Bravely Vulnerable - Jane Crisp 2017 Painted on Italian handmade paper and framed paper size: 180 x 300mm This piece arrived through an accumulation of a few things, the shape of the paper had me stumped and I'd spent weeks not knowing what to do with it, and at the same time putting it out there that the Universe might show me. The little Piwakawaka flew into my room and circled the ceiling hitting its little head as it swooped around in circles. I was concerned it might hurt itself so I fetched a ladder to rescue it as wide open windows were going unnoticed. The little fragile, yet very forthcoming with its vocals, bird landed upon the HRV unit close to the ceiling and waited calmly as I climbed up, allowing me to gently place my hand around it without any struggle at all. I grabbed the photo opportunity, as any artist would do, and captured a number of quick snaps with my phone camera before I thanked it for the opportunity and released it out the window. Instantly I knew this was my answer to what I'd be painting on the beautiful Italian hand made paper. I wasn't sure why I was so drawn to this image but it felt right, and only a week or so after completing the painting I understood why as the jigsaw pieces fell into place. I like to leave it up to the viewer to interpret their own meanings from my work, as we all perceive differently through our own eyes and accumulation of experiences, and will connect with a piece for different reasons, but sometimes I will share the deeper meanings and connections I made personally. As a sensitive who connects to the natural world and Universal energies, I have found I've needed to keep this part of my self hidden from the world through fear of judgement. Recently though I've decided authenticity is far more important and unveiling the parts of me I have protected in the past has become a matter of importance if I am going to step up and show up to my work completely. Although, I have found in practicing this, I have experienced intense feelings of vulnerability. On looking more deeply into being vulnerable I have discovered this has more strength than weakness. The teachings of Brene Brown have assisted in this understanding. Being OK with being vulnerable has been my mission. I have had to work on throwing my inhibitions out the window and learning to be brave with showing the world the real me, the spiritual me, the me that has been the strongest and largest part of me yet I have hidden from many as I did not wish to feel the rejection. Being bravely vulnerable is about being at ease within a society that has the ability to hold you gently or crush you to death, depending on your own perspective. Just as the little fantail in my painting sat bravely and confidently knowing I was there to help and to lift and to free its little vulnerable self, it showed no struggle and trusted its instincts as my hand enveloped it, a hand it had never met before with the strength to crush it or to rescue it, the little Piwakawaka trusted and that trust paid off with freedom.