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The Fisher of Men

By : haley 2 Comments

The Scenario

There I am on my afternoon walk and a Facebook message rolls in from an old neighbor. She’s asking if I do interior design and would be interested in helping decorate a few rooms in her home. I’m like what?! How cool. I consider it for about 13 seconds then remember, oh ya I’m trying to remain focused and this is certainly not my focus. But I do believe in molding opportunity for our benefit and growth. My response back to her, references using my mother as she’s interior designer, with a license, whole sale discount, etc. I kept the dialogue open just to learn more about it. Because my two favorite modes are; immediately say yes or shut it down. When your life isn’t working, you just start doing everything in reverse. Whatever you used to do, now do the opposite. 

By this time I have my plan. Client doesn’t know. Mom doesn’t know. But I’ve got it! I know what this opportunity is about. Because the day prior I’d been tagged on Facebook by an old co-worker who posted my painting as her cover photo and it somehow got traction from my FB friends. I always pay attention to timing and linked events. All events and situations mirror each other, we have to determine the correlation and meaning. 

My Pitch

After dinner I go to sell my mom on the idea. Every situation has resistance, so I continue with my point about how opportunity usually comes to us upside down. We have to shape it, mold it, into a piece we like and can work with. We don’t simply sit there and wait for the perfect scenarios to drop into our laps. She kind of agrees to it. Says she’s super busy but is open to hearing about the project. Keep in mind she’s working part-time and re-modeling 3 rooms in her house. From there, I pitch this idea to the client, “I’d love to create a few art pieces for the space. My mom and I have been wanting to collaborate in that way. Would you be open to that?” …She responds, Yes!

Tour

We came in and toured her home, I get to hear my mom talking about the design process, furnishing ideas, color palettes, etc. Which is really great for me because I’m working on designing her website, seeing this is giving me great insight into crafting her messaging and branding. They have this big open wall, leading to the hallway. Yup…that’s the spot my first commissioned piece will hang! I have no idea what I will paint at this point. I do know that I’m excited that I get to create a piece that is cohesive within the space. 

Months Pass

We met in the middle of January and I step out of the process for several months. They are buying furniture, lighting, sofas and chairs. They design the entry way, living room, and do the lighting in the kitchen and dining area. I’ve nearly forgotten about the project and am slammed with design work. The end of March rolls around and I’m about to move out. I’m wondering if I’ll ever create this thing. I was suppose to have my paint shop live. Yet, I’ve run into every single road block on the planet with this thing. The saga continue to this moment. I’m having every doubt in the book. “I don’t varnish my pieces”, “is that even a legit practice?!”, “should I paint it on un-stretched canvas?”, “I haven’t found a pouring medium I love yet”, “I don’t know if my water vs. paint ratio are safe and if they’ll hold up long term”, “I don’t know what my style is” blah, blah, blah, blaaah. 

My mom and I go in to buy paint colors together and purchase practice canvas’. I test the colors out, yet the blues are all off, too green, too turquoise, not navy enough. I can’t seem to figure out how to mix a proper navy. She also asked me to try out this technique where you paint 3 canvas’ together, called triptych. I make my mood board with my artwork examples, expecting intense feedback, revisions, roadblocks…but nope—wide open arms! 

