Monday, February 23, 2015

Self portrait into healing from Narcissistic Mother

March 2014

I can see now how the abuse from my family of origin affected so many areas of my life. For so many years I was the wrong one, the "too sensitive" one, the one who shouldered the blame of anything that went wrong in the family, the prentified one who could never do enough. Last month, on February 9/2014.... 4 days before my birthday, my mother stopped talking to me. 
No reason. None at all. 
She unfriended me from Facebook and lied about me. Again.

This time, I am not going back for more abuse.
Instead, I have decided to assign myself the task I assign many people when they come to me for personal creativity coaching: a self portrait with symbolic meaning.

I've created my own "therapy room" -not in our studio, but in a corner in our tiny little sun-room. I've  gifted myself time: allowing laundry to go undone, meals to be 'quick and easy'.... and surrounded myself in solitude with nature peeking in through the windows, and the voice of experts helping me understand my situation (via youtube, podcasts, and audio books)... listening, painting and sometimes weeping....


It has been healing, and again- I am so grateful that I do have this gift of time by having been laid off last month from my college teaching gig: Divine timing... allowing me time for introspection and healing!
It's hard to recreate your sense of self, to rediscover who you really are.

Painting my self portrait, having to look at myself for hours and days at a time was very healing. 

The first time I looked into my eyes to paint them... I wept. I wept for the little girl, the tween, the teen, the young mom, the young divorced/single mom... the wrongly accused/scapegoated/lied about daughter/sister/cousin/niece... 



And then, as I painted.... I began to understand.
Understanding has been paramount to my healing and.... indeed, the "rose colored veil" began to be shed and I realized in how many ways I have allowed myself to me mistreated and abused and how it has affected my self esteem and sense of worth.

The whole time I was painting, I listened to different doctors, counselors and therapists explain emotional abuse from various viewpoints...

I began to understand that not only that I have seen my family of origin situation via 'rose colored' glasses -always hoping they would change and *see the real me* love and accept me - I also realized that this has kept me in a dark world, boxed in and hopeless--so many years of *trying* to be loved and understood... so many years of *stuckness* as I tried to understand the "why" of everything they were always doing to me....

So I boxed the face in on my self portrait to show the darkness I was in, the wall that had been built up around me where I did not even realize it because my eyes just saw everything through rose colored glasses... the wall now begins to open to allow me to shed the veil and walk through the wall to embrace life fully; this is the battle now, to knock down these walls...

My armour, like Athena's is wisdom.
Through knowledge I am arriving at wisdom/understanding and acceptance about the fact that for so many years I was "gaslighted" and scapegoated.


I understand that I am just like others who are chosen to be the family's scapegoat, our intentions always have been for the highest good of all, we tend to be the most altruistic, the most idealistic and as written by Kellevision

1) They must be the strongest. The Scapegoat has to bear the sins of the entire family. They have to survive, alone, in the “desert” without the comfort or support of the family. So they must be strong in order to carry the burden.
2) They must be the most loving. The Scapegoat sacrifices him or herself for the benefit of the family. Again, this is somewhat subconscious, but only some level they know they are doing this. They give up themselves so the family may appear to be “OK”.

So I am going to garner these attributes that have worked against me, and turn them with
wisdom and understanding into healthy relationships and *framily*.. ..there are so many beautiFULL people in my life; already so many seedlings of love and hope reside within my heart... the tree I painted is a symbol of all of this, a well nurtured tree, watered by my tears, nurtured with friendships, the love of my husband, our son, extended family, my friends, our friends and our framily... which means many of you who are reading this!

I am so grateful to my friends online and offline who have reached out to me. I have found great comfort in all of you. I have been enveloped in a blanket of lovingcare thank you, one of the first challenges of this battle to "get back to me" is to learn how to take good care of myself without the dream of the supportive, loving family of origin. It's an easy adjustment, in a way, because I never  had it to begin with... it was just a dream based on a facade (very typical in narcissistic/scapegoat family systems), but it is not easy... and I appreciate your love and prayers!

with love always,
Claudia

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

One year ago today, my life changed.

One year ago today, my life changed.
Today, I celebrate the end of a time, indeed.... I am reborn.

My Goddess figures, one of many
sacred art pieces I was led to
create during this past year
Surviving emotional abuse via one's own mother and family of origin is not easy but there are many of us survivors and I am encouraged  by the strength and give thanks to of all my sisters and brothers who too, have survived and who with compassion share their stories of hope and *coming through* with those who are still on their healing path!


