Anyone that has read into my background at all, via my Biography or my health blog Living Whole, will know that I have been on a long journey of self-recovery from fibromylagia. The many-layered way that my journey towards better health has interwoven with the art that I produce is undeniable to me and, increasingly, something that I am prepared to talk about and share with others in the instinct that these two aspects of ‘what I do’ work as such a brilliant team for conveying a similar message.
This message is encapsulated by an email that I received out of the blue, this week:
I love your art. Your paintings are beautiful and what you capture in them speaks to me too. I too have fibromyalgia and your paintings capture those moments of beauty that surround us if we take the time to look, experience and inhale them for spiritual nourishment. I enjoy your blog, it is well executed on all fronts and I admire the effort you put into providing such thorough information. I agree that fibrmyalgia provides enormous opportunities for personal growth spiritually. You sound like a real go-getter and you need to be to work your way around fibromyalgia’s challenges. Others do not appreciate the strength it takes to live a full life in spite of it. I applaud you! Thank you for the gift of your blog and art. (See Testimonials)
This email was wonderful to receive, not least because it arrived in my inbox just as I was finishing, probably, my longest written piece to date – on the road I have been travelling with fibromyalgia and how my own art has sent me some extraordinarily clear signals along the way. This is where engaging in art has the potential to become a messenger from your self to yourself, just when you most need it, and I have lost count of the number of times I have gained deepest understanding of something, as though receiving huge insight from ‘another person’, through coming to receive the ‘message’ from my own art, sometimes many months after painting it.
This is something I touch on hugely in the blog post I refer to above, which is called Windows of insight and explores the relationship between balance and health; in particular, the all-important balance between our very different left and right brain hemispheres and the impact this has upon how we handle the ever-more left brain oriented world that we live in. There’s the potential for challenges to arise when the right-sided way of responding to life meets that increasingly hectic and relentlessly demanding world…but only when we start to sign everything over to that left brain way of being rather than continuing to hold the balance. This is where the pursuit of art and other right brain activities can help enormously with the ability to cope with stress and far too much stumuli. In this blog, I explore a particular brain-balance trait of those who succumb to chronic illness and, ultimately, it was my own paintings (of windows) that helped me to reach my conclusion – yet again.
There is a sense in which I paint these messages to myself and sit back to watch them unfold, which they do in their own time, sometimes for many months afterwards. The painting ‘The Yellow Window‘ seemed to be one such deliverer of many messages….taking me on quite the experiential journey as it was accepted into exhibitions all over the world and resulted in an American Art Award, as well as being one of my most popular pieces to date; one which ‘almost sold’ many times over…and yet it was still hanging on my wall, eighteen months after it was finished.
No surprise at all, then, that while I was writing about all this, in fact working towards its conclusion, I received an email from somebody eager to purchase it. The very morning after the blog was published (and already receiving a tremendous response on Twitter, where it was taken up by the Artist Network and retweeted and even republished all over the place that day), that the sale of the painting was agreed and so The Yellow Window is finally off to its new home tomorrow. What an incredible journey it has taken me on.