Unique Tools

It’s going to rain for a few days, so the day comes where I have to begin painting. We have this large deck that usually has 5,000 pieces of furniture on it. Did I mention my mom’s an interior designer?! Ironically enough, they have been taken out, as they are being replaced and are doing some structural renovations. So there is my…my stage! It’s large enough to post up with three 24×36 canvas’. I feel so cool constantly going into Michael’s leaving with these giant pieces, and taking full advantage of my 40% off a single item coupon haha. Within 15 days I purchased 30 canvas’. Wowza! Anyhow, I run out and have to make one last trip to Michael’s. I have this idea on my brain about inventing or finding a really unique tool that can set my style apart. A big part of me loves being resourceful. I would be a hoarder if it wasn’t gross and not cute. I hate throwing things away. I find this actually can help in creativity. Don’t worry I’ve Marie Kondo’ed my life recently. So I’m collecting all kinds of used plastic jars to house mixed paints. I’m chatting with a friend and we are obsessing on this artist dude named Revok. He’s getting hot press, cool hotel collabs and has this dope spray can machine he’s invented. The whole time I’m thinking how can I make a tool like that but for fine art? He uses his for graffiti and large indoor or outdoor walls. I’m in Michael’s I went in to buy this $40 for 20 canvas special and as I’m sending a picture to a friend, I look up and see this strange item that’s out of place above it on an empty shelf. Boom, it’s my Revok tool. I can see how I’ll assemble it. LIKE IT’S PERFECT GUYS! 

Art Store Magic

The people at the art store are my angels. Two years ago, I was passing by University Art and I see them having this huge sale. We’re riding by on our bikes and my ex is like you should get a canvas. I’m like no, it won’t fit on my bike, I don’t want to waste money and Omg that line is soooo long. But I go in. As I’m leaving in a super rush, for some “reason” that probably doesn’t exist, and this lady says… hey wait, you should spin the prize wheel. I’m like, I can’t stand dumb things like this. Whatever, I spin it. I win a $25 gift card. She goes, “see what you’ll miss out on when you in a hurry“. I was like excuse me wheel of fortune lady but YOU’RE WRONG! My rushing is very important to me. LOL. Every time I would go in over the past 9 months, I would arrive at 1:11pm, I would spend $111.34. This one day I go in for a camera repair at 3:31. I somehow still arrive at the art store at 3:33pm. This one employee chats me up every time I go and saves me money by telling me all the tricks about how to shop the aisles. Randomly, I get emailed a free membership to this art teaching website. Then they ask me to teach a class on their site. WTH. 

Divine Messages

Every accident. Every mistake has a message. You hit your head. You trip. You spill. There’s a divine message there. Every second is perfect. Every moment has an answer. Every connection is sacred. Every thought has a purpose. Ever moment of anger, anxiety and depression has a direction. More on this as you read on.

Day 01 – March 30

I was attending a concert that evening in the city so I only time to paint the first layer. I use a lot of water so I need a good chunk of time to allow for drying. I pour down this dainty, grey, splattered backdrop as I’m planning on doing some nice, very formatted, overlapping sunset. In my mind, I’m like I’m not messing this up. We just spent way too much money on all these supplies. I have a mood board that’s when been signed off on. I’m staying the course.

Day 02 – March 31

I was about to head outside to start but my parents asked me to help hang this chandelier. To shorten the height, they had to cut off part of the chain. They tossed it aside and I was like, wait! Can I have that? I knew it would be another art tool but I had no idea the meaning it would have to me once it was finished. I start with a big blue pour on the far right side and I use this chain to start dragging the paint across the horizontal axis. It has a unique form, shape, texture and line break. I decide to leave behind my perfect idea of what this thing is going to turn out like. I start following my intuition which gives me ideas and pings. These are usually outside of my comfort zone but if you follow them, they are the most exhilarating and exciting directions for our lives. So I just sit there, I listen to the sounds of the animals, the birds, the wind, the strange thoughts that pop into my head. And then, I just simply go with them. Without judgement, without fear of the outcome, just blind faith. Blinding falling into the idea that what is bigger and better can come through me when I surrender. It says drag that, push that, pull that, use your foot, lay in it, leave it, keep going—further. My idea was safe but this one was big, bold, unknown, adventure filled, unique and spontaneous.

Here are the thoughts I allow to float in my head as I paint: every drop is perfect, there are no mistakes, this is the most exciting thing happening in the world right now. The best place to be is where I am. I realize this is one of the best spaces for me to practice being present. 

