The other day I stumbled upon the artwork of a woman named Nom Kinnear King, and I instantly felt that head-over-heels-in-love resonance that you feel when you see something that feels so “you” it’s like looking into a mirror. ✨ That is how her paintings instantly felt to me, and I wanted to not only share some of her gorgeous work with you, but also share what this brought up for me.
I am including all of the pieces that were particularly resonant below (though honestly every single one of them was) because I want to remember this moment, and also because I want to explore this old familiar resonance I felt, and what came up as I viewed them…
I mean, can you even??!! 👆😭
When I read her ‘about’ section on her site, she used two words in a sentence to describe her work which immediately rang like a bell in the night with everything I have been moving through and recognizing about myself for about the last 6 months or so… and the words that she used were “sweet melancholy”.
Now I don’t know if you remember a podcast episode and post I did many months back where I was talking about how I had recognized that the kind of poetry and music I formerly was so enraptured with suddenly had this kind of “sweet syrupy sadness” quality to it to me that no longer felt good and uplifting to me the way it used to, but now felt heavy and was not resonating with me anymore, which alarmed me, because it used to feel like HOME. 😭😭😭
But anyway, so when I read those words she used it was like “ding” – YEP – that’s what it is. Sweet melancholy. That’s almost exactly how I described it.
So now, as I looked at these paintings I was both in love with them and enraptured by them as so familiar, BUT I could also so clearly watch and “see” that feeling/energy come over me, more clearly than before.
It’s this kind of deep loneliness. Magical and mysterious, yes. SO beautifully haunting, yes. All of which I loved so much… but also sad, and alone. Deeply sad and wistful, repressed, not understood, but at the same time so very in love with the magic and mystery of life and all its curiosities.
The self I see reflected back to me in these paintings is so full of magic and longing for adventure, and is enraptured with dreams and possibilities, but she is also so alone, so unseen and so forlorn.
It feels like not just MY identity, but the identity of so very many artists of every medium, of the past, and of today. Like that kind of identity IS the identity of ‘artist’… we talk a lot these days about reversing “the starving artist” identity and paradigm, but what about also “the forlorn and unseen, unappreciated artist” identity? The “sad and misunderstood artist” identity and paradigm? Because that is the one I feel so deeply in my bones.
But it’s NOT deep in my bones, actually. It’s just an identity. It’s just a story I have identified with and called my own. I made it precious. I made it meaningful. I didn’t mean to. It was automatic. And I think it’s automatic for so many artists of all walks.
I think this is why I fell so completely in love with Alice in Wonderland the movie, the new version by Tim Burton years back, because she starts out this way – sad, repressed and misunderstood for being the free magical spirit that she is. But she ends up captaining her own ship, and being a catalyst of new brave adventures in the end, and taking creative lead in a male dominated industry.
She doesn’t stay sad and forlorn and misunderstood at the end of the story, she becomes wholly appreciative of herself and her power, and changes her entire world.
So 6 or 7 months ago when I witnessed my energy fields change right in front of me to the point where this sweet melancholy in certain poetry and music stopped resonating with me in the same way, and started to feel heavy to me instead of “like home” to me, I was alarmed.
I was like, who is this person I am becoming?! Like, who is this? This one who is happier, has more fun and lightness in her life, and doesn’t worry so much about SO MUCH, and feels so much more alive and empowered to speak all these things she normally wouldn’t say and do??
THAT one is not the one reflected in these paintings. That one is not this one in these paintings that I used to be. And I don’t quite feel 100% fully safe to be that new one yet, or rather, I am being her, but I don’t feel 100% safe to let that other one go.
Which is why I felt so much love for these paintings! Because I DO love her, so much.
She brought meaning and magic into my pain, she comforted that deep loneliness and wounding I had, from not feeling seen and understood for who I was, and not seeing and understanding myself. She created a beautiful landscape for me to explore and live in that made that pain sweet, so I could bear it… and enjoy it!… and it was so very sweet. But I don’t need the pain part of it anymore, I don’t need to carry it like this anymore.
But it’s a bit like the death of a best friend. Or the loss of a home you used to live in.
