Monday, December 19, 2016

Opinions. Everyone has one.

Recently, I had a fellow artist comment on a piece of work that I created.  I welcome comments.  I’m always surprised when people take the time to comment on my work, so positive or negative, comments are always welcome.  In this instance, the artist did not like the piece. This is fine. Art is subjective and abstract art in particular is very subjective.  Most people either like it or hate it. There is rarely an in between feeling toward abstract art. At least, this is what I have found.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

My Skin (c) 2016 Trisha Leigh Shufelt

To be honest, I’m not actually fond of this piece. I’ve rather crudely nicknamed it, The Golden Turd. 

However, it was not the opinion of the piece that bothered me, it was the interpretation this fellow artist had of the process by which I create, and their projection of how I should create. 

For those who are unaware of how I create art, let me give you a brief breakdown.  When I create abstract art, I often choose a piece of music and tune into the energy it evokes though the music and lyrics.  Sometimes, I have a particular piece of music in mind, but often it is random. While on rotation, the piece will produce colors and visuals in my mind, which I interpret and put onto canvas.  This process actually has a name and is called, Synesthesia.  There are several forms. I won’t bore you with them. You can look it up for yourself.  Many creative types possess this ability.  I’ll be honest; I didn’t know what it was that I was doing actually had a name until recently.  For this particular piece, I had chosen a song called, My Skin, by Natalie Merchant, I had heard on Pandora for the first time that very day.  I thought the melody was stirring, emotional, beautiful, and the lyrics were evocative. My crude interpretation of my own art has nothing to do with Ms. Merchants lyrics, which I feel are brilliant.

These are the lyrics by Natalie Merchant~
Take a look at my body, look at my hands
There's so much here that I don't understand
Your face saving promises, whisper like prayers
And I don't need them
'Cause I've been treated so wrong, I've been treated so long
As if I'm becoming untouchable
Well, contempt loves the silence, it thrives in the dark
The fine winding tendrils that strangle the heart
They say that promises sweeten the blow
But I don't need them, no I don't need them
I've been treated so wrong, I've been treated so long
As if I'm becoming untouchable
I'm a slow dying flower in the frost killing hour
Sweet turning sour and untouchable
Oh, I need
The darkness
The sweetness
The sadness
The weakness
Oh, I need this
Need a lullaby
A kiss goodnight
Angel, sweet love of my life
Oh, I need this
I'm a slow dying flower, frost killing hour
The sweet turning sour and untouchable
Do you remember the way that you touched me before
All the trembling sweetness, I loved and adored
Your face saving promises, whispered like prayers
I don't need them
I need the darkness
The sweetness
The sadness
The weakness
Oh, I need this
I need a lullaby
A kiss goodnight
Angel, sweet love of my life
Oh, I need this
Well, is it dark enough
Can you see me?
Do you want me?
Can you reach me?
Or I'm leaving
Then you shut your mouth
And hold your breath
You kiss me now
You catch your death
Oh, I mean this
Oh, I mean this

As, I listened to the song on the first go around, I immediately was struck by the color red. Love, pain, fear, anger, and the root of survival.  Yes, black and darkness came to mind. I then could see a cocoon and then gold.  Healing scars with gold~a Japanese pottery technique. After, several more rotations, the piece was born. Can I relate to the lyrics? Yes.  I think many of us can or have related to this experience at one time or another. 

While the other artist expressed a general overall dislike for the piece, it was more than the dislike that struck me.  What they truly did not like were the lyrics I had chosen, and that by listening to this song on rotation, I was allowing myself to become stuck in the darkness.  While I appreciate their concern for my well-being, and assured them that the process by which I paint did not spiral me into the abyss, I found this advice rather unsettling.  Normally, I would just dismiss this, but something inside of me felt this was not a moment where I should remain silent.  First, art is about creation. It is about interpretation of emotions. It is sometimes therapy.   Sometimes, it is just about releasing energy and making a magical mess in the process.  Just as life is a balance of dark and light, so is art.  Sometimes, I create very soft and ethereal pieces. Other times, I create hard and dark pieces.  I explained to the artist, not everything I do is sunshine and rainbows.  While it may be a reflection of my mood, it may also be a reflection of what I am tuning into, i.e., the music.  I never become trapped within my creations. Instead, I create, I release. I let go.  I create some more. I create many things. So, that is the process. 

