Monday, November 12, 2012

DEEP and Dancing with Joy

Once more, I decided to walk the Fearless painting path with some of my painting tribe and Connie from Dirty Footprints Studio and signed up for the follow up to BIG, which I took in the summer.

This round of Fearless painting prompts and guidance urges us to take the plunge and go DEEP. Into ourselves, our paintings, our mysteries and our painting practices. We're into Week 4 already, but as I've been so wrapped up with the incredible experiences of working with these prompts and painting as well as day to day things and working through my shock and grief over Superstorm Sandy's devastation of New Jersey I haven't shared much here. I haven't shared much on the DEEP forums this time around either, like I did with BIG, but as I'm still processing some of the paintings and how they evolved and what they stemmed from... I'm not going to beat myself up over it.

That all said, I've carved out some time while Week 3's painting sits patiently on my wall, waiting for me to come add more to it (slowly, slowly are these paintings coming along, as you can tell if you caught that I said we're into Week 4, I'm working about a week behind.) I'm going to share my piece and process from Week 1. Connie prompted us to begin our journey through DEEP with a clear mind and to invite in Joy. She asked us to Begin as we wish to continue; powerful words that I'm trying to apply to day to day life as well.

So, here's Joy, with text (and comments) copied from my blog on the DEEP forum:

It was funny, starting out on Week 1's prompt which was to Begin as we wish to continue and to invite Joy into our paintings as I was not in the best of moods. I was suffering from a mild bought of depression and extremely stressed over work and when I finally had the opportunity to sit down and watch the video I turned it off when Connie said to do so if you weren't fulled present or were staring at the clock. She caught me - I was trying to cram it in before work and was looking at the video time and the clock going 'this is going to be cutting it close...'

And so, my paper hung on the wall for another day and I waited until I could be fully present to watch and to begin, rain clouds and all. And as soon as the video was over, I put on my current favorite Pandora radio station (Modern Folk) and closed my eyes to grab the first color. I do this frequently; let my hand randomly choose the color I'll be sketching in. I squirted the teal into the palette and just began to move my arm in time with the music, tapping my foot all the while. First a big swoop and a swirl, a big oval and some more swirls - out of the swoops and swirls emerged one chubby woman, shimmying to the music!

The fill colors I picked without a second guess; if my hand grabbed purple, I went with it. The same with yellow and red. As I was swooping across her body in purples,'I Will Wait' by Mumford and Sons came on and I remember dancing more than painting, singing along and whooping, slapping my thighs and dancing with the brush - I love to dance, I love to sing, especially with such moving music! It wasn't until the song ended and segued into something slower that I realized I had tears streaming down my face, dripping on to my chest and mingling with the paint on the palette. I went with it, let it go, bawled my eyes out until my breathing came ragged and my chest was heaving and when I was spent, I smiled. It was the strangest thing - the biggest grin spread across my face, my cheeks hurt, eyes swollen and I just started to laugh - not the sort of laugh that would lead anyone to think I was a nutcase (unless they had witnessed the tears and subsequent laughter maybe) but the sort of laugh that springs from the belly during times of great release.

This chunky goddess, with her big old belly, mismatched breasts and infectious smile gifted me with something - catharsis and Joy. If you asked me what I let go of in that moment, in those minutes of crying and laughing, I could not say for sure. But there was a decided weight removed from my shoulders and I spent the remainder of my time with her dancing and smiling, waving the paintbrush like a conductor and letting her direct the bright, crazy colors she called for me to use.

I haven't taken her off the wall to put up my new paper yet, because she's going to move someplace where she can shine her light on everyone in my home as often as she can. So when the rainclouds move in, we can catch her grin and smile back.

Comments from my tribe sisters, so I can keep and cherish them always:

Comment by Deborah
I don't know whether I like the painting or your description of painting more. They are both so filled with your life force, your exuberance, your shifts and turns and squeals and hip slaps. thank you for brightening my day.

Comment by Shauna
what a great description of your process and how this painting came to life. thanks for sharing it. truly your exuberance jumps out of this painting!

Comment by Cinda
Yes, Thank you the story of a fearless painter - Yes, indeed, you went with the flow and my fingers tingle just thinking about. She is beautiful - Thank you !!!!

Comment by Sharon
Thank you for sharing your journey with this beautiful goddess that you painted. Not only did it put a huge smile in my heart..your comment about not being a nutcase was priceless. I admire your willingness to allow and be with what was moving through you. I am reminded of the preciousness of being with what is....and the gift it offers.

Comment by Sharon
Danielle, I just wanted again to say thank you for sharing your heart. While painting this afternoon, I felt an opening in me....and I think your process (or what was released)....somehow helped me (you came to mind while it was happening). Since what we shift is "in the energy field" I felt lighter and open to paint differently.

Comment by Sarah
Yes... thank you...I remember back in those 10 minutes before Annies news I was just beginnig to dance but was really conscious i wanted to cry and was somehow stopping myself from really feeling because of a resistance to the tears...then the cancer shock and 3 days of tears.

One of my students started crying in the middle of a lesson this week ( I privately tutor kids mostly in primary with maths /english/whatever comes up ..but mostly confidence...I always have all my art 'toys' with me ) the end of the lesson we were painting the line "our tears are the water for the garden we grow" and he was feeling much better...(girlfriend issues!)

Comment by Melissa
Danielle, I fell in love with your dancing girl the second I saw her! She just radiates such joy it's incredible!! I love your honest sharing and am so thrilled that you ran the gambit of emotions and came out lighter and even more joyous. Your enthusiasm screams off the screen. I'm smiling so wide that my cheeks hurt! Thankyou so much for sharing so honestly. xx

Comment by Connie

Thank you for sharing your process--your heart--your open and amazing painting. I love that you have such a deep connection to music--and how it moves through you and aids your process in such a deep and transformative way. I love that you let yourself feel what you were feeling--but opened yourself and released all the junky junk too.

This is great stuff women--and thank you for honoring your own process by not cramming it in. You are worth every moment of your glorious life--live more--cram less!

BIG Hugs,


  1. What can I say? SHE'S FAB! So are you xoxo

  2. I stopped by to share an award with you and WOW that is a great painting! I love the comments you shared as well. Witchy Blog Award;

  3. I just love seeing your art! All of your paintings are just so full of magick and depth. Your "Joy" is so lovely. I love her roundness and the whole process you went through to meet her. Keep on painting, Danni!

  4. The very first thing that caught my attention was her mouth, her uninhibited smile. Beautiful painting!!!!!

  5. She reminds me so much of someone.....

    Crying and laughing is something I've done for years. Some people get uncomfortable around me when I do and others laugh with me and let me cry. I've learned a lot about those people.

    This is amazing art and it's as though you paint with a brush from your heart.


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