Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Relationships - Midweek Features 20/07/2011

When I looked through the submitted art for images to feature I realised how many of the art we receive is about the relationships we have (with others and ourselves) and the connections we make throughout our lives. Our lives are riddled with caring for others it seems and often love for others but often little for ourselves. It appears that we ‘measure’ ourselves by the success of the relationships we have – be it with a a partner or a child or anyone else we come across in our lives. So here’s a selection of the parts that make up our lives.

Our friends are the sisters we choose for ourselves.

Friendship by © MissMoselle

And the ones who help us do the things we need to do.

Fall In New Mexico by © Catherine Howell
We are going to do it,
Just me and Sam,
And Grizzy’s ashes.
We will make it
To that mountain pass,
Between Colorado
And New Mexico,
And we will stand there,
In the fresh, fall,
Mountain Air,
And we will breathe it,
We will take it all in,
As if it is the first breath
We have ever taken,
We will witness the golden aspens
And the crisp air
Will make our eyes water
And we will cry
With joy and sadness
We will remember
How the smell of sage
Excited Grizz
Because he knew
We were home
And I will ask Grizzy
To forgive me,
For not making it back here,
Before he left us
Yes, I will hold him
In the urn,
And I will tell him
How sorry I am,
And I know Sam
Will understand
We will relive the memories
Of the joy
Of Grizzy
And I know that
Grizzy will know
That we finally
Made it

The deep love we feel to our children

Our Unbreakable Bond by Christina Rodriguez

Those that are born and those that are not.

Fallen Angel by © autumnwind
I dreamt about my child last night
her eyes were twilight blue
hair as black as raven wings
her skin a tawny hue
her blank expression screamed at me
her silence was my curse
this babe was but the blood of me
yet death conceived her birth
I see her now most every night
wake trembling wet with tears
haunted now forevermore
no comfort in my prayers
a foolish choice ~ or mortal sin
it matters not to me
the life I gave I took as well
may God forgive me please

The beauty we see in others

She was totally unaware of her pure beauty by © madworld

and the way we’d like to be seen by others and we see ourselves.

The Rain, The Park And Other Things by © MoonlightLover
Tonight I walked home alone
In the Rain
Passing cars and trucks
Embracing couples
Looked at my distorted face
In the puddle
Oops my mascara is running
Oh Well
Where’s your hoodie?
Or your umbrella?
Don’t worry
I’m ok
Everything is going to be alright
It’s going to be fine
Well no
Its not going to be fine
I’m lonely and I’m afraid
I’m suppose to be beautiful
Intelligent and quick witted
I’m popular and everyone likes me
And wants something from me
But it’s not me they want
It’s what they want me to be for them
Not what I want to be
It’s still raining
And I’m kind of getting really wet..
But I really don’t mind
Because I feel free and wanted
The rain does not expect anything
It just goes right through you
And soaks you
Because it feels you are really part of it
It doesn’t judge
Rain falls on everyone
The Young and the old
The good and the bad
The Ugly and the sad
I come to the park
And the trees and the plants
They look so happy
They seem to enjoy the rain as much as I do
They are in the present
Well, that’s why they call the present a present
Because the present is a gift
Nothing like the past or the future
Well we’ve heard all that before
But it’s darn true you know
I’m on my way home
I can see my front fence
Peeking out from a distance
The Sun just broke through the clouds
To say hello
The Rain
Well the rain
The Rain
Will come back another day
It didn’t go away
But I’m happy again
I don’t know why
I have a smile on my face
And I think everything is going to be alright
Thank you Rain
Come back soon
I’ll be waiting for you.

The pain we feel and we often can’t share because it has no words

Pain Within The Hurt by © RavenSoul

and the pain that we cannot keep within.

let me go with ink stains on my fingers by © April Mansilla
I know what it feels like to go crazy from love….
My skin doesn’t feel the same
And I blame you
For taking all my memories
When I would rather
Feel the pain…
I heard that you don’t love me anymore
But I am happy
And still
I have a suit case packed
With a million things
I have left to say
Please let me say them
But tonight I am hiding
From the light
Of the matter
And I miss walking the halls
And I miss
Walking the walls
With my eyes
I miss even more my head in the clouds
And the tremble down my spine
This time is driving me
And I don’t use that term loosely
And my hands are getting old
My fingers nails are bleeding from biting them
Hold them in your mouth
And stop me from doing
Wash my back
Clean my yesterday’s makeup
Off my face
Love me
Like my
Paintings looking
Back at me….
How do you know everything about me?
In your silence?
How do I test if I am alive if I can’t do the things I am so used to?
Is it the sun in morning wake
Or the shivers
As a stranger touches my flesh
Come closer to me
I am sorry
And I listened to
The notes of my favourite song
came undone
my clothes unravelled
As I walked
And my arms no longer hid my body
I have been so ashamed of
I can’t stay away….
Oh how I have waited
For you….
To put your hands though my hair
And tell me how to live
Sleep well tonight love…

The crimes done unto us and the ones we commit on others

9 crimes. by © Mushda

or maybe they’re both one and the same?

