The Madness of Mis #2

The Madness of Mis ~ original oil on cradled panel 24″ diameter

So here’s the painting that emerged from the sketch in my previous post.

I’d been super busy ignoring all the physical signs of burnout. I’d started practicing yoga, and meditating every day, getting up super early, just to fit it in…I’d convinced myself that everything was fine, that it would get better if I just made me better. On the outside, my life was great. Sweet husband, awesome kids, successful business…it looked pretty perfect. So I thought it was my fault. I just needed to learn how to cope and I thought yoga and meditation would help. But the reality was that life was getting hard. I worked between 12 and 15 hours a day. On my days “off”, I forced myself to paint, because that’s my passion, and I started having trouble sleeping. I was having panic attacks in my sleep, and horrible nightmares. I ended up in the emergency room with crazy heart stuff. And then the Wild Woman showed up.

She will unravel you. She will strip away everything that doesn’t serve you and throw your own shit in your face. She is all about getting real, about truth, tears, rage, blood…all of the things. She won’t let you settle for less than who you were born to be. She won’t let you make lame excuses anymore. She won’t put up with anyone standing in your way. Everything you thought was real will be torn to shreds until you are naked and vulnerable, standing in your truth. Like her sister, the Full Moon behind her, she will force you to look into the deepest, darkest parts of yourself, to find the gold that is hidden there What have you been ignoring?

Sharon Blackie has a few incredibly insightful things to say about the Wild Women Archetype: ” … Mis is the original wild woman, that archetypal madwoman who lives deep within each of us. She speaks for us all: for the rage which we cannot express, for the grief which eats our heart out, for the voices we have suppressed out of fear. This old story shows us a brutal descent into darkness during which all illusions are stripped away and old belief systems evaporate, and in doing so it suggests that the extremities of madness or mental breakdown, with their prolonged, out-of-control descent into the unknown, might offer us a path through which we can come to terms with the truth. Like other legendary geilta (the Irish word for madwomen) Mis is driven to extremity in her grief, shape-shifting into bird form, flying away into the hills and woods, growing fur and feathers, eating wild and raw food, leaving the intolerable world behind her. But a geilt cannot emerge from her madness and come back to the world until she has achieved some kind of personal transformation. Through her ordeal – her removal from society and her time spent in the wilderness – she must find a way to reclaim a more authentic sense of identity and belonging. She finds it with the help of a man; she finds it in the union of the masculine and feminine.” She also has an amazing retelling of Mis’ story over here: https://sharonblackie.net/the-wild-woman-in-irish-myth/

I highly recommend it.



The Madness of Mis

Around 1947, renowned psychologist Carl Jung, defined a series of archetypes which represent the universal, inborn modes of people, behaviors, or personalities that play a role in influencing human behaviour. He had extensively studied the myths of many different cultures and came to understand that our ancestral roots and mythologies have a huge impact on the collective unconscious, which manifests in images with intense emotional meaning that express the relational primacy of human life. Even in modern times, these particular archetypes come up time and again, in our movies, our art, our books, and our own personalities.

Since starting to work from my imagination, or from the images that seem to be being presented to me, because it doesn’t feel like my imagination, I’m starting to understand that they definitely seem to be stemming from these archetypes and their timing is relevant to certain things that may be alive in me when they’re presented.

This image presented itself about a week ago…I’d been experiencing such a low time…HUGE menopausal mood swings, huge doubt about the path my life was on, intense brain fog, and a real inability to process stress. I was crying over everything, happy or sad, and was almost unable to work. In short, I felt like her. This picture of a crazy woman with sticks and leaves in her tangled hair, face stained from crying, covered in dirt and fur, raven’s feathers sprouting from her back followed me around for days. And then I read Sharon Blackie’s post, The Wild Woman in Irish Myth, https://sharonblackie.net/the-wild-woman-in-irish-myth/, and I realized, this was her. This was Mis. MIND BLOWN! The synchronicity of it was too much to be coincidental and I started to piece together the puzzle pieces between our own internal images, and how they can help us process trauma, work with our shadow for healing, and just deal with stress in everyday situations. This might just turn into an Art Therapy Project!


