Coming to my own rescue.. with creative honesty..

Illustration Friday visitors.. Welcome !.. feel free to scroll down to the illo at the bottom..
all you other troopers.. thank you for your encouraging and comforting presence alongside me on my creative journey.. I congratulate you if you make it to the end of this long post.. just read it with your 'open mind'.. it may get a bit 'out there' for some.. hehe
I finally figured out.. that the only way to know what I 'really wanted to paint'.. or would feel 'fulfilled' by painting.. was to truly get down and have a 'close encounter' with myself.. or to visit the 'temple of Helen'.
While contemplating this 'quest'.. I pondered that I was seeking a conversation with my spirit, my soul, the 'essence of Helen'. My intention was to receive' .. to receive information, to receive inspiration.. so I mused.. if I want to receive.. perhaps i should clear the 'old' to make room for the 'new'.. also .. if I want to receive' .. perhaps I should also 'give'.. I felt that this was a holistic exercise.. this is not just about 'what should I paint?.. this had now become a detailed look at my whole life ..what is out of balance?
So this last week has been a whirlwind.. first up.. tidy studio.. no painting.. just sort and prepare.. ( welcoming in my new special visitor.. laden with gifts) hehe
then I decided to start a new fresh beautiful journal.. which I would write down my thoughts in every day.. no matter what I felt preparation for my 'gifts' to arrive.. my authentic voice and guidance.
Then I hauled out everything in my closet. dumped it all out on the bed ( and floor).. removing all things.. that no longer 'feel like me.. the me I am now.. the me I am becoming'... this was getting exciting.. my authentic self is coming 'out of the closet'.. ( even the closet needs to be authentically honest lol!) Everything was removed from my bedroom and around the house that no longer 'seemed to fit'... pared down to 'basically what delights or inspires'..... me.

Next on the list.. was a new pair of gorgeous jeans that 'fit just right'.. and pretty ,blonde highlights.. fresh for spring.. ooh .. the goddess in me was starting to awake from her slumber!!

Then we tackled my diet .. crappy winter junk had snuck in and taken over.. I started making fresh juices from carrots, apples and parsley.. yum.. started eating lots of fresh salads, fruits and vegetables.. lots of water.. stretching and yoga.. you get the picture..
Well the energy levels are rising.. I am feeling and looking good.. getting very excited about life .. feeling a lot of possibility and potential in the air.
I started spending more time outside watching the birds busy preparing their nests and viewing the beautiful spring blossoms shooting out everywhere here in the hill country. Inspiration is starting to bubble up and over. The birds excite me . I could watch them for hours.. in fact .. they delight me.! I have always felt a real spiritual connection with birds.. I have had many 'magical, uncanny experiences with them throughout my life.

So to the diary.. we started out with some grumbling.. confusion and despair.. .....and ended up with peace, direction,clarification and excitement!!

At the beginning of this week.. I thought it would be good to get drunk with friends.. it was good .. it shut up the damn ' what kind of an artist are you anyway' voices.. I felt free ,I laughed , I asked a very good friend .. in his opinion what did he think I should paint? ( not usually a good idea) .. he never hesitated .. looked me straight in the eye and said .. "your birds.. take me to another place".

Hmmm.. the next day I was browsing other successful artists work online ( a masochistic artist moment!) artist in particular struck me .. I thought disgruntled.. " Oh well it's easy for her to be successful . all she has to do all day is paint gorgeous birds!! "
You'd think I would start putting this all together at this point people .. but nope!! Still stuck within the veils of denial.. hehe..

The next day.. I passed our garage.. there was a little dove sitting inside on the window sill.. I paused .. drank it in.. and raced off to answer the phone.. the two garage doors are open , so I knew it could fly out easily.
Two hours later I go to get something from the car.. there is the dove sitting there .. I slowly walked up to it.. talking quietly.. thinking I would help to direct it to the open door.. it sat there bobbing it's head at me.. ever so slowly I reached out my hands .. and picked it up. I held that little bird in my hands .. and knew in that instant.. it was a messenger.. from my higher self... of peace.. paint peace..paint messages from your heart to others.. paint what this moment feels like... paint what delights you and fills you up like you will burst...

Oh .. such a tender special moment .. with the little dove sitting so quietly,looking up at me trustingly with it's bright, shiny eyes.. soft, warm, quivering feathers, a priceless gift of insight.. from myself.. and this precious little messenger. I thanked it for taking part 'in the play' of my life, released it over near the door and it flew up to the top of an old oak tree where it's mate was waiting.. delightful serendipity.