Feeding Off You by © Edibl3leper
Strapping legs,
or strapping them down.
Hands tied over head,
smiles on hidden faces.
Expectant eyes behind veiled devices.
Jaded intentions,
fulfilling the anticipation.
Your breath catches,
and my resolve dwindles behind hazel eyes.
Diminished, diminishing,
in expectation of the inevidable.
First blood drawn,
by amateur flobotomist.
Drip turned up,
alleviation imminant, limply reacting.
Cruise control operation engaged,
the light behind the eyes fades,
dazed and continuous.
Completing my task fully aware and completely numb.
Mr. Dress Up had no idea what he was starting. (-;

The fears we feel deep inside about our relationships and the things they made us do.

a symptom of neurotic insecurity by © strawberries

And the fears we see in others’ eyes.

A Day in the Life as a Bra Fitter by © mermanda
When you look in a mirror
with your clothes off
bearing your body to a stranger
your self worth and confidence begin to falter
you walked in here
strutting your stuff
now standing in front of me
with your guards up
you don’t feel loved
or love from yourself
cause there is always something wrong
some new surgery
to help you feel strong
“I’m so fat,
cant you see?”
“I need some more botox, my face looks ugly”
“I hate my body, and this part of me”
let me make you feel pretty
and lift your breast off the floor
or wasn’t that the surgery you just went in for?
“My Husband is cheating with some young whore,
he just doesn’t love me anymore, what happened to me?
when he first met me, I had a 26 inch waist, now with 3 kids later, I guess it’s too late,
must go to the Dr. and have him reconstruct my face, my thighs, my saggy breast’s, get back my waist.” ‘Amanda, I’m sorry. I just have so much stress, does this bra work, does it look the best?"
I say “Look at you, your beautiful don’t ever listen to him. You raised his children, made a house into a home, don’t go changing just for him, he made his choice, let him see in the end”
Now to flip the coin
when I fit the young gals
they think life is perfect
with the perfect bodies
skin too dark for the blonde hair
nothing more to say than
“OMG, that bra is sooo cute, will it fit me?”
these are the ones who the men leave their
wives for
the stupid girls
that go down on men in a drive through
the ones who think they win
when they get an old used man
just because they took him from a family
a home
he is the one with the good credit
a house that is his
a midlife crises sports car
set up in ways that are comfortable for a girl
could pay for trips to the spa
and vacations with her girls
his children are almost grown
their older than this whore
his wife doesn’t need his money
she has a career
and worked for what she owns
so it all goes to the blonde bimbo
wanting nothing more than some beers
with her peers
he will pay for the sex
she uses her looks and her
‘make a man feel good’ ways
to get what she wants
to not have to work
to just go out and play
manicures and pedicures almost everyday
but she doesn’t realize that he will do the same
no matter what guy
she chooses to play her game
when her skin starts to wrinkle
and her blonde turns to speckles of grey
there is always another girl
who will do the same
to fill her heels
continue the game
another who makes him feel
like a “real man should”
the excuse being
“he is just being a man”
and we all accept it
as if we understand
The decline of society
it affects us all
so when I leave work
knowing everyone’s sins
I wonder when this will happen to me
when my age catches up with me
how will I feel when my man looks away
at the next generation who just wants to play
my Father never did this
he loves my Mother so
and I know many men who everyday show
to their wives appreciation
not looking away at a tight ass for the sensation
So girls and women out there
what happened to the code?
the one where the men aren’t treated like cattle?
and the one where your fellow women aren’t strung into battles?

