This painting took nine months to complete.  Interesting… The same amount of time it takes to create a new life.  In many ways that is what this painting did for me.  

There were times of intense creativity while making this painting, followed by weeks of gestating, waiting for the next wave of inspiration to come.  

I never envisioned the final image, never knew the subject of the painting until it was complete.  I painted in every orientation, both on the wall and flat on a table.  Going over areas again and again I thought were complete, not knowing the final destination or when I’d finally finish.  Perhaps I had it all wrong and it was just a confusing mess of color and texture on a very large canvas.

Yet, in the end, it was perfect.  Even when I knew the painting was finished, I still couldn’t see it. It still just looked like a jumbled mess of color and texture.  Then I hung it on the wall and backed way way up.  Only then could I see what it was – an expanding heart.  

When you look at it, this is not your typical image of a heart, or of love. This is a heart being wrenched and ripped apart.  But the wrenching and ripping opened a space for Light to emerge.  And then I understood…

Life is messy.  People get hurt.  Hearts get broken, and smashed, and torn. And expanded in the process.  If we embrace that expansion, we too can find that Light deep inside us. Illuminating pathways to new beginnings, and joy, that we might never have discovered.  


(Months after I completed Expanding Heart, I came across this quote.  Her words are more eloquent than mine, and capture exactly the essence of the painting.)

A Blow To the Heart

– from ‘After the Flower of Life’  by Maureen J. St. Germain

“When you are in a relationship with someone, and they disappoint you over something you think they should know or understand,  it hurts. I call this a blow to the heart.  

This occurs as a result of your interaction with your friend or beloved or someone you care about. Every one of us has layers and layers of armor around our heart. We put these layers there, every time we get hurt. This is how we survive. 

We will all get opportunities to break down the layers of armor around the heart. It is faster than just about any process, and it forces us to choose. Will we be forgiving, and open our hearts?  Or will we be stubborn, right, and bitter?

We all know people who have been through tough time after tough time and are now bitter and angry. We also know people who have been through hell and back, and seem to find a way to keep smiling. How could you refuse a blow to the heart knowing it is going to give you what you really want, an open clear channel to your Higher Self and an open heart?

When you take a blow to the heart your heart breaks off a layer of armor, and must choose to remain “exposed” or closed and become hard hearted. The choice is yours.

You may not understand this at first, but it has become abundantly clear to me that the opening of the heart is the KEY. Nothing will give you what you desire more than an open heart. The keys to the kingdom – for all of us  – are hidden within a blow to the heart.”

Kathy Ford