Wonder Round (Dec. 23, 2018-- Jan. 5, 2019) / by Hayden Michelle

This glorious dramatic sky changed before my very eyes moment by moment as I made my morning rounds. It was fitting that it reflects the pace of life that seems to be in full swing these days, full of moments of beauty, stillness, and deep gratitude when I slow down to see and feel them. I wish you all release from that which beckons to be left behind from the last year, and an abundance of goodness, growth, and health as you enter the new year. And as always, I am grateful to grow my art and life alongside you who join me here… thank you!

“Painting from the leftover edges of the mixing tray brings softness that I am less likely to create directly out of the fresh pigment, and it wasn’t until rotating the completed circle that I saw the path.  It is interesting to think of all the things we bring together to move our lives forward every day— a blend of past experience, energy to dive into the day at hand, and hope for future days to follow.   Wishing you all softness, yet again, to enter into the days ahead...”

“As many of us are in the midst of last-minute holiday preparation and mid-swing celebration, may we find moments to be still and quiet, connecting to that which holds deepest meaning, while also holding space for those whose hearts are heavy...”

“Unlike yesterday’s circle, filled with space, this one is space, filled!  It did not begin that way... rather, I started with a few abstract holly leaves, remembering how much I loved drawing them as a child, their curves springing to life over the page... which led me down the path of many Christmas memories, made so special with the intention and hard work by my mama.  Color filled my mind with images of the bright chunky lights my step-father faithfully hung on the roof’s edge (while we all anxiously watched from the ground), down to the tiny colored lights on our tree filled with many beloved hand-made ornaments and the even-tinier speckles of colored sugar and red hots that paintstakingly (or not!) decorated our sugar cookies.  It is no wonder that the holly leaves got lost in the thick color that took over the page, and like the stillness of yesterday’s circle, gave way to the raucous excitement of my seven siblings and me on Christmas morning.  As we celebrate with our own children now, I remain more thankful than ever for the love shown in the details and the colors left in my mind.  Wishing you all peace and joy and much love in all ways you are celebrating!”

“There is always a feeling of transition after days of intensity, and today I am grateful to awaken feeling filled with gratitude for family and friends, a new stretch before me...  I painted since 5a this morning, in preparation for a chunk of  days ahead in which I will sink into a flow of necessary focused work, followed by play, connection, and rest.  Wishing you all rejuvenating breaths today and in the days that will bring 2018 to a close...”

“On Christmas Day, I was walking alongside my spouse and oldest son (who was effortly doing rotations and hops on his old scooter, towering above it’s tiny frame with his now, large agile one), taking in the gift of sunshine and blue skies in my mother-in-law’s retirement community.  We came upon a nature trail— although short in length, a dip off the beaten path... passing by a tiny stream and trees, made smooth so that all can have access.  As we meandered down the winding way, my eyes kept being drawn to matted-down filaments and delicate translucent petals, detached from their original source of life and saturated by the rain... reflecting various stages of change as they made their return to the earth.  How much like these remnants we are as we navigate the different stages of our lives, filled with intrigue and beauty, still... may we all see our value, inside and out, and our place in the web of life.”

“Hooray for today!  We are heading out with our two sons to have a bit of a family excursion before we join the larger fray of my family, and I’m so excited to have this sacred and joyful time with them.  We will visit a small town in Ohio and walk the same trails in the nearby gorge that we paced right before going into labor with our first, almost 15 years ago, and eat at our favorite pizza haunt (who wouldn’t love a pizza place named, the “Ha-Ha Pizza?”).  How special it is to revisit still-cherished spots, having the privilege to share the love and meaning of place with one’s children, especially as they grow and more fully appreciate the inevitable stories and laughter that revisiting will bring...”

“No matter how many years pass and how we may all change, we are forever interwoven with our families, whether we are in contact, or not... As all of my siblings come together today, bringing their growing and already-grown children with them, I feel grateful for the connections that are there and will always remain, aware of the ways we influence one another over the course of our lives.  Sending love to all families, everywhere, in any sense of the word, “family” that may be held dear.  Let us nurture one another and honor those that are still with us in spirit as we gather.”

“This phrase popped into my head as I finished this circle, and I am relieved to hear it, as it is always life-giving to feel choice lies ahead rather than mere obligation to what has already been laid down.  Watching our sons see the doors multiply before them reminds me to connect to the joy and excitement that can come with possibility, rather than the all-too-familiar default of anxiety in approaching the unknown.  Children remain some of my strongest teachers...”

“When I realize I have lived another 365 days, I am aware of the immense privilege of stating that collective truth— and that each experience has brought some degree of love, joy, loss, grief, anger, fear, hope, or questioning.  It is a natural time to reflect on that which I choose to bring with me into the next year, while holding out strength for those things which carry no choice.  Each and every day is a gift and I am filled with gratitude for all that have had been part of my life and growth this round, no matter how near or far.   As we leave 2018, may we all find renewed meaning, courage, and loving in the days to come...“

“Awakening in the wee hours of the new year is such a unique feeling... I love the chance to reflect about the past year, but even more so, to envision the year ahead.  May we all find energy to create what we most want and need in our lives, and help each other along the way to be our best selves...”

“Needing to paint with different colors this morning, this composition appeared, reminding me of an ongoing search for equilibrium, all levels.  It is a good time of year to take stock of dynamics which need careful tending, which feels much more doable than total change.  Let us be gentle, once again, as we highlight areas that seek our attention in the coming year, careful not to use goals as another way to feel that we were “less than” to begin with...”

“Last evening as my spouse sat down to play the organ, I sat down at my desk to paint.  I felt enlivened to sit in the room filled with amazing depth of sound as Bach’s “Sinfonia” transported me into another dimension.   I am grateful to have grown a deep appreciation for the pipe organ, an instrument which had no meaningful connection prior to meeting my husband 22 years ago... I was thinking about all the various ways we influence one another in our lives, separate instruments joining together to play such intricate and diverse harmonies.  How profound it is that our ears can conjure up a whole slew of memories and feelings when we pause to listen, and tether us to the generations before that heard the very same notes.”

“Part of what intrigues me about painting into the shape of a circle is that it feels as if there is endless edge to explore... I appreciate the ability to push the pigment all the way to the outer periphery, often times stopping short there, glad for the containment.   Other times, I paint as if there is a whole universe that exists beyond the edge that I can not see.  Both offer freedom and a chance for introspection, reminding me to continue searching the edges both inside myself and in others, and to celebrate what might be discovered there...”

“Today’s circle has more energy than words for me, and the single-word title popped into my head and stayed in the silence that followed.  I think I will let it rest today and allow the space around it to remain...  (although I am always curious and open to what it may evoke in others).”