piece and the essay, and it feels aligned, please share on social media or via email. If you liked it, someone you know will probably like it too!

Studio Update: A New Direction

2021 was an interesting year. I went back to work in construction management and moved across country from the humid and salty southeast to the dry and joyously hot southwest. This shift impacted my studio schedule in dramatic fashion — I only completed two textured fiber art paintings last year.

(c) 2021, Hilary Clark, “Tree of Life”, Fiber & Acrylic Paint

But I’m okay with that.

Over the course of the last two years – pandemic time – I learned more about myself and what I want out of life. What I want is to live with joy and ease and, for me, that means releasing the pressure to turn any of my creative endeavors into full time work.

Would I like to sell my art? Of course I would. I’d love to see it hanging in someone’s home or in a gallery or in a museum.

Is that necessary for my happiness?

Turns out the answer is no.

And what a blessing it was to discover that truth.

By releasing myself from those expectations, I’ve discovered I’m free to create whatever I want, whenever I want, as frequently or rarely as I want. I create for the joy of it, not the marketing or image or perceived consumer desirability of it. I create for me and if others enjoy what I create, that’s a true delight.

With this release, I decided to take my art in a new direction. My second piece of 2021 included hand painted aspects on a fabric background. I found this to be a truly pleasurable and satisfying addition to my work. It turns out painting is an art form I can do.

(c) 2022, Hilary Clark, “Abstract 2”, Digital Painting

I always told myself I wasn’t a painter. It was fun to change that story and make it false — all of life, all we perceive, is just stories we tell ourselves about what we think, feel, and experience. We’re free to change the story whenever we want.

So I changed mine.

For 2022, I’m adding paint to my work. Using acrylics, I’m painting abstract designs on commercially printed fabric to create the canvas. To that canvas, I’m fusing additional fabric that enhances or contributes to the painting. From there, I’ll stitch my work in the dense style I’ve adopted. That’s part of my voice, after all, the dense stitching.

I’ve begun my first work in this style. I’m calling it “Cosmos”. As soon as my Bernina is back from its time in the shop for a good cleaning and tune up, I’ll start stitching. I’m thinking a spiral design will be just perfect.

(c) 2022, Hilary Clark, detail view of “Cosmos”, acrylic paint and raw edged fused material on fabric, work in progress

With joy and ease…

I’m loving this new way of creating my art. I’m loving exploring new styles, techniques, and abstractions. I’ve loving this direction I’m going.

My 2022 is starting off with joy. I hope yours is too.

xo


Interested in my art, my writing, my poetry, or learning more about bringing consistent joy and ease into your life? Then let’s talk!

Contact me to schedule:
* A virtual coffee
* A private (virtual) art show of my art
* A commissioning conversation to discuss hiring me to create a textured fiber painting uniquely yours

If you enjoyed this essay, and it feels aligned, please share on social media or via email. If you liked it, someone you know will probably like it too!

New Work: Tree of Life

Presenting “Tree of Life”, my latest textured fiber painting!

(c) 2021, Hilary Clark, “Tree of Life”, Fiber, 29-1/2″ x 29-1/2″
Photo Credit: Hilary Clark

This piece is a departure from my usual work. When I completed (Feeling) Joy in January of this year, I knew I wanted to take a break from creating feelings out of fiber and try my hand at a different subject.

So I turned to my design ideas file and selected a tree of life. I’ve been drawn to this image for decades. The spiritual connotations and the centuries-long staying power of this philosophical and sacred concept are kinda my jam.

The Tree of Life connects all of creation. To me, it symbolizes knowledge, growth, evolution, and our innate, Spirit-driven link to Divinity. We are rooted to the Earth even as we stretch through Air to the sky. We are fed by Water and reborn through Fire.

On the practical and art-making side, I originally intended to create this tree as I create my feelings – by cutting out abstract fabric shapes and fusing them to the canvas landscape. That didn’t work for this piece. I considered pipe cleaners and ribbon and felted wool. None would do. Finally, I pulled out my acrylic paints and decided to have a go at painting the image I saw in my head.

I’m super pleased with the result.

These detail shots offer a glimpse of both the paint and the stitching. I hope you enjoy.

Detail view: Tree of Life
Photo credit: Hilary Clark
Detail view: Tree of Life
Photo Credit: Hilary Clark
Detail view: Tree of Life
Photo credit: Hilary Clark
Detail view: Tree of Life
Photo credit: Hilary Clark

As part of my art practice, I also always write a poem inspired by each art piece. Click here to read the poem that goes with this work.

With joy and ease…

Most of my work is available for purchase. Not this piece.

From the moment I painted it, I knew it would hang in the bedroom I share with my partner, as a reminder that we’re here, living this version of our human existence together to learn and grow and expand in love, peace, and joy.

I hope you have a similar image or item in your home that provides you with the same reminder. If you don’t, what’s stopping you from creating it?

xo


Interested in my art, my writing, my poetry, or learning more about bringing consistent joy and ease into your life? Then let’s talk!

