Letting Love Flow

Watercolour painting
Created: 31/12/2012
Artist: Selina Shapland

This watercolour and black ink pen painting was inspired by something very profound for me related to my father who passed away in 2000 from throat cancer.

I never thought he loved me.  It is as simple as that.  As I grew up, I saw a man addicted to alcohol who was in a great deal of emotional pain.  I perceived him through the eyes of a frightened child and did what I could to survive in a unstable life.  My mum did everything she could, with the knowledge and experience she had at the time to protect my brother and I from our father’s misguided alcohol induced aggression.

So many years of walking around and picturing my father in my head as a monster, someone who didn’t care for me, rejected me, discarded me have taken their toll on my nerves and I realised over this past weekend that I have been holding myself in emotional bondage to an out of proportion perception of who I thought my father was when he was alive.

I have tried to go to forgiveness and I have chipped away at letting go of this internal defining label, yet I felt I was battling demons bigger than I could handle.

Life has a funny way of helping me out when I am emotionally constipated and this was one of those times.  I went to a course on human behaviour and values which is where I had a profound realisation that my father did love me, very much.

The exercises were tough as I could no longer hide in a victim mentality and had to face that my father was a whole person, not half a person, not a complete bastard at all.  My internal perceptions were suddenly, radically changed and as I worked through the exercises to understand how his actions benefited me and how all these traits I hated are also a part of my own human foibles, tears began to flow.

The pain that rushed out of my chest where my heart pounded is indescribable.  I felt my father with me and was suddenly transported to all the times when he had tried to show me love but because I was angry with him for drinking himself into a stupor, I blocked out as irrelevant.

I cried.  I cried so much that I could hardly breath and I realised that I love my dad so much for who he was not who I wanted him to be.  I loved him for the first time for all his faults and let myself accept the love that he had tried to express to me finally rush in.

There are no words to describe what this kind of thing feels like… so I began to draw and allow myself the gift of creating a representation of what happened for me during this release.

Dad, I love you. I know that I am the person I am today because of you.  I know in my heart now, how deeply you loved me and I am finally opening up to letting love flow between us.  It does not matter to me that you have passed over as I believe that love knows no bounds and wherever you are, I know my love will reach you.


Divine Love

This oil painting took me years to paint.  I have a deep love for Egyptian theology and the love story of Isis and Osiris.

An expression of divine love
Created: 2008 and finished 2012
Artist: Selina Shapland

In 2008, this painting was originally inspired by a broken heart.  I think I must be a big romantic!

Anyway, I fell for a guy who was a very different faith to me and although we both had faith in something greater than ourselves, it was dogma that came between us.  So when this love tryst finished, I put my love and creative energy into this painting.

Over the years, this painting has seen many layers and changes from conveying a coldness to this passionate and loving image now.  As I painted this canvas, I remember spending a lot of time reliving emotions that opened my heart and allowed my love to spill forth.  It was as though I was emotionally transported into the painting and time meant nothing to me.  It was a sacred act of painting, something beautiful and indefinable that happened between myself and that which appeared on the canvas.

I love the warm passion in the image now.  I still have the painting with me and when I look at it, I think how the act of love making can be a passionate and sacred act of expressing love between two beings.  I love the relationship between Isis and Osiris where she pieced him back together after he had been torn apart by Seth.

I love that Isis fashioned a phallus out of gold, allowing them to make love and create new life through Horus.  It is tragic in a way because Osiris dies after their last moments of passion and expressions of love.  In a symbolic manner Osiris dies only to be reborn through his ‘seed’ which is Horus, the Son.

As with all my artwork, there is deep meaning.  Layers and layers of symbology goes into what I create.  I ponder the story and how it relates to my life and to life in general.  This painting also symbolically represents the transitions of life, the cycles that humans and nature go through, being birth, life, experiences that shape us and death, only to become one with the earth again and transition from one form to another.

Divine Love, Isis and Osiris touch, meld together in a union of one-ness to create new life and renewal.  I love it, deeply.

New Perspectives

I started drawing this in my visual diary last Thursday, 21st February, after the emotional day I had at work.

A drawing depicting some internal changes in Selina's WorldThursday gave me an opportunity to consider what do I really want to do in my life?  After many years of working in administration I have come to a cross roads in my professional life.  I would LOVE to be a paid Artist, however, I have found the art world to be… a fickle friend to say the least.

And, I don’t know about you, but I need to receive money to allow me to eat, live and continue to be sheltered… so it’s kind of important to me to make money.  I have been very fortunate to have sold some of my art which is such a buzz.  Knowing that someone loved my work and wanted to buy it is a huge compliment and so helpful to keeping me clothed!

So, by day I am an Office Worker, and by night I moonlight as an Artist with a keen interest in how people work, including my own self.  So, this year, I decided to enrol in a distance uni course on behavioural studies with a major in Psychology.  Wish me luck with the stats thing… it’s gonna be a rush for me!