Danu ~ 24" x 30" oil on gallery wrap
Copyright Tahirih Goffic, 2021
Danu ~ 24″x 30″ oil on gallery wrap
Copyright Tahirih Goffic, 2021

After hanging this on the wall at my cafe, a friend asked, “Who is She?” I honestly had no answer for him. I wasn’t sure. She was just there, in my head, and I hadn’t put much thought into the who. So I sat down later that week and meditated on the question. I got this:

I am Danu, Mother of the Gods,

I am wild mother Nature,

I am your Creativity and Magic,

I am your Intuition and Wisdom,

I am Water and Wind,

Fertility and Death.

I was here at the beginning and I’ll be here at the end.

Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book “Big Magic”, talks about the possibility of ideas being their own “disembodied, energetic, life form…completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us.” She believes that the only way they can be “made manifest in the world, is thorough collaboration with a human partner…therefore, ideas spend eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners.”

When it comes to this particular painting, I believe that must be true, because she was suddenly there, fully painted, in my mind. I wasn’t wondering what to paint or looking for ideas…she just presented herself. This has not been my typical way of working. I usually work from a photograph, and I would rarely paint something unless I was fairly sure that it would sell. I told myself that at least I was painting subject matter that I loved, and I’d at least change the lighting or layout, to make it my own, or look more creative. But more and more often I’ve been feeling that I’m missing the point, that something truly authentic wants to come through, and I’m finding this a lot less satisfying.

I had decided when I was only 6, that I would be an artist when I grew up, and I spent my days drawing fantastical images out of my imagination; of pegasus and dragons, unicorns, knights and princesses. But then one day, when I was still quite young, probably 15 or so, a relative paid me $100 to draw a portrait of his children. I realized that I could make money with it, and sadly, ever since then, my sole purpose has been to make a living with my art. It began as a possible escape from poverty, and then turned into a possible escape from the daily grind of working a 9-5 job.

At last, I don’t feel the need to make money from my art. I’m not so concerned if it sells right away or not. The cafe is fulfilling enough, and brings enough income in that I don’t feel that huge need for escape, and my mind is free. I’m letting go of a lot of blocks and fear, meditating and spending huge amount of time in nature. Finally, the messages are getting through 🙂

Fire in the Mountains

Fire in the Mountains 9″ x 12″ oil on canvas $200

One of the most striking features of the Bella Coola Valley, where I live, are the mountains. They soar up to as much as 9,000 feet surrounding us in a narrow valley only about  1.5 km wide at the most. (Correct me if I’m wrong, locals!!) On the valley floor it seems next to impossible to capture the magnificence of their high peaks, and I’m not one of those brave enough to scale their massive heights. I’m more of a day hiker! But the son of a friend of mine is one of those brave kids, whose Instagram is drool worthy. He graciously allowed me to use his photo. Check out his beautiful photos and adventures at @jortuck… 

This one is fresh off the easel and finally dry. Most days, my art making routine is very similar.  I first pull myself an Americano, light an incense, put on some weird Viking music from The Last Kingdom or Vikings, and then lay out my paint. I use a limited palette of Gamblin oils, usually titanium white, cad yellow light, cad yellow medium, cad red, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna (cuz I’m too lazy to mix browns and it greys down the blue nicely for mountain colours) and titanium white. I use brushes from Rosemary and Company, their set called Alla Prima. They have the BEST brushes. I then stain my canvas with a thin wash of burnt sienna, build a value map, and start laying in color.

This piece is for sale as part of the  Covid #ArtistsSupportPledge. We artists will put up works for $200 or less, and once we make $1,000.00, we pledge to buy a piece from another artist for $200 or less. I’m happy to say, I made my $1,000 and was able to purchase a piece from Dana Statham, an artist friend from Vancouver Island, who I actually met in Kenmare, Ireland! But that’s another story entirely. Make sure to go to and check out her beautiful paintings as well.

