A love for colour and creativity has always been present in my life. I remember being in grade 6, doing something artistic – and experiencing my only ever moment of self achievement during those years.
Later… at the age of fourteen, I started painting. At the time, I really loved swimming and painted lots of seascapes . I would sit at my desk, where I did my homework and painted.
The year I turned 16 was a defining time for me in many ways. We lost our grandfather and I wanted to help my granny cope with her loss. I painted a picture for her and wrote an accompanying note, describing how I had used various aspects of the painting to help her heal. She is no longer with us but my painting hung for many many years in her home and I still have it.
I had no idea, way back then that I was using my art in an inspirational way. It just felt so natural to do.
While studying to be a teacher, my passion for painting really deepened and more seeds were sown. I was 20 yrs old and found myself drawing mothers and young babies in a loving embrace.
I remember having such in depth conversations with one of my lecturers about how I wanted people to know what art could do for them. Of course I felt a bit clueless about how to do this… I just knew I wanted to do something meaningful with it one day.
Motherhood bringing its own gifts
During my early thirties, I was pregnant with this precious little boy, my first child. Just days before his birth, an inspired, sporadic moment unfolded. I found myself needing to urgently run out and buy some pastels to paint vibrant coloured fruit designs. I’m not really someone who acts spontaneously but this was a definite moment where hesitation was not an option.
After my son`s birth, I found myself experiencing some real emotional overload and I turned to my easel once again as a way to regain some sense of myself.
Postnatal depression and colic
It was actually my time with post natal depression 2 yrs later when my second son was born – that birthed a continued passion for painting and the beginning of a meditation class I attended.
A moment of revelation:
The moment happened during his 3am feed…..thirteen years ago. I had been trying to console his distress. As his crying subsided, in the stillness of the night, holding him in my arms……my mind became quiet and a very clear thought came to me.
The next day I moved him into his brother`s room and turned his baby nursery into a studio for myself. It was the best thing I could have done for myself, as I navigated the challenges of early motherhood. It was as if I`d been guided that this space was something I needed to create for myself as a necessary daily part of my life. That I needed to commit to my passion to paint.
His colic and my post natal depression were a deadly combination, may I say, …..but together they arrived to teach us both some really valuable lessons.
While I did the first painting after his birth, which is the one on the table above, he lay close to me, quietly for about 3 hrs. Babies don’t normally do this. I felt so happy and light as I painted. I could go on forever. All the not so nice feelings I felt towards him, during this phase seemed to lift and soften as my eye kept wandering to him.
It was as if this precious baby was giving me permission to find myself again.
As my boys became toddlers they had a special table with painting supplies in the room with me. At any time they could explore their creativity alongside with me.
It was such a happy joyful time between mother and child. Happy scenes of children at play started appearing on my canvases. Of course the mother child connection also became new themes to paint. Paintings filled with pretty gardens and vases overflowing with gorgeous roses were such a joy for me to paint as well.
I was very passionate about the fact that if I was choosing to be a stay at home mom, my time with my boys had to be spent purposefully.
During challenging times, I found it hard to paint but I would make myself turn to my easel, knowing that filling myself with something beautiful would be a gift I was giving not only myself, but my boys as well.
After one long period where I did not paint at all, my older son came to stand next to me as I painted, his face alight with joy as he exclaimed:
“Mommy you’re painting again……” His tone – his eyes – his little voice – everything about this moment – expressed his need for me to be happy.
May his spirit be blessed. He and I have a really challenging relationship but deep down this is actually what he dearly wants for me , his mom...HAPPINESS and JOY…..and to be present in my own life as well.
It has taken me 15 yrs to see this!!!
Looking back my paintings have always expressed what was happening in my life at the time. – the seascapes – a symbol of all the fun and socializing I did with friends at the beach in those days. The fruit designs – a symbol of my need for nurture as I entered motherhood. The roses and gardens expressed my deep need for beauty in my life. The drawings and paintings of mother and child is currently unfolding further…..
So fast forward to my forties …. this period is about putting all that passion and love for painting, as well as the lessons I learnt and bringing the journey together .
I feel such gratitude for my boys because they have been such a huge part of why I began painting again, why I continued throughout the years to go back to this passion, not only to absorb myself in something I loved, but also to regain myself in so many ways.
My sons are truly helping me birth myself ……as we rebirth our life together.
Our children are incredible teachers in our lives.
Next week I will be sharing my studio with you, followed by my painting process. I`m really looking forward to that.
I am currently beginning my new range of Mother and child paintings, so please stay connected for more updates. http://rozannehenry.com/paintings/
So …today… I would love to know what there has been, that has consistently showed up in your life, bringing great joy and meaning to you.
PS – I apologize about the quality of some of these photos. My wish to share how meaningful they have been on my journey , was bigger than the need to have them perfect 🙂
All my love