You have helped me in my journey 
and I already see how my own sharing has helped so many others.



This is how we heal the world: 
through courageous vulnerability, 
empowered by compassion,
 fueled by faith and purpose and most of all, 
LOVE....
and so we rediscover ourselves- 
the inner and authentic self that was hidden and *kept quiet and small

First piece I painted once I realized that I had been abused my whole life."Rose colored veil and the Olive tree of Love, Peace & Joy"oil on canvas.


... it is a painful process, a breaking away of the outer shell that the abuse and it's effect has kept us bound to shame
inside we are soft and vulnerable
and sacred
and broken

It takes a long time to heal and to find ourselves
It is a rebirth
Loving myself.....
an uncovering of who we really are
a CELEBRATION of ourselves

I could NOT have done this without so many of you reading this. Thank you.



One year ago today, my life changed.


I thought I would shrivel up....the knowledge of it all was too much to bear........

the abandonment of my mother was too painful and so many people close to us followed suit. It is normal they tell me- usually the abuser is believed over the victim
 -just read the news: most domestic abuse is dismissed and the victim is usually blamed-
and so it happened with me.

But then I found great love with so many of you, I met Sy, 
then my WoW sisters... 
then my Olivos family

THANK YOU

Today I celebrate a re-birth... 
the grief is over, and a new world opens up for me and my little family and 
I thank YOU for being part of it all!!!

The blogpost I wrote last year: http://olivosartstudio.blogspot.com/2014/04/breaking-out-of-my-abusers-cocoon.html

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Little visual recap of our our year, thanks for being YOU!



We wish you a wonderful Holiday Season & a fabulously prosperous New Year!

Tomorrow, we leave for Chile  we were not planning on traveling, but it is a gift to ourselves for making it through one of the most difficult years *ever* ....

from the very beginning, 2014  gifted me profound losses: unveiling of abuse & abandonment via my mom
the death of a dear friend
but
too, there were profoundly beautiful moments
the birth of a dear relationship that surpasses time and space
2014 brought forth  sadness in so many different ways.... yet it also brought forth the *mirmagic* of love


God/Spirit showered me with love in so many ways.... first of all, through my adoptive papa Sy, who although he was in my life only 9 months, was a gift that words can not express.
I love you Sy.

God/Spirit showered me with love through so many of you, reading this right now...

I love you all.
So, here we are, stronger than ever and we want you to know that we are so grateful to so many of you who reached out to me when I went through one of the darkest times of my life this past Winter/Spring....
you know who you are, thank you and a special thank you to my friends new and old - with a special shout out to Angie, Claudia, Ana, Tamara, Donna, Sue and Ruthee and all my WoW sisters too!


We love you!


Thank you for sending me cards and pms and texts and emails, and for the phone calls and comforting hugs and prayers and lovelight and all the encouraging "likes" on our "fan" page posts where I poured my heart out, when I was so broken.....
Thank YOU!


My heart is also full of gratitude for so many professional achievements of the year which include having my whimsical art represented for art licensing by  Parcai Designs





We were also invited to appear in several local television shows; my work appeared on a few book covers, 
we had our work in national and international exhibits, 
as well as in other collaborations and distinctions including

an award for "best Latino visual Artists in Washington DC"

I hibernated and painted through the winter and spring as I gave my heart and soul time to heal,
 I stopped my adjunct position at the college *nervous* about bills,
but we were provided for with increased art sales (thank YOU) !



I struggled with CPTSD from the abuse I have endured which got worse after I shared my story here on this blog because, I was helped by so many bloggers in my journey, that I too, must share because yes: ....

"When the Japanese mend broken objects, 
they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when somethings suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful"


Thank YOU, our students/collectors/friends and framily for being part of the glue that has put me back together again.... 


Do you choose a word for your year? A certain goal or "go to" phrase?
This year will be my year of "joyFULL release" thanks to my beautiful FB dancer friend, Christine Claire Reed.

I have learned a lot about forgiveness this year 
and it is now time to release and reclaim my joy! 

We would LOVE to hear what you have set as an intention/goal for yourself in 2015! Please share in the comments below and keep in touch in 2015! We have lots of exciting new things to share with you!




We love you and look forward to a JOYfilled, LOVEfilled 2015!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sotomayor, Awards and more


Some news....

