Category Archives: Uncategorized

Painting, Painting, Painting

I’ve finally found ‘my style’, at least for now.  I’d been working on a style that reflects my both my Native American and Filipina and European heritage (wow – right?) and can fairly easily move from images of goddess and the sacred feminine to images from sacred stories.  My style had to be ethnic and spiritual yet pushing past all those sterotypes.  Yeah, it took some work but I think I’m finally there!  If you’re on Facebook you’ve already seen some sneak previews, but I’ll be uploading new pics again soon.. *tease for future posts*

All that being said, I’m selling my previous paintings to make room and money for more paint and new canvases.   I’m fixing a couple of things on some of the paintings, painting edges  and taking new pics with my new camera.  All of the paintings will be available as prints, cards and posters on Fine Art America and I’m listing items for sale on eBay and etsy.    I’ll list the links below so you’ll have them ; )

I’m also taking orders for custom paintings of angels/goddesses/fancy shawl dancers..women in their radiance.  12×12 acrylic paintings for $110. I’ll be getting a order site soon but if you’re interested email me soon so that I can get your info about the angel/goddess/dancer that you want painted.  These are intuitive/visionary paintings in the style that I’ve been painting in and are not meant to be portraits but stylized reflections of your angel/goddess/radiant woman.  You can email me at gbenton789(@)yahoo.com.

Many blessings to each of you as we celebrate the turning of the seasons!

Gemma

Oh, yeah, here’s the link for the ebay auction for The Sun & Moon painting:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270828897137#ht_720wt_1185

And here’s my Fine Art America account:

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/gemma-benton-jackson.html

Here is my Facebook Gallery page:

https://www.facebook.com/moonshadowartz

And on etsy:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/MoonShadowArtz

Thank you for your support, it means everything to me and keeps me painting!!

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Our Story of Belonging

I’m taking Mari McCarthy’s 27 Days To Health & Happiness eBook course and I’m on Day 1.  Following her journaling prompts, I found my self examining my idea of belonging.  Some of that was surfacing in my last post,”Tribe of the Sacred Heart” (be sure to read the comments, there a surprise there too) .   In today’s freewrite, I realized that there has been a long cycle of belonging and not belonging in my life.  When I was young, my ‘not belonging’ to my biological family and the established roles and structures led me to other groups, in each of them I learned more about who I am and who I’m not.  Each led me deeper into the layers of my self.  Until I have found my self belonging to very little .  This feels very lonely but I as I look back I realize that while I am shedding the skins of what I am not, I am simultaneously creating a new existence.    That is my place of belonging.

 

I belong to a generation that has moved past the walls that bind me to my past and separate me from a future of my own creation.  I belong to the generation that has moved into open territory, drawing courage from unseen generations in the past and the future that whisper for us to create a new place of belonging from our dreams.  I belong to the generation that will morph the stories of the past, leaving room for the wisdom of the generations to build upon.

 

I belong to the tribe of women who have shed their limitations, in spite of the pain that it took to do so.  I belong to the generation that is true only to the living of Truth– even when this has meant  that what we thought was True a moment ago, has changed and morphed as we have.  I belong to the tribe that realizes that the Truth changes when we do, so we seek change and transformation as a path that draws us closer to the heart of Creation.

 

I belong to my Self, who is constantly teaching me, shaping me and revealing her self to me.  I belong to my creative ability, my art, my songs and my stories. I belong to the potential that waits to be created — through life, through community, through art, through stories and songs.

 

I belong to the generations.  I belong to my ancestors and to future generations;  my children and grandchildren.  I belong to the generations as they also morph and change into the creative expression they need to be. I belong to the many faces that will build on the thoughts and dreams that we have shared with them.

 

I belong to the face of the Divine as she presents her self to me through art, my children, my songs and my stories.  I belong to Life as She dances through my life and transforms me with her songs and stories and her creative ability.

I  belong.

Best of Show on my 3rd painting

This is the third painting I painted earlier this year.  At the last minute I entered it into the Modoc County Fair thinking that it would be a ‘growth experience’ for me.  I was so excited to get Best of Show I still don’t really believe it.  Didn’t realize it would be so important to me.  In the back of my mind, I guess I half way expect friends to tell me “white lies” and say they “like” my artwork.  But something clicked with this aware.  These people don’t know me, have never met me and really have no motive for ‘voting’, although in the back of my mind I still wrestle with that they voted for me to encourage a ‘newbie’ painter.  Either way, I’m thrilled that they thought to do so.  Yeah!  A little encouragement goes a long ways!

Becoming A Grandmother

I’m honored to call myself a grandmother. It feels as if I’ve waited my entire life to become what I am today. I didn’t know I was waiting for permission to show up but I realize now that I was. It sounds strange to say, it’s not like I wasn’t giving all that I had to my children, my loved one and to life before. But what I know now that all that I had done before seemed aimed at one precious, life giving moment.

