to live it all

Julie and Stella in March 2015.

Originally published 8/25/17.

“To Live it All” is a painting I started at the studio of Jerome Gastaldi, Villa con Cuore (Villa with Heart), in Fallbrook, CA in June 2017.

When I returned to Coeur de Rose in July and started working it from my own studio on the edge of the vast summer prairie sky, the piece received a new direction and became the first in a new collection I later named “The Heart Goes On.”

The primary ingredient in my life that informed the initiation of this collection was my own grief. I was walking with the death of my beloved Stella — my constant companion since I adopted her at age 8 in 2010. She had accompanied me to CA and was a faithful companion on the road and in the studio until June 30 when our earthly journey together ended.

I decided to leave CA after her passing and began the road trip home without her, dreading my arrival at Coeur de Rose which had been defined and ordered by Stella’s presence at my side. I didn’t know how I could be in this sacred space without her and yet I knew that I would. 

Painting without her by my side was the invitation “to live it all.”

And so I did. 

The silence, the memory of where she lay, the shifting mood in the sky. The layers of good weather mixed with bad, broken by blue. A blue and mournful heart. Breaking blue as I accepted it exactly as it was, exactly how I felt. Tear drops and rain drops and my waking up to a place that will never be the same, but continues to hold endless beauty.

Julie Ann Stevens

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