How to Commission a Custom Piece

More than a third of the pieces I create are custom commissions for collectors. I am now accepting commissions. Woot!

If you have ever loved a piece and it was sold, or it didn't fit in your space, or you've want to see me to a specific subject matter...this is your chance!

Working (playing!) with collectors on the art for their home, getaway or office is a very joy-filled, collaborative process. Never commissioned art before? No problem! (I work with a lot of first-time collectors).

Check out this infographic of the process…or this video to learn more about the process and message me with any questions and to get started!

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A Prayer for Times of Hopelessness

“Finding Light” (c) Bronwen Mayer Henry 36” x 108”

“Finding Light” (c) Bronwen Mayer Henry 36” x 108”

A Prayer for When You Feel Hopeless

There is a place so dark, raw and empty that it is most profoundly hard to pray. You may have a concept of God in years past. You may wish you had one. And yet all you feel is the darkness. The loss. The emptiness. The terror.

This is a prayer, written as a story/poem of sorts, humbly offered for this time.

Dear gentle God,

We come before you with empty hands, broken hearts, tear-stained faces, bodies weak with fatigue. Our minds have raced for so long, and now we feel lost. We offer this prayer filled with unknowing. Unknowing of your existence. Unknowing of hope. Unknowing of how we will go on.

Our insides are destroyed. The worst has happened or is imminent. We thrash around. How can this be? Why did this happen? Is there not another path that could have opened? We cry. We collapse. There is no comfort here. No words can change this reality.

And yet we are still here, God. We are here with our broken hearts and our helplessness and our hopelessness.

What can we do? What prayer can we say? Why even bother?

Someone says, "There is a reason."
We shout, swear, throw over a chair, break dishes.

Someone says, "There is always hope."
A bitterness rises in our mouth. We want to be sick. They don't know.

How do we find a prayer of hope here?

There are no words.

The damage is done. The worst has come to pass.

Finally fatigued with our thrashing, our anger, our tears. We lie down. Collapse. On the cold hard floor of this harsh reality.

We lie there for hours. Hours that stretch to days and weeks. Perhaps our bodies rise, going through motions, and yet our spirit stays on that cold hard floor.

Can you reach us here God? Can you come to us?

God of beauty and music, sunset and flowers, what do you have to do with this kind of pain? This kind of loss? This unrelenting pain and fear?

(pause, stillness)

Wait, what is that?

You lie down on the cold floor next to me? You pull a blanket around me.

I feel the hardness still below me.

Your hand is on my shoulder.

An unexpected warmth moves over my skin.

There is a sound. I haven't heard it before.

It is a deep vibration.

It resonates out.

The sound pulls me.

It carries my heartache. It doesn't stop it. It moves with it.

It is not the shush for a crying baby. I realize this is the groan of a laboring mother. A deep, soul-rocking sound.

A long time I lay here, this warmth enveloping me. This sound carrying me. Have I fallen asleep? Am I waking up?

(stillness, pause)

Something shifts in me. This pain.

Is it possible it won't kill me? Is this pain something different? There is something new about it. Is the guttural sound of my heartaching--a laboring? the sound of breaking open?

I breathe.

It is all I can do. I breathe. I realize something new is arriving within me. What new fragileness could be born of this experience that has torn me in half?

Asking this question I feel uncomfortable. 

I notice my arms and legs.

Having been bent over in grief for so long. Clutching my stomach. I forgot they were there.

I didn't know this might move through me.

That I might survive.

Completely changed.

When all I felt was darkness.

I didn't know that light would pour through this wound, surrounding me.

May it be so.

Dear God of all things big and small,

May it be so.

May the impossible pain and loss of this situation miraculously be filled with light. May I somehow, far beyond my comprehension, find a way to let this not just be death and loss. May it be a way for light to stream in, through and around me.

May the heaviness I feel be lifted as I look around and remember your loving presence.

May I remember how you lay with me, midwifing this loss with me. How I was never alone.

May I find strength and courage with time to be with others who know this unbearable pain.

May I never offer saccharin comforts of a certainty that does not exist.

May my intimate knowledge of this despair keep me remembering the fragileness of every moment.

May I surrender control and yet not release my ability to be part of love and light that surrounds us all.

May I embrace that love and light around me.

May I hold tenderly this experience that I thought would destroy me.