Cycles and Creativity

I’m grateful for this incredible Valley where I’m luck enough to live. This is from one of my daily nature walks.

Finally, the New Moon is here! It feels like the difficult time I had in May is over. A new cycle has begun. I’ve never really considered myself a New Agey person, although I’ve always been extra intuitive, have dreams that come true years later and I’m super sensitive to subtle energy shifts in people around me. For years I’ve struggled with being overflowing with happiness and energy for half the month, but then suddenly lacking energy, focus, and creativity, sometimes to the point of illness. In my twenties, doctors suggested that I was “borderline bi-polar” and I struggled with chronic depression. Finally, I started to journal and keep track of when this was happening.

I’m grateful for the peace and serenity here, and for that big, black dog, Captain, who forces me to get outside, even if I’m being lazy.

I thought a lot about cycles, how we’re really just animals living on this planet where every other living thing is influenced by the cycles. First I tracked the obvious, my own monthly cycles and researched about hormonal changes over the course of ovulation, etc…and things started falling into place. But then, I realized that my own monthly cycles were synced up more or less with the cycles of the moon, which led me to more and more research. To the point where I can now almost guess what sign the moon is in, and if it’s almost full or almost new, or if it’s gone void, without even looking, just by my emotional state. It’s liberating. I don’t feel damaged anymore, just human. A perfectly human animal, in sync with this amazing planet and it’s heavenly bodies. Does that make me woo-woo? New Agey? Or really, can we somehow all begin to accept that we are a part of something so much bigger, that we’re not separate from, but with which our lives are inextricably entwined.

I’m eternally grateful that the Creator gifted me with
my two amazing children…this is my eldest, Jacob. He’s so handsome!!

The New Moon is about setting intentions and letting go of what doesn’t serve you from the previous moon cycle. My intentions for this cycle are to get out of my own way. To stop being afraid of showing people who I am, through my art, or my business or otherwise.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson

…and my very own Faerie Queen, Rhiannon. She glows like this all on her own, and is definitely one of the Fae folk.

I hope that what I write and paint will inspire people to shine their own light, write down their thoughts and feelings, paint some pictures. I hope that we can all begin to see what a gift nature has given us, honour hers and our cycles, and nurture it and nurture each other. I’m so grateful to her, I’m so grateful for us. I’m grateful for the pause that the horror which is Corona-virus has given us all, at the same time as I’m heart-sickeningly worried for the people that it is hurting, either with the illness, or with financial instability, or their inability to escape violent parents or spouses. We’ve been shown our vulnerability. We’ve been shown our shadow.

May you all be happy, healthy and safe.

Help me pick a name!!

Help give me a name!!

I created this little guy as a request from one of my Etsy shop customers, but I can’t think of a name for him! I’m going to add him to the shop soon as a physical print, and I’m in the process of setting up a new section where you can buy my cute watercolour animals as an instant download. You’ll be able to print them yourself and don’t have to spend time sitting around waiting for mail to arrive! You can follow my shop here for updates.

A Little Sunshine for a Rainy Day

A Little Sunshine for a Rainy Day. 5″ x 7″ oil on panel $75 each or $200 for all three

It’s raining. Not just drips and drops…torrents. I’m feeling restless and antsy this month. Tied down and trapped. I want to travel and see new things and be inspired. I’m sick of corona-virus. At first I was happy for the extra time away from having to work for a living, to actually create, but the longer this strangeness goes on, the more I’m sick of myself and my moods, my indecision and my lack of ability to commit to any one thing artistically. My brain is everywhere now and I can’t decide if I want to paint mountains, or animals, or flowers, or my daughter…watercolour, oils, plein-air, still life…so here I sit. I’ve spent all day trying to learn how to build an online presence, how to promote my work.  I’ve ignored these things because I had to work.  Now I have the time, but my brain hurts from information overload. My butt hurts from sitting all day! I really haven’t gotten very far,  and all I really want to do is paint. All of the advice out there says to be real, to connect with others and be vulnerable, pick a theme and stick to it. Vulnerability and decisiveness…neither are my strong point. I was inadvertently taught to be invisible. To be quiet and not bother people with my problems. I was a bullied, shy and timid kid. The only way I knew how to get the attention I wanted was to shut up, make pretty pictures,  and learn how to do everything myself.

