I’d found a dirty, non-descript hunk of wood, cleaned it up, pasted some tissue paper on it and then wondered what to do next. I found myself staring at the calendar over my desk, a collection of shamanic paintings by Susan Seddon Boulet. I had no idea how she got the effects she did, had even asked my art teacher.

My art teacher looked over the images in my calendar and pronounced, “Looks like the originals might be acrylic with some pencil shading --and those splotches you like? Could be the artist dripped bleach on the color there.”

I’d signed up for art classes partly because Jerry was too sick to do much with me and had encouraged me to “Get out and think about something else for awhile.” We’d always talked openly about his serious heart condition. It was heart-breaking for both of us but, in his gentle way, he was trying to help me prepare to fill and heal my life when he was no longer present to fill it with his love.

So that day, I sat in front of my hunk of wood, still clueless about how to begin. I waited. I asked the thing, “Well, what do you want me to see? What should I do?” I picked up some watery blue paint with my brush and let it dribble onto the surface of the piece. I noticed it slowly trickling into the wrinkles left in the glued-down tissue paper. Hmm...interesting. I liked the contrast of blue against white. Gradually, a subtle form began revealing itself. This reminded me of sitting in front of marbled stone and finding images in it.

I played with the brush and paint, adding a little heavier, less watery color here and there. “Hmm...what would happen if I dripped some bleach?” I wondered. The thought terrified me!

“Ok, ok, I’ll drip water instead!” I closed my eyes and dripped. When I peeked a minute later, more curious forms had appeared. My ‘thing’ was starting to look like a woman’s torso, face, hair. I asked her what she wanted to look like and tried to tune in to a receptive exchange with the image, touching lightly, tentatively with more watery paint, only where intuition led.

A mood of great calm came over me. Did I see it in the eyes gently looking back at me from the painting? Weren’t they looking at me with great kindness, compassion even? My heart was touched. I held my brush reverently, trying to follow where this beautiful spirit was leading it.

Soon, I sat back to view the woman who appeared. Without asking, I knew it was Quan Yin, Goddess of Compassion. She would never leave the earth until all suffering had ended and all healing accomplished, as no true mother could ever abandon her child in need. I thanked the Creative Spirit for sending her in this time of my painful need.

She was and is a great gift to me, a beautiful and kind mother spirit of perpetual help to us all.