Eyes of the Heart

Reelfoot-Afternoon Shadows2


“I shut my eyes in order to see.” Paul Gauguin (from Skinnyartist.com)

How can one create with eyes shut? Gauguin’s statement would seem to not make any sense. Does he mean painting with a blindfold on? Many paintings out there look as though they have been painted with a blindfold on. Many more look like they need to have been painted with a blindfold on. But is this to be taken literally?

Gauguin, in my opinion, is talking about the heart. Let the heart see with the heart’s eyes. That is a difficult thing to do when the brain’s eyes want to remain in control. There is the natural inclination to recreate in exact detail what is physically present.   It may be necessary to actually close the eyes to get the right visual. It may take practice. It may take concentration to let go of one set of eyes to allow the others to open.

The art of opening the heart’s eyes and allowing them to take over does not necessarily mean losing realism. The heart’s eyes are eyes of feeling, eyes of emotion. Emotion is the spark that lifts realism out of simple recreation and gives it life. Emotion is the spark of any form of art that lifts it out of boredom and lights a fire.

A blindfold is not required to paint with the eyes shut. It just takes getting in touch with the heart’s eyes. Of course, painting with a blindfold may make for new and interesting art. It could even start a new movement in “blindfold painting.” Who knows, it may become all the rage. Anything can happen when the physical eyes are closed and the heart’s eyes are open.

Weekly Photo Challenge-Work of Art


This simple feather from an unknown bird washed up on the beach and seemed to me, to be a work of art.  Simplicity sometimes is a work of art in itself.  Its probably not so simple to the bird who lost it.

Weekly Photo Challenge-Work of Art

Colorful Fridays-Essentially Red

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Click the links for a look back at the main reds used by most artists, for a bit of history and a few tips.

Wallet Friendly Fire-engine Red

Expensive Wormy  Insect Red

The Invisible Color of Harmonious War

Incredible Inedible Yellow-reds

The Rosy Red Sisters

The Queen’s Red

Weekly Photo Challenge-On the Move


Being on the move sometimes means hitching a ride wherever you can get one. This bird looks awfully determined to get to his mission.  I don’t think he’s realized he’s getting nowhere fast.  Maybe someone should tell him lily pads don’t go anywhere, so he can continue on the move riding something that does actually move.

Weekly Photo Challenge–On the Move

A Labor of Love Reaches a Pinnacle, almost…


Or…playing baseball up a mountain, sort of…

 Four years ago, while working as a cardiac nurse and a botanical art teacher, I started to think about how the two fields worked together. What did they have in common and how could they benefit each other? Brainstorming with friends, co-workers and fellow artists led to some ideas. Realizing how art makes a difference in my life and hearing the same from those around me, an idea began to form. Eventually, some semblance of a plan came together.

First, the plan was thrown at the Assistant Manager, who instead of throwing it back, grabbed the ball and threw in more shape to the plan. From the Assistant Manager, the ball was thrown to the Manager, and again it was caught. The Manager wanted to take the project to a larger scale and suggested it be thrown to the Director of Nursing Research, where it hit a home run. Then, the climb began.

Over the next two years, steady climbing continued. The plan formed into a research project to determine if the work of artists, who also work in cardiac healthcare, could help cardiac patients. Many logistical issues arose. Trails were blazed. Battles were fought. Problems were solved. A team was formed to continue the climb. Some team members came and went but a few managed to stay the course from start to finish. One team member took on the role of leading the ground game. Through ups and downs, support for the project never wavered.

Eventually, we were able to measure how the staff-created art made a difference to the post-operative care of cardiac patients. It was a grand day when we were finally to the point of hanging the art. Once in place, we found the art made a difference to the staff, not just the art-makers, but to all the staff, as well as, the patients. Though a high point was reached, it was not the highest point. We still wanted to share our labor of love with others, in hopes that they, too, could do what we did. Thus began the next phase of the climb.

To share with others, the story had to be told. A new team came together from other players on the project and an account was written. Then rewritten. Then written some more. Finally, the project was thrown out into a bigger stadium. The first throw was a strike out. After a huddle produced some fresh rewriting, the project was thrown out again. This time it was caught at first base. More work got it to second base, then to third. Now it is slow walking to home plate having been accepted as a hit. The pinnacle is in sight. Publication will happen!


More on Phase Two of the Art to Heart Project can be found at: www.arttoheartproject.com

Phase One of the Art to Heart Project has been accepted and is now awaiting publication. (Yea!!) Can I breathe now?

Arts in Healthcare-An Artist’s Story


This artist created a triptych for a hospital waiting room.  She based her creation on a personal experience.  Here is her story of the inspiration and how it was completed.