Now, for me, the nerve that was struck by this fellow artist’s comments went very deep. This wasn’t about whether or not the person liked my art. No, this was a critique about how I create and perhaps. what I should create. The fact that it came from a fellow artist was even more bothersome.  It is a fascinating and yet, disturbing trend that I am seeing more and more. Actors, musicians and artists seem to be taking the brunt of it.  Don’t talk politics; just entertain us.  While this was clearly not about politics, it was about the way in which I communicated my sense of self though my art. When you try to silence my process, you are trying to silence me. Art is self expression. Art should shake you up and get you thinking.  In the process, it may get you thinking about the very things that you need to work on within yourself.  It may make you uncomfortable. If it strikes a nerve, it is because something needs healing and integrating within the self.  And yes, this struck a nerve. Therefore, I am working on the healing of that within myself.   WE seem to be living in a time where the lack of control in the world around us, forces us to want to control how others think, feel and behave.  It is often masked by concern, fear, or for the so called greater good.  My suggestion is to self-check before you express your opinion. Where is it truly coming from? To quote my Reiki teacher, “Checky. Checky.”

And for the creative types, don’t let your voice be silenced by the key stroke or opinions of others. Keep creating thought provoking material. Keep using your voice. Never let anyone’s opinion silence you, or dictate what, or how you create art.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Bold Brush

Hi there,

I hope everyone is doing well. I have been busy between art shows and haven't had much creative energy. I almost thought my muse had taken a permanent vacation. Much to my surprise, she came back in full force this past week and I have been painting like a mad woman. The above image, entitled Remember Me is one of my latest mixed media works. I've entered it into FASO's Bold Brush Art Contest for the month of October. Only a couple days left to vote on it. Your vote won't necessarily get me into the winner's circle, as the final judgement belongs to an artist judge, but it does help get my work noticed, and for that, I am truly grateful. So, if you have time before the 31st, consider voting for this piece. It is simple and easy. Just click the link and then verify your vote though your email.

I've always wanted to do a piece featuring a cross. I'm not religious, but I am a highly spiritual individual, and I love symbolism of any kind. I wanted something that sharply contrasted and stood out. I chose deep reds and oranges (sort of a Southwestern mix) as the backdrop. For me, this comes from the root chakra, and our sense of security. The cross itself is a deep shade of turquoise (one of my favorite colors) and very symbolic of the throat chakra, which is our need to be heard. I wanted it to be off center, because I felt that this was more profound of hidden meanings and messages. It almost looks like water.

Recently, I sat down with a friend and we spoke in length about my artwork, use of color and positon of images on canvas. It was truly enlightening. If you drew a cross through the center of the page, the left half would be the past and the right half would be the future. The top half is our conscious mind and the bottom half is our subconscious mind (what we are working on below the surface. Hmmmm. I've got a lot going on here in this one.

I'm excited about the direction of my abstract pieces and recently had another friend share my art page with the comment, if you like soulful abstracts. This meant so much to me. I love abstract art, but often hear people say, "I don't get it" or "It just looks like paint pushed around the canvas. Anyone can do that." This is not necessarily said about my work, thank goodness, but I have heard it on many occasions about the genre of art.

Again, if you have a moment, consider voting for my art. It is likely a vote you will feel good about, which is sometimes hard to imagine during this election year. And, if you have a moment, stop by my website to view some of my new abstract pieces.

Lots of love!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Crazy Train

I feel like I've been on a crazy train.  I can't believe I haven't blogged anything since April.  From April to now, I've been wrapped up in several projects, shows and frankly, too much distraction.  I have a show tomorrow and one at the end of the month. After that, it is some much needed down time. I've even deactivated my personal page on FB.  Too much political garbage in my feed and I just need to take a break from it all.  I feel that unplugging will do me a great deal of good and hopefully open up the flood gates of creativity that seemed to have bogged up lately.  I am keeping my art page open, and do plan to re-open the personal page, but I'm not sure when.

Since April, I revamped my website and joined FASO.  It is a much more professional platform for artists. I've also been diving more into mixed media, abstract art and find this process very satisfying. I've been crafty, making various pieces, which explore a more spiritual side of myself and incorporate natural elements, such as shells and crystals (see pics below).  I repainted my studio and took care of some personal issues. Life is clipping along at a fast pace.  I'm also catching up on some Netflix shows that I've been wanting to see. I began exploring Soul Collage as a way to open up some inner dialogue. If you have any facilitators in your area, I highly recommend it. I also recently turned 47 and until that day was convinced I was only turning 46.  Somewhere between cancer and 47, I lost a year. People say that happens.  I now know what they mean. Despite the lost year, I'm feeling a renewed sense of health and strength. I don't know what direction I will be heading in 2017, but I'm trusting in the Universe. I know it won't let me down.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Hi everyone.  I just finished up a new mixed media piece that I wanted to share with you.  This one is called Kaleidoscope (for obvious reasons).  I love the vibrancy of color in this one.  Below the pictures is a link to a short video about the piece.  The other link is to my etsy store where it is available for purchase.