So straight off to write in the diary.. a torrent of inspiration flowing out onto the paper. I could hardly write fast enough.. so many ideas .. thoughts.. birds .. messages.. different media etc.. Yay!!!!

So some of you will be scratching your head going ... ummm... "this chick is bonkers.. she already paints some birds ... and her blog AND online store is called THE WILLOWS NEST .. hehe ,,!!!!!! I know isn't it great .. sweet layers of self doubt and confusion .. they can mask anything!

So here it is ..this may all change .. but as of right now.. I paint birds .. beautiful, uplifting, magical birds.. some with a message.. some capturing a moment.. a feeling.. but all are a direct expression of me.. so I say phooey!!! to the crappy self doubting voices.. ... I paint birds.. my higher self/inner goddess/spirit/intuition/soul told me so!.

Yes I have painted some birds before .. and then ladies and then a rhino .. and then flowers .. and then a raccoon.. and then.. hehe.. there is always a nature element.. but I would get so distracted by what others are doing.. and never think my own ideas would be quite good enough.. if it was so great why wasn't someone else doing it"???? ( oh blessed self sabotage)..

So to anyone who is still with me at the bottom of this post.. I so appreciate you.. here is the first gift from within .. for me to place upon my wall .. to remember to express what delights me .. and fills me up.

The simple life recipe on 'How to Rescue Myself.. when all seems lost and veiled in confusion..
Just.................... Choose Bliss..

Sending out lots of Love and bliss to you people... from a lucky woman who 'just gets to paint pretty birds all day'... Helen xoxo


  1. What a wonderful post Helen! Thanks for sharing your journey to your authentic self and so happy that you came to clarity and peace. I can't believe you were able to pick up that about a sign!

  2. p.s. your bird painting is really lovely.

  3. how wonderful, Helen! your story gave me the shivers, it was so good! I've been feeling closer to other creatures as well.. I was visited by a little bee yesterday - that's an interesting parallel. (my name means "bee"!)

    As you follow your intuition and speak/paint the truth that is in your heart, you inspire me to do the same! :) Love you, beautiful woman!

  4. Beautiful little bird paintings :)

  5. Beautiful little bird paintings :)

  6. lovely clear blue colours ;)

  7. Your post is beautiful! Your work is stunning. It makes my heart skip to see such gorgeous colors and painting and lines and oh my gosh, this bird is awesome.

  8. Wow fantastic post!!!! How wonderful!! And that bird is just so beautiful, crisp colours and lines and so delicate, lovely work!

  9. Beautiful blue bird... enchanting!

  10. Beautiful blue bird! Enchanting!

  11. May I enter the Temple of Helen? Should I take my shoes off first?

    Oh, Helen, what a journey! Lots of peeling away of layers on the road to self-discovery. When you reached out to the dove, I held my breath. WOW! I can't believe it actually let you hold it! Amazing sign. It's like someone up there was saying, "Well, it's about TIME you got the hint!" Hahahahaha Your birds are awe-inspiring. I'm clapping my hands in glee to hear that you are going to paint more birds. Although your other critters also stole my heart.... The blue coloring in this little guy is phenomenal! How did you ever get the colors so deep and soft at the same time?! You are amazing. Congratulations on finding your bliss.


  12. It's Spring...the time when we uncover our 'ears' and listen to the Universe. She's always talking to us and nudging us and sometimes thumping us but we have so many ways(Layers,veils) we've devised to tune her out. You are absolutely right. What you've been doing--cleaning away the excess stuff that didn't feel right--is like clearing away the the dead leaves and what-have-you in the garden so the new spring shoots can come up strong.
    Your friend was absolutely right...your birds are so delicate and lovely...they really are your soul on paper.
    Long ago birds were seen as symbols of the soul...
    Blessings Helen...and spring {{[hugs}}}

  13. hi Lisa!.. thanks for your comment.. I know ! was so amazing.. I couldn't believe it either, it was like it wanted me to pick it up!.. it was so sweet!

    Deborah!! thanks for visiting .. yay get those paints out girl..awesome!
    I didn't know your name means 'bee.. I LOVE bees.. especially the big huge fat bumblebee they have in New Zealand!

