The Ecstasy of Feeling Free

by | February 11, 2014 | Articles, Visual Artists

The Ecstasy of Feeling Free (c) Joan Marie

The Ecstasy of Feeling Free (c) Joan Marie

by Joan Marie – As a college student, I was awestruck by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. Profoundly moved, I thought if art can be that powerful, I must be a part of it. From that day it has been my purpose to visually express this positive explosive energy within me. I received my BFA in painting from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and my MFA from Lindenwood University in St. Louis and the University of South Florida in Tampa.

My art career began with inspired ethereal drawings. Within months, these drawings received national and international agency representation. As a result, my work was licensed by multiple companies for 15 years, gracing dozens of book and magazine covers, and purchased by hundreds of private collections around the world.

Three of my pictures were in LFA’s The Angel Show [which ran 12/4/09 – 1/3/10]. The technique I use is colored pencil on paper, with some airbrushing. The  pieces on exhibit were limited edition Giclée prints of the originals.

“Ecstasy of Feeling Free” is the earliest piece. It was created about 20 years ago, in 1990. There was tension in my life. Seeking solutions, I found that figures with wings — angels, butterflies, fairies, birds — kept appearing as a motif in my artwork, representing my need for freedom. I felt burdened with insecurity, at the same time craving freedom of expression.

A friend of mine was attending a workshop in Sedona, Arizona, and I went with her, just for the weekend, so I thought. I knew nothing about spiritual concepts when I went to Sedona, but after spending the weekend, I knew I had to live there. I was divorced and moved to Sedona in two months; my life of inspiration had begun!

Surrounded by the red rocks of Sedona, I attended a workshop. The teacher was inspired to gather 30 people for 30 days, to eliminate our fears. To attend this workshop, many people had to take a leave of absence from their jobs, spending an intensive month together. Starting with the root chakra, we worked on eliminating fear from each chakra.

The grand finale was walking on hot coals. The group energy created complete trust, love, and relaxation. Walking on coals was a state of both peace and exhilaration. It felt like a natural thing to do.

The next morning, I bounced out of bed, realizing that I had walked on fire the night before. “I can do anything!” I shouted, jumping up and down on my trampoline, exhilarated by the mountains. I was inspired to draw, and “Ecstasy” flowed wildly onto the drawing surface, expressing the fluid, powerful, and peaceful feelings I had. This was my first truly inspired drawing.

“Raphaella” was created for my daughter when she was going through a tough time. I thought, “She needs an archangel to protect and guide her.”  Angels are an expression of God. I feel angel energy around me, lifting me.  Female angels are  protective, loving, and powerful spirits. They are God energy.

Raphaella is the determination to achieve what you’re after, the determination to heal. Twice when I was working on the drawing, I woke up in the middle of the night and wiped out different parts of the face on the drawing, till I got it right, till it was speaking to me of this determination and intense will.

“Blissful Heart” is the most recent piece, created in 2008. It represents all the inner work I’ve done. It shows the freedom you feel when you give of yourself. The more love you give, the more love you feel, and the better life is. You feel powerful, peaceful, and beautiful. This is life at its fullest, complete ecstasy.

Every piece of my art is about spiritual growth. Every painting is a different lesson I have learned and strength I have gained. It shows the phases and stages we go through to attain our God-like stance in the world. Every painting represents a different characteristic we need to feel the oneness with God. Marianne Williamson said there is only love and fear. Freedom is about releasing fear. When we release our fears, we can be pure love.

Joan Marie’s goal is for her art to uplift, to soar and to express the truth of life as she experiences it. She has been a featured artist in several of LFAC’s exhibits. See more of her artwork at

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