*Note: I’m hating the piece at this point. It feels disjointed, spindly, dark and broken. I’m low key like…why didn’t I just stick with my original plan?!

Day 03 – April 3

I send a photo to a friend about it and he suggests using my smoothing method that I’d used on another piece. It needs something large and cohesive to tie it all together. I needed to let the water cleanse this broken mess

I mix up big batches of navy, light blue + grey, then start the pouring process. I use my catalyst scrapper to drag the paint and make bow like shapes. I usually paint for 20 minutes and while it’s drying, I go up and work on design projects. I come back down several times.

A mosquito bit me so I figured It was time to go in. I packed up, start washing everything off, went back out and noticed these three mosquitoes who are hovering the painting. At the top I thought oh no they’re going to dive into the paint and him have to get them out. But they just stayed there and they were circling this interesting motion that looked like what I had already done with a bunch of pallet knives on the drop cloth. Then I notice the 3 mosquitos have turned into a group of 30, hovering in a little circle around the front of the canvas, I’ve never seem them cluster like that. I thought this is really strange, I held my arm up next to them and none of them would get near me. No bites, no interest in my blood. I try swatting them but they won’t move? I tell myself, if I walk through them and they don’t move, then I’ll stay out here and keep working. Sure enough, I walk through them and just remain in the cluster same spot about 2 feet about the piece.

I continue for a bit more, doesn’t much matter with abstract work, you can’t really mess it up? I start throwing handfuls of paint dipped palette knives at the canvas that mimic their clustered buzzing. I wonder is this my audience? Why are they swarming in just this spot? I had just tripped on my pant leg, which sparked this idea that popped into my head—fall down and lay on the canvas. I’m like what? No way. I could break the canvas, it would ruin the structure, I’m wearing these khaki overalls, it will get in my hair, like no. No. No. No. But the idea won’t leave and neither will this strange mosquito posse. So I do it. Yup! I lay in this thing I’ve been working on for 3 days on, have spent 100’s of dollars on and is not mine. The message here was fall into me. I’ve got you. I can hold you. I can hold your pain, sorrow, burdens and I can make you new. Let the water smooth your soul—just as it did to this painted spindly disjointed mess. In that moment, I knew it was an act of dying to an old self, the lower self, the one that controls and distrusts.

I finished up, walked inside, then my vision starts getting strange. Everything became super yellow and saturated. I thought I was going to pass out or had gotten up too quickly. Then I had this realization to fall to my knees. My hands were dripping with water, I raised them up because this whole experience was divine. It wasn’t about me, it’s like I wasn’t thinking anymore, just feeling through each moment. It was about higher power revealing itself to me through an act of reckless abandon. 

My eye catches a glimpse at my wrist where there was this dried paint that looked like a long cut. I looked at my shoulders, both had big red marks on them. I looked at my feet which were burnt red—for anyone looking for the literal response, it’s just a sunburn. But symbolically, it appeared to be a crucifixion experience. 

 

The Living Water, The Catalyst, The Jet Fuel—The Breaking of the Chain

Living Water—
I started to look at the tools that give my pieces their edge. First off, I use a ton of water, so much that the canvas’ needs to dry overnight. I prefer to use water over mediums to thin my paint. When I read that statement back to myself in a spiritual sense, I would say… I prefer the living water over talking to psychic mediums who can lead us down strange paths by giving us drops of truth but prefer to blur our overall vision.

Catalyst—
I spent the last 3 years thinking cannabis was the ultimate catalyst to my life, when in reality he was. Now, I use this catalyst silicon wedge to create unique shapes in thick paint. 

Jet Fuel—
He gives us karmic situations that turn our burdens into our jet fuel. This dropper bottle once used to get us lifted. Now, it brings depth, translucency and variety to my painting. He takes what is dying and brings new life, he can break the chain from the bondage we find ourselves in. 