May I proceed gently, as my wounds are raw.

May I show up in this moment,

Breathing. 

May I awaken to all the love and light surrounding me.

Amen.
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This prayer and painting "Finding Light" (36" x 108") I created for Finding Hope 2019. They will be on display at Bryn Athyn College, on April 6th, as we focus on expanding our capacity to be present with one another in hard times. We talk about the impact of suicide, addiction, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and mental illness and show up with support, compassion, and resources. Photos Include some of the creative process, including the Finding Hope team writing prayers on the canvases before I painted.

Ten Blessings from the Creativity and Freedom Retreat

Creating a retreat with Martha Nash Pitcairn, founder of Ignition Academy was a dream. The fact that eleven women joined us, played along, showed up BIG, tenderhearted, open and loving was a dream come true. Though much of what happened from the weekend is hard to capture in words, here I strive to share some of the joy and insights.

1. Being Part of a Team

I absolutely adored the opportunity to create this space with Martha Nash Pitcairn from Ignition Academy. The trust and confidence we had in each other, the passing back and forth of workshop time, working together was equal parts freeing, empowering, and laughter-inducing. I have a lot to learn from this wise woman, and I’m humbled to serve on a team with her.

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2. Brave Hearts

Most common phrase heard at beginning of the weekend...”I’m not a painter.” or “I’m not creative.” etc. It took close to 50 hours, but participants finally dropped this ‘I’m not creative.” narrative. Now, it wasn’t our goal that participants become painters. Our goal was that they broke through limiting thinking, that they broke through negativity, that they explored the canvas as a safe space to be brave, to take risks, to try something new, and a place to be new. They showed up with brave hearts and as a result transformation happened.

3. The Ugly Phase

On the morning of the second day people were diving into their canvases. As I worked alongside the group I realized I had forgotten to tell them something. I forgot to warn them about the ugly phase. How many paintings have a moment that is raw and uncomfortable and new and well, ugly. And that it is normal and okay to dwell in this space. I’m grateful for the knowledge of the ugly phase and that everyone persevered through this discomfort.

4. Solitude in Community

There is something profound about being in silence together in community. During the weekend we had five sessions of silent/meditative painting time. There is something about the accountability, the shared showing up that buoys the spirit. The experience is very similar to meditating in a group. You get to be alone and part of the whole at the same time.

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5. Unexpected Timing of Breakthroughs

It was awesome to see people continue to step into the creative space. To show up with deep presence and courage. Breakthroughs creatively and on deeper levels came at unexpected moments. It was an important reminder for me to keep showing up, keep creating the space, keep stepping into it, and be curious and open to what wants to unfold, to trust the process.

6. The Blank Canvas

Throughout the weekend, one person painted a white canvas white. A meditation on emptiness, undoing, letting go. It was an awesome reminder to the rest of the group to not take anything to seriously, to let go, to remember the empty space.

7. Painting Outdoors

A few participants (myself included) chose to paint outdoors (hats and gloves included!). I found the experience to be completely invigorating and led to new energy in my heart and on the canvas. I can hardly wait to get back outside. Something about the wind in my hair, the gentle nature sounds, alongside the movement of paint and color is soul-nurturing.

8. Creativity in Community

Though we each worked independently on our canvases, there was some invisible way that we were bonded together. We witness each other's paintings come to life and in the end the lessons that were learned individually were shared collectively and there was a deep sense of belonging and understanding.

9. Sister-hood

From the first moment people started arriving, there were introductions and hugs. I was blown away by the way everyone showed up for each other in loving community. In a shared space of vulnerability a deep bonding happened.

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10. Begin Again

It was only 12 hours into the retreat that Martha and I found ourselves beginning to dream and scheme about future retreats. Oh the places we'll go...





The Canvas Wakes Me

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The canvas wakes me in the morning before the sunrises. It is a pull that I can't resist.

This spot has been my studio recently. Quite amazing really. There is something profound about painting the ocean while it moves. Reminding me of impermanence. That whatever I'm feeling whether joy or discomfort is passing into something new. The beauty of the sunrise is fleeting, you can't hold onto it. You just witness it. And let it go. The waves come and go. Each one blending into the other and yet different.

I don't paint this ocean because I'm creating something new or remarkable, but because by painting it something new and remarkable is awakened within me.