Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Greeting the Wild Nun

Dear readers, I seem to be becoming more and more quiet in this space. Life seems to be getting the better of me, and I am struggling to find not only the energy to make art, but also the motivation. I don’t lack ideas—in fact, I have far too many!—but I do lack impetus and focus. 

This is the ongoing challenge of living with a chronic illness: traversing the difficult times with as much grace a possible, and then beginning again, again, again.

So, in an attempt to redirect my attention and energies back towards what is nourishing and restorative, and away from detrimental distractions, I have made a decision to take an extended break from social media. Mostly this means Facebook, which I intend to avoid for the next month (though potentially much longer). The only exception will be to share anything I publish here. 

I will also probably be posting less often on my Instagram account: @offeringsfromthewellspring

By consciously avoiding the worst of the online world, I hope I will be drawn back towards what I need: nature, sunshine, beauty, myth, making, and healing work in my studio.

However, wisely or otherwise, I have created a sister account on Instagram to explore a new creative project, an alter ego of mine: @the_wild_nun

I intend to share most of what I post in the voice of this new persona here, but do come and follow her journey on Instagram if you feel so inclined. She’s an hermitic creature, much like the Solitary Woman of a story I once wrote; but she does like some company from time to time. 

And so I, she, begins …


My unknowing is both shameful and a place of beginnings.

It is only by journeying into the darkness that I will find my way. I can no longer shy from my uglinesses, my weaknesses, my flaws, or the hidden things that scare me. I need to dive down deep into myself, to find a passage through the underworld, and then back to the surface.

The Wild Nun is me and not me; she tells all the truth but tells it slant. She is a dweller of two worlds: upper and lower, inner and outer, conscious and unconscious. She bridges the gap between, and sees in the dark, unearthing treasures.

When I cannot speak as myself, I will speak through her. When illness, fatigue and depression silence me, I will use her voice, create with her hands and heart.

Her name is Veejma, the phonetic spelling of the Polish word wiedźma, meaning witch, hag, harridan (source: Max Dashu, Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, 700–1100).

I am taking the Wild Nun’s hand and letting her lead me into the underworld where radical healing is found. A new journey is beginning, a new twist in the path, a new shadowy entrance into myself.

Detail of my painting Rainmaker (filter added)

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

The Marriage of Joy & Sorrow: A Poem

                            joy exists 

on the sheer edge 

of sorrow 

at any moment 


to stumble into 

its dark embrace 

into a strange marriage 

in which each vows 

to be the ground 

and being 

of the other

forever wed 

and devoted 

to life

(June/August 2020)

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Wise Words: The Artist

… an artist is not, in essence, a virtuoso. An oeuvre can hold our attention and move us only to the extent that we perceive in it a response to a spiritual and emotional necessity. The artist seeks to compensate for some deep-rooted sense of lack which causes acute discomfort. Impelled by an existential unease whose nature is not our concern, he or she surpasses others despite feeling bereft of something which they apparently take for granted. “What distinguishes the artist from the dilettante”, [Odilon] Redon observed, “is simply the pain experienced by the former. The dilettante looks to art only for his pleasure.”

(Michael Gibson, Odilon Redon: 1840–1916 – The Prince of Dreams, Taschen: Köln, 2011, p. 8)

Odilon Redon – Reflection, pastel (1900–1905) 
Source: Wikimedia Commons
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