I love the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers and the work that they are doing and have always felt that they real purpose is inspiring each of us that we all will be Grandmothers and Grandmothers one day and if we are not ready to share life giving, life sustaining traditions and teachings they we need to get busy preparing ourselves for that sacred task.

Only three months ago my granddaughter was born. I was honored and humbled to say that I was ready. Or at least ready as I was at that moment : ) Two weeks after she was born I held her and sang prayer songs to her for weeks. I whispered to her the old stories and teachings. I greeted her spirit and called her knowing into the world. Her baby mind may not understand yet but her spirit understood completely.

Her calling me to this sacred task has changed me as well. I am humbled by this remarkable journey of spirit that leads us without us knowing, having only a sincere heart and a commitment to learning, into those sacred places where we are both reduced to our essential selves and expanded beyond our humanity!

Blessings to each and every one of you!

Gemma

Raining Down A Blessing!

 

I love National Geographic! This picture came out of an article on the “Quest For Color”, they entitled this photo “Drenched In Devotion”.  These women from India are literally showered with brightly colored paints  as part of a ritual. Their clothes and faces are saturated in paint and in this picture the girl is clearing her eyes from all the paint.

This so reminded me of the ceremonies of the Southwest Native Americans like the Navajo and Apache who drench their young women in golden yellow corn pollen as part of their coming of age blessing.

I wonder why the act of “blessing” things went away?  It’s such a simple thing to do.  It doesn’t cost money, require much time or require any signficant skill other than an ability to focus an intention with prayer and a generous heart.  So wouldn’t we shower the people in our lives with blessings every chance we get.   What would your life be life if you had received a blessing as a young woman?  What if you had known you and your work, your love, your life was blessed at every turn?  Would it have changed your direction? What would you have done differently?

In my Moonlodge Workshop I’m hoping we have the chance to do a blessing ritual.  I’m not sure yet what this is going to look like but I think it’s an important thing to do.  I’d love to hear about your experiences with blessing rituals, or the absence of them.  Is a blessing ritual important to you? If you were to design your blessing ritual what elements or features would you include?

 

So until then, Blessings to each of you!


Gemma

Journey of Connectedness

I’m so excited to be part of this journey with all of you! I know that it is going to phenomenal. I look forward to watching each of us grow and learn and blow each other’s minds!

I recently took a test and it says that one of my strengths is “Connectedness”. I’m really fascinated by that invisible red thread that connects us to each other and with life. So this next six months of weaving legends, new relationships within and with each of you is going to be a la bit like Heaven on Earth for me .

I have been envious of artists and writers all for as long as I can remember. I December I took Shiloh’s Black Madonna class and have been painting ever since. Finally I’m no longer envious of the artistic talents of others but owning my creativity and blessings. I’m finally able to say,  without feeling as though I’m tell half-truths that I am an artist and writer. It is nice to finally connected with my own self at this level, where I am owning my deepest desires – and fears – and walking through them in way I have never done before.

I understand in a way I have never understood before, what it means to walk in my own greatness with both feet planted firmly on the ground.  For sure, I have had moments of lift-off and grandiousity only to find myself flat-faced on the ground.  This is not true greatness but egoic fascination.  Our true greatness lies in our ability to connect and stay connected to the Sacred, to move with it through our everyday as fully and completely as our own breath.  It has been a long journey here.

Now that I’m here, I’m ready for the next step into my greatness and looking to standing with each of you in this wonderous circle and creating together.

The Secret Allure of Rusty Things

I have for as long as I can remember had a fascination with junk. As a little girl, I collected rocks and rattlesnake tails in plastic, amber prescription bottle (momma threw it out when my collection started rotting – I was heartbroken). I scoured junk bins with my dad and grandpa on weekends, pawing through rusty tools and stacks of mildewed books. Heaven!!

I still love thrift shops and  “as is” bins at Goodwill.  Please understand my love for junk does not mean I don’t like  new, shiny things too.  I do. But there is a part of me that is downright proud and absolutely gleeful when I find *art* amist the rubble heap.

A couple of days ago I attended a conference on cultural literacy for social service agencies in our community. There were many rich speakers there, each spoke, their hearts on their sleeves, about the disparities in history and their personal lives.  The challenges they face as Native people and the success they’ve shared with overcoming barriers.  They shared the hope that we are creating a new vision for our children and grandchildren.

Art is my new testing ground for spiritual revolution.  It has become the place where I can safely sort out fantasy from visions and dysfunction from revolution and trash from treasure.  Painting has become sacred alchemy.

