Ana's Thought: "Art possesses a limitless field of possibility within creation through the total freedom of choice."
Each day, the world wakes up and bursts into bloom, the sunrise promising to us through its radiance that the hours to come hold dazzling opportunities. In our finest moments, we bottle the brightness of the morning sun inside our souls so that it may shine out from us. This illumination is what grants us the ability to look beyond the darkness of life and persevere, resilient in the face of trouble and uncertainty. The night must exist to remind us that all darkness passes. And when we share the light within us, we offer the grace of the Universal Spirit to others. We become mirrors of the brilliance of a beautiful world.
Each day, I wake up delighted. The bright sun smiles upon me and I cannot help but to return its joy, so full of the thrill of being alive. The light that my soul catches is poured into my art, my gift to all. I am blessed because each of my days is spent doing what I love the most. I experience pure happiness as I create, and I set to task with the energy and glee of a child. I hope that those who look upon my paintings and sculptures are ignited with the same excitement that sparks my work.
During the past year, I have aimed to share my passion with an audience that spans the globe throughLove & Peace. In this artistic journey, I have placed my vibrant, immense sculptures of poppies in public spaces and museums around the world, from London's Park Lane to Shenzhen, China. Their larger-than-life petals catch both the light that falls upon them and the reflections of those who have come to admire, making the surrounding world part of the exhibition.
I have created these joyous flowers as gathering spaces between the nations of the world, beacons of inspiration for all searching souls. As they travel to more lands and reflect more wonder, I hope that those who spend time with them are reminded that the possibilities for masterpieces can be found everywhere, within us all. We must simply keep our eyes open and let their brilliance shine upon us.
The birth of each day is the rebirth of our hearts. Cast your worries off into the night; do not hang your head in sorrow when you lie down to sleep. The morning is a fresh start if we choose to take it. What will you create today? Start on your masterpiece!
Ana's Thought: "Great Art is born for the benefit of all Humanity from the Universal Spirit of Love."
Earlier this month, I was honoured to host a reception for the 57th UN Commission on the Status of Women at my Gallery in New York. So many bright minds and giving hearts converged for a night brimming with genuine hope, marked by the opening of critical dialogue about the sanctity of women's rights. A collection of my portraits capturing the struggles and triumphs of real women and girls around the world served as witness to the work of devoted stewards - those gracious individuals who are bringing us all into light. Such dedicated souls united out of love for their fellow denizens of this beautiful Earth, true delegates of global Love & Peace. I extend my most sincere thanks to UN Women, Roz Abrams, Don McPherson, Linda Fairstein, and all CSW participants - you have brought me and so many others joy.
There is one particular aspect of UN Women's efforts that has resonated deeply within me. In celebration of International Women's Day, the organization released a touching video for a song entitled "One Woman." Performed by dozens of talented female musicians from lands near and far, the song is a rallying cry, a glimpse of how divinity touches us when we are bound by the collaboration of our souls. The song has since spread from heart to heart, leaping over borders and all of the things that struggle to separate us, lifted by the immense power of universal truth.
"One Woman" is a precious gift: to young girls, it provides the spirit by which their potential will blossom, and to women, it is a poignant reminder of how none of us suffer alone. To all people, it showcases the fantastic ability of creative pursuits to draw awareness to life's most important matters; one cannot turn a blind eye to such striking and stirring force. The artists who contributed are unique and irreplaceable pieces of our world, a world in dire need of their genius and generosity - just as we all are so needed.
March is Women's History Month. Before the calendar page turns, I encourage all to search within themselves to discover how their talents and interests can serve those whose will has been snatched away. Through innovation and drive, we will see the day in which all can live free of darkness and fear, blooming with their faces to the sun. And when you are moved by the progress you've made in a changed world around you, sing from your heart - you will find that you are in harmony with creation and at peace with your soul.
Ana's Thought: "Art awakens the soul to the beauty of the Universe."
