A Journey of the Heart with Sue Hoya Sellars: The Beginning

TreeSnake Goddess: She Who Calls painting

Sue Hoya Sellars was, and is, my mentor and teacher. She is now dancing in the cosmos and I may only see her in my dreams now. I can sense her standing next to me reminding to get my butt into the studio and WORK. That being an artist is my job. And I need to pick up my brush, see the world around me, and manifest into being that which wants to come through.

This sense of her is a comfort to my heart – to feel this as the tears run down my cheeks and I protest to the universe that it was too soon, that I wanted to paint with Sue one more time, that this can’t be happening. To both let her go and be so angry and in sorrow.

I first met Sue several years ago in a painting class with Shiloh Sophia McCloud Lewis - a woman I consider one of my spiritual teachers because she has this amazing ability to just keep opening doors I need to walk through. Shiloh’s inquiries have shaped my life again and again.

It was the second Art as a Sacred Painting class I took with Shiloh and Sue came along to mentor and guide and work with those in the class. The class was part of a graduate school and the students were masters and Ph.D. students. We were all already immersed in deep work and the class was welcomed as a way to dig even deeper.

That weekend was intense for me on several levels. I was in severe pain from a torn muscle structure in my pelvis which had destabilized my entire pelvic girdle - the foundation of my body. I was moving through deep transformative spiritual waters journeying frequently as Spirit guided me to recreate myself. I experienced a strong kundalini healing the evening between the two days of painting class (you can read more about it in my thesis: Unearthing My Mother).  And so, I had come to paint this transformation onto canvas, with intention, with my feet between the worlds.

Woman Transforming Sword painting

My painting came through partially on the first day and then felt as stuck as my hip and back. Sue worked with me on her face, the way she was looking back over her shoulder. The way she was really a tree and a snake and a goddess. She showed me how to glaze back part of the face to help it turn away from me. She had me paint bark by seeing what was in the strokes I had already placed on the canvas. It was an entirely new way of seeing deeply into what was manifesting on my canvas. Her patience with me, her willingness to share her brushes, to honor what I was trying to bring through were a gift of pure love I tucked into my heart for safekeeping.

Life moved on and my journey continued. Painting became the way I processed and healed and learned and opened my doors. I painted my way through the following summer and came that fall into Shiloh’s class hoping she would say yes to doing an independent study with me. Sue was once again with her helping with the class.

During the lunch break, I lined up the paintings I had completed. One of them is the painting to the left, Woman Transforming Sword, which Sue loved. While Sue crouched down and looked closely at each one, I talked to Shiloh. Sue came over as I asked my crucial-to-my-heart question: would she take me on for an independent study? Shiloh looked at me, looked at Sue, then looked back at me and said, I think you should do it with Sue.

I remember standing there in shock. Sue? She must be kidding. Sue was a master artist and I’d only been painting for a few months. Then, Sue said, yes I agree. Or something like that.

Then she proceeded to talk about my paintings and what she liked and asking me what I wanted to work on. I think I muttered incoherently a few times in response. I really cannot remember as I was dazed – because you see my heart was exploding inside of me in joy.

That moment changed my entire life. Yes, there is more to the story and I will share it soon. For now, this is where it begins….

in red thread and creation, Annette