Saturday, July 28, 2012

Keeping Peace

I am so proud to be the featured artist on Paint Party Friday this week!  Thank you for the great interview and shout out!  Each week, amazing artists link up to PPF -- please check them out and link up your work as well!

My mom is an artist.  She doesn't paint with acrylics or watercolors, but with the flowers in her garden, and with her cooking.  She made the most gorgeous and tasty vegetarian meal last night.  I asked her to pose with it -- she is the Julia Childs of Pine Lake Park!  Thanks Mom!

Why Is It So Hard To Keep My Peace? 
All the great spiritual traditions teach techniques for maintaining peace of mind.  But putting these techniques into practice -- to keep my peace and equanimity no matter what -- is very difficult.  Here in Pine Lake, I feel so at peace.  But on Wednesday, during a one day visit home, I felt the stress and pressure of ordinary life creep up around me as soon as I got off the highway.  And then, yesterday, as a difficult relative arrived into the mix, I again felt that tightness in my chest.  This morning in meditation, as I tried to "find" the feeling, it dissipated into thin air and I felt a wash of peace.  But then I heard his voice, and had to start from square one!  Practice, practice, practice.  If I can't keep my peace, I will keep my distance and I will keep my tongue!

I have felt a swell of creativity here, and it is where I will go for refuge today.  Here are two pieces I recently completed, both of which relate to the practice of keeping peace.  The first is a reminder to start every day anew.  Don't drag the past forward.  Cleanse the slate and be open to the possibility of pleasant change.  The person who irked me yesterday might bring me joy today! 

For Everyday Anew, I started with a layer of collage on a long thin piece of birch, and then drew a rough of the design with black oil pastel.  The collage informed me of the design.  Then I scraped paint around the design, further defining it.

And here it is, emerged from the collage!
This little birdie is going to fly over to the Anything Goes challenge blog; the current prompt is "anything but square."
It's not enough to begin anew; It is also so important to begin with love.  If we can meet difficult people and difficult situations with loving kindness, at least we won't exacerbate them.    Here is "Start From Love" in it's embryonic stage, and then completed.  
I have to thank my husband for urging me to add the red flowers in the foreground.  I think it was a great suggestion!

Here is a video that gave me some good perspective this morning.
Do you have techniques for dealing with difficult people and situations that work for you?  I thank you for visiting! If you are so moved, please leave a comment. Hearing from you means the world to me.


  1. congrats on the feature Jessica. your work well deserves the spot! it is very inspiring and you are very creative

  2. Your work is lovely - my only way of finding peace (and believe me I was a mess of anxiety) is to focus on the One who created me.

  3. Jessica, I love your art! So whimsical, creative and makes me happy to look at it! Happy ppf

  4. hah i know what you mean about finding peace :D it is a CONSTANT STRUGGLE for me - I've come to believe some people are just more 'chill' or serene than others, and for some of us (IE me, not ness. you ;) ) you've got to be content with the ability to critically distance yourself from some mood, or let it run its course! I love reading about people's meditation disciplines bc it is so important.

    I love how each phase of your painting could be an uber groovy stand alone painting in its own right :D

  5. I agree with Alicia, a struggle for me as well.

  6. Your art is beautiful here but what really struck a chord with me was "If I can't keep the peace, I will keep my distance and keep my tongue." Thank you! I needed to be reminded.

  7. Congratulations what a wonderful honor

  8. Wonderful way of looking at your creativity and your life. Lovely work and so much colorful energy. xox

  9. Big congrats to you and you absolutely deserve it ...your work is so fresh and inspiring :0)

  10. Lovely work. We put on the prayer room stream at - I love the way it just rolls out and washes away my stress. Or I read G K Chesterton (a lot of his writing is free on Project Gutenberg - I like the Father Brown stories, Manalive, What's Wrong with the World) and the world just rights itself again. Lovely.

    Caitlyn (ladyphlogiston)

  11. Hi Jessica
    Beautiful art you do..gorgeous,thoughtful and very inspiring..glad i found you today through just journals!!
    Thank you to for the words of wisdom i needed to hear that today..if i can`t keep my peace i will keep my distance and hold my tongue.

  12. Shalom, was interesting reading about your artistic journey. these new pieces are delightful. Your mom does indeed create art that fills tummys and hearts.

  13. Beautiful new pieces and I love reading about your creative journey. Joining from Inspire Me Monday.

  14. I love your pieces. And I mediation practice is a constant practice, especially when I add difficult people into the mix. At the moment I am doing a lot of work with trying to leave the past where it is. Your post touched me.

  15. First of all I love your artwork, nice to see you featured too!! Your mom is beautiful, and you look just like her!!

    I have done a piece of artwork "Boundaries set you free".... an oxymoron that I have had to live by to have full peace... there will always be "that relative," I have set strict boundaries, not to get pulled into the negativity,or drama, not to take anything personally, and to shuffle away from anything that pertains to it...sending only love!! I think you have the right idea... it's difficult...but I have done it. Avoidance helps I do love the red flowers it shows that little pop of love can enhance everything. Peace is so important isn't it!! Happy hump day tomorrow!

    Hugs Giggles

  16. Thank you, Jessica - Your interview was wonderful and the other PPFers definitely enjoyed it too! It is fun to see how creativity runs in your family (what a great photo of your mom)!

    I loved seeing the process of these paintings - I think it is always so much fun to see how other artists work!

    As far as dealing with difficult situations and people, I have always been extremely sensitive so I haven't been the best at it... BUT, this year has definitely been a year of growth for me on that front. I personally try to fill myself up with positive thoughts (frequently by reading quotes and affirmations), or by consciously thinking about all of the things I have to be grateful for, so that when I am forced into a seemingly impossible situation I have enough good energy in my tank to get me through until I can get away and "refill".

    One quote that always helps "get me through" is:
    “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”
    - Wayne Dyer

    Thank you again for sharing your story with us!


  17. Lovely work. I like the in progress shots!

  18. Oh yes, and congrats on being featured!

  19. your mom looks so happy!

    I love your paintings and thanks for you WIP pics!

  20. Thank you for sharing your step by steps- I love seeing how artists come up with their finished work. Yours is very interesting! I think I'm going to imitate you- isn't that the sincerest form of flattery? :^) I love your work! Patsy from
    HeARTworks and

  21. Thank you everyone for your comments and sharing the ways you "keep peace." I appreciate everyone's feedback. xo


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