Monday, April 4, 2016

More Art You Can Touch

Sorry, I haven't been on here more, but I have been so busy creating art.  Guess that is a good thing. I've created two new mixed media pieces from the Art You Can Touch Series.  One is a 7x14 size and the other is a whopping 12 x36!!! Both were a great deal of fun to make.  I've also attached a link to a video if you wish to see a little more about the pieces.  Hope you like them.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Art You Can Touch

I love mixed media art and since I originally began as a sculptor, it seems only fitting that I would eventually merge my love of sculpture with painting.  I have created a number of pieces lately and just finished up an abstract called, The Golden  Trees.  It is a 12x12 piece utilizing acrylic paint, sculpting medium and fabric.  It is available in my etsy store.  Below are a few pictures and a link to a short video about the piece.

Available at-

Monday, February 29, 2016


I've decided that once a month, I am going to post a piece (an original work of art/limited edition or something special) at a ridiculously low price. I will keep it on etsy for one month. At the end of the month, I will post another piece in its place (sold or not sold). This will be marked as Special Sale. This will be an excellent chance to grab something really unique at a price you wouldn't normally see. If it takes off, I will keep doing it.

The first item up for grabs is an original painting of a bat used in my Mystic's Dream Oracle Card Deck. The image was for the Major Arcana card, the Hanged Man.  If you are a fan of bats, this is a must have.  It is an 11x14 original acrylic painting for only 20.00 plus shipping.  

The SPECIAL SALE LASTS FROM 2/29 UNTIL 3/29.  If this painting does not sell within 30 days, something else will take its place.  If it sells before 30 days, then something else will go in its place and the 30 day SPECIAL SALE begins all over again!!

Click link to got to listing~

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Fill me with gold


January was a rough month.  I had so much personal turmoil, that I literally wanted to hide under the covers.  I realize I wasn't the only one.  Was it Mercury in Retrograde or that old Uranus/Pluto square stirring up shit?  Who knows, but I think collectively we were all going though our own private little hell.

I had an old demon crop up just before January closed.  I had a mammogram earlier in the month, which came up normal, but my ultrasound picked up a questionable area on my treated breast. My doctor didn't think much of it, and scheduled a follow-up visit on the 29th.  Well, during the visit, I was told that the questionable area looked to be a cyst.  This is not unusual for me, as I have lumpy breasts.  I believe that is a technical term.  So, we did a little needle probing.  If it was indeed a fluid filled cyst, the needle would pop the sucker and it would drain.  We numbed up the area, which is quite a painful process, especially after radiation treatment.  I did not know this, so was very surprised by the overall pain.  I watched as my doctor did her best to pop the cyst, and immediately felt panic set in, as I realized the little fucker wasn't cooperating.  I was then told that because it didn't cooperate, I had to have a biopsy.  That dreaded word.  My brain immediately went into a tailspin.  I began to imagine 2015 all over again, with treatments, hair loss, pain, the burden on my body and my family.  I felt like I was going to throw-up.  What made matters worse was the fact that the biopsy had to wait until later that afternoon, as three patients were waiting to be seen by my doctor.  So, I had to come back and endure the pain all over again.  Now, I know never to do a needle probe unless there is time for a biopsy as well.  At any rate, I called my husband and through my tears managed to tell him what was going on.  He rushed home and we both came back later that afternoon for the biopsy.  It was in a word, horrible.  The pain was even worse, because I had endured so much earlier that morning.  I had even numbed the area with a topical beforehand, which proved fruitless, as most of the pain is felt internally.  After the extraction, we were told it would be up to a week before we heard any news.  As you can imagine, the waiting is always the most difficult.  While I had "lost my shit" as I like to say, earlier that day, I vowed to not dwell in the past.  I asked my angels, guides and Divine Universe, to please give me the strength to handle whatever the results were.  I wasn't going to make bargains about eating better and behaving better.  I just asked that I handle whatever I needed to with grace and strength.