I don’t think many people know how many hours and days artists sit at the computer, tearing their hair instead of painting. It’s certainly not all romance and fairy tales. And I’m not usually a grumpy person!

April was blissful. Endless stretches of time off. Spring exploding around me everywhere, off the charts summer temperatures. I got outside and painted, I painted still lifes if the weather was bad, I took a course with Dennis Perrin. I planted a garden for the first time in years. It’s been productive and meaningful. But May hit me with a ton of bricks. I’m all over the map. Everything that I thought I knew last month seems to be flipped on its head. I wonder if it’s the collective consciousness, or the fact that a whole bunch of planets went into retrograde this month? Whatever it is, it seems like a lot of people, especially creatives, are feeling this way.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m so grateful for so many things: a supportive and wonderful spouse, brilliant and loving kids, a home in the country with hardly any restrictions due to corona-virus. I live in the wilderness enveloped by beauty with bears and wildlife at my doorstep, surrounded by waterfalls and mountains. I walk in the woods every day. These are definitely first world problems I’m dealing with! And I know that I’m my own worst enemy.

Marie Forleo, a fantastic business and life coach I have followed in the past says that “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.” I’m finding this to be so true. As soon as I actually commit to a course of action, and absorb myself in it, all of the confusion goes away. Even writing this blog post has helped. How’s that for a dose of ‘vulnerability’. And yesterday, needing a little kick in the butt, I decided to do the “Paint a bunch of Sunflowers” Daily Paintworks Challenge.  So I painted these three little guys. They’re only 5″ x 7″ oil on panel and canvas board, respectively, but will easily pop into any little photo frame if you take out the glass. I’m only asking $75 CAD each or $200 for all three, and shipping is free.

I hope you all are finding some resolution and joy in these strange times, and that you’re all safe and well.

Is anyone else out there feeling like this? I’d love to hear from you!

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn ~ 6″ x 6″ oil on hardwood panel

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn, the epitome of woman, the bombshell…she always supported women and celebrated their successes. She’s been a favorite of mine to paint, and this is my second little painting of her. I’m playing with thick paint again in this one, which makes it a bit more difficult to scan. As usual, it looks better in real life! This painting goes up for auction at 12 am CST, at https://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/1046367

Going Away

I’m absolutely thrilled to have finished this painting, for the second time. The first time was a little 6″ x 6″ panel that I sold on DailyPaintworks, way too quickly and way too cheaply! I’ve missed it ever since. Some images stick with you for life, and this is one of them. I have to admit, it is not my own, and I so gratefully borrowed it with permission from HaoJanChang on Flickr. I fell in love with it when I saw it, and had to paint it immediately. It speaks to me of longing, of nostalgia, of yearning and mystery. Ever since it sold, I’ve wanted to do a larger version, and maybe keep it for myself. Unless there is someone out there who loves it more than me!

It’s oil on 16″ x 16″ cradled panel, an inch and a half thick. It shows some nice juicy brushstrokes, and the color is better in real life. I hope you love it!

Help for Australia!

Koala Fundraiser – signed Fine Art Giclée Print, 8 x 10 inch

As many of you are, I find myself distressed and horrified by the terrible state of emergency that Australia is in, and the horrible impact that the fires are having on the wildlife there. I’ve decided to create a series of Australian wildlife portraits in watercolor, for which 60% of the profit from the sale of the prints will be donated to WIRES (https://www.wires.org.au/donate/emergency-fund)

You can buy prints directly from my Etsy Shop at https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/773900355/cute-koala-watercolor-nursery-print?ref=shop_home_feat_4