Quite a journey all the way from friendship to a mother’s love to the complicated and complex relationship with have with ourselves and others.
Please don’t forget to congratulate the artists featured today. It means so much to see what others think and feel about your writing and art. :-)

Through a Glass Darkly - Sunday Features 17/07/2011

As soon as I saw the image “Through a Glass Darkly” by Glitterfest, I knew that this would be the theme for the features this week. I was fascinated by the whole concept of the duality within. As Glitterfest explains, we sometimes look in the mirror and see the dark side, the imperfections, the shadow part of ourselves. Other days we can look and see a beautiful woman standing there, without all the repressed guilt and angst.
We punish ourselves all the time with guilt and angst about who we are and how we look. It is time maybe, to pause and reflect on this and for us all to acknowledge and celebrate that we do not have to be perfect to be wonderful.
There is a sense of yearning and sadness inherent in this image which moves me, but at the same time, Glitterfest allows us to see the beauty within.

Through a Glass Darkly © by Glitterfest

The intricate and complex pencil drawings by Janelle McKain, never cease to amaze me. Each one is full of strong symbolism, with hints of myths and legends, which take us from where we are in the present and move us back into the past. Her work is challenging, disturbing and thought-provoking.

“The Night Hides Your Truth” is no exception. Here we are indeed, looking through a glass darkly. She explores the complexity of the relationship between man and woman in a way that intrigues and tantalises. She invites you to think. The inspiration for the image came from a song by Creed, which contains the words…
Speaking to you
Take all this pride
And leave it behind
Because one day it ends
One day we die
Believe what you will
That is your right
But I choose to win
I choose to fight
To fight.

The Night Hides Your Truth © by Janelle McKain

The powerful charcoal drawing “The Complex Womyn” by electricstorm continues the theme. The image gives us but a small glimpse of woman and the complexities inherent within. Shades of dark and light pull us in and make us want to know more.
 electristorm explains…
“I started this month’s ago…fractions of blocking were left unfinished as I was unsure how to express my journey. But today something came alive within me…and now I’m sharing apart of my world with you. This drawing not only represents my journey but the journey of all womyn…”

The Complex Womyn © by electriclstorm

The concept of duality continues with the beautiful,Picasso-like portrait from tatefox. It is simple in its execution and all the more powerful for it. The message is clear“Inspired by the natural rhythms of our internal bodyclocks, cycling from daytime into the night… & so on.” tatefox
Circadian Rhythms © by tatefox

Sybille Sterk explores the dark side, with this intriguing image “Dissembling”. As with all her art, Sybille’s skills shine through in her techniques of photo-manipulation, merging and blending. This image is so skilfully created and yet, at the same time has a quality of ambiguity that enchants and intrigues. Sybille’s explanations of her work are always exceptional, taking us beyond the image itself into her own thoughts and feelings.

“This particular image is about the dark side we often hide even from ourselves. The more images I create in this series the more I realise that dissembling is about balance, or rather imbalance. The more we hide from ourselves the less balance we achieve and that leaves us less control over who we are and what we do. The dark side is there in all of us, but life becomes ever more politically correct and although anger can be a negative and destructive force if it is out of control, it can also be a freeing and constructive emotion if balanced with consideration and rationality. We need to accept our dark side and use it in the right way which is impossible if we negate the fact that it’s there in the first place, hence the name of the image.” Sybille Sterk

Dissembling – Welcome to the Dark Side © by Sybille Sterk

“Louche” by Rosy H brings a smile to my face each time I look at it. It is an image which questions and challenges us as women, yet, at the same time, is utterly sympathetic to the dilemmas we face. It is an image that stays with me, long after I shut down the screen. It’s clean lines, sharp contrast and sheer vivacity hold me in thrall.

Rosy explains her intention so well..

For literally weeks now I’ve been trying to find the words that fit the expression I see in that face. Now I have them.
“Tell me what I ’can’t’ and ’shouldn’t’ do and I’ll show you what I can and will do!”

“A pretty face, especially if it’s on a blonde, is often dismissed with “Don’t worry your pretty head about that”, for me, that was a like a red rag to a bull. Verrrry dangerous :) She’s my ‘pretty face’ getting ready to charge and prove that assumption to be the empty arrogance of all such patronising sayings.
There’s something about the 20s. Women were demanding more freedom, often at great cost. Clothing was more comfortable and quite often daring. It was an interesting time in every sense. Hard for us to appreciate what women went through to gain the freedoms we now take for granted. This snap was inspired by Kerry Greenwood’s heroine Phyrne Fisher.
Louche is my attempt to recapture some of the defiance of women at that time. I like the attitude of this one. Hope you do too." Rosy H

Louche! © by Rosy H

In this lovely image “She2” by Tammera, we see the same theme emerging. Who am I? What am I made of? Where do I fit? We see hints of the woman through the screen, hiding some parts and giving is glimpses of others. We are left in no doubt about Tammera’s inner core strength when we read her accompanying poem…
Sometimes she just feels numb
She removes her clothing to touch her skin
She wants to know if she is really there

Sometimes she feels too real
And the brush of someones hand
Sends singe of pain along her nerves

Sometimes she wants to leave this place
But she doesn’t know where to go
That will be safe and secure

Sometimes she feels too secure
And it seems as if lshe cannot breathe
from the smothering of it all

Sometimes she wonders
Am I the only woman who is like this
Am I crazy and all undone?