I’ve taken two classes now with Shiloh and I am blown away at all that I’ve learned and created. Shiloh’s Legendary Selves class  has been nothing short of miraculous for me.  Over the last few months I have worked on my canvas and my life along side some fifty women with life size blank canvases.  We have drawn from our imaginations and fears, pulled from the clutter of our dreams, bravely mixed copious amounts of  trust with heapings of prayerful intent and watched as miracle after miracle took form.  I am amazed and transfixed with it all.

Focus. Back to the training. One of the speakers at the cultural training spoke about creation stories. You know the kind of stories cultures are based on. The stories of how we, human beings, were created.  Think of Big Hands mixing clay, paint, sticks and stones.  These are creation myths of our ancestors; Christian, Muslim, Aztecan, Native American.  Stories of Adam being formed from clay. Native creation stories that tell of us coming up from the Earth, or being made from red, rusty clay.  The speaker said,

“Our stories of creation and death connect us at a base level – to the earth. That is where we our essence comes from and that is where we return – [ to the heart of Creation].”

It didn’t dawn on me until I was reading a book about rust and how the colors change as it breaks down into basic matter/dirt/minerals- that I realized the symbol that these grainy patinas and decomposing things hold for me. You’ve probably already figured this out by now, but since it has taken me this long to figure it out I might as well write it out. Are you ready???

Dust to Dust Baby!! Essential, primordial matter. Connection to our Source.

For me, rust and dirt symbolizes our return to the only thing that matters.  Our connection to the Sacred Source of our being.

Rust is the symbolic return to the place of creation. To the Garden and the Roots of Our Ancestors.  It is the muck that holds our roots and our place of belonging.

It is, alas, our essential connection to one another!

Grains of sands, pieces of clay waiting – in some phase of transformation – waiting to feel the breath of Life on our spirit once again. Each grain holding no power at all and all the potential of the universe.

I know it’s simple but it was revolutionary for me.  Rust and clay have been a symbol all of my life, through painting I came to understand it’s significance to my story. This  is the inspiration behind the Bureau of Soulful Reclamation..this blog.  Actually Guadelupe Rose is the inspiration, but that’s a story for another day.  This blog is about reclaiming the resources that mainstream, industrial society has tried to strip away and that we forgot were important; spirituality, creativity, wholeness and vitality.  It is about discovering and claiming for ourselves and each other those things that we have cast away, set aside and discarded.  It is about rediscovering what has always belonged to us but that we forgot we had, wanted and needed.

It is about the journey back to our truest, most essential self.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Life & Resurrection

I wanted to share this with you in hopes that the symbols will speak to you in your dreams  tonight as well…  I wrote this the two days before Easter.  I was thinking about many things including the legacy we leave to our children and the stories of our lives.  I think the idea of  resurrection speaks to the continual cycles of regenerating our selves. Reinventing who we are in the world and within ourselves.   The symbols do not belong to one religion or another, one belief or another but are universal and belong to us all.  I hope that you read this as if it were written for you, to you personally.

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She is the Weaver and Healer, She is the Storyteller and Singer.  She Dances Between Worlds.  She is Star Nation sent from the time of remembering, long before the stories of weeping and loss.

Standing at the Center of Creation, She bends time..weaving old stories with the new..weaving patterns between time and space and folding colorful strands upon themselves.  She travels on the tips of feathers and touches on a moment here and there whispering to those who will listen, “Wake up and Join me..Remember we are here to Create…Wake up and create…Undo the binding confusion..Loosen the webs and from the tattered remains weave a rich possibility..Give form to the face of the lost twin of creation- the one that was lost at the Tree ..Go back to the moment of our original sin..where we forgot our belonging…Speak to Our Remembering and choose Life!

Go back to the moment before our birth..with the clanging of the first church bell…and stop. Quickly with your weaving bind the chaos and confusion to itself..Wind the scarlet threads of life around the Sacred Tree..Bind our souls to Wisdom and Truth…Sing the Songs of Creation and Our Remembering and fan the Sacred Smoke of understanding over them and wait for the return of the Sacred Breath and Holy Fire to move over them giving birth to Creation.

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

This whole last week has been amazing. With the birth of my granddaughter I am awe struck at the unfolding of life’s mysteries.  As I look at pictures of my granddaughter I am drawn back to when my son was newborn and I was just a naive, but determined eighteen year old girl. I had no way of knowing then that my love for my children would lead me into a life greater than I could have ever imagined.

In a week or so I will walk with bliss in my arms and I will tell her old, stories and sing to her of ancient wisdom.  For me it will be a walk in heaven… walk with Spirit on Earth as in Heaven, my feet connected to Earth, carrying the future and present against my heart. Past and future merged into a moment of absolute bliss.