Being alone is the most difficult.  When everyone goes back to school and work, and the house becomes quiet, the mind loves to pull you into the darkest places.  But, it wasn't just my waking hours, I was having horrible nightmares.  I had dreams about vampires, doing battle with them and enduring horrible pain that I actually felt in my sleep.  They were invading my home.  Yes, I realize what these dreams were about.  The vampires were my thoughts, my demons and I was fighting them.  I have been fighting them in my waking hours too.  When I was going though treatment, I did what I had to do to get though.  I meditated.  I maintained positive thoughts as often as possible.  I smiled though many tears.  I was never angry, and at for the most part, I did not allow myself to get overwhelmed by fear or emotions that were in any way negative.  After everything was said an done, months afterward, I found myself processing all of those emotions that I refused to acknowledge. They came to the surface at the strangest times. I would panic and cry uncontrollably. Every little ache and pain was a sign of the cancers return.  Every blood test that was out of range was a clear indicator that something was wrong.  I began to blame myself.  Was I eating too much sugar?  Did I have one too many drinks? Was I too stationary?  It was especially difficult on the anniversary date of my diagnosis.  So, you can imagine how I felt when I had to endure another biopsy.  I thought, I'm not ready!! I haven't even processed everything I had just gone though?  It's not fair!  I became angry! Finally, I became angry!

Then, I stopped being angry and just listened. I stopped feeling fearful and just allowed myself to breathe.  It's benign.  I said this over and over.

I began to paint.  I had spotted a beautiful pendant by a woman named Anna Kiranova.  It spoke to me very deeply. It became something of a talisman for me. I have a dove tattoo that I had done when I was 25.  My husband always called me dove.  I knew I had to paint what it was I was feeling based on this pendant.  I contacted her and showed her my work in progress and was met with warmth and best wishes.  The image below is the painting.  When I look at this painting, I see so many elements of myself.  The dove is me protecting my heart.  My heart is bleeding out of me and this is all my fear and emotion.  It is good and it is bad.  It is light and dark.  My heart is protected by gold, which is an armor of sorts.  I can't help but think of the Japanese technique called Wabi-Sabi, where cracks in broken pottery are filled with gold to make them new again.  I've often wanted to fill my scars with gold.  If you look closely you will see a black dove figure inside the white dove.  This is the shadow self.  This piece means a great deal to me, probably more than any piece I have ever painted, because it conveys everything I want and fear to say, so much more than I can possibly put down on paper.

The day I finished it was the day I heard from my doctor that the cyst was benign.  I'm relieved.  I'm grateful.  I am also aware that this journey will be a long one, and all I can do is take it one step at a time with strength and grace.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Jazzin for Blue Jean

So, I sat down over the weekend and tried my hand at drawing David Bowie as Screaming Lord Byron from his video Blue Jean.  It was one of my favorite videos.  Not sure how good of a job I did, but here it is.  A little pop art twist, which seems fitting for any Bowie image.  Hope you like.

Screaming Lord Byron
David Bowie 
(c) 2016 Trisha Leigh Shufelt 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Man who fell to Earth

I said it before, and I'll say it again, I hate January.  This January has been particularly brutal. Both privately and in social media. Privately, our family has had its share of stressful events. Then, there has been the seemingly endless onslaught of cancer deaths in the entertainment industry.  Yes, cancer takes lives everyday, and these passings are mourned privately within families.  The recent deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman have caused a stir in social media that I have never seen.  Many people frown upon the addictive and sometimes destructive nature of social media, but I have never seen a more beautiful outpouring of the collective consciousness on this planet.  For that, I am grateful to be a part of it all, because, I like so many am mourning.

Both Bowie and Rickman hit very hard, but Bowie in particular has ripped me to my core.  January 9th was the first year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis.  This was a very stressful day for me and I was genuinely surprised by how much it shrouded my thoughts and feelings.  The next day, my husband woke me with the news of Bowie's passing.  We are both huge Bowie fans, having grown up in the height of his many changes. My husband in particular was saddened, as he had seen Bowie twice in concert and more aware "age wise" of his emergence on the music scene.  My first introduction to Bowie was MTV.  The first video I saw was Changes. I was immediately mesmerized and terrified at the same time by his Ziggy Stardust persona.  Of course, that concert footage was from the 70's and by the time it aired for the world in the early 80's, Bowie was already onto other incarnations.  I then saw him in Labyrinth and fell madly and quietly in love with him.  Yes, I was among many who wanted Sara to stay with him in the Labyrinth.  It would be later in life, as an artist that I would meet Toby, the baby that Sara fought so hard to rescue.  What a thrill.  I followed Bowie throughout the 80's.  I dare say, he grew more handsome with age.  He was certainly a hero of mine, both musically and artistically.

