The Courage Series ~ Release

The inspiration for this series came from a recent time when I was challenged to confront old emotional patterns.

I found myself in the grip of a palpable fear; almost unable to face the situation that was scaring me. There was a degree of self-assurance and personal power that I needed but didn't have immediately at hand. I was astonished to realize that the situation called for courage in ways I had never contemplated before. 

It required a lot of deep breathing and hours of looking within to overcome old responses. It seemed hard to grasp cause and effect. There were times when the way forward was very unclear, and I doubted that I could move past my difficulties. I would get glimpses of understanding, and then they would seem to disappear.

Ultimately, I was able to come away feeling stronger. But the process caused me to observe myself as never before, which took me into a new area of art development. How could I translate what I had been through into a format I could share? I began to wonder about Courage as a progression of concepts, and if I could translate the components into images.

What emotional tools were necessary for personal bravery? How was I able to use what I discovered about my past to help myself in the current moment? I pondered  how Courage could help me grow and the root instances where it is nurtured and developed.

I started with the idea of emotional support. What was necessary to bring myself to a place where I felt strong? Where did my center feel most solid? What  brought me solace and a strong sense of self? I had some ideas about what I wanted to say, but how could I convey them with images alone? This is always where my talisman work takes me, to queries about how to represent our inner journeys with visual symbols.

I worked on conceptual drawings for several months, allowing myself different ways to express what I was feeling. As I did so, the ideas became stronger, more developed and refined. A pattern of imagery was emerging, and I let myself run with the ideas.

Eventually, I came up with more than two dozen variations on the theme of Courage, and these will form the basis for work to come in 2020.

As always though, my intent and the reality of time doesn't always match up. This winter season of 2019, I was able to complete six pieces in the first part of the series. I hope they resonate with you.


The imagery on this piece reminds us that we have the ability to change, if only we can let go of the patterns and habits that hold us back. Each side shows a hand, held open towards the sky. This is Release; an invitation to gently relinquish our fears. When we do so, we find our inner Courage.

Butterflies have long been a symbol of Transformation, since their very life cycle literally changes their shape from one state to another. From a creature with many legs that lives solely on the earth, to a marvelous being of flight, the butterfly is able to create a completely new version of itself. Allow yourself permission to Release your former state, and move into freedom and grace.

Birds symbolize flight and long-range vision. Their ability to fly above the landscape and move effortlessly across all boundaries is unique among the beings with which we share this blue planet. They have incredible vision, able to see the tiniest details from far above. They are a reminder to see the wider picture, and be in tune with your surroundings as you rise above what is troubling you.

The stars that accompany the birds in this design are a reminder of your own hidden potential burning bright within. Their bright light can mirror your own, and although you may never reach some of them, the effort you make to be your best possible Self will cause you to shine.

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