The layers and the light…..

My process begins with a heartpour
my own unscripted words dumped raw onto clean, blank page.
A turn-the-purse-upside-down-and-send-the-contents-dumping.
It’s never pretty.  Never polished.  And can be a little wrenching.
I write the unsayable things – the stuff of which Anne Lamott wrote,
“my thoughts were such that would make Jesus want to drink gin out of the cat dish.”
The hard,  the embarrassing, the boring and the ugly.
It’s the bottom down under and it’s gotta go somewhere.
I give them space and let those thoughts breathe the light.
Unjudged and unashamed (wriggle, wriggle, squirm)

Then I drop down to that place in my belly where the river stirs
and let myself dip – falling,  falling – into those wild and uncertain waters
like a stone thrown into the deep
and I coach my hands start playing.
Just go all playful – letting loose to dance with Creation
until I’m carried along in the current while my childlike arting begins
to let the ripples speak.

I never sit down to make art.  Ever.  I go at it like a playful explore
and I don’t try to get anything right.

There is no right or wrong or off or don’t-go.
Some things I like – especially when they come like surprising packages
that feel like a note passed from Love to or through me.
That stuff makes my heart squeeze happy beats and the living feel like hope.
But I don’t work hard to make pretty or good – the work instead is in the showing up,
the carving out space and time and giving it that chunky slice of my living.
Letting the messy process be
and going soft to the uncertainty.
I may have nothing to show for this.

But oh that messy down under is raw and sometimes daunting.
Life and days and relationships and situations and seasons – they all have bottom layers.
I’m learning to fear them less – to hold a spacious yes for them –
as I dance this messy dance with un-hiding the things.
To growing my love for the layers and the light.

As I grow in love for this process I also grow in love for this life-living we get to do.
It’s amazing what a blank white page can call up and out in us,  especially when we know that
we won’t leave it naked and unloved – that we’ll be back to tend the wounds and notice the beauty
and listen in to hear the healing things.

“I can shake off everything as I write;  my sorrows disappear,
my courage is reborn.”
– Anne Frank


  1. Elephants Child on February 20, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    I do love (so very much) the beautiful layers you share. And they are all beautiful, including the bumps, the bruises and the shrugged off shame.
    Huge hugs – today and every day.

    • jennifer on February 21, 2020 at 7:38 am

      Always so much love in the layers:)
      Thanks for your encouraging way, Sue:)

  2. jeanie on February 21, 2020 at 7:56 am

    I love hearing about your process, Jennifer. Process intrigues me. It’s so uniquely individual to the creator and while one can try to emulate, eventually their own “way” emerges. The layers you use of paint, color, line are very much like the layers of your writing — digging deeper and deeper into the soul. The results, so revealing. And the play. Play does bring some of our best moments, our deepest thoughts, doesn’t it? And we’re not even looking for them at that moment. We just see.

    • jennifer on February 21, 2020 at 5:39 pm

      Me too, Jeanie. I find everyone’s process fascinating. So glad we’re not one size fits all.
      I appreciate your observation – so helpful to notice what you’re seeing and saying.
      Thank you!
      Yes, we just see:)
      Feel better and keep mending, friend,

  3. Barbara Shallue on February 21, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Letting it all out into the light… often it helps us see that what we thought was so ugly and big really isn’t, and we can finally let it drift into the past where it belongs, so we have room to open up to the future. Thank you for sharing your process with us. What a beautiful quote by Anne Frank. xoxo

    • jennifer on February 21, 2020 at 5:37 pm

      Yes – all the yeses, Barbara.
      It’s a soul-tending thing:)
      I’m grateful for how everyone has their own unique fit when it comes to process.
      It’s helpful to me to hear what works for others, too.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  4. Deborah Weber on February 21, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    We are all so richly layered and deeply nuanced and it delights me you reflect this in your work as well. Like all good relationships I think, we must be willing to bring all parts to it and devote our attention and kindness to it. It’s a genuine pleasure to have this peek at your process – thank you.

    • jennifer on February 24, 2020 at 8:38 am

      Yes – all the yeses – to our deeply complex beings. Relationship is stretch and grow always, isn’t it.
      Bringing all of our parts – that’s a lifelong journey for me and for most I imagine.
      Deborah I appreciate what you bring to the conversation – thank you:)

  5. Lisa Moreland on February 22, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Always exquisite. Ever bare soul honest. Promised artful spilling of word craft and imagery remains true. Your occasional shares are beautifully crafted gifts! Your Instagram follower #lbmoreland

    • jennifer on February 24, 2020 at 8:35 am

      Lisa I appreciate your visit – grinning so big to find you here today:)
      Thanks for your encouragement – my heart feels it deeply
      and sends a grateful hug:)

  6. Susan on February 23, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    I have to say that Anne Lamott quote totally cracked me up, love her so and you and your sweet, honest way of being in the world.
    I have never sat down to do any art, either, until I started beading … usually like the music going and the moving around but I’m learning to sit for short spells.
    Thanks for once again brightening my snowy day. xo

    • jennifer on February 24, 2020 at 8:34 am

      Love her too – her raw and organic way makes my feel heart light:)
      Thanks for sharing a snippet of your process.
      And big warm to you in this end-of-Winter window that seems so
      l-o-n-g for you in those tall mountains!
      Wishing you some sunshine and dry ground today:)

  7. Lucille Christie on February 24, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    The dark layers that will not surface and keep them there within a blank mind as it hurts less as if it never happened

Leave a Comment