Sometimes she feels so lonely
She thinks she will not survive it
And wants to be touched
By anyone, who really cares

Sometimes she is overwhelmed
By all the people
and their constant chatter

But day to day
Hour by Hour
Minute by minute

lives it
Survives It
Is enthralled by it


© Tammera

SHE 2 © by Tammera

I love the art of Helena Wilsen-Saunders, with its highly detailed imagery and symbolism. She uses plants to express all aspects of our personality, sensuality and sexuality. This one is particularly sensitive and beautifully explicit.

“Digital light added to original coloured pencil drawing of Happy are the Dreamers.
By adding a light glow to the drawn moon and sun this image now seems to illustrate the concept of yin and yang. The two complimentary primal forces; Yin the feminine, the moon, darkness and negative energy and Yang the masculine, sun and positive energy. One cannot be in harmony without the other.”
Helena Wilsen-Saunders

Yin and Yang © by Helena Wilsen – Saunders

 ’The Decisive Moment’ by Carol M is an enigmatic portrait and tribute to her mother. We see eyes looking from behind her, questioning, seeing and accepting. It is also an invitation to consider the duality between happiness and sadness, strength and wekaness. Carol believe we have a choice in this…'

Have you ever felt yourself staring at the wall?
Have you ever felt an emptiness inside?
Have you every felt the tears stream from your eyes and you couldn’t stop the flow?

Life doesn’t guarantee us an easy journey
There will be times when heartaches come
There will be times of doubt, fear, and loneliness

You have the power inside to change
But it’s up to you to do it
We find excuses
I’m weak, I cant, I don’t know how
We want to place blame on anyone or anything
But never ourselves

It’s a decisive moment
It’s a time to reach inside for strength
It’s a time to reach outside for strength
It’s time to do whatever it takes
It’s time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off
And move on.

Life is what you make of it
Happiness doesn’t just come knocking on your door
You have to pursue it
You have to decide what you want in life
And go after it

We are faced with many decisive moments
Make your choice and pursue your dreams
No one can do it for you.

You can choose to be happy
Or you can choose to be miserable
What choice will you make?
It’s up to you

© Carol M

The Decisive Moment (Image and Writing) © by CarolM

This haunting image by Madworld reinforces the theme that we are not aware of our own beauty. We look in that mirror seeing our imperfections foremost, and overlook the beauty without and within. This low-key photo illustrates this beautifully.

She was totally unaware of her pure beauty © by madworld

The explanation to this powerful image by Heather King makes a fabulous artwork even more special. Heather is battling with the duality between positive and negative thinking, and the whole concept of femininity in general.

“These photos taken and layered together were done after a smudging in my home. after all the negativity was eliminated, i focused on everything positive, within and without. never under estimate the power of the nature, and femininity…combined can be a force to be reckoned with.
There is no feeling as powerful as being one in/with nature…standing alone bare foot in grass as you let the rain drench your every pore…nothing feels as pure and certain as this."
Heather King

Arnemetia © by Heather King

Finishing these features with “The Awakening” by Samantha Aplin seemed so appropriate. It tells the story of the power that women are seen to hold. It also shows the fear that men can have when faced with such power. Lets harness this power together.

“When the Spanish first arrived in Lake Atitlan they were camping somewhere around what later became Panajachel, when one of the young soldiers set eyes on a local Mayan girl washing clothes in the lake. Transfixed by her beauty, but fearing there was no way she would consider the advances of a Spaniard, he concocted a plan to win her over. He visited a local witch and asked her to cast a spell on a gold ring, which would ensure that she would find him irresistibly attractive.
The spell worked and the young Mayan woman fell in love with the Spanish soldier. However, a short while later, the soldier’s commander found out about the affair, and ordered her execution. Standing over her body, the commander saw the ring, and stole it from the body. A short while later, he started feeling irresistibly attracted to the young soldier, and fearing that the ring had something to do with his developing homosexual tendencies, he took a boat to the middle of Lake Atitlan, and disgusted, hurled the ring in.
The story goes that through the years the ring has passed its powers onto the lake, working its spell on all who venture here."