Back to my original topic.  I was contemplating my next life move after Thursday and all these dreams came up for me, including doing something fabulous with my art.  I have a dream to aspire to within me, I just don’t quite know how to make it happen.  So I took pen to paper in my visual diary and this image represents the hope I have for a change of direction over the coming years.

Butterflies are very symbolic for me of transition, changing from an old husk-like worn-out life where I leave the ‘dead’ bits of myself behind.  The circles represent the transformation of ideas within me beginning to surface, the uncomfortable-ness I feel about my personal status quo and the budding excitement within me as I become more comfortable with the unknown life I want to create.  It’s all very Zen really.

In essence Thursday’s confusing, difficult day has served me greatly as I have taken more time to be with myself, draw, create and move through my ‘fuck it all’ attitude to committing to actions to make my life what I want it to be rather than letting other people dictate to me who I should be.

Of course… I still have my F-You ‘tude going on inside me.  It is there just hiding under the surface but now I have hope for a change of direction to fulfil my heart’s desire in the world and that is more important than worrying about what people think of me.

This post might be slightly confusing as I am still working things out in my head and this is kind of  like me thinking out loud where you can listen in. Cool.

Intricate Me 2008

Created: 2008Artist: Selina Shapland
Created: 2008
Artist: Selina Shapland

In 2008 I did this self-portrait of who I am. I am intricate, complex and layered.

I often look back on this ink pen drawing in my visual diary and fall in love with the detail of the lines all over again.

Today, I had a full on day at work.  It was emotional and painful for me on a deep deep level; a depth that I find very difficult to express in words and to be honest I do not want to use language to go into the internal image of what happened inside me today.

Yet, today’s experience in ‘Selina’s World’ gave me pause for truly deep personal reflection on the complexities of who I am and how I relate and interact with other people in the world.

This drawing, this expression of who I am on the inside came into my mind’s eye and I decided to share it with you as a new way of connecting from one human being to another.

Without art to express myself, to externalise what is happening for me and inside me… I just do not know how I would cope some days.

Art is my healer, my lover, my guidance in life.  She is my muse and my tormentor.  That which I have trouble articulating to the world is represented on the page, the canvas and allowed to come to life to share with others in the hope that a deep personal interconnection and understanding can pass between myself and the viewer…

I believe that we are all complex beings and that people we interact with on a daily basis only see the smallest sliver of who we are.  At any one time, in my observation, we human beings intersect for brief interactions and think, to some degree, that we know the other person.  But how can we know another person when we hardly know the depths of ourselves?

I think this image sums up how I feel today… intricate and so much more than the eye can see.

Surfer 2009

This painting brings back so many memories for me.  I am not a surfer, although I gave it a go back in 2009.  I couldn’t even sit on the board in the water without sliding down the end and into the gorgeous ocean!

Oil painting of a surfer inside a wave
Created: 2009
Artist: Selina Shapland

I was dating a guy who really loved the ocean and was into surfing.  He loved art and so I created this painting for him as a birthday gift. I’m happy he still has this painting (as far as I know?!).

This painting represents love, freedom and the thrill of doing what makes you revel in this beautiful world of ours.

It also once represented love lost in my internal world, until I came to realise that love is a gift in my life regardless of the length of time that it is there for.  We chose to walk different life paths but I am grateful for the way we laughed together and that we are still pretty good friends.

Until I began to write about what this painting means to me, I did not realise the depth of meaning it still has for me.  Such a strange realisation.  I put a lot of love into this painting because I loved him and because I wanted to share a special part of myself with him through an image that meant something special to him.

I guess I am a romantic at heart…

Symbolically this Surfer represents love, freedom and the greatest joy a person can feel in life!

Woman in Water 2012

Woman floats in water
Created: April 2012
Artist: Selina Shapland

It seems that 2012 held a theme for me in my art and creativity.  Women and water were a huge feature of how I was expressing myself.

This oil painting was sold to a dear friend of mine who loved it the moment she saw it.

This image was inspired by a young lady leaning against a wall in another tattoo magazine.  I loved the way she looked so relaxed and sensual.  I tried to capture that in this oil painting and provide a sense of movement through the pallet knife and paint texture.

As I painted this woman floating in water, I explored my feelings about loving my body just the way it is, bumpy bits and all.  The water represents the emotions that I often find myself spinning around in, where there is a need to surrender to the tumultuous life experiences and allow myself to go with the flow.

The female body is beautiful and I wanted to spend time celebrating the wonder of the feminine form through my art.

Watercolour Woman 2012


Watercolour abstract portrait of a woman's face
Created: 31/12/2012
Artist: Selina Shapland


I was inspired to create this painting, my last painting from 2012, by a photo of a blond woman on a tattoo magazine.  She had that retro cool look and I loved the way she peered out from the magazine to watch me.  I tried to capture that look in my painting.

I love the imperfection of her beauty as she very much represents that beauty in the human body that is our character, our trial by fire and yet it is partly hidden from the world as we try our best not to let other people see the experiences and scars that lay hidden in our minds, hearts and souls.

I call her ‘Watercolour Woman 2012’, the face of the in-between-ness of humanity…

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