When we unweave the braided fabric of history, our hands fill with the shimmering threads of experience that bind our past to our present. Any belief or practice we consider familiar was once a burst of insight in the mind of another. And so brilliance is born and reborn with each new day, a sun that rises with promise after each sunset.
Art trains our eyes to look beyond shapes and the names we have given them, blessing us with a shared universal language. Along with nature, it provides humanity with a timeless definition of beauty. When we call to mind the most magnificent night sky, many would likely envision Van Gogh's "Starry Night." Our memories of gorgeous flowers are filled with Monet's soft sprawl and O'Keeffe's exquisite studies. These pieces remain with us, housed in the private museums of our hearts, as the truest teachers of beauty we have.
The masters of art share their personal concepts of beauty in each scene they build on canvas, inviting us to make them our own. What art lover has not felt at home in the marvelous parties and countryside vistas of Renoir, or wished to travel to the tranquil seaside moments that Cassatt captured? We carry these soothing scenes with us in our lives, marrying them to our own experiences and giving them even deeper meaning.
Poussin and Gaugin took this viewer immersion even further, wrapping real places in myth: not only were their works representations of their own worlds, they were the artists' distinct interpretation of the Greek pastoral paradise of Arcadia. Art is the lens through which we see our surroundings for not only what they are, but for what they could be, granting us sight beyond vision.
Artists and writers are charged with the heavy but delicate responsibility of building the foundations upon which the dreams of the world take shape: writers give us words to describe our visions and artists give us pictures to make them tangible. These dreams - and, in turn, the art that inspires them - provide the soul with solace and sanctuary. They inspire hope within us, reminding us that there is more to living than the sufferings of our days, and more to the world than what we see around us. Even when all seems dark, we preserve this beauty in our minds, where it will always remain untarnished. In doing so, we create our own bright Paradise, invincible to the ravages of time - a shelter we go to in Life's storms.
Ana's Thought: "Your Art will find its own path - just do it, and you will find peace."
To young artists first picking up their pencils and paintbrushes, the idea of creating can seem so daunting. For every ounce of enthusiasm you carry, there creeps a shadow of uncertainty - and with so many masters before you, gazing down from hallowed museum walls, you may be tempted to not bother, to quit before you start!
I have spoken with many aspiring creators about their fears and dreams within art, and their struggles are often ones I have shared. But in my many years of practicing art full-time, I have collected precious pearls of insight that have guided me along the path of growth. I wish to share with you a handful of these drops of wisdom, as they provide me with the courage to create with my fullest passion.
Inspiration will come to you with the force, brilliance, and speed of lightning - you must be quick to catch its charge! Ideas can escape from you within a blink, depriving you of the opportunity to grant them the fullness of life. Be ever receptive to the glimmering, dancing world around you. Live through each of your senses at all times, and absorb all you can. The events and scenes you encounter are captured quietly and will develop within you.
When you set to work, let your hands move fluidly. Act upon your impulses so that you create organic shapes that look as natural as they feel. Get lost in the motion and the action; inhabit the processes of your work, where nothing can disturb you. Do not let the mind interfere with the purity of this divine process, as it will only hinder this meditation of the soul that results in the birth of true beauty.
Do not trouble yourself with accuracy, how your creation compares against reality. Exact copies of subjects lack the fingerprint of the unique being who created it. Look to the greatest masterpieces in history - we praise innovation and heart over realism.
There is no critique or contrarian opinion whose sting is stronger than that of inactivity, the choice to not create. Always, always work through your desires, even when they overwhelm you - there are few greater rewards than the relief and victory of completing pieces that challenge you.
Recall always that there is the magic of possibility within you, the potential that blesses us all. Respect this miraculous gift by using it graciously, and give thanks for it by sharing it with others. Trust in yourself and in the guiding hand of the universe - do not be afraid, for only sweetness will follow when art emerges from your heart. You are a true original!