Monday, October 15, 2012

Journey of Sisterhood

I've had some struggles in my life lately.  
Big life changes.  The end of a marriage kind of changes.
It has been gut wrenching, heart aching, painfully awful.  
I know I'm not the only one who has survived this type of pain.
I see it every day, in little ways and in big ways in the eyes of people I meet.


Some days are so dark, I wonder if the sun will ever come out in my life again.
And then I'm surprised when it does.  
It breaks through the clouds and sends down glowing streaks of light, 
making brilliant halos around surprising moments.

 "Notice this" whispers the light.

Those glowing moments usually involve other women.  
Sisters who have walked through dark forests of their own.  
I'm always surprised when, even in the dark, they can find my hand.
And they take that moment to reach out and grasp it, warm and firm.
A solid hold.  "I've got you."

Together we walk the path.  
Our raucous laughter swallowing the dark. 
Creating lives of worth and beauty. 

"Notice this" whispers the light.

Thank you to all my sisters of the heart who've been so valiantly holding my hand.
You are my shining lights.  The brilliance of your generous spirit lights my path.

Much love,

Journey of Sisterhood - Acrylic on Canvas - © Shelly Penko 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Treasured Heart

Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery 
with resin sprinkled with real gold powder.  
The Japanese make no attempt to hide the repairs, 
but rather accentuate the breaks with gold 
so they become part of the beauty of the pottery, 
rendering the piece stronger and more valuable after being repaired.

Perhaps the human heart should be considered Kintsugi.  
If we gingerly patch the inevitable breaks with golden tenderness, 
then treasure that beautiful heart 
and honor it as stronger and more precious than ever, 
perhaps then we won't close them off to the world, 
expecting them to be ever unblemished.  
And we can get on with the messy business 
of loving and losing and loving again.

Of course, we don't enjoy the darkest times in our lives, 
the times when we are broken and in pain, 
but if we can remember that the darkness defines the light...
that we can't see the candle's flame in the brilliance of a summer day...
then we will remember that the dark 
is a time of holding on to our hearts,
tenderly patching the broken bits, 
and allowing time to heal.  

May you  treasure and honor your battered heart.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Say A Prayer For Peace

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

~Mahatma Gandhi

I painted "Say A Prayer For Peace", with both individual peace and peace between nations in mind.  
There's so much turmoil in the world right now. It's so easy to feel powerless.  

Sometimes I feel powerless in my own life.  
The unrest in the world is certainly out of my hands...  
out of anyone's hands.  
More than one person, or even one nation, can resolve.  
But I know this:  I know I can pray for peace.

Peace in my own heart.  
That much, I can start to claim.  
And as I claim it, I can imagine it radiating out.  Out from my own body, into my neighborhood, encompassing my city, then my state, slowly spreading through the whole world.  
I can breathe in peace.  
And breathe out love.  

I can pull it from the earth into the soles of my feet.  
Through my body and out my head.  
And if a lot of us do this; if we remember to feel peace, to be peace...
perhaps the world will begin to feel it too.  

Wishing you peace always,

"Say A Prayer for Peace" - Acrylic on Canvas - 24x36" - ©Shelly Penko 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

She Dreams In Color

 Even when her world seemed dark,

She had a light inside.

That feathered bird in her soul known as Hope

Could not be silenced.

And sang to her ceaselessly of the beauty of life.

May your soul bird sing sweetly to you always.

"She Dreams In Color" - Acrylic on Canvas - 30x40" - ©Shelly Penko 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ocean Dreamer

“I must be a mermaid.  

I have no fear of depths.

...and a great fear of shallow living.”

~Anais Nin

I always think of the surface of the ocean as the mythical veil between worlds. Like the veil between God or Spirit and human awareness.

  If you've ever been snorkeling, you'll understand exactly what I mean.  To look across the vast surface of the ocean, it appears a limitless moving mass without a hint of the teeming life just beneath..  But just bow your head and look beneath the surface and a whole beautiful world comes into focus.  

As above, so below...a wonderful reminder that the unimaginable beauty of the world of spirit can be accessed by simply bowing our heads.

May grace and spirit find you awake.

Ocean Dreamer - Acrylic - 24x36" ©Shelly Penko 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012


I'm trying to loosen up and let go.

It's pretty easy in the beginning.  Just making marks, enjoying
the colors and the shapes, how they interact with each other.  Layering
color over color over color.

Each layer adds depth and changes the entire painting in surprising ways.
Why have I never let myself just play with paint, like a child?  I'm amazed
at what I learn by just playing.

Until moths start calling me to fly to the moon.

Now...when do I stop?  I'm not quite sure.  Maybe now?
Maybe not?  Maybe one more layer. 
I'll let you know! :)

May you be forever drawn to the light,
but remember: The darkness defines the light...
and sometimes, the moon is beautiful.   


Saturday, June 2, 2012

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”  

 ― Leonardo De Vinci

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friendship Flowers

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitzer

I love flowers...all of them.  But my favorite flowers are those given to me by people I love.  Today, walking around my little garden...and it's a stretch to call it a garden...I cared for my little container plants, enjoying their new growth and blooms. 

I smiled when I realized the miniature rose my mom gave me had two new purple flowers opening.  Purple roses! As I admired their unique beauty, I remembered how much she loves me and helps me to bloom. 

Brilliant yellow esperanza flowers tickled my eyes.  The flowers have almost a paper-like texture.  They seem like they would be delicate, but esperanza is a tough plant, blooming faithfully throughout the summer here in this harsh Central Texas climate. 

My friend Tori gifted me with that plant.  My friendship with Tori is rather new, but is treasured as if it were old.  There's a special connection there with a kindred soul.  I'm thankful we both feel it and marvel at the miracle of the capacity for human friendship. 

Wishing you beautiful moments today! 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Angels in My Studio

Am I the only one who puts off art-making because, well, I should be cleaning, or working on my "real" business, or....a million other things?  Then half the time, I don't do those other things anyway!  I'll go to bed finally realizing I should have just let my spirit play. 

I hope you don't have that issue.  I hope you make art all the time because it feeds your soul.  My soul needs feeding these days.  I came across an interesting e-course yesterday called Angels In My Studio and decided it would be just the thing to get me back to making art.  Bonus:  I love angels and want to connect with them in my life...what a perfect course for me!

In case you'd like to join the fun, you can find out more about the five month course at Painting Herself Into Being. Sheri Ann Ponzi organized the course and it's taught by a big group of fun and fabulous creative folks.

Today I completed my first lesson.  It was a lesson on intuitive angel painting presented by Cheryl Irwin.  You can find more about Cheryl at her website:

I had a blast making this angel, it really helped free me up.  Next time, I'll try to remember to take
in-progress pictures, but this time, I'm just posting my fun little angel.

What I learned today: 
Don't let perfectionism keep you from moving forward. 

My mantra:
I am enough.

May you walk with angels today! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Creating My Own View

I've lived in some glorious houses with beautiful views.  I don't live in a house like that at the moment.  That's ok.  I can always make my own view. 

I'm a firm believer in the maxim "To get what you love, love what you have."  So, I wake up in the morning to make my coffee and I relish the sun streaming through my little kitchen window. 

My plants love this little slice of sunlight too.  Their fresh, thriving beauty nourishes my soul every day. 

May your day be filled with sunshine and blessings today!