In this video, I share practical art tips and insights into my thinking and creative process, including how to channel your emotions to make great art. You’ll see me creating UPON REFLECTION, using
New Zealand Beeswax, Frankincense, pure Pigment, and charcoal on board, 350mm x 350 mm x 65 mm deep.
This is a special piece as I created this artwork the day I received news that my mother had died suddenly. She was only 80 years young. This video is also a celebration of the joy she brought into our lives and also of the power of creativity to transform sorrow into happiness.
Enjoy the video, and scroll to the end of this Vlog if you would like to read some of my ‘relfections’
In this video, I’m sharing with you the creation of the special beeswax, frankincense and pure pigment painting I made in the wake of my mother dying suddenly. Creating something beautiful from something painful is a very healing thing to do.
My mother was 80 years-young when she died. It was very sudden and quite a shock. The photo above was taken only three months prior, on her 80th birthday, May 29. Mum was a Gemini. Joyful, creative, entertaining, chatty, sociable and beautiful.
I’m lucky I inherited a lot of her creative gifts. Even though people say when your parents die you feel that you are all alone in the world and that you have nobody else, I actually am very blessed to have my creativity and this will always connect me to my loved ones.
My mother like to share her joy. She had an interior design business for many years and uplifted people’s lives by helping them create beautiful homes and I like to think I carry on the legacy with my artworks.
I begin painting this beeswax by thinking about my mum‘s favourite colours, one of which is black. She loved black with a passion. I’m not normally someone known for painting with black and I often have told people I’m allergic to it! It may be because when I had my colours done I was analysed as ‘spring’. Spring people with their warm sunny colouring often don’t suit black near their face, we’re told. Anyway, since mum passed I have begun working with a black palette.
I knew that I wanted to use beeswax when I created Upon Reflection. I love painting with beeswax it’s very healing and beautiful. Also, my father was a beekeeper and he did a lot of pioneering research using the curative properties of bees, including healing people with terrible burns and crippling arthritis. My father had a very challenging life but he was also a gentleman and genuinely cared about other people.
To create the rich blacks for Upon Reflection I used some beautiful pure French powered pigment which I bought from The French Art Shop. Mum loved France and we went to Paris with her some moons ago and it was such a memorable beautiful time. I’m lucky that my mum gave me so many wonderful experiences. She was very generous.
Mum also loved collecting buddha statues and I have a couple she bought back from me on a trip to Bali in my home. They always remind me of her. When I worked in a corporate role they used to call me Budh because apparently,, I said wise things!
As I was creating Upon Reflection, which I made the day that I heard my mama died I was thinking about her and her life and the things she loved. So I was infusing the whole painting with this feeling of love. So it’s not a sad piece. It’s a joyful piece.
And as I created my artwork in her memory I thought about the last message I ever received from her and that was after I had left and I told her that I was stuck in Auckland because of the stormy weather and she said “I can’t believe it’ and then she “I could live forever with you. And it’s the most beautiful memory that I have. As with many families, we didn’t always see eye to eye but I think I was probably the most like my mother out of all of my siblings. I feel a bit like Princess Anne who spent her last days with her mother Queen Elizabeth and said that it was such an honour to have spent those last moments with her. And as I said, I only left two days before she died to return to my home after spending a special two weeks caring for her. I received the news that she had died suddenly just as I walked in the door. It was such a shock.
As you’ll see in the video, I love creating my beeswax artworks by pouring melted beeswax all over the sides. I have taped the edges to keep them clean. That way they won’t be messy like they are in the video.
You can see the extra texture created by the ground-up frankincense that I added to the mixture. My beautiful Japanese friend Makoto send this very special frankincense to me from the Sultan of Oman. It was such a surprise at mum’s funeral to see that the priest, in a somewhat traditional Catholic ceremony in the same church as my grandmother had her funeral, waved smoking frankincense over her coffin. I hadn’t known he was going to do this and I had just decided intuitively to use frankincense in the painting. Frankincense is well renowned for its healing, curative, and spiritual qualities. In fact, when the baby Jesus was born the three wise men came bearing gifts which included frankincense.
I carried the painting with me to Wellington to mum’s funeral several days later. I had thought I would leave it in the house but then I decided, no I wanted mum’s energy to go out into the world and with it the joy and the peace and the beauty that I found in creating this work. I’m delighted to say this painting will be exhibited along with other beeswax works at Ora Gallery in Wellington.
To Mark Twain’s beautiful quote which my distraught nephew bravely read at mum’s funeral, ‘dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening… ‘ I would add:
If you would like to take your creative passions to new dizzy heights, you might like to join me for the 2nd Edition of the Three Day Art Retreat Workshop next Feb 2023. All details here: https://www.cassandragaisford.com/wellington-art-retreat/
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I am an artist, storyteller, intuitive guide, mentor and Reiki master. All my creations are infused with positive energy , inspiration, and light. I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform your life. My greatest joy is helping your realize your dreams. That makes my soul sing!
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