The Awakening © by Samantha Aplin

Coming into Her Own -- Sunday Features - 10/07/2011

From the moment female inhales her first breath she is on a quest to find herself and piece together how she fits into the larger picture of existence. It’s a journey of growth, trial and error, and discovery. And this journey will follow her all the days of her life on earth.
I remember being the new kid at school, over and over again. The games the other girls played to let me know I was on the bottom of some unspoken food chain. The games the boys initiated to let me know I was a welcome distraction from some unspoken suppression. The things I repeated in my head all day long lest the mental madness become my very own Armageddon. My mother’s words that “I could be anything I dreamed of being.” My father’s continued reminder that I wasn’t “anyone’s doormat,” and that I could “do anything that boys can do and maybe somethings even better.” The first teacher to say, “You are brilliant; never lose sight of that.” The first boy I beat in a high-stakes recess race who exclaimed, “But you’re a stupid girl! Girls can’t run faster than boys.”
These were the words I clung to, the ones attached to my first life lessons that would weave into the very fibers of my survival. These are the words that keep me pressing forward, still on repeat after all these years. What are the words you hear that ignite your passion to keep pressing on? What are the images that remind you that you are a dynamic woman, one who may not have arrived but is clearly pressing through to become all the woman there is to be? Never lose sight of these things.
Hope and determination are a powerful duo. Pressing forward often means wrestling with one’s own shadow, in all of its binding, repressing forms.

On My Own Ground by © electricstorm
Your voice came in and out, muffled by the revolutions above,
A slight humming, lulling me back to the depths…
All the while being pulled towards the creeping morning light. My vision skews as I face another day, another day of scenarios, another day with you. Conscious of those who walked before me…walked these same steps…forever conscious of my surroundings…no thanks to you. You are my little shadow, forever haunting, forever present.
Vulnerable I am not, yet you remain after each breakthrough…you are not the slick that can be rubbed away. Unfortunately you and I somehow fused…though I like to think of you as not wanting to give up the ghost, and I’m not laughing. The flaw not equated on your part was my ambition…for one day… like those before me…you, will be, no more. And then I can be the victor unmasked by circumstance. For you see, I was never meant to be captured…

Plant yourself and behold what blossoms!

Rooted  by © Antaratma Images

Grabbing freedom by the hand and stepping out in courage and faith are common realities, and often these are the only valuables within reach when walking out the door of past hurts, repressions and failures.

a woman by © Sally Omar
she closed the door
gently behind her
descended to the bottom
of the staircase
one glance back
she was gone
with bags in hand
her clothes, a few pictures
a little money
knowing the time had come
to leave all that she knew
her heart was heavy
but she came to the realization
she was a woman
wanting to be free of the grasp
of being held down
she could no longer breathe
stifling from old-fashioned rules
she had to say goodbye
to a mother
ruled by the heavy hand
of her father
a demon in his own right
wanting full control
with his own lurid secrets
to her sister
who followed in the sad footsteps
of a lost weak mother
to her brother
who followed in the vile footsteps
of an overbearing father
leaving her home of unhappiness
and disillusion
leaving the old rituals
of a dysfunctional family
no goodbyes were said
she wanted freedom
the air was brisk and cool
the sun had just gone down
walking with long strides
her long golden hair bounced
with each step
an unknown journey had just begun
one that would lead her
to a new look at womanhood
and strength
she took a deep breath
whispering “i am free”
a woman
Don’t waste another moment on excuses that push your dreams and aspirations to another day. A day where more things may line up, where more things might be just right . Within the imperfections are woman’s perfections.

Imperfections by © Renate Dartois

The first images most women have that embody the many dimensions of hidden strength and courage are of their mothers.
  The Journey by © MaryMac
The night is cold with snow
The wind mourns as it blows below
The chimney and crumbling eves
Are quainter by the rustle of dead leafs.
Sweet memories cascade back
To momma’s house…
her kindness and council linger on in my heart
She taught lessons and meanings of life’s challenges
I hear her voice to say, “Ann, life is not fair
Life is a journey to be savored and to be enjoyed”
Her life on earth is over…her piano sold.
I continue upon my journey awaiting patiently…still learning
Watching my daughter and her son grow.
I know one day we will
see one another again…
and she’ll ask of me
“Ann, tell me about your journey…
Did you live and savor to make your way home?”

