Woman Guest, A Watercolor Muse

“This being human is a guest house,
Every morning a new arrival….

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.”

Rumi – The Guest House

Rumi’s poem, The Guest House, is one of my favorites of his.  For many years I would read it to my yoga students while they rested in Sivasana.  This morning, after a cold, wet and windy brisk walk I settled inside of my warm studio to paint. Today my studio also became my Guest House. You see, I woke this morning with a lump in my throat; a lump of expression and emotion that as it always is with me, would only be sated by means of writing, painting or drawing. Otherwise that lump only grows until I metaphorically choke on it, unable to breathe.

When I first began painting the piece below I knew it would be a lesson; an experimental work.  I’m trying some new techniques with watercolor and synthetic paper and had this idea that I would make a black and white watercolor look almost like one of my charcoals.  The piece morphed at least a dozen times and in the end, looked nothing like what I intended it to be.  This happens all the time, but today – today my emotions morphed right along with my painting.  I had so many guests appear at the door of my mind, so many emotions, that I could scarcely keep up with all of them.  I’d stop for a cup of tea or a glass of wine and sit on the stool in front of my easel and stare at her – the painting.

In the end I was grateful for each of my guests as they were able to appear within each stroke and I worked some stored up stress out from my insides.  Also with my lump now gone from my throat I can breathe once more and although frustrating, I’ve decided to continue my self-study on watercolor techniques……and emotions.

Woman Guest - Jennifer Allison

Woman Guest – Jennifer Allison

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8 thoughts on “Woman Guest, A Watercolor Muse

      • Nothing fixed, no devices or gimmicks. The only routine is to find a point of freedom, through sitting and breathing, or yoga, or walking, or listening to music, or something else. That’s how I find the thing inside me that feels the strongest, and doesn’t have words yet. And from then, as I write, I just try to recognise the difference between forcing that thing to fit a mould (or answer to someone else’s ideal), and simply exploring it and getting it down on paper so that it can speak for itself.
        It’s all pretty time consuming, but I’m not in a rush!

  1. Your moment of inspiration is familiar. And rare, in my case. If I remember correctly it only happens when I’m alone, and it comes from nowhere tangible or perceivable. Is it the same with you? The last moment I remember resulted in a poem about Mongolian horses. Arguably the only poem I wrote recently. I loved the result of your moment, by the way.

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