Contact me to schedule:
* A virtual coffee
* A private (virtual) art show of my art
* A commissioning conversation to discuss hiring me to create a textured fiber painting uniquely yours

If you enjoyed this essay, and it feels aligned, please share on social media or via email. If you liked it, someone you know will probably like it too!

Finding Balance in Non-Judgment

I came across a post on Facebook a while ago, about taking your power back, about not allowing others to make you feel small or less than or anything other than the glorious human you are. (Sometimes, Facebook delivers really good stuff.)

This post had gone viral, which is how I found it. I read it. It resonated. Especially this line: “I am a dragon, and I am ancient and experienced.” That line leapt off the screen at me – BAM! – because I’m growing older each day and I’m always learning, which translates into experience and it made me smile to picture myself as a mighty dragon.

And while smiling in my imagined dragon form, my mind turned to judgment.

I work every day to be as non-judgmental as possible. I don’t do this because I follow some religious practice that says judgment is a sin. I don’t do this because I’m trying to be holy. (I’m not. I’m so far from it, it’s laughable).

I do this because it’s what feels right to me, what I believe defines me as an individual and allows me to live a more beautiful life.

I work at non-judgment but every day, I fail. In reality, I fail miserably, often.

I find myself caught up in judgment through gossip, through anger, through attempts to cooperate which go no where, through a lack of knowledge or discernment or patience.

Every time I fail, I learn. I was going to say I’m pleased to fail because that’s how I learn, but that’s a judgment too, so instead, I’ll stress the value of the learning from those moments when I fall into judgment.

I have friends and acquaintances, co-workers and colleagues, across the many tentacles of the political spectrum, the gender spectrum, the color spectrum, and more. All of them are individuals on the HUMAN spectrum.

I am grateful for the opportunity to know these people, to follow them and listen to the messages that come from their hearts, the messages that define them. Because in knowing, following, listening, I am given the gift of spiritual growth.

But this is also the area where I work hardest to release all judgment. I may not always understand an individual or collective position, belief, stance. Each states what is true for that individual and I may cock my head to the side in curiosity or confusion – because it contradicts what I grew up believing or what society has dictated for years or it pokes at something deep inside me to make me uncomfortable (ah, there’s a lesson there!).

This curiosity or confusion or uncomfortableness is why it’s the area where I work the hardest. To borrow from someone far wiser than I, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. And Spirit does not judge. Only humans do.

We are the same as much as we are different. We come from the same place. We return to the same place. There is no Heaven. There is no Hell. The human experience encompasses both; they aren’t places to go when we close our eyes for the final time.

We release our humanness when we die and return to Spirit, which has been with us all along. It’s a Truth that no one gets out alive. So why not use our human time to learn as much as we can? Why not use our human time to be as close to our Spirit selves as possible?

So even if I’m still curious or confused or uncomfortable after following and listening, I always straighten my head back on my neck and nod – in solidarity and respect for what makes you, you. I don’t know what you’ve experienced. I haven’t lived your life. I can only live mine, so I choose to refrain from judgment and instead seek greater understanding.

I am an individual, just as you are. I choose to work on being non-judgmental as my path to learning whatever it is I came into this human experience to learn. There’s joy in non-judgment. There’s ease. And there’s so much incredible light.

With joy and ease…

I may not always understand but I am always willing to listen and learn and grow, so if you need a person who won’t judge you for what makes you, you, I’m here. And if that helps you to take your power back, all the better.

xo


Interested in my art, my writing, my poetry, or learning more about bringing consistent joy and ease into your life? Then let’s talk!

Contact me to schedule:
* A virtual coffee
* A private (virtual) art show of my art
* A commissioning conversation to discuss hiring me to create a textured fiber painting uniquely yours

If you enjoyed this essay, and it feels aligned, please share on social media or via email. If you liked it, someone you know will probably like it too!

BOOK LAUNCH: Love Makes Room for Screwups

On SEPTEMBER 27th, my intrigue/romance novel, Love Makes Room for Screwups, will be available on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback!!!

The Kindle version is available for pre-order by following this link. 😉
If you’d prefer the paperback version, it will be available for immediate purchase on September 27th.