Perhaps, that is why it is why his passing is so hard on so many.  It is never easy when your heroes die.  I dare say, the older I get, the more I will see this.  We all will.

Last night, I read a very poignant article about Bowie's last days.

It described his work on his final project Lazarus, which has been seen as a good-bye note to everyone.  While a public persona, Bowie was intensely private about his illness.  We are only finding out that his death was due to liver cancer.  The article discusses his project and his courageous battle with cancer.  In the days following his death, I wondered if he had chosen treatment.  This article confirms that he had and the unfortunate side-effects one experiences.  As I read though this very difficult timeline, I began to reflect upon my own battle.  We were both going though cancer at the same time, and likely suffered many of the same side-effects at the same time (hair loss, etc).  This of course brought home his death even more for me.  I cried all over again, feeling as though I had lost a friend, as I had lost so much of myself during treatment.  Watching the Lazarus video was very poignant.  I felt his pain, his sorrow, and his need to express everything he had within, because time was escaping his grasp.  Seeing him leave us though the wardrobe reminds me once again, that death is a doorway.  Our time is brief.  While the stars look very different today, I am grateful that the man who fell to Earth touched and influenced so many with his beauty, talent and strength.  Bless you, David Jones, David Bowie, Lord Byron, Ziggy Stardust and the many, many personas you shared with us.  We will love you forever.

Art image by Patrice Murciano

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year?

Happy New Year everyone!  May 2016 bring you much joy, love, peace, abundance and especially good health.

Good-bye 2015.

As I scanned the FB feed last night, I was immediately struck by all the profound status posts from my friends.  Many were recalling events of the past year, feeling gratitude for their blessings, saying good-bye to old friends and demons.  Some were giving the proverbial finger to the past year.  Yes, it was difficult for most people.  I sat in quiet contemplation, feeling that I should share a profound status update, because of all that I and my family had endured this past year.  Yet, I found it almost impossible.  The more I thought of it, the more tense I became, until finally, I had to retire to bed. My husband and son went downstairs and played rock band for several hours.  I didn't mind being alone. I need it more than I can say.

This past year was filled with so many ups and downs.  When I reflect upon it all, it seems like ages ago.  I don't know if this is chemo brain at work or my way of coping with it all.  While going though cancer is no easy ride, I would say that in the end, there was more good than bad.  I'm here.  I'm alive and breathing.  My hair is growing more and more and my nails are almost back to normal.  I'm still fatigued and have PTSD at times whenever I experience a strange ache or pain.  I know this is nothing unusual and hopefully will subside with time.  I'm grateful for the love and support of my family, neighbors, friends, my husbands employer and great doctors.

Despite all that I endured, my art business thrived and I can say it was one of the best years for me in way of sales and artistic growth.  I am excited about the direction it is all going.  Doors of opportunity are on the horizon and I am ready to step though without fear of failure or success.

Like many, I look forward to the new year with hope and anticipation.  Yet, I will be honest, January has never been a favorite month for me.  It has often been the precursor of gloom and doom.  I'm not kidding.  I received the breast cancer diagnosis on January 9th of last year (an anniversary that is haunting me a bit).  We have experienced job loss in January, major car repairs and other issues.  Not to mention that it is the coldest and often snowiest month if you live in New England.  This January, we have a Mercury Retrograde to contend with, oh joy.  Sorry, if I seem a bit pessimistic.  It has just never been a favorite month and I do relish ticking the days off the calendar.  I will try and do my best to remain optimistic, as I begin the month with follow-up mammograms, doctor visits and yes, a car repair.

Still, as I said, I have so much to be grateful for and I am blessed, blessed, blessed.  So, my advise to everyone out there who may read this blog, is do what makes you happy today (and everyday), but especially today.  Like your birthday, do the things that you love and set the course for how you wish the year to look.  If you are a creative, do something creative.  If you love nature, spend a bit of time in it, even if it is cold.  Write a bit of poetry.  Listen to beautiful music.  Eat good, nourishing food. Sit in quiet reflection. Spend quality time with your family.  Call an old friend.  Hug and kiss like you mean it.  Be in gratitude.  Remember, you are the magician of your life.  All magic lies within.  May 2016 be everything you ever dreamed.

Much love to you all!!