a stroll, a poem, and a painting


Welcome to my new blog, The Monday Mini. Each Monday I’ll be sharing a mini painting and the experiences, inspiration, and thoughts behind the work (in no specific order or coherence).

As some of you may know, I have a background in art therapy, which has greatly informed how I approach creating. I paint because I love creating beautiful calming pieces, but also because it creates a beautiful calm within. In order to achieve this, there must be an awareness of thought, action, and emotion while creating, and a time of reflection after it is complete (another week I’ll share more in depth about my art practice and rituals!).


This week started with a walk in the park. Alba and I wind our way along the paths. At some points I’m just chasing after her while she yells “no!” at me and I’m feeling exasperated. But mostly it is quiet calm punctuated by pointing out flowers, touching bark, and watching airplanes. Sandra Cisneros’ story Eleven pops into my head…

”…And maybe one day when you’re all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you’re three, and that’s okay. That’s what I tell Mama when she’s sad and needs to cry. Maybe she’s feeling three.

Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one. That’s how being eleven years old is.”


During nap I sneak into the studio directly above Alba’s room. The floor is SO creaky. Tip toes. Wince as the springs in Boppy’s old chair whine. I grab a book and open to Pablo Neruda’s October Fullness:

“Little by little, and also in great leaps,
life happened to me,
and how insignificant this business is.
These veins carried
my blood, which I scarcely ever saw,
I breathed the air of so many places
without keeping a sample of any.
In the end, everyone is aware of this:
nobody keeps any of what he has,
and life is only a borrowing of bones.
The best thing was learning not to have too much
either of sorrow or of joy,
to hope for the chance of a last drop,
to ask more from honey and from twilight...”

I sit with it for a moment. Grab my pencil and start making spirals. I had recently seen these beautiful spiraling plants. sketch the body. Body position: protective, self-soothing, exposed. Clear river streaming from the giant and then dipping below earth again. “Nobody keeps any of what he has…”. Spirals. Cycles. Surrender. Calm.


This is the manifestation of the day’s events and readings. If you are interested in this Monday’s mini, please email me regarding availability.

Andrea DurfeeComment