The Sun, a Monster and Spring Bikes in Bloom

Monster by JL Villarreal
“Look over your shoulder. It’s not there. We carry it all inside us.” –Natalie Goldberg, Writer

At thirteen years old, I transferred from a parochial Catholic school to an intense, academically challenging, amazing Quaker school. There was a teacher there who told me during a studio art class, “That’s not the sun, silly.” And from there, I did not stick with visual art for almost two decades. Though I did lots of creative things, in that moment, I let her shut down my vision of what I could draw and paint.

In my late twenties and early thirties, I just started buying paints and taking photos. I was always writing.  My first painting was an abstract of the sun called “That’s not the sun, silly.” It was my defiant step into the world of visual art.  Since then, I have participated in several visual art group shows and even had a solo photography show which also featured large installations of poetry.  

I share my story to invite you to step into your courage. 

Is there some area at any point in your life where someone told you that you were not good enough? Or perhaps you didn’t have the formal education so you don’t count your talents?  Did you stop trying? Do you still long for it? Take one step to try.  See what happens.

I’m happy to post my son’s painting titled “Monster” and to celebrate the public art installation I witnessed on the way to work. Art is everywhere!

Tonight at midnight, the contest closes for my blog followers.  Do you want to win a box of personalized inspirating gifts just for you?  Details are here: http://wp.me/p2Kzj7-8W

Art Bikes on Franklin Street, Chicago, IL

Art Bikes on Franklin Street, Chicago, IL

Being Awake

Human Beings have a gap—between who we think we are and who we really are. Closing the gap is where being awake is. (Natalie Goldberg, The True Secret of Writing)

A few weeks ago, I wasn’t writing like this.  Until yesterday, I haven’t been painting like this. There is something alive in me that was sleeping, resting, “om-ing” in some other dimension. Now it’s awake. And I hope that reading this, you will feel something stirring, if that thing isn’t already hopping in you. The athlete. The writer. The painter. The chef. The designer. The life coach. The entrepreneur. The philanthropist.

And now I give you a gift that will take 19 minutes and 32 seconds of your life to enjoy. It’s Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED.com talk on “Your elusive creative genius.” It’s funny, it’s got history, love, Tom Waits and the most splendid story about one of my favorite poets: Ruth Stone.  Put it on while you do the dishes, pick this over TV, you can just listen.  Or take a real lunch break today at work, for at least 19 minutes and 32 seconds.  It’s worth it.

http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

Pictured below: “Be Sure” painting by Rebecca Villarreal (4/3/13). Acrylic, oil pastel and mosaic.

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Acrylic  and pastel painting in progress

Underneath the final painting, the words: “What they say is true and Are you sure and yes and Be Sure”