A month ago, Sergio and I were honored to be the recipients of "Best Artists in the Washington DC metro area" in the category of visual arts! Thank you Washington DC! More thrilling: the third visual artist to receive the reward is our dear friend Gloria Valdes Tarasca; she is our Godmother of sorts, as she is responsible for our meeting in Queretaro, Mexico- ten years ago!



I was commissioned to paint a watercolor for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and I was thrilled to receive this note:


"Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor received your wonderful painting. 
She was very appreciative and grateful and said it will go in her office.
I too thank you for providing your wonderful art congratulating the Justice on her distinction to serve 
on our nation's highest court."
                                                      ~ Franklin Garcia -US Representative (shadow) Elect, DC.



As you all know, we are now printing some of our work on canvases here in the studio. All our reproductions are made to order by us *in house* to ensure archival quality and color matching like none other than the artist can attain! Please contact us if you are interested in any of our work!



This coming weekend, we will be hosting our 9th Annual Open Studio!
YOU are invited and we will be making a video as usual for those who are far away...

Here is a little peek:


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gratitude is the meaning of Thanksgiving...

Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are.... whether in the USA or not, it is a wonderful day to *celebrate* as we are reminded to live life with gratitude in our hearts.

For me, Thanksgiving is the last door we walk through of the year as it begins to draw to a close...as we reach the threshold from one year of our lives, one chapter to the next... we begin to look back and see all the good, the bad and the ugly.
We begin to ponder the events of the year as we begin to think of things we need to release/let go.... so that we can move forward into the next chapter/year with lessons learned, goals renewed, clarity of purpose, faith over hope.... love over all.


Although it has been a tremendously difficult year, it is so clear that God/Spirit has held and supported me/us at every step- through the love of my wonderful partner in love, life and art: Sergio, through the love our our wonderful son and writer Julian; through the blessed and mirmagical meeting of Sy and also the gift of meeting my new sisters at WoW; through the love of so many of YOU who have supported me in person and via internet too.... love heals. It does.

My heart is full of gratitude, though my life has not been easy, God/Spirit gifted me *art* from the very beginning.....
I drew
I painted
I grew
I cried
I laughed
then painted some more...
I have grown.... I have painted my pain and my triumphs.

Gratitude for life lessons, those that bring us to the very edge... that turn us inside out, those that break us so that we can become stronger, wiser, love deeper....

I realize that just as I did when doing my psychology major to become a mental health counselor we had to go through counseling ourselves before we could serve our clients..... so it has been for the art program I offer of "healing through the heART"; now that I have gone through the experience of healing through art myself~ I will be a better facilitator to help women (and children) heal thought the heART and I can't wait to begin my offerings in the coming 2015...

and so my heart is full of gratitude for life lessons in my journey that make me better accomplish my mission to serve the world through my art.....

Our hearts are full of gratitude for your support as our collectors, students online and in person, for sharing our posts and art with your loved ones...

Supporting artists helps feed the soul of the world-
Your support makes a HUGE difference.
Thanks to YOU, we are able to follow our life's purpose and gift the world our images, our lessons, our loving care for a world community that continues to move forward towards love and away from fear
towards peace and away from war
towards understanding
towards peace and joy
towards Love which covers all.

We love you!

Claudia (& Sergio)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Abstract Painting Process in Pictures

I have been working on abstracts for the past 6 months and the process is fascinating and challenging at the same time.


Each piece goes through so many transformations that almost always I find myself working over a piece and transforming it into something entirely different that what I envisioned. 


Often one tiny mistake leads me to start the whole thing over again, one over the other over the other.

I have sometimes realized that I bury a good painting with a bad one then another *almost there* replaced by another and then another.







Documenting the steps makes me feel a bit better about it, so here it is....

I kind of miss the pieces that are created only to be buried under more paint.... 
so here it is, one of several pieces I have documented these past few weeks. 


This first photo is how it looked after one long day of working on it. I love pink and black together; I also love sap/olive green and pink- but Sergio hated the combination as much as he disliked the white splatters I made over the center, so... since I disagreed with him on both of those points, yet also was unhappy with the piece, I let it rest for the evening.




The next day, I added white all around to soften and break the space a bit.
Then more white:


At which point I encapsulated everything in one area inside the white splatters...
I liked the effects of the soft white and back and forth play of the original colors peeking through, but I was unhappy with the shape/composition
so I covered it in a glaze of burnt sienna




I liked it more now, but also wanted to add some white for balance towards the bottom.....



At this point I liked it. And it is here where it gets complicated when you second guess yourself AND you are married to a fellow painter whose critiques you respect but ..... 
so this, I liked. 
A lot.