Day 04 – April 4

I waited three days. I remember being like seriously we’re going to write this just like the resurrection story? Eh, I don’t want that—come on. This is about me being a chic, cool, hip artist. I still am those things but not alone. I certainly didn’t get here alone. It’s never been just me. Every beautiful act, creation or manifestation is always being called back home. It’s always asking for the glory to be sent up. But this place is merely a reflection. We are a reflection of source. Of god. Of the universe, of its creator. We come to play these roles to produce, to love, to grow, to flourish, to experience pain, hardship, joy, abundance—the full spectrum of emotion. We are characters in god’s drama. Playing roles in and out of duality that bring us closer to him.

*When I have talked about God in the past, I’ve liked to use different terms to reach a wider audience of people. I think we get so turned off by the terminology and naming, we can’t hear the message. So I use god, source or universe— interchangeably. I don’t like to give god a gender because it seems like gender is a product of this universe. The more I think about it though, is that a sneaky way to break down identity? Is that a way to dilute credit away from where it’s due? Just a thought.

As I take in the paintings for the last time, I see a bat fly over head. They represent death in the sense of letting go of the old, and bringing in the new. They are symbols of transitioning, of initiation and the start of a new beginning.

Day 05 Delivery – April 5

My dad alerted me that the paint had spilled off onto the tile in the hall. There was dried blue paint dried there. I went and wiped it up. Like an act done by Mary Magdalene. I look at my hand, I have a deep cut in my hand, like where a nail would have been.

It’s raining most of the day. The canvas’ are attempting to dry in the hallway. They’re still fairly wet. I’m a little nervous because were basically showing up to install them and she hasn’t seen them yet. It stops raining just as I pull up to her neighborhood on the street named, Bunting Lane (ha exactly!) I’m attempting to read the look on her face as we bring in these panels one by one. 

Installing this piece was quite funny with the 3 of us, I think we put each nail in the wall 3 times before getting it right. Let’s just say there were two women on the ladder at one point. She ends up really liking it and we all notice, it looks like a fish! Plus, she happens to be wearing a shirt with a fish on it. I’m racking my brain trying to think of a spiritual correlation. I suppose he was fishing for me through this process, as Jesus is the fisher of men. 

As I’m leaving my GPS won’t load and so I drive around a little lost, paying extra attention to the street signs. The cross street is Joy Dance. I notice the main road is on, OMEGA. The beginning and the end. Really?! It all makes sense now. I like to think of life as a movie where we’re all characters in this grand drama. We’re unconsciously playing instrumental parts that cause huge shifts in the lives of others on behalf of the big man upstairs. This woman had no idea what story would be crafted from this experience and neither did I. The timing and placement is just too good to be created by us alone. The spirit realm is always at play in everything we do, we can begin to see it. Once we slowly take off the blinders, we wake up to a new reality. 

Abstract Animals?

I’m sitting in bed, hardcore mopping on a Friday night—it had been a long day of back and forth design work—the death of me. I get a message from a guy who I met randomly at the DJ booth on our birthday weekend. He asks me how my art is going? I send him a photo of a piece I’m finishing and he goes, wow! That looks like a sloth and does a little outline drawing on top. I was low key annoyed, I’m like why can’t people just let things be abstract?! Why do we have to identify them with real life objects? I come around to it, because I do like sloths and animals. 10 minutes later, I make my first sale, on this sloth piece, via dm!  

Looking Through the Window To Higher Self

Saturn return, north node, dark night of the soul, karma, crucifixion, resurrection, enlightenment…All these ideas aim to wake us up to positive transformation. The death of an old self or the ego leads us to a connection with our higher selves. Our higher purpose—a higher passion. It’s letting life, Jesus, god, universe, spirit, guide us. It’s about releasing how we think everything should play out. And diving into the flow of life. When I paint I let things run, the paint spills off the side, the ground is uneven, so its doesn’t always follow my ideas or limitations—it stretches me to the point of surrender. 