If you follow me on social media, you might remember I shared tiny little excerpts of the intrigue/romance novel I was writing earlier this year. Well, it’s FINALLY DONE and ready for publication! Woot!! 💥 To tempt you into buying my novel when it goes live, I’m sharing the first chapter with you here. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Derek Case opened the door to his house, the key sticking so he had to jiggle it before the teeth caught in the gears deep in the lock.  Hearing a faint click, he turned the key and pushed the battered wood door open into the mud room.
Running a hand through his shaggy black hair, he tossed the keys into the little blue bowl sitting on the antique washstand.  They rattled as they circled the edge before dropping into the bottom.  Shrugging out of his grey windbreaker, he moved to hang it on its hook above the cedar chest.  The coat, inches from the hanger, held suspended when he paused.  Nell’s small pink princess sweater wasn’t in its usual spot, second hook from the end.  He stared at the third hook where the sweater hung instead.  Giving his head a quick shake, Derek finished putting his coat away.
“You’re crazy.  Jane is gone, in prison, not here.  I must have put it on the wrong hook last night,” he said, his voice loud in the small space.
Striding across the kitchen’s dingy yellow floor, he grabbed the tea kettle from the stove top and filled it with water at the sink.  Setting the left front burner on high, he dropped a tea bag filled with Irish Breakfast into his favorite mug, the one with “Best Dad” hand painted in blue, a Father’s Day gift from his daughter.  While he waited for the kettle to boil, he picked up the white legal pad on the counter next to the fridge, skimming down his project list to choose something he could complete for the house in the three hours he had free while Nell attended her friend’s fifth birthday party.  The landlord gave him a break on the rent for fixing the place up.  The opportunity to save any money was welcome after the financial difficulties he’d found himself in after Jane was arrested.
The shriek of the tea kettle interrupted Derek’s study of the list.  With a quick twist, he turned off the burner with the long fingers of his left hand, lifting the kettle with his right to pour the steaming contents into the mug.  Tea bag steeping in the cup, he carried it with him to the front room.  Fifteen minutes to catch up on the local news highlights wouldn’t hurt his schedule.
Derek sat back on the faded grey couch, one foot crossed over the opposite knee while the ancient TV warmed up.  The screen flickered to life, and he punched in the channel number for the local news station.  The midday anchor came on, face serious, voice stern but not stern enough to hide the tiny quaver underneath.
“Three guards are dead and a fourth in critical condition after a breakout from Smithwick Federal Penitentiary just an hour ago.  Five suspects staged the escape by starting a fight in the laundry room.  Four have been recaptured, but one remains at large,” she said, eyes bright and fearful.
“You okay?” her co-anchor asked, the quiet question picked up by the lapel microphone.
The female anchor paused before responding to her partner and the camera.  “Yes.  No.  I don’t know.  I interviewed the prisoner they haven’t recaptured yet during her trial.  She wrote to me after the story was published to tell me she didn’t like how she’d been portrayed.  She scared the crap out of me.  And now she’s out.  I don’t know.”
Derek sat up, tea cup falling to the floor, deep dark liquid splashing his boot and seeping into the worn green carpet.  He knew who the newswoman was talking about.  He knew it was Jane.  His ex-wife was supposed to be gone, locked up where she couldn’t ever hurt anyone again.  But she was devious.  And evil.  And mean.  If anyone could break out of Federal prison, it would be her.  She almost broke him during their marriage.  Breaking through walls would be easier.
A sudden thought propelled him to his feet, his tall, lanky frame quivering like a greyhound at the gate.  Nell’s sweater!
“Did you miss me?” said a voice made raspy from a 20-year pack a day cigarette habit.
Derek spun around.  Jane was leaning on the door frame to the entry hall, a hatchet swaying in her hand.
“Tell me you missed me, Derek, and this stops right here.  We’ll go get Nell and be one happy family again.  I’ll forgive you for telling the cops about that little incident with the grocery clerk.”
“You killed her!” Derek said.
“Of course I did.  She deserved it.  After months of looking down her nose at me every time I went in that store, like she thought she was better than me.  No one is better than me, especially not some prissy little clerk with an attitude problem.  Refusing to run a price check was the final straw.  That was part of her job - the customer is always right.”
“You’re insane.”
“I don’t think so.  And you still haven’t said you missed me.  Three words, Derek.  Say them.  Now,” Jane said, raising the hatchet to rest it on her shoulder.
Derek turned and ran for the kitchen, his long legs eating up the floor with gazelle-like grace.  Jane screamed behind him.  The hatchet whistled past his left shoulder and buried itself in the wall.  He kept running, adrenaline giving him speed.  He grabbed the tea kettle from the stove and threw it sidearm at Jane as she entered the room.  It fell short, scalding water leaking onto the floor.
He raced for the back door.

He never saw the butcher knife as it flew across the room, striking him at the base of his skull.

With joy and ease…

I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of Love Makes Room for Screwups. If you did, please consider pre-ordering a copy for automatic download to your Kindle on September 27, 2021. If you prefer the paperback, it will be available for purchase via Amazon on that date.

Here’s the Kindle version pre-order link again so you don’t have to scroll back to the top of this essay. 😉

Thanks for reading!

xo


Interested in my art, my writing, my poetry, or learning more about bringing consistent joy and ease into your life? Then let’s talk!

Contact me to schedule:
* A virtual coffee
* A private (virtual) art show of my art
* A commissioning conversation to discuss hiring me to create a textured fiber painting uniquely yours

If you enjoyed this essay, and it feels aligned, please share on social media or via email. If you liked it, someone you know will probably like it too!

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