But then I did this:




and I like that too... though at the time, I didn't realize it, so I went on...



And then the palette knife into some squarish forms...

At this point, the squares began to remind me of my "Cities at Night" Series, 
so I began to create the 
watery reflections below


And the one that follows became another piece that I liked.


I should have shown it to our son because he loved it when he saw this photo below,
but alas... I was still unsure and Sergios critiques were still the same

So I got rid of the watery effects
And regretted it right away


alas, there was nothing to do but continue
So I turned the canvas on the side and add a glop of white oil paint to it and picked up 
the palette knife again




I then decided to add more black to the central image
at which point everything changed for me
I became quite involved in the process and did not document further....
A few hours later, I had finished.

Admittedly, this is something I am very, very happy with.
The process was long, and full of surprises, a few challenges and lots of fun, a labor of love.
 I think it is a lot like life, we live, love, make mistakes, grow, stretch this way then the other, try this then that, we learn from others as well as from own revelations and ultimately, 
the process is indeed, half the fun!

The image below is not very good 
(lots of reflection as you can see)
 I will replace it with the scanned image once the piece dries.



Not only do I love my finish piece.... Sergio took one look at it and his eyes opened wide as he said:
"it's so damned good, I wish I had painted it myself"

Here is a close up of the piece:


Let me know what you think and if you would like for me to share my process with you more often!

Love & Light,
Claudia

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Calendars, limited edition

Offering a very limited edition /test run of 2015 Wall Calendars.
 These beautiful, spiral bound wall Calendars each have 12 different  images.
Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing one (or more)
via email olivosartstudio {at} gmail 

Thanks for loving my art!


You can see each page of both the Goddess calendar and the Joy of Children calendars here:






"The joy of children"
One image per calendar month
 8.5 x 11  inches
$15.- plus shipping









"Celebrating your inner Goddess"
One image per calendar month
11" x 9" 

$15.- plus shipping




















♥Makes a great gift!♥
♥ Has a hole at the top for easy hanging
♥ Plenty of room in boxes to write notes and circle important dates
♥ Professionally press printed on high quality paper
♥ A sweet new image for each month


¨¨¨°º©©º°¨¨¨¨¨¨°º©©º°¨¨¨¨¨¨°º©©º°¨¨¨¨¨¨°º©©º°¨¨¨
CUSTOMIZE YOUR very own CALENDAR
Would you like to create your very own unique calendar using your favorite images from my collection? 
If so, just let me knowwhich images you would like (and what month you'd like them on).
Or, you can Contact Me at the link below to specify the images you'd like and I can design it for you!

Love & Light,
Claudia




Monday, November 10, 2014

A circle of Love, Seymour Gresser


Alav Ha-sholom, may you rest in peace, dearest Sy.
Great man, poet and sculptor...
Seymour Gresser “Sy” May 9, 1926 -- November 1, 2014

We love you and you will remain in our hearts and lives forever.
Thank you for your love and wisdom:...

"... that's why we do our art! To express our divinity" ~Sy Gresser


Sy came into my life only 9 months ago, but in our hearts we knew immediately we had a soul connection and had known each other already... we knew it was all "magic and serendipity" as he said... I say: *mirmagical* a blessing... 


An other worldly connection-- a connection with one another, with art, my papa.
Sy and I emailed for a few months before meeting in person, and it was not until then that we both  realized he had been my papa's friend.
Not only that, but it was my papa who mentored Sy years ago in regards to his art and fellowship from the OAS to create his art in Mexico. Everyone who has known Sy is keenly aware of the fact that the trip to Mexico had an enormous impact in Sy's life, indeed-- it is what took him into the depth of his lifelong career as a sculptor. The OAS fellowship is mentioned in everyone of his artist statements... and it was a trip that came about for him when he was going through a particularly difficult time in his life... so the circle comes around- and so we met when I was going through a particularly difficult time in my life.... a circle of Love. 



Sy and I emailed daily. We tried to visit him every Sunday, and I planned to do that for many years.... it was a sweet time of talking about Mexico and China and our art and culture; he told me stories about my papa that brought so much comfort.... he was/is family. An extension of my dear papa here on earth... a gift.

Sy was my parent, my mentor my friend for these nine months which have been so tough... he came into my life exactly one week after I came out of the denial of the abuse.
He has been my anchor, my comfort, my hope.
I will never be the same-he will always be with me.
My heart is full of sadness and gratitude too....