Ego Death 

We come here to this universe to get cut up, wounded, die to an old self, reflect, resurrect, and become free. There’s tons of joy and gratitude along the way but when you zoom way, way out…you can see it. If you choose not to step up to the calling, do you ever truly get free? We turn into robots, we through the motions, we settle for our cubicle, our pension, our illusion of safety. We decide nothing better is out there. We won’t open up to possibility. We won’t let ourselves be guided. Because we think we’re the best guide. But how will you ever know, if you don’t let go?

Jesus came here to experience life as humans do, he died to his earthly being and then left this dimension. Why is it so easy for us to play video games, where we pick a character, suit them up, pick a vehicle, weapon, we select the track or terrain we want to play on. In the game, we all risk our character dying. But then we just end up at the start screen again. Our character dies on the level we were playing. We get pushed back a level but we learn and grow. Why is so hard to grasp that our world might follow this same principle. It’s not so scary if we just feel like we’re playing. Is that we come here to do? We come here to defeat death? Because we all know you can be physically alive yet dead inside. He came to free us from ourselves. 

Jesus humbled himself by becoming obedient to death. I think we are asked to do the same on earth. I could have continued to cling to my idea of how my life should play out in business, my relationship but when I let go I received ten fold. 

I’d like to point out that when starting this painting, creating an abstract fish was no where in my mind. I really didn’t know until someone else pointed it out. When we follow our intuition moment by moment, open up to god’s plan, we can accomplish much more than we would on our own. I wanted something clean, sleek, contained…this on the other hand has flow, dimension, layers with edge. But hey, I dig it! And I haven’t seen anything like it before. In our own mind, we duplicate, with god’s mind we innovate. 

P.S. How good does this room look? Go Mom!

What Bothered Me

I’m thinking of how to close this post out, what was the point of this experience? Why did we write this story? My friend asked me the other day, what has your journey looked like? That question annoys me a bit, because I feel like people assuming I’m just now arriving to the exclusive “Jesus club”. I feel like I have to prove that I’m not new or ignorant. I think back to a study I was in as an early teen, where everyone was asked, have you been baptized? The whole group raised their hands except me. They looked appalled that I hadn’t. Everyone kind of banded together to say you have to go get that done, this week! You can’t wait! I think that might be the moment I started to dislike tradition and the idea of religion. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, singled out, in front of my peers for not doing this courageous act. Being really shy when I was younger, doing this would have been ludicrous. You had to go up in front of the church, to this really high up gigantic bath tub, give a small speech on the mic about your choice and then get dunked in the water. That scared the shit out of me. My cousins went up as a pair to do it and I just didn’t have anyone. I was scared and too young to know what it meant. I think in this life we get lost and found over and over again. How can we expect children to make this weighty dedication? I remember the pressure of having to live this “perfect life”, after the fact and thought there is no way I can follow through on that. My parents didn’t push it too much because they wanted it to be my choice—I am super appreciative of that to this day. We’ll see if I feel lead to it in the present day, I think if we’re open to things, a way finds itself. I like letting it find me in a situation least expected. 

Thank you

Thanks for reading this 4,200+ word post. I wrote it because I want to remember this experience down the road. I love sharing long articles because we can only connect with the certain parts our consciousness is ready to pick up. That alone, breaks me from the fear of sharing my experience. Because I know we can only pick up on what we are ready for. There were so many intricate pieces that wove together in an uncanny way. It’s important to me to capture it in words, since my memory can be quite fleeting. If you have any weird spiritual experiences with animals, nature or numbers—I’d love to hear them! This life can be quite magical, if were open to it—no? Funny how this whole experience wrapped itself up the day before Easter! Toodles! 

 

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2 thoughts on “The Fisher of Men”

  1. This is such a powerful read. Thank you for sharing your experience. You and your art are very inspiring!

  2. Working with mom! Nice!
    You’re such a good writer!

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