Painting My Tatas. Beyond Breast Cancer.

Stitched and Stretched Beyond Breast Cancer mixed media by Bernadette Rose Smith

Stitched and stretched. That’s what I’ve titled this piece because that’s what breast cancer ushered in with every decision I had to make. Cut it. Stitch it. Now, stretch it beyond anything recognizable as you.

Life flew apart like confetti without a party. Not unlike my private-moment, mixed media attempts at depicting this most bizarre journey. (And so shortly after losing Ray to cancer.) Countless bits and pieces, created with the best of intentions, were tossed in the trashcan next to me because they did not fit the picture as I had imagined.

The writer-me has freely spoken about her journey with breast cancer. The artist-me had not taken her shot at it. Quite frankly, she couldn’t get the writer to shut up long enough for the artist to quietly seat herself in the studio and ask, “How do you heal through this with art – not words?”

Stitched and Stretched Bare Beginnings Beyond Breast Cancer mixed Media by Bernadette Rose Smith

Each piece of paper, every bit of texture and slap of paint speaks to what this journey feels like through my artist-heart. And – more so – the desperately quiet pieces that landed in the trash with only my tears to witness. Read more

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Art as Life: Tear a Page. Turn a Corner.

Inspiritus at Lourdes Mixed Media Art by Bernadette Rose Smith

Ever find yourself heading in a particular direction only to hit so many speed bumps, detours, or cul-de-sacs along the way that you start to question whether you should proceed? Maybe you can recall more than one “where is that road again” trip. Perhaps you are in the middle of one right now. Or, maybe there is one right around the corner waiting for you. (You do know you are not reading this by chance, right?)

Well, get comfy. While you ponder that, I will tell you a short story about Inspiritus. Why? Because, whatever your journey, it is a story that points to a moment we share – that moment when we hear the whispers and feel the breath of the Divine moving through us.

Inspiritus Mixed Media Art by Bernadette Rose Smith

Inspiritus Breath Mixed Media Art by Bernadette Rose Smith

I was not in the neighborhood for inspiritus. I was aiming for a project that I hoped would address a livelihood concern. Inspiritus – the altered book pictured throughout this post – was a spirited calling on the carpet. It started with a phrase that kept Read more

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Visual Storytelling: She Pitched Her Tie and Put on Pearls

Mixed Media Art, She Pitched Her Tie and Put on Pearls by Bernadette Rose Smith

A string of pearls with the affirming message,
“Today is the day to find courage within,”
lightly dance around the tail of a man’s tie

like the wave of the Chinese symbol for yin and yang.

The oyster with its soft, sensitive body, not unlike a woman’s,
creates a pearl when challenged by the irritation

and discomfort of a grain of sand or grit.
Wisdom that comes from life experience is hard won
in the same way pearls are created.

“Pearls of wisdom” dance around a woman’s throat from where
she gives voice to hard won opalescent experiences
of sacred passion, desire, being, creativity and so much more.

 

What happens when a woman wears a tie or puts on pearls? As women – single, married, divorced – how do we maintain balance with bringing home the bacon and frying it? My desire with Ties and Pearls was to create a piece that spoke to the invisible partnering of the male and female in each of us, and how that manifests in our relationships in a visually appealing way. Read more

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Down and Dirty: Recovering a Sense of Possibility While Under the Influence of Gravity.

Visual journal, mixed-media page inspired by the poem Feet of Clay posted on the blog, Bernadette's Musings from the Messy Room.

Feet of Clay
While her dance on earth bid her stay,
she came to love her feet of clay.
Though they crumbled and caved
in life’s tidal wave
of unknowing,
she learned to reshape them
and fire them
with the glowing
golden embers within her heart,
the place that remembered where she got her start
on wings of angels delivered to birth,
royalty not subject
to the mirth
of fault-finders with cast iron feet bound to the earth,
impenetrable and too deep
to leap for the stars
and catch fireflies in jars
on hot summer nights
when naked feet
find delight
in the dance that bid her stay
while she came to love her feet of clay.

Bernadette Rose Smith

 

Feet of clay is an expression we use that points to character flaws found in our humanness. You know. Those times when we are so good we must be found bad. Or so bad we are good enough to raise the eyebrows of those mirthful faultfinders around us. (Inner critics included.)

Lets face it. Whether a Hollywood starlet caught in a nose-picking event by paparazzi or the King of Babylon exposed in a dream by prophet Daniel or somewhere in between like the rest of us, having feet of clay ranks low on the bucket list of “I wants” or things to be celebrated.

We try to rise above them with store bought miracle grow wings that promise to elevate our consciousness. Or we hop on brooms with “swoop and sweep” features that offer to deflect Read more

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The Crayon: Our First Magic Wand

A crayon was our first magic wand

“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.” – Hugh MacLeod

Admit it. Don’t you sometimes wish you could have your first box of crayons back? And all the innocent creativity that came with them?

I don’t know about you, but it was love at first sniff for me.

Then, it was the magic of choice with a world of color at my fingertips. For the first time in my young life I could choose a color. Blend a color. Shade. Highlight. Even outline a color with another color. My own little kingdom of color invited in newsprint paper, coloring books, tracing paper, connect the dots and my first mural that spanned the length of Aunt Rosemary’s hallway. I am told her attempt to correct the self-appointed 4 year old muralist failed when she finished with,  “Now, are ever going to do that again young lady?” and I replied,  “I will if you want me to.” (Am thinking I must have sniffed a whole box of crayons that day as I don’t remember the “color like no one is watching” incident.)

My adults must have recognized that I had a creative spirit that could no longer be contained in a box of 24 as I was entrusted with Read more

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