How sweet it is when she comes into her own,wherever that may be.
Homecoming by © Tate Fox

 Often, the best seat in the house is the one within. Here’s a reminder of the importance of being a great observer.

Observer by © Sybille Sterk
I am sitting
in a little room
in my mind
a bit untidy
but the chair is comfy
I watch
the world go by
like a soap opera
following story lines
and characters
making connections
rewriting endings
I spot the problems
and their solutions
long before anyone else
I shout really loud
but no one listens
and no one hears
I am sitting
in a little room
in my mind
a bit messy and dusty
but the chair is ever so comfy.

There’s value in numbers. Never underestimate the power of two minds working together, of two hearts beating in unity for the betterment of worthy causes, of two souls destined and determined to find the dynamic woman within.
  I am not pretty by © msdebbie
I am not pretty.
I prefer instead
to be described as
great in bed.
I am not especially angry,
but gosh, with an opinion
it is easy to fool folks!
That’s right, chalk it up
to anger management issues.

No need to consider
your own level of fear.
Imagine that! Such
vitriol from a girl!
I will not be your
damsel in distress.
I prefer instead
to be called Debstar,
rockstar, awesome,
than crying bleakly
to be rescued like
some Disney princess.
I am sorry if these thoughts
offend you. After all,
I was just meant to be
the smart one.
My beautiful sister Barb
took her jibes as
the pretty one,
especially when a first-round
uni offer was not provided.
But she overcame that
token comfort,
the small-minded label
of a country-town
where such distinctions
are rife, yet meaningless.
Here is what we do
I told her in 1994.
You have five minutes
to cry, get all of that out
of your system, then we plan.
You would be a great nurse.
They will be lucky to have you.
We will make it so they cannot say no
And so it was . . . persistence
delivered a second-round offer…
So, let me tell you again,
■ Debstar is not a sex kittenstuck on a stripper polesomewhere sleazy.■ Barb is not a pretty facewho can be shamed intovacuity for perpetuity.We are like-minded sisters
fighting the good fight.
■ We know there are no damsels in distress■ Even a sex kitten can work outhow to get down from a stripper poleI am not a pretty girl,
Barb is not a pretty face,
I don’t want to be a pretty girl,
you guessed it,
I want to be so much more
than a pretty girl,
than a smart girl.
I want to be all that I want to be.
Such ridiculous labels do not define me. 

It’s alright to drift in between dreams, just as it’s alright to reinvent the dormant ones or weave several together into a chain that leads the way.

In between dreams  by © Trish Woodford

Just as salmons swim upstream, so too will a spirit longing to fly into the promise of a satisfying life.

Intensify by © Vesna VD
Soft, pastel background silence
Black, sharp, ink words sound so dense
Intensifies the hearing
Calm, still, frozen landscapes
Sudden flapping, the photograph escapes
Intensifies the sight
Whirlwind thoughts, emotional nightmare
Tamed by the newborn wisdom flare
Intensifies the smell
Deep dive under the skin
Feeling the waves within
Intensifies the touch
Salmon swims upstream somewhere
Berries are shared with a black bear
Intensifies the taste
Day by day she is infused with profusion, she shouts to the world, “I will survive and I will rejoice in this journey!”

Exuberance by © Cabisha

Holding onto hope infuses dreams into reality.
  The flight of birds by © April Mansilla
I wonder what you feel
When the sun is high and my eyes
when the moon is only half full
Of himself
It will never be too late
Like water rushing between toes
At the edge of perfect
My adoration
My life
This is a place where
dreams live wide eyed
White clouds
and blue
looking out upon
this amazing world
the shutter slammed today
and I took a picture of
a million words
like birds
escaping between
tell me how you feel
it is never too late
it is early hours when thoughts rise
and stretch out
skin turning luminescent in the light
of the matter
and holding onto
things such as love
and hope
days like this
My mouth is half open ready to speak
but instead I smile

'A Moment of Solitude' - Sunday Features - 03/07/2011

The features this week were inspired by the wonderful image from Renate Dartois – “A Moment of Solitude” whose image gives us the message that, as women, we need moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance how much of ourselves we give away. The truth of this message is self-evident, but how often to we allow ourselves these precious moments of quietness, or think about the need to equalise the balance of our own emotional needs against the needs of others?
In all the images here, we consider how we project ourselves to the world, and to our inner selves, through our eyes and expressions. The eyes become a window to the soul.