  14. hello Jen.. aww thankyou.. I never usually work in these colors .. I really enjoyed it.. I'm glad you liked my post.. thankyou for hanging in there until the end!!

    hey Nicola.. yay you too made it through to the end of the epic! I'm glad you like me wee birdie.. i was trying to combine strength of color with a delicate touch.. I'm thrilled you got that!

  15. hey Bella !! Of course you may enter the 'temple of Helen'.. you may only wear shiny red patent leather shoes.. or pink fluffy slippers.. I have a lovely gold throne specially for you .. and a cocktail waiting with a purple and lime spotted umbrella.. would you like one of the handsome man servants to give you a massage?
    hehe.. aww.. so glad you like me' birdies!! This was a new thing I was trying with lots and lots of thin glazes and washes of colors.. so I am very excited that you noticed the ''deep and soft look; as you so brilliantly put it!
    YES the dove ,.. I know ..I don't think I breathed at all the whole time!!! so amazing!! The moment is just frozen in my mind.. it so brought me RIGHT into the present .. yay!
    three cheers to peeling back the layers .. hip hip..hurray!!
    Luv ya .. H

  16. Kelly .. man I love the sound of that.. I have never heard that before.. my soul on paper!! wow.. that's beautiful.. thank you for your magical comments re the spring 'clearing' yes was time I received a thump from the universe!! hehe

    Happy spring to you too!!

  17. Goodness, Helen! I feel like I just read a gripping, thrilling novel! You got my heart beating faster towards the end of the post...and of course, the climax, the gorgeous, GORGEOUS, bird waiting gracefully for me to admire. I'm so glad you took time to re-invent yourself, never an easy thing to do, but definitely worthwhile. So congrats, my Bird Queen! (sorry, I have a habit of giving nicknames to people I like a lot...thee hehehe...)

  18. hi Amalia.. I would love to be the 'Bird Queen'. I have always had long legs.. blonde hair.. I think I'm a heron:) thanks for getting to the end with me!!!.. and liking my wee birdie!!

  19. Your Gracious Highness, May I please prostrate myself in front of the temple? Erm, maybe not for I am just as "bonkers" as you are except I do mine every month, week, several times a day!!! Oh gees.

    Good for you beautiful woman. I love the jeans part and the highlights.

    I love your journeys of self discovery. The can be challenging, scary, but in the end fulfilling and fun!


    You are one gorgeous, gifted and talented woman.

    And yes, I am an oil painter. I actually just started drawing a couple of years ago.


  20. Wow! What a great post! Thank you for sharing this moment with us. I've always had a weird fascination with birds, too. Wonderful work, Helen.

  21. I love this post. Wonderful Helen. I'm applauding you right now! Standing up and cheering. I LOVE your do have a gift with those beauties. I wish you continued success and moreso on your newfound energy and excitement about your creative path. : ) You have been awarded a Sunshine Award because you bring a ray of sunshine to my world. Thank you for sharing your honesty and light!

  22. Wow, that was a great post. I love it when other artist reveal themselves this way. (I have yet to do so!). Create what you love. That's all, that's it. What you want to create is what you have to create. Simple as that. Comparing what you want to create to what other artists are doing is self destructive and makes no sense (though haven't we all been guilty of that?) It's too easy to get sucked in to what others are doing and thinking that's what we should be doing...and that's a fast moving, downward spiral that actually bleeds the artistic life right out of us. So, My Lady, go create your birds!! They are so pretty. And I must comment AGAIN that I'm still in love with "For Just One Day". I will be tweeting about it today as a matter of fact!

  23. Wonderful, wonderful illustration and just love your writing.

  24. I came to spread roses around the Temple of Helen! How are you? Have you moved to the Hermitage now?

  25. I just discovered your blog and truly enjoyed your post of your quest to "find Helen". It is something I can relate to. Your birds are exquisite!

  26. Love it all, H. You are such an inspiration in so many ways--your honesty, your talent, your beauty, your non-judgmental character, your integrity and your dedication. I don't believe you have had an unauthentic moment in your life, woman! Perhaps a day, here and there, when your creative muse got side-traced, but NEVER inauthentic! However, I am happy that you have settled on the avian them; it suits you well.

    I am so envious that you got to hold a dove...that is truly unbelieveable!

    I love your 3-D copper bird box--it is very cool. Keep up the beautiful work and remember: 'a thing of beauty is a joy forever!'


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