Friday, October 9, 2015

Igniting the Primordial Fire: A Guest Post by Annalisa Barelli

Welcome to guest blogger Annalisa Barelli, who lives and works on Washington state's Olympic Peninsula. Through her visual art, writing, teaching, and activism, she exemplifies what can happen when art, nature, and advocacy link arms.

Autumn Sea (2009) mixed media on wood

Life is a collection of moments. Even when we gaze outward from earth into the depths of space, we find history reflected in the stars. Sitting on the edge of a mountain, I contemplate my place. The mountain was birthed millions of years prior to my existence, erected from fiery eruption, chiseled by glacier, smoothed by tide. As I rest upon the basalt rock, I feel into all of the moments that have made my own life possible. It is a lineage so long that faces and places disappear into the void, like the uncharted galaxies above. In this expansive view, the separateness that my mind constructs fades and I am returned to a place of connection.

Within The Flame (2015) mixed media on canvas
Walking down the mountain, I no longer can tell where the ground meets my feet or where history ends and I begin, yet in the vacancy of my unknowing I am more alive and more in awe with simply being. I am not a separate self, contemplating the world for meaning; I am part of a much larger expression. And it is here, reconnected to the essence of creation, that I am flooded with the color, vision, and feeling that seeds the growth of my art.

She, Untitled (2012) mixed media print of watercolor and digital alteration on paper
Nature has a way of igniting the inner primordial fire. The spark within that loves deep, beyond cognitive reasoning or any need to possess, into the core of life itself where creativity thrives. With receptivity and trust, the colors and images emerge and there is little room for control. For me, making art has always been a practice of attuning and allowing. In many ways I don’t feel like the creator, but rather a witness to creation. 

Through the Veil (2015) mixed media of acrylic, gouache and gold pigment on canvas              
It is my belief that the role of art is to challenge the mundane and carry visions farther, to bring together what was once perceived as separate, and to make each moment as beautiful as possible. The word inspiration at its root means to breathe. Just as the spark needs a wind to ignite the flame, our lives need inspiration for sustenance. For me, the greatest responsibility of art is legacy. It is not significant that the paintings or stories live on long after I am gone. What is most important is that I live colorfully, moment to moment, leaving my own unique mark on the world around me. 

 Creative Fire (2014) illustration of watercolor, gouache and ink on paper

I hold firm to the belief that we are all artists because we are all expressions of creation. When we open to our inherent nature, our moments become the canvas, the stories, and the songs. When we connect to that inner fire and recognize our own life as an expression of a much bigger creative force, we add more to the present moment. Our presence is transformed into a living, breathing art that endures long after we've left our mark. 

Annalisa Barelli is a visual artist, writer, and environmental activist. She resides on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State where she creates, teaches, and inspires. She is involved with the Protect the Olympic Peninsula group; learn more on her blogpost Activism as Art. You can visit her website at and purchase her work at