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!

The Real Work

What if the work you’re paid to do isn’t the real work? What if, instead, the real work is the work you do to grow and evolve, and all the rest is lesson?

That was the response I received during a recent meditation session. This essay shares my thoughts on that response.

Tree of Life…the stitching continues

Before I get into what I discovered, I want to touch on the fact that, these days, I’m artist who is rarely making art, a writer rarely writing, and a poet rarely waxing lyrical. I am still a joy and ease believer, though. That’s not ever going to change again.

After two years of self-employment, which included one year of pandemic-enforced isolation, I’m learning I don’t have as much energy at the end of the work day as I did pre-entrepreneurship. I come home from work to cook dinner. By the time we’re done with our evening meal, I’m spent. I sit to relax for a bit and find myself promptly falling asleep on the couch. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for art or word crafting. So I released my expectations for weekdays and instead, focus my attention on my art and my words on the weekends. It’s taking me much longer to create my art or revise my novel than it would if I spent a tiny bit of time on them each day. This was making me feel guilty, like I was cheating myself, because I had this image in my mind that my art and my words are what I’m meant to do.

Which is why I asked the question I asked in my meditation.

As I sit in stillness and breath to center myself for my daily meditation practice, I always ask a question, sent silently up the line to my Higher Self and my Spirit Crew. In the session I’m talking about today, my question was: What is my real work?

I asked this because of my art and word crafting expectation for myself I mentioned above. I also asked this because, while I am enjoying my return to corporate life in construction management, it has a lot of challenges. There’s a toxicity to this project I haven’t experienced in quite a while, which can make it difficult to connect to the work. I’m also missing the time when I worked for myself. These conflicts can create resentment if I allow it. As a result, I’m always consciously seeking a balance between the freedom of my dream of entrepreneurship so I can spend time with my art and my words and the freedom of a steady paycheck.

So I asked “What is my real work?” The answer I received came as a statement, not as the questions I posed at the beginning of this essay (those questions are for you to ask yourself). The download went something like this:

Your real work is the work you do ON yourself, not something you do outside yourself. The work is growth, evolution, personal expansion. It is not paycheck work, or hobby-turned-income work. Every experience you’ve had has been an opportunity for growth, to navigate challenge, to overcome hurdle, to create solution. Every experience, from childhood to adulthood presented lessons to learn so you could grow. Your job is necessary because it presents challenges that allow you to connect to yourself. Working for yourself, and releasing it, was necessary to discover you do not thrive in isolation, even as an introvert. Making your art, writing your novel, the experience of your youth – all present lessons for your growth regardless of how much time you spend with them. The real work is your work. The real work is you and the choices you make while in your human form. The real work is love and light and joy, discovering this higher energy in all things. Your real work is not the definition of work. Your real work is to evolve. Embrace every experience, the easy but especially the hard, as part of your work. Use your rest time and quiet time to process these experiences. This is where you grow. This is your work.

This message fills me with gratitude. It helps me to find balance in my feelings when they veer from one extreme to another. It helps me to better understand why my art practice has slowed down. It helps me to navigate my way through low energy environments while maintaining my own high energy view. This message helps.

Prior to returning to corporate work, my art was the way and the place I processed and learned. Over the last 5 years, I’ve created feelings out of fiber, which allowed me to better understand emotion as I turned a feeling into a tangible work of art. That work will continue but at a slower pace because I’ve entered a different learning phase. Now, I’m learning from my job how best I’m meant to grow.

That doesn’t mean I’ll quit making my art or writing my words. I’ll just do it on weekends, releasing all expectations for anything other than the joy of creating. I’m still working on my Tree of Life piece, slowly stitching to add texture to the piece. Once I’ve finished it, I’ll move on to the next textured fiber painting. Maybe, like the Tree of Life, I’ll play with paint on fabric. Maybe I’ll create another feeling. Maybe I’ll create something totally different. I’ll know what I want to create when the time comes.

Because everything I experience, from working a job to making dinner to creating art carries lessons that lead to growth. That is my real work.

What is yours?

With joy and ease…

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!

Protecting Energy When Things Don’t Go According to Plan

Art making is not going according to plan. And I’m working on being okay with that.

Me, working on being okay with things not going according to plan. It’s a process.

When I last wrote an essay here, it was mid-June and I finally had my studio put together. I was excited to get back into art making, to dive into the stitching phase on my Tree of Life piece I’d begun before we relocated from Florida.

I’m still excited, however, I’ve found myself having to temper that excitement so I don’t beat myself up over not meeting my own expectations for myself and my art practice.

I’d forgotten how much energy it takes to work outside the home for someone else. I’d forgotten how much energy I absorb from others after a year of pandemic-induced isolation. I’d forgotten how much stress it’s possible to feel when you’re an empath and everyone around you is stressed.

I come home each night from work, worn out, exhausted. Prepping dinner takes what little energy I have left over, leaving none for weeknight studio time.

This disappoints me. When I worked outside the home before my two years of self-employment, I always had energy when the day ended. I always took at least 15 minutes to work in my studio – because it’s amazing how much art one can make #15minutesatatime. And I was satisfied. I met my own expectations for what I wanted my art practice to look like.

Now, I’m having to redefine those expectations. We have space constraints at work. I’m in a cubicle for the first time in 20 years because of those space constraints — almost no one has an office to themselves. There’s so much noise and constant activity, I find myself frequently distracted and not nearly as productive as I’m accustomed to being. This environmental impact to my energy is fierce.

But I’m not complaining. Instead, I’m focused on ways to protect my energy while still being engaged in my work. The more I can protect my energy, the more I can conserve it, the more I’ll have left over to play with my art each evening.

One way I’m doing this is through noise cancelling ear buds. These will help to create boundaries for myself in the office. I used them over the holiday weekend at home, while stitching on my Tree of Life. When I finally removed them, I was almost startled to hear music coming from the stereo the Big Guy had turned on while he did projects around the house.

Stitching on “Tree of Life” — slow and steady with metallic thread in whatever time I have available

Another way I protect my energy is through meditation. I already meditate each morning before leaving the house for work. I’m looking into meditations suitable for driving for my commute home, something to bring me back to myself, back to my heart, so I can release whatever energy I’ve absorbed during the day, and return to my innate joy and ease. And if I can’t find a guided meditation that suits, then I’ll crank up the music and let it flow over me.

I’ve also plugged studio time into my calendar, a 15 minute appointment with myself and my art each evening after work, which allows me to reserve energy for that time. I may not make every appointment, but scheduling time into my day reminds me of the importance of engaging with my creativity. Because I keep my expectation small — #15minutesatatime — it’s easier to meet and it allows me to stick to my plan. (If you haven’t figured it out by now, the right and left sides of my brain are constantly working together. Within the structure of a plan, I have space to experiment and freely create.)

Finally, I’m reminding myself I’m made of magic, as are we all. We are magic and Spirit, choosing to live in human form to experience and learn and grow, to evolve. This current situation, where I find myself looking for ways to better protect my energy when things don’t go according to plan, is just one more lesson to learn. And maybe, as I share my own learning, you’ll find ways to evolve too.

With joy and ease…

If you’re someone like me, who finds themselves needing to protect their energy when things don’t go according to plan, what do you do to bring yourself back to yourself?

I’d love to know. Please drop a comment below or send me a DM and let’s have a conversation – together, we may find just the solution you need.

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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