This image shimmers with a force as strong as the woman depicted here. The deep and passionate colours tell us about the woman herself and maybe about the emotional cost of giving to others. Her eyes are closed, and one can feel the intensity of her inner self-reflection. This is a powerful and emotive work.

“As women we need moments of solitude and self reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away…..”
Renate Dartois

A moment of solitude….. © Renate Dartois

The art of Madelena Lobao-Tello has reflects her rich cultural background and reveals to us women of strength and determination. Here, we see Flora – the Goddess of Seeds. She is forever young and beautiful. In her eyes, however, there is a haunting look of vulnerability and we feel we have been given a glimpse into her psyche. She is the protector of women, and yet she is herself young and vulnerable.“Goddess protector of the flora and of the germination process of the seeds.My interpretation of the roman goddess Flora, divinity who was in charge of the flowers, the germination of seeds and with them the fields and agriculture. Not only that, the goddess of flowers and seeds was also considered the special protector of women and the goddess of love until it was replaced by Venus-Aphrodite.Flora, the goddess forever young, epitome of harmony and beautiful proportion, majestic and luxuriously has given its name to what is known as vegetable kingdom.”
Madalena Lobao-Tello

Goddess of the Seeds – Flora © Madalena Lobao-Tello

An empathy with humanity is a theme that runs throughout the art of Janis Zroback. Her women are multi-dimensional beings, complex and whole. In “Too Much, Too Little” we see the inner emotions of a woman who is suffering but who we know will find the strength to move forward. The inspired and careful use of colour and paint strokes add to the emotional intensity of the work. It is stunning.

“Don’t ask me why a happy person like myself seems to get right into life’s agonies when I paint portraits…I don’t know the answer..
Maybe because agony is related to ecstasy and you can’t have one without the other?
Maybe it’s a basic empathy with human suffering that drives me to portray these emotions…
Whatever it is, it’s at bottom a feeling that all art should say more than what’s on the surface…should be akin to a poem more than an essay..
She has made the final decision…what’s next? The future looks bleak but anything is better than this…”

Janis Zroback

Too Much.. Too Little.. Too Late © Janis Zroback

‘Taming The Panther’ is another strong image where the use of colour and line add to the overall power of the image. It deals with the concept of female power, but also the issues of dreams, intuition, creativity and self-awareness. We see real determination in the eyes of the subject and know that to cross her would be a mistake.

“In some cultures (South American, & Central American) the panther is a symbol of courage, valor and power. The panther animal totem is a very powerful and protective presence, individuals with panther totems are usually people who come into this world with a spiritual knowing – a deeper understanding of spiritual things. These people often are very intuitive, psychic, and many are artistically inclined. When the black panther totem appears in your life, it is also a symbol of releasing your passions, and starting a new phase of your life. A phase in which you are discovering your desires, and living your dreams.”

Taming the Panther © Himitsuhana

 ‘She Tangled’ by Rosy H is an intricate and complex ink drawing, with detail so fine that it needs to be viewed large. It is about introspection and extroversion, and the eyes here, reveal it all. It is a mesmerising and unforgettable image, and those eyes stay with the viewer long after. There is much symbolism within the image, and, perhaps most notable, are the tree roots and branches weaving themselves around the faces, inviting us to consider the present, past and future. 
 “Gaze inward and gaze outward – introspection and erm… ‘extrospection’ :) They get tangled so it seemed appropriate to name it thus.”
Rosy H

SheTangled © Rosy H

I have been a follower of Sybille’s work for a long time, and she seems to go from strength to strength. Her images are becoming more powerful each week. In this beautiful image we see the inner soul of the young woman through her different colour eyes. The dichotomy of inner and outer beauty is well depicted here in the duality of the face and its make-up, but like all the other images featured today, we have the impression of the inner strength of women.

