Turning Fifty~New work

It’s been a nutty couple of months, since the new Year. I moved into our new house in Santa Fe just before Christmas. In March, I  then ended up moving to California unexpectedly for family reasons. And among all that I turned 50. The good news is that I was so busy with life, I didn’t have too much time to get hung up on the F word.  I just re-read this from an interview with singer Tori Amos about her experience of turning 50:

“I needed to turn 50. I began to see myself as a creative force, instead of all the projections that you can fall prey to – especially as a woman turning 50. My mom is 84, and is on borrowed time as she survived colon cancer a year and a half ago,” she says. “She would say to me ‘Look darlin’, every day is a gift. You’re not 84, so stop acting like it. You’re 50, and if I could be 50, nothing would stop me until the maker takes me.’ I think it was hugely humbling that my mother – who has her brain but who doesn’t have great power, physically – was saying, ‘No excuses. You are in your prime. Go and create.’ That really woke me up.”  Tori Amos

No excuses you are in YOUR PRIME….Go Create. Words to live by right now.

Recently, I had an extremely insightful reading with  jungian astrologer Laurence Hillman. Whether you are an astrology believer or not, he had some wise insights. He talked about where we are comfortable in our lives, is not always where there is much growth.  Creative tension, he said,  lives in the more challenging places. These words helped me so much as I moved to an unfamiliar and uncomfortable part of the world for me, and have been asked to step outside my comfort zone many times in these last few months. Out of this creative tension, came this latest body of work.  It was baffling to me that these paintings seem very happy and light, when all that I was going through on the earthly level was anything but. My mentor the painter Alexandra Eldredge had a wonderful insight for me about this…She said “the work is always ahead of us, it shows us where we are going.” I am in one of those phases in life where I can’t really see beyond  the two feet in front of me, that my headlamp illuminates.  My taurean self gnashes her teeth daily, and has many a mini inner tantrum…I’m living in a 2 bedroom apt in Southern California, I don’t know where I will be living this Fall, I’m not sure where my son will be at school this Fall and my daughter leaves for South Africa to study in two months. This is all really uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Life is messy, and unclear cut at times. Other peoples lives often glow with coherence and ease from afar, at times like these. But I am here , in the messy, creative tension of it all. Headlamp on, able to see just far enough ahead that there are a bunch more paintings wanting to be birthed.

Amidst all of this, I am letting go of the physical space of the Flying Fish Gallery on Canyon Rd in Santa Fe. After two and a half years of exploring creativity with others there through showing wonderful artists work such as Mary Sloane, Peter Weiss,  Carolyn Ellis,  Aggie Damron,  Nicola Heindl,  Michele Worstell,  Josie Adams, and Axel Stohlberg, and making art with people in my studio, I am going to focus on my painting and writing. Flying Fish will still exist, but as an online gallery/creative community. I loved every minute of this experience, and learned so much. I am astounded by the creativity that manifested at Flying Fish, it is Awe Inspiring, Juicy, Soulful, and will nourish me for a good long time. Thank You  to everyone who jumped up and joined  in this dance with me. A very special thank you to Pearl Hesselden who has been with me all through the Flying Fish birth process….Pearl is a lovely, talented, ray of light. Jennifer Coute, thank you for being so rock solid especially as I had to move away. And Michele Worstell, thank you for helping me to make the leap. There is along list of creative angel champions to be thanked, Laurie Lenfestey, Kathleen Sawyer, Carolyn Ellis, Tanya Taylor Rubenstein,  and Candace Walsh.

And for now, no excuses, you’re in your prime. Go and Create.





2 thoughts on “Turning Fifty~New work

  1. hi Bettina,

    It’s Barbara from massage
    school, remember me?
    I am going through my things and sending old photos back to people.

    But since this ia a post I have one of my favorite quotes for you:
    “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

    Let me know if you want the photos.


  2. Bettina we met at Ghost Ranch many years ago at Natalie Goldberg’s workshop. I found some old letters today and here you are! I hope that you are well and happy – your paintings are beautiful. I need to explore your website at more links, but the idea of being over 50 and needing to go create really struck a chord with me.

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