Wednesday, January 19, 2022

This Week's Art Is A Heart!


I hope you aren't squeamish!
I actually AM squeamish, but I love painting real hearts!
It's such a fascinating part of us.

Did you know that there has been a quite recent scientific discovery that there are 40,000 neurological cells in the heart, In other words there are brain cells in our hearts!
If you've ever felt you needed scientific proof that intuition and following your feelings is a reliable source of understanding and guidance then this could be the proof you have been seeking!

One of the "secrets" to learning to listen to your heart is to truly become quiet. It takes a few minutes to tune into the heart's communication. While the mind offers logical solutions, they can be misleading because they can come from habits we have developed over our lives. Habits of the mind sometimes aren't as reliable for finding optimum solutions as the deep feeling in the heart which never leads you wrong. Another secret is to trust what comes up and to allow all the feelings.

Listening to one's heart is always a good idea and especially now with so much going on in the world and in our lives, taking the time to really quiet the mind and listen to that inner "voice" can give us both hope and comfort. I believe this is one of the most amazing times to be alive; we are witnessing a true evolutionary stage in real time. In times of confusion, fearfulness, worry and stress, go within to listen to your heart and allow the messages that are meant JUST FOR YOU to come to you.

I hope this email and this art finds you in good spirits and in good health.

Sending loads of love your way!


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Beautiful Words From T. S. Eliot For The New Year! With A Cat And A Dog!


Well, we did it! We made it to 2022! I believe it's going to be a great year! I really do. Humanity is evolving! We are living through one of the most evolutionary periods of our lifetimes! Comparable to the major shifts on the earth that we have only read about in books. Wow!

Did you know that there are patterns in human history that coincide with predictable major cycles? This includes radioactive activity from the sun, large economic cycles, and cycles that have to do with human aggression and wars. According to scientist Gregg Braden, we are living through an intersection of those particular three cycles at their peaks, which explains why we are feeling so shaken up on so many levels. And of course not just "feeling" it but actually going through a lot of stuff. Hold onto your hats because it is going to be a bumpy ride but I believe that all things happen for a good reason..... and perhaps consider this: that it is up to us to align with the forces that operate in our lives so that we can see it all from a larger perspective. In doing that, we can better understand our circumstances, gain some detachment from them and ultimately be at peace with them. To me, that's evolution at work, in real time!

I absolutely love this quote from T. S. Eliot and I've wanted to do this painting for over a year! I find it has two meanings.

First, for me, the poet is saying that experiences in our past were understandable with the perception that we had at that time. We might use the same words to describe an event in the past, but what is asked of us is to understand that we are actually different when we look back on those experiences. "Last year's language" is our older selves, and our older perceptions.

"Another voice" is also us.....our minds, our awareness and perceptions, with new and expanded understanding.

We can look at the past with new understanding and we can head into the future with new facilities and abilities. When we let our experiences expand our consciousness, we develop our "other voice." To me, this evolution of consciousness describes what it means to be a human being today.

That is intense, isn't it? Well, these times are intense and we need to meet it with intensity of our own. And isn't it amazing that wise words spoken decades ago can still have relevance in our modern world?

Here's the other meaning I see in this quote. It has to do with the cat and the dog!
As you may know, one of my jobs is taking care of animals. I am of the belief that animals communicate very clearly. They don't use words, but it is easy to understand them if we take the time and make the effort to quiet ourselves and let them communicate what they want to say to us. When we are in the presence of our furry (or feathered or scaly) friends and we become quiet and receptive, we can find out things they want us to know. And here's the joy of that (see how I tied that into last week's message? Tricky! :D) When we are tuning into our little friends, what we may "hear" is simply a feeling. In many ways, I find this can be superior to our intellectualizing all of our experiences all the time. I believe that the animals, with infinite patience, and with a pure love, await our developing "another voice" with which we may understand them. This in turn connects us to that part of ourselves that can use a break from thinking too hard or too much.

Wow, I hope it made sense and I would love to hear back from you if you have any questions or comments!

Happy New Year, Happy January and here's to an exciting and beautiful ride!


Happy And Joyful Holiday Wishes From Harriet

You may not know this, but I've been traveling the last three years!
I've met fabulous people and had amazing adventures and I can definitely say this:
Long term travel is not for the faint hearted!

But onto the main point of this post.....

Happy Holidays!

In this painting, Arctic Fox is contemplating a joyful spirit and wishes you a
Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a beautiful, peaceful season of lights.

I was not raised as a Christian and we did not celebrate Christmas. I respect and honor all the ways people worship in this world.
But I do confess, I love me some Christmas. It's a beautiful season. I love the lights, the music, the joyfulness of it.

Isn't it interesting that greetings at this time often contain the sentiment of joy.....
I believe that, even in a secular way, it is good to seek out joy and cultivate a joyful optimism within ourselves during this time of year because winter can make humans a little glum. The cold temperatures, the shorter daylight hours, the overall malaise.

We all kind of want to go within..... We just need to remember to remain joyful and keep our spirit light.

