Guest Post: The Land of Colour

In a lovely synchronicity with the Carnival of Creative Mothers coming up on Wednesday, I got a surprise message this weekend from one of my Facebook page’s fans. She shared a beautiful story of self-discovery through birth art and she offered the story to me to share with others. It is my great pleasure to share her voice and her art with you now.

by Amanda Wolf Hara

I started a painting 6 years ago- I was reading about the transformative power of birth art- creating art to capture the energy of pregnancy.

I remember the power I felt creating such bold lines and stark contrasts.

The shape of her flowed. The huge swell of her belly, the small legs—because that’s how they felt! The breasts, shaped like mine, not just stock representations of breasts. I was proud of myself as she emerged!

Then I became unsure–afraid.

I didn’t want to go any further—I believed I would add too much and take away her potential & power. I wasn’t sure how to finish her head… Could I do a face? Would that ruin the rest of her?

So I hurriedly made an impersonal head shape–no face, and gave her black short hair–nothing like mine, but, I told myself, maybe we can go for elegant?? Then, did a quick grey background behind her, to fill the blank space & choosing grey, thinking I had to keep the monochromatic quality for her to be “art”.

It was my serious go at sophisticated expression. And I had my inner critic telling me my Birth Art had to be a certain kind of primal. Stark. High contrast. Simple.

But, I hated it.

The grey was depressing. It lacked any technique or skill.

I felt timid and trapped when I looked at her.

All this awesome power, and I caged her in with some hurried attempt to keep her subdued- safe- not “too much” so she would be accepted by her audience.

When I was done, I hung her- mostly out of a determination and obligation to display her.

To show off her powerful form.

But, I never revered her. Celebrated her.

She was in a room only I went into.

When we moved, I kept her in the closet.

I thought about taking off the canvas, rolling it up & storing it, and using the frame to stretch another canvas and create “better” art.

I avoided her for years.

But then, yesterday, I had to paint.

A canvas.

A piece came to mind- a design of the feminine using a prayer I found and love.

I searched my stacks for the right canvas.

I found Her. I looked at her again. Again, hating the grey.

I thought, “If only I could change it; cover the grey. Even just a white background has got to be better.
“But, no, that’s gotta be cheating. That breaks the “rules” of birth art. You can’t go back once it’s done- I’m not pregnant anymore-” blah blah blah went my list.

I kept staring at her, wishing the grey was different.

Then, a thought came like a tickle.
What if?
Why the hell not?
It was MY work, after all.
Why should this have to be a snapshot?
Why can’t I change it?
Why can’t this be a story??
Maybe an ongoing one, if I want?
Who’s going to know?
There are no birth art police, for heaven’s sake!

“Yeah!” I encouraged myself-
“Motherhood is an ongoing story!
I’ve developed, I’m constantly pregnant with myself- learning to birth myself in a myriad of ways!
I want this piece to be a tribute to my ongoing process, not just a one time shot!”

And as I looked at her, giving myself permission to alter her, she started coming alive.
She instantly began calling for bright pinks, blues, purple, red, yellow!
I began to “see” where colours wanted to be.

So, I took the dive and set up to do it.

And, I hesitated.

All those same fears I’ve carried with me.
What if I mess her up?
What if she gets lost under new paint?
What if go totally too wild and end up somewhere in this process where she is unrecognizable, and I exceeded my skill to be able to “fix” it?

What if I regret it??

All these questions are so very familiar.

I ask myself variations of them every time I feel myself called by my passions and intuition to do something.
It’s a contest between my Muse and my inner Critic.
My confidence and my insecurity.

Sometimes I let the Critic win.

So, brush full of white paint, ready to cover the grey, I paused. Waited. Debated.
Then looked at her.

I hated how sad I felt looking at her.
How limited.

I connected with my own feelings of my pregnancy: wanting to burst with empowerment, celebration, Creative force!
feeling obligated to bear the responsibility of all the emotional BS and baggage that surrounded me during that time.

I hated how she was stuck there.
In that time.
I had done amazing work- liberating myself from that energy. I had escaped into the land of Colour.

She needed to, too.

So, I took the plunge.
I did it.
Colours flowed onto her, taking shape and coming home.
She began to come alive!
She began to claim her power.
Celebrate it!
She suddenly became infused with all the vitality I wished I could have articulated before.

I revisited parts of her that never looked like me–I gave her wild curls, more hair, red lips, a blush on her cheeks, a colourful womb, and, as the colours spoke, a baby took shape.

I paused.

My daughter.


All the creative projects waiting inside me to be birthed and claimed as my Work.

She began to claim her power.
Celebrate it!
She suddenly became infused with all the vitality I wished I could have articulated before.

So, why didn’t I do this before?

I don’t think I had the skill- the experience- I have now- this wouldn’t have come out of me the way it did yesterday.

I don’t think I would have trusted her wisdom in calling for the colours the way I did yesterday.
No, I’m certain of it.

I needed time to develop.

To allow my exploration and development.

I look at her now, and instead of feeling like I covered up that first painting, I have the exhilarating feeling like I built a bridge.

Then to now.

All the colours and lines, considerations and the process are all there for me.

Not either/or like I believed.

So, I ask myself, “Is she done?”
I dunno.

I think, so…
For now….



Amanda Wolf Hara’s web site and etsy shop, Wild Priestess, is coming soon. She is an Artist, Writer, Single Mom (to an absolutely dazzling 5 yr old daughter!), Intuitive, and Shamanic Minister… among a few other things. She can be contacted for commission work.

One thought on “Guest Post: The Land of Colour

  1. i love the way she wrote it because it made me aware of my own fear ,but also showed me i am not alone with it.I can change it if I want changes. I just have to get that brush into my hand and start painting again.A pregnancy will come when My Mind has gone over the fear of failure.Maybe it was not the right time in the past but that should not hold me back . Fear is just an excuse and I have to jump and leave that fear behind me.

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