This dear red-haired fairy with a wise and perhaps mischievous look is ready to lead you beyond the garden gate. She has something interesting to share with you. Are you ready to follow her? This painting is currently on exhibit in an art show. I love this painting and don’t intend to sell it. There are some things that I don’t want to part with yet.
Being that my art is mostly intuitive, I consider the possibility that there is a message for me within a painting. And perhaps it wants to be shared with others. “What Lies Beyond the Garden Gate?” could be a metaphor for us today. What lies beyond what is familiar? It takes courage to lean into that question. And it takes courage to be with the not knowing.
I had a friend who went on a vision quest to East India. He encountered block after block in his travels. Exhausted and disheartened, he landed in a small household with an elder man and his wife. He told the elder man of the travails on his journey. Feeling frustration and disappointment, he finally surrendered and said “I just don’t know how to proceed.” The elder man smiled and said, “Ah, master Edward, you’ve reached the end of knowing. Now you can discover something else.” I’ve always appreciated this story.
As a writer, poet, artist, it’s fun to engage the imagination and let a story unfold from my art. Today, looking at this painting, I ask myself “What is the story that goes with this painting?”
Following is an excerpt from some writing I did to begin to create her story.
I followed her. It seemed as if her feet barely touched the ground. I lumbered along behind her, feeling a bit clumsy. My little garden gave way to a meadow of waving wildflowers, yellows and purples puddled like splashes of paint on an expansive canvas. I’d always felt that earth was a constant paradise. Now, I knew it.
I caught my breath, a sudden crack in my demeanor,
“I can’t be gone long,” I said aloud. “I’ll be missed.”
I thought to myself “probably not for weeks though.” Living alone, an artist living alone, leads a somewhat solitary life. I just wanted to reassure myself, to assert myself to her that I had connections. So I definitely needed to be returned to where we started from before too long.
Then, curiosity overtook me and I followed quietly losing any sense of time. My senses were heightened. Sight was crystal clear. In fact, my glasses seemed an unnecessary annoyance. I took them off and slipped them in the pocket of my shirt.
She had wings. Did I mention that? And red hair, not ordinary red hair, electric red hair! And she wore a hat like nothing I’d ever seen walking down the streets of Brisbane, California. It was sort of conical or maybe like an Egyptian headpiece. It suited her. I called out before I could stop myself.
“Who are you?”
Story-writing is fun. You don’t sit down with an outline (or at least I don’t). You are guided by your imagination, whimsy, flow of creative thought, perhaps, in this case–the fairy realm.
If you want to take your art to another level, study your painting and let it inform you as you give it voice.
Why not? Have fun. Then share it with someone you trust or someone you think would appreciate it…or perhaps really needs this story at this time.