One other thing.....
A few years ago, I did a weekly email with a painting that incorporated (usually) an animal with an inspiring quote along with my take on the quote's meaning and significance.

Well, I'm starting that project again in 2022.
This is no feeble new year's resolution that runs out of gas by February.
Nope. This is it. I mean it. I'm rarin' to go! 52 pieces of new art by the end of the year!

So, before I sign off, I'd like to ask if you would like to receive an email from me weekly, each one with an inspiring quote and my take on its meaning along with fabulous art?

If so, please visit my website to sign up!

If you are wondering what sort of goodness would be in store for you, please visit the
Brooklyn Reader here where I was a featured Local Voices contributor from 2014 to 2017
or my hand-lettered paintings here

Have a Joyful Season and Happy New Year!

See you soon!


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

MLK's Words Are Still So Powerful And Relevant Over 60 Years Later

This article and image are from my painted lettering project, "Pay Attention To Your Dreams," which I created from 2014 to 2016.

I have seen this quote many times, and for this post, I wanted to find the speech in which it appears. My search first led me to videos of Dr. King speaking. In one video, I saw footage of King, amid rioting onlookers, tell reporters that even in Mississippi and Alabama, he had never seen such violent hostility towards himself and the civil rights movement, as he saw in Chicago.

The video then showed more contemporary footage of some individuals who had marched with King speaking to high school students in that Chicago district. While knowing who King was, these teenagers had no idea that Martin Luther King had anything to do with their own neighborhood.

Like them, I realized how little I knew about him. I continued my search and I found the speech in which this week's quote is from.

Dr. King wrote his "Forgive Your Enemies" speech while in prison for non-violent protest and delivered it later to the Dexter Baptist Church in 1957.

I read the whole thing, and in doing so, I could feel the immense power of his call for forgiveness as a way to neutralize the terrible scourge of racism. It is a very emotional read. His words are so powerfully written, I could feel what it must have been like to be in his presence. The man was truly a hero, not only for his race but for all of humanity, and his words literally vibrate with his powerful love of humanity, more than 50 years after his tragic and untimely death in 1968.

If you would like to read the speech in which this quote appears, click here

Sunday, July 9, 2017

What Gives A Person Real Style?

Basically, I think this quote is just so cute! Even though I never thought that I would ever use that word to describe anything from Picasso!

Style. It boils down to who you are. You cannot manufacture real style. Oh sure, you can try. But if it's not coming from inside of you, if you are trying to force it out or paste it onto yourself, it just doesn't have that aliveness that radiates when one is being truly authentic. The best style for any of us is the one that evolves and appears as we each become our true selves. 

This takes time........and courage. Being oneself is an inside job. There are so many outer forces in life that make it easier to go with the flow around us. Going with the flow at times can be part of our style, and it can be a part of the path while developing personal style. Still, mining and cultivating oneself, so that style flows out of authenticity.......that takes courage, tenacity and curiosity

Yet, as Picasso implies here, it is simple. As simple as a circle. And as simple as bringing your true self to the drawing of a simple circle. Of course this can be applied to anything we do. Whatever creative endeavor we are drawn to pursue, we make it our own by bringing our purest selves to it.
What a great idea to remember whenever working out something new. It might not look like a perfect circle the first few times we try something, but staying curious about ourselves and what is showing up, as we keep at it, is the way to get to our best style.
I hope you are enjoying your summer in style!

Have a beautiful week!


Friday, July 7, 2017

What Am I Proud Of?

Painting of beautiful June, a tortoiseshell cat with ginger
and white patches.  #petportrait  #memorial

Okay, here it is.....
I have been an artist my whole life, since I was three years old, according to my mother. After finishing art school, I was an illustrator in some high visibility positions, such as creating information graphics for the Associated Press and also as a news graphics illustrator at WNBC-TV. The images that the artists at these companies created were, essentially, answers to a problem. Often these jobs required quick solutions, and certainly one did not feel that one's personal being was exposed. And while there was always a credit line somewhere, most people had no idea who created the work. The nature of the news, whether on television or in newspapers, means people saw the work for a few minutes at most, and then it was onto the next thing. It was exciting work and I loved it. Then, years into my career as an illustrator, a hand injury sidelined me from what had become pretty much a totally digital industry. (There's more to that story, but lets leave it at that for simplicity's sake right now).

So with this hand injury, I decided to go back to the kind of art I had grown up on, art done with pencils, paper, paint and canvases, as opposed to the mouse and monitor of modern news illustration. It took quite a while to get that going again. I was to experience that it's a different thing altogether creating an art practice after you've been out of art school for years and now have to work and handle other responsibilities. However, I just kept making work. I was drawing and painting and pretty much not showing anyone for many years. And here's the thing I'm proud of....I kept making work, even though I had always thought of myself as an illustrator, I was becoming a fine artist. And not because I was learning to draw for the first time. I knew how to draw and had many, many years of practice under my belt. Although letting go of that "I already know that" mentality allowed me to go back to doing some life drawing again and had the glorious experience of seeing my drawing continue to evolve and get better.

