Art. Photography. Gratitude. Life.



Friday, 25 January 2013


"Hell" not a very inviting title is it?
"Hell is not a place, but a state of mind"
are the words that came to me while painting today.
My Gremlin/Inner Critic doesn't want me to write this post.
He doesn't want me to share this story with you.
"What about the five others you have in draft?" he implores me.
Yes, why not complete one of them?
Why not play it safe?
Why risk baring your soul and art for ridicule?
 All very valid points, my dear inner guardian.
But I have had a few prompts from The Universe in the past few days....
It began with an innocent looking email.
My dear friend and mentor, Connie wrote a post Vulnerable Naked Bare.
where she bared her soul,
shared her raw emotions
and shared her "dark" paintings.

Reading her words, seeing her art, "feeling" her pain, her vulnerability,
it stirred things inside,
it opened up the wounds buried deep down inside,
in that dark hiding spot,
the one that no-one usually can find.

Connie's paintings.....her words......her recent journey.....
they moulded together to create a key,
and it flung open the door to my 'secret hiding spot'.
The flood gates opened,
the tears streamed,
my breath quickened,
my chest tightened,
and my gut churned.
I sat in front of my computer feeling like my heart had just got ripped violently from my chest.

     Underworld1 (detail)

Old wounds fester in the dark.
We pretend they aren't there.
We think if we can't see them, they will just disappear.
We think if we don't think about "it", "it" will just melt away,
dissolve into the tapestry of our past.

We put on that "brave face" that we are taught about as a child.
We make sure the world thinks "she copes so well".
Trust me, I've worn that:
"Can cope with anything life throws at me" badge
proudly on my chest for all to see.
It became a badge of honour.
"Yes world, look at me. I can cope."
When younger I had a boyfriend whose favourite saying was:
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger".
"Crikey, I'm so strong I can carry the whole world on my shoulders",
my EGO would boast.
Chin up.
Brave face.
Fall apart later.
Hold it all together.
I ended up so busy coping, that I turned it into an art form.
I've mentioned before
How I used avoidance as a coping mechanism.
Yes, avoid the pain.
Avoid tending to the wound.
Cover it in layers and layers of "busy-ness" and it will just go away all by itself.

Sailing along quite nicely, thank you very much.
someone I admire greatly, starts to walk a similar path,
her story starts to mirror my own.
And the tiny, almost invisible hair-line fractures start to form.
They travel like cracks in sheet ice,
moving swiftly but silently across the surface.
If I don't look too closely, I won't see them.
I can continue on blindly.
"No worries, mate."
Underworld2 (detail)
One extra straw gets added.
and I know.......
I know I can't put it off any longer.
I HAVE to face the un-face-able.
I HAVE to heal those wounds.
I HAVE to heal with a brush.
I HAVE to heal with paint.
I HAVE to stand in front of that blank page and face my demons.
I HAVE to venture into the Underworld.

"It's a privilege to journey the Underworld." my friend Connie over-heard Pixie say.
I feel like I'm eaves-dropping.
Eaves-dropping on a conversation my soul NEEDS to hear.....
Underworld3 (detail)
The Underworld beckons.
rather then entering fearfully.
I enter with reverence.
I enter with the open mind of knowing it will bring forth good.
It will bring healing.
It will bring closure.
It will bring in the light.
My gorgeous friend Shamsi wrote, only days ago, in our Painting Tribe
"playing it small serves no one..."
so I hush my Gremlin,
and I share my "dark paintings"
I bring them into the LIGHT.
For Art Heals.
LIGHT Heals.
Underworld4 (detail)


  1. A bit more honest sharing while I'm still feeling "brave". I tossed about about putting the 4th painting in the series in my post. It really is just so different to the others and so different to my ususal paintings (what ever "usual" is!), but it is what came out of the brush after the darkness lifted, and it is fun and frivolous on the surface, but the painting had messages for me and I felt to be truly AUTHENTIC in my representation of my experience to the world, I had to swallow that fear of "oh my gosh what will people think of that painting" and just add her in. I know there is another one brewing in my brush and I'm keen to see what it will manifest as.......but for now, this is the road I travelled in the last few days.

  2. bright blessings to light your way through the dark

    1. Thankyou, every light added to my own candle brightens the path. xx

  3. Melissa...have I told you today how truly amazing I think you are? I might have had a badge similar to yours...but I finally retired it and decided to be real instead :) Once those badges are removed it makes space for the Heart to shine through...and wow is your heart shining ;)

    1. My lovely Jill, you are a shining light, if I can be half as "real" as you I'll be thrilled. It is so heartening to know others have thrown away their badges and that "space" replaces them. Yes I NEED more "space" in my life. Thank you.

  4. Melissa: I admire your bravery, your courage, your light xoxo Tanya

    1. Ah Tanya, thankyou so much for taking the time to visit and read. I thank you deeply for your comment. I admire your open sharing. Together we all make each other "lighter". x

  5. Powerful. You speak my language. So brave.

    1. Thank you somuch Stephanie, I really am thrilled it resonated with you. Thanks for commenting. x

  6. Melissa, my sister - this is the kind of sharing that heals and empowers and lightens the load. I just love this, deeply... and I love you for following the juice of your own truth, fearlessly. You have a beautiful gift of sharing, and the way you emulate trusting our process with the paint - just makes me want to paint more. It doesn't get better than that. Love you!!

    1. Ahhhh my lovely Hali, thank you so much for your kind words. Yes it makes me want to paint more too! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and respond. Love you right back. xx

  7. Thank you so much for sharing so boldly!

    1. Rita, thanks for taking the time to visit and to comment, so lovely of you. xx