And then it clicked for me that all week I had been seeing peoples beloved dog’s and best friends die on social media, like 5 different people I follow had their long time 13-16 year old dogs who were their little soul mates die, and I just bawled every time, and it reminded me of when this happened to me with my Kita 7 years ago (he was my little dog best friend and soul mate for 13.5 years), and then I spoke to Kita about this (in his formless form as the angel he is to me now and always was), and he reminded me it’s because it is reflecting the passing of this part of me…
This friend and identity that has been my constant companion, this part of myself who has passed, and when she passed (just like when Kita passed), it opened a new chapter and whole new world up in my life.
He reminded me it’s okay to feel grief about it, and even to still love her as I love that part of me, whom will always be a part of me, just as he was… but that it is also okay to let it go. And to see that there can be every bit as much meaning, rapture, magic and depth in the more free, happy, seen, connected, light and empowered version of me that is emerging now.
I am so grateful to this identity, and this part of me that I see so clearly reflected in these beautiful paintings, for reminding me of many soul lifetimes of things that I was wading through, and for being a safe harbor to me, filled to the brim with twinkling lights and beauty, and awe and wonder and magic, as I moved across that sea of sadness into more liberated shores.
I may visit her sometimes, but we no longer live in the same world, is all.
I thought that as I moved into this new part of myself, I was threatened with losing the connection to all of YOU, who have been with me over the years, when I was her. All of YOU who know or knew me more as HER… but reall,y **I** was just afraid of losing her, and what that would mean for me.
And I still am sometimes, I don’t know what my world will look like moving forward without her front and center. But I also know that time is gone, and it will never be the same.
And that’s okay.
Because what has come now is so much more full of love, and it’s all I’ve ever really wanted. This was such a gorgeous place for me to live, in these paintings, in the feel of them, and that identity, for so long. I am so happy I had this! And I will continue to love it in my way, just from across the river now. With a smile and a kiss on the wind, knowing if I ever need to enter that dark forest again, I can. But happy to be on brighter shores, and opening fully to the greater fulfillment out in front of me.
10 years ago I wrote a book about that Alice In Wonderland movie, using it as a parable for the inner journey, and if you haven’t read it yet, perhaps now’s the time… but I just realized another thing that I loved about that movie… it was the first of many more movies that would come that would begin to flip this old script in our heads, and that is this:
Have you ever noticed that in all the old fairytales the only one’s who get what they want are the evil queens?? Like my god, of course you can’t allow yourself to want what you want, fully, or get what you want, fully, when you’ve been programmed to see that as evil!
But the flip side of this programming now, is that you’re also trained to see the “heroines” as WEAK, or as weakness! The kind, loving, unassuming one who goes with the flow of life, and surrenders to what IS, because she has a deeper trust in nature and life and herself, but also never lets her hope die, and she believes in magic, and she still moves towards what she loves and wants and ‘breaks the rules’ (leaves the house when she’s not supposed to, touches the thimble when she’s not supposed to, etc.) and she ALSO gets what she wants.
So BOTH sides of you are demonized in some way, in some timeline. BOTH sides of you are praised in some way, in some timeline, and the point is…
ALL sides of YOU are the FULLNESS of you, and they actually work together (which appears as conflict in the story) to get you where you most want to go. The villains and the heroes need eachother, and I love how in the modern day children’s movies, the villains are now being shown as human too, their vulnerabilities are becoming more part of the story, their needs and their part of the picture is becoming more part of the story too, which reflects a deep shift in our society.
And how is that shift happening?? By the hands of artists and creators of ALL KINDS, just like you. (They made those new movies! 😉
Anyway, if you resonate with this and are ready to cross that river too, I’m here on the other side awaiting you. Happy to keep lighting the way to a broader horizon for all who care to visit it. Whenever you’re ready, I’ll see you there. 💞
And in the meantime if you’d like to buy any of Nom Kinnear King’s work you can (and should!) do so by clicking this link right here. I ordered myself the print that felt most resonant to me NOW at this very moment in time (scroll down to see below!! 👇 ), which I love so much… it feels like me standing before the door to the beautiful garden of my life, with clementines in my hair, being readied by the many versions of me for this next chapter of wonder and delight. ✨
Her shop is also filled with the beautiful work of her partner Adam Oehlers who is an artist and illustrator in magical realism as well (and whose work I also love!) I ordered his book ‘The Mushroom Garden’ which looks magical too!
P.S. This does NOT mean I’m going to stop loving magical realism – oh hell no! – I just no longer IDENTIFY primarily as the lost forlorn girl, that’s all.)