Nine months... I can find great symbolism in the time frame... nine months of gestation-- and here I am, MUCH better than I was back in February when I met him and I was experiencing such a painful time in my life,  here I am, nine months later-having been soothed and loved and nurtured by Sy.... by proxy,  Sy and my papa Luis. 


I love Sy


My heart is full of gratitude to my papa and to God/Spirit for bringing us together, even if for a short period of time....

 Sy and I connected through my papa, trough something so intangible that only he and I understand.... we have shared daily for the past 9 months.... it has been love and sweetness and a connection that surpasses time and I know our souls will meet again...
But there is sadness too, when we loose someone.....
and my heart goes out to his wife and children....

 A few days before he passed away, my sweet soulsister, Ana Medina offered to play her healing bowls for him and he was delighted and comforted by the healing sounds of the bowls.
(Ana took these photos and sent me the message below).

It was such a blessing to see him and his wife receive and bathe in the holy sounds...
My heart is filled with love and sadness and gratitude.

There was an informal gathering in his studio one week after he passed, and his wife lovingly refered to me as "Sy's adopted daughter" ... and indeed, this is how I feel. A deep paternal link to this beautiful human. One of Sy's family members said a truth that is a good lesson for us all:

"Sy made everyone feel loved, because there was no judgement"
I love that... it is something that I aspire to on a daily basis:

 it is unconditional love.



 I will miss him terribly and my heart hurts to think of him not being *here* any longer...
but as I told him: because of my abuelita and my papa, I know dear Sy too, will always be near.



 Seymour Gresser “Sy” was born 9 May 1926, in Baltimore, Md., the son of Simon Solomon and Sara (Williams) Gresser. Educated at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Washington, D.C. (1949-1950), George Washington University (1950-1953), and University of Maryland (B.S., 1949, M.A., 1972). Gresser served in the U.S. Merchant Marines as a radio operator (1944-1946). He has received an Organization of American States fellowship for 1960-1961. Gresser has been a sculptor and writer and employed in various positions, including doing research on American Indians, technical writing and editing, and teaching art. He has been an Instructor in sculpture, Sculptor's Studio (evenings, 1958-63), and Paint Branch Unitarian Church, sculptor-in-residence at Yale University (1969). His work has been exhibited in one-man shows and group exhibitions in U.S., Europe, and Mexico since 1951, including Smithsonian Exhibition, 1952; Washington Irving Gallery, New York, N.Y., 1956, San Angel Exhibition, Mexico, 1960, Capricorn Gallery, New York, N.Y., 1967, Harvard University, 1971, Fordham University, Berkeley Center at Yale University, and Athena Gallery, New Haven, CT.



 Ana wrote:
This is a long story. It was not my story until today. My soul sister Claudia Olivos has a very special friend, Sy, a fabulous sculptor who is soon closing a chapter in his soul's path on this earth. She has a deep connection to Sy, and I have a deep connection with her, so I by extension have a connection with Sy. My spirit called me to offer a sound healing to Sy, and he was not only receptive but excited. His wife said he had been talking about it for days. This morning as I was thinking how best to honor Sy's beautiful path on this planet, I was guided to wear white and purple. I was not surprised Claudia was also wearing purple today. On my way out the door, I knew I had to bring him rose quartz. Not just any piece of rose quartz, the rounded polished one I use for healing. Sy held it, admired it and enjoyed it's energy. I am honored, humbled and in awe of the beauty we can share at the end of someone's life. Sy touched my heart today, and his beautiful spirit will live way longer than his frail body. What a great reminder today that life is truly eternal, and the bodies are a temporary vehicle. Let's wake up....wake up the rest of our senses so we can be with all the love that is and drop the fear of the costume change we call death. Love is WAY larger than we can ever imagine.....

Sy's sculpture in front of our Washington DC area studio.


We made a trade of our art for his... and he told us to choose two pieces...
 this is one of the ones we chose, and we did so without knowing what it was....
Serendipity again, as Sy later told me it was a Mandala!

The word Mandala  means "circle". 
 A Mandala represents wholeness, a cosmic diagram reminding us of our relation to infinity, extending beyond and within our bodies and minds.
The mandala appears to us in all aspects of life, the Earth, the Sun, the Moon and more obviously the circles of life encompassing friends, family and communities.  
Mandalas are circular designs symbolizing the notion that life is never ending.



LOVE. PEACE. JOY to you and yours