2020 has been an exceptional year and no doubt it has been a challenging one…
If you could take a lesson from 2020 – what would it be?
For me it would be: What I focus on expands.
The Big Why
This year I’ve been asked several times: WHY you do what you do ?
I paint because I can and it makes me happy.
Through my art I empower, inspire and stimulate minds by creating beautiful paintings with stories behind them.
A little background
I started painting in 2017 for my own need and what started as a few portraits for myself quickly unfolded into my source of income and a thriving business for over 3 years now. What started as drawing on my dining table grew into Lush Eclectic Fine Art – a small but well known, established and published brand.
From working in my dining room and using my toddler’s buggy for post office drops, now I have my art studio, spacious office and even my own assistant – the lush kind that is very organised, makes great cups of tea, wears funky big earrings (I think it’s a must if you are a PA to an artist) and most importantly takes over all the admin so I can paint more and focus on being creative.
Here is 2020 reflected in my paintings…
Debilitating health and getting ready for a life changing operation
To put things into perspective and from my personal view so you understand where I was with my head at the start of the year… well, you know when you just want to be left alone?
In the end 2019 I was recovering from an operation and I wasn’t really in a happy place and I just couldn’t deal with anything and wanted to be left alone…
this artwork reflects just that..
The start of 2020 was difficult, I fell ill following my surgery and on top of that I had two torn and two bulging discs in my back. Loosing mobility and having a lot of pain was grinding down my soul and I had to take some time off for slow recovery.
When I started painting again the physical pain was reflected in my art:
On top of everything I was getting ready for the biggest operation yet – preventative double mastectomy. Yeah, loosing your breasts is a really big deal (I’m a BRCA1 gene mutation carrier which means that I have significantly higher risk of developing cancer).
Spring always follows the winter
…but I knew that after winter everything comes back to life and that’s how I brought to life MORANA:
‘Morana’ (also known as Marzanna) is the ancient goddess of Winter, dreams, death and rebirth.
Her fame comes from the Baltic area, but her cult also existed in the southern Slavic countries. She was a goddess related to the natural seasonal rites, the circle of life: birth, death, and rebirth.
Morana covers the ground in an icy shroud, so that she could rest and gain strength.
Then SAKURA came to life (from Japanese: cherry blossom) with a promise of Spring and a world coming into life again and into blossom.
I’ve painted this portrait in such a way so the eyes follow you around the room when you move.
… and then pandemic came and turned the world up-side-down
In late March I was meant to have the big and life changing operation, but the pandemic came and the world has been turned upside down.
With the new strange world in lockdown, no schools and most people working from home, the spring was a weird and scary time for everyone.
This is how NOSTALGIA came to life:
“Every time you pretend to be less than you are, you steal permission from other women to exist fully. Don’t mistake modesty for humility. Modesty is a giggly lie. An act. A mask. A fake game. We have no time for it.
The word humility derives from the Latin word humilitas, which means “of the earth”.
To be humble is to be grounded in knowing who you are. It implies the responsibility to become what you were meant to become – to grow, the reach, to fully bloom as high and as strong and grand as you were created to. It is not honourable for the tree to wilt and shrink and disappear. It is not honourable for woman to, either. “
/Untamed, Glennon Doyle/
Make the best out of the difficult situation or take it as a lesson to grow
My general attitude in life when faced with a difficult times is to make the best out of the bad situation or at least take it as a lesson and grow. I always think that circumstances don’t make the person but reveal them. And the lock-down certainly has been a time for me when I’ve been expanding with love into connection, I’ve been working very hard, focusing on things I want to achieve, be and do and the results have been showing. I have no doubt about that what you focus on expands and I’m ever so grateful. I had my times of nostalgia and it is OK, it isn’t sad. It’s been a time of reflection and growth and I wanted to portray this while painting ‘Nostalgia’ in my garden… let’s stop and think about the words above, humility, being ‘of the earth’, growing strong, blossoming like the tree… and I wonder if you can spot those literary ‘of the earth’ elements which I found in my garden and used in this painting…
I wanted you to think about escapism, the tendency to purposely seek distraction and relief from the unpleasant reality.
When our environment is overwhelming, focusing on all it’s issues can prevent us from behaving to our best ability. We choose where we put our energy into. You can get exhausted following everything that does not serve you. I’m not talking here about living in ignorance or not staying informed but about directing your thoughts so they serve you. We control what we focus on and how we guide our thoughts but often this takes practice.
Engaging in fantasy, practising escapism and directing your thoughts onto an engaging path serves your well-being. Going into your own lalaland allows you to step away from your emotions when you are feeling overwhelmed and come back to the situation with fresh mind.
Together We Rise
By late Spring things in the some parts if the world were taking a bad turn so SUN GODDESS came to life to guard us and bring us her strength and light.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”
Martin Luther King
Followed by SPEAK UP
and TOGETHER WE RISE
Not being a racist is not enough. We have to be anti-racist.
Listen, read, talk, stop, think and reach out with love.
Together we rise. Together we stand in solidarity, equal.
Black lives matter.
“In the end we will not remember the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”
Martin Luther King
Escaping into work projects and working on mindset
I’ve kept my head down and immersed myself in work throughout the Summer. I was painting commissions for private clients, designing interiors for lush air B&B, studying, researching and working on various projects.
The harvest came fruitful and new paintings on bigger scale started to come to life…
Calling things for what they are & embrancing my vulnerability
With a wonderful support of an amazing mentor Ali Mapletoft I had the courage to speak up and call things for what they are.
In autumn my story ‘What does it mean mean to be a fierce foreigner? From sleeping under a bridge to becoming a successful business woman, a multiple-property owner and a thriving artist.” was published…
This was the first time when I had the courage to tell my family that I was a victim of human trafficking 17 years ago.
These days, everybody seems to have an online presence, but perhaps we don’t know these people quite as well as we think.
Sometimes we hide how we really feel. Sometimes we choose to put on a smiling face. Sometimes we chose to present ourselves to an outside world in a certain way. Whichever you do, it’s OK, it’s your choice. You choose your balloon.
Few other articles and publications followed bringing my art and what I do to a winder audience but most importantly reaching new people, sharing our stories and establishing wonderful connections even if only via video links in this strange year.
Although my operation is still postponed at present due to the pandemic, I had the all clear scan in autumn which gave me the much needed boost and it has put me on cloud nine.
Being BRCA1 carrier feels like a ticking bomb but the clear scan buys me more time for now. I do hope that pandemic will be under control so I can have my operation in 2021, move on with my life and paint more.
Rebirth: closing 2020 chapter on a strong note
To close the strange & challenging chapter of 2020, I’ve created an epic collection of new paintings to end year on a strong note.
I know that so many of you will relate to the moods expressed in my paintings.
When circumstances in life bring you down, when things feel heavy, they can weigh us down. This shall pass. You are not alone in this. Gather your strenght, stand up tall. What you focus on expands.
Rebirth, Resurrection & Pratum – new art collection reflects just that …