This particular image is about the efforts we make and the pains we are prepared to take to be beautiful and to adhere to the beauty standards and trends of our time. From designer eyes (coloured contact lenses) to makeup to surgery to turning ourselves into animals or vampires (and so on) there are many ways to hide ourselves until we cannot tell where the mask ends and we end. The saddest thing of all is that we seem to forget that outer beauty is nothing without inner beauty. However, any inner beauty we possess is often overshadowed by the pursuit of outer beauty.
I am not saying that a little makeup is evil or that you shouldn’t look after yourself and make the best of your assets, however, in recent years the concerns with our ‘outer’ shell seems to have taken over any concerns we have with our inner selves, the content as it were. From trying to be size 0 to wearing the latest fashion to cosmetic surgery we seem to have forgotten who we are and where we come from."
Sybille Sterk

Dissembling – Beauty Pageant © Sybille Sterk

This soft and delicate image by Geraldine Maddrell is at first glance of a romantically beautiful woman. Soft, shimmering and delicate, it is however so much more than this. It depicts the emotional and psychological inner world of women, showing that we have choices about who to let in and who to keep out. It is about that moment of self-reflection and contemplation we need in order to fully balance our worlds.

"My inner world
rich and dark
not many may enter
this secret part
There is only one
with whom I trust
to walk gently
and be just
Geraldine Maddrell

Living On The Inside © Geraldine (Gezza) Maddrell

Dmcart’s stunning image follows on so beautifully from the one above. It captures our imagination by is softness and vulnerability, but speaks to us of inner complexity, of multiple inner emotions and of the need for inner strength. It urges us to be ourselves, and by so being, to allow humanity to grow. 

“In a single human being there are many other beings, all with their own values, motives, and devices. Some psychological technologies suggest we arrest these beings, count them, name them, force them into harness till they shuffle along like vanquished slaves. But to do this would halt the dance of wildish lights in a woman’s eyes; it would halt her heat lightning and arrest all throwing of sparks. Rather than corrupt her natural beauty, our work is to build for all these beings a wildish countryside wherein the artists among them can make, the lovers love, the healers heal.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Oci Ciornie © dmcart

In this gorgeous image we see Demeter, the earth goddess, whose only daughter was abducted by Hades. She searches the world for her lost child, and, as MoonSpiral explains that when she gave up hope of finding her, the world was barren. Moonspiral has used the colours of the earth and oceans to depict her, but it is the look of total sorrow in her eyes that makes us stop and feel real empathy with her.

“When the mothers quit dreaming of a better world for their children we are all in big trouble. When Demeter gave up hope the world became barren. Mothers have a lot of power to dream the world into being.”

Demeter’s Dream © MoonSpiral

“Unheard Words Of Mine’ by Christina Rodriguez portrays so skilfully, the anger and confusion that can arise when you cannot make yourself heard. The misery of this is, once again, portrayed through the eyes. We can see the sadness and the anger here. The eyes truly are the window to the soul.

"What do you do when …
You have so much to….
Say and no one will listen?

No one wants to listen…
Or are you just thinking…
No one wants to listen?

Maybe you enjoy…
Dreaming and keeping…
Your thoughts to yourself…

Maybe you know…
No one will ever really…
Appreciate your words…

But…you cannot help….
But still feel lonley and lost….
Christina Rodriguez, ‘Unheard Words of Mine’

Unheard Words of Mine © Christina Rodriguez

This lovely image by madworld really caught my eye, as I too have never had the gift of a daughter. The love that madworld feels for this young woman shines through the page. It is a wonderful portrait where we catch a glimpse of the subject, but also an insight into the inner self of the photographer.

“I love this girl, she is the daughter I never had, the daughter I can never have, my sons first love, my sons confidante, the one he seeks when he needs someone to tell him to pull his head in, to tell his stories too, to hear the truth from. And he does the same for her. I knew she was special the first time I saw her, a gawky 13 year old with little round granny specs in school uniform who walked in front of my car. And I looked at her and knew, I knew she would be part of my life before Caleb did. A month went past, I would watch her come out of the school gates and try and send her silent messages. And then it happened…could we give her a ride to Youth Theatre. And from that minute on, she was family. I love this girl for what she has given me, for what she has given my son and the friendship that still after all these years that ensues for each of them. I love this girl.”

And I love her © madworld

We started with an image of eyes closed, and finish with Madalena’s image which powerfully suggests that the eyes are closed – or not there at all. She talks to us of memories, and how they can inhibit us. She talks of the need to free ourselves into becoming the creative and wonderful women we can be. She uses the eyes as a metaphor. This image will remain with me now and remind me of the need to move forwards.

“What should I do with all those memories which reveal my nights and astonish my days ? I Hang them!”
“Ceramic is to stop being what we were to start being what we are. The creative process is magical, holistic, cosmic…
Belongs to the ceramic series “The Kiss” – The kiss of Memories…”

Madalena Lobao-Tello

Hanged of the memories © Madalena Lobao-Tello