What was also changing was how I thought of myself. I came up against many internal blocks and limiting ideas about what I thought I was doing. These internal challenges were coming up because, to me, the work I was doing had no reason to exist except that I wanted to create them. No one asked me to do them. Even though my work would be considered "good," I didn't feel an internal comfort with this situation.

But here's the thing.....I kept doing it. There's more to this part of the story as well, which I hope to be able to delve into and explain in future posts. I think there may be a gold mine of inspiration in some of the deeper issues that came up during this long period of gestation and experimentation and incubation. 

Okay, still, here is the thing that I am proud of these days. In March of 2016 I made a commitment to show my work, somewhere, every month. It didn't matter where: a cafe, a library, an office. I wasn't sending my work out to galleries, and still don't right now. But I committed to show my work in this do-it-yourself way, and I think part of why that was most comfortable for me, was that I was and am still finding my voice. Showing the work in this low pressure kind of way was enough. It was a challenge actually, to make sure I had enough pieces to fill some large wall spaces. And then to be able to speak about the work, which I did for each exhibit.

So yes, starting with March 2016 and going through to May 2017, I had my work up somewhere in my small city. There were some successful exhibits where I sold quite a few pieces and some venues were quieter with less exposure, and thus less sales. A lot of people saw my work, and that was a challenge for me to get comfortable with. But I did it. During this period, I started promoting myself as a pet portraitist, which has been a success as far as I am concerned. I haven't found that sweet spot yet, where the people find me and just have to have a portrait, but I am preparing for that possibility! Till then, I just keep hustling and promoting my portraits.....It may sound silly to say, but I like my pet portraits! I also like the direction that some of my other work is going in, less portrait but definitely inspired by animals and nature.

So I am proud of myself for up-leveling myself and my business as a professional artist and for taking a chance to show my work as well as to speak and write about it. I think the real accomplishment in all of these things is having found my way to being authentic, even if I'm not feeling so sure of myself. There is definitely a place for uncertainty and insecurity when being authentic! I am far from finished with this journey, but to have plundered and blundered through through years of the internal as well as external challenges of pursuing a painting career is turning out to feel like it was worth it.

Thanks for reading! Please follow my blog (the button to do so is to the right. If on your phone, it may be at the bottom) and be sure to visit my website to sign up for art and inspirational writing about creativity, productivity and authenticity delivered right into your inbox.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How To Figure Out What Would Be Exciting To Do Even If I Wasn't Paid

It seems like it should be easy to answer this commonly asked question, and perhaps for some individuals it is. For me, it has always been hard and I haven't really been sure why. Although as I sat down to write with this prompt today, I think I finally understand why. My first inclination was always to give an answer that was actually not that authentic.  When considering this question, I would feel a strange internal pressure to answer with "make art!" I have been an artist since I was a little child. It's a calling I have always had and have spent plenty of time doing it, both with and without getting paid. It's funny, but I think I didn't know myself well enough to feel the real answer to this. Creating art must be what my great passion in life is, right? Nobody on planet earth could argue with it. Artists through the centuries have always been admired for their great passion to create, to sacrifice their time, sometimes their own health and often other aspects of their life.

What I have actually spent more time and energy on than art has been healing from deep and traumatic abuse from my early life. I can't say it's been exciting to do, although whenever I had a big insight or shift in my inner self that gave me freedom and inner space to be myself, that was very exciting. Sometimes when there has been a big healing shift, I have wanted to share it with everyone.....but I did not want to share the back story. So I have kept this big part of my life a secret. Still, I always thought that the things I have learned and continue to learn through years and years of reading and studying many teachings and healing methods could help people so much! I also knew deep down that most people wouldn't put as much effort as I did into this deep work that I've done. Not even a fraction of the effort. This may sound cynical. Perhaps it's just a way that my inner self is being protective of still vulnerable parts of myself.

At any rate, I feel that a more genuine answer to this question is to say that I really enjoy helping people. More specifically, helping them get a bigger perspective on things when they are stuck in their paradigms. I have always had another gift, but this one has rarely been recognized. (although when it is, it is always exciting) That is, I have very keen observation abilities. I notice things that others don't notice. It could be an emotion that a person thinks they are hiding. Or some slight signal that indicates there is more going on in a situation than meets the eye. This is a gift that got me into serious trouble as a child. I mean,seriously punished for it. Even though I didn't even know what I was doing. There have been a small number of occasions as an adult when I allowed myself to honor this gift and said some small thing to another person that ended up giving them some relief. And while it all sounds very small - small gesture, small result - it actually had a quality of being huge. Like a small cork being removed so the tank of stagnant water can empty and be refilled with fresh water. Maybe I do that with my art too. Since I like to paint inspiring quotes, it creates a new way of looking at an a painting. I have been acknowledged, and thanked, by individuals who felt that the quote came along at just the right time and that it gave them a boost that they really needed. And this has mostly happened through the emails I send to people on my list. I don't get financially paid for it, but I get a great deal of satisfaction from hearing that people have been moved by the choice of quote and my written thoughts about it. Beneath the gratification I get from creating art, is a fuller gratification of touching people that helps them heal, if only in that moment.