We have a story written by one baby boomer, Larry Checco, about another, and the subject of the piece sounds like an extraordinary woman who hasn’t forgotten the roots of our generation.
We all dream. Some of us are fortunate enough to live out our dreams.
Canadian muralist and boomer, Maureen Walton, both lives and paints hers. And her well of artistic inspiration comes from a lifetime of personal and spiritual experiences.
Touring Europe … working in Australia … surviving hair-raising adventures in Papua New Guinea’s steamy jungles…. working with Inuits, indigenous people of northern Canada who live in the frigid Arctic Circle … finally settling into a world of spiritual being.
A self-taught artist, Maureen worked as an animator and illustrator before moving into the fine arts. At age 50 she turned to painting murals — some as large as a hundred feet long and ten feet tall!
Over the last 15 years she has painted more than 300 works, many of which she has done on the walls of grade schools in her native Ontario, where she encourages children to participate in her art.
“It’s never too late — or too early — to start,” she says. “And if my knees and shoulders hold out, I hope to continue my work well into my 70s.”
I first met Maureen in Perth, Australia, in 1972. We were among a serendipitously formed, relatively small nomadic tribe of ‘70s seekers, all of whom eventually were blown to the four winds. Maureen and I lost track of each other for nearly 40 years, until she found me on Facebook about eight months ago.
Recently my wife Laurie and I visited Maureen in the tiny rural township of Lonsdale, Ontario, about 2 1/2 hours east of Toronto, where she has “chosen to live solo” (she has two grown children, artists in their own right) on a couple of mostly wooded acres in a house she designed. Nearly every wall of her home is decorated with her powerful and inspiring murals.
Verging on the metaphysical doesn’t begin to explain our visit with Maureen. And we learned quickly that she is no mean – (as in average) spirited woman!
Hidden in her woods is an authentic Mongolian yurt that, in her words, “has become a sacred space for women to remember and practice the ancient traditions of the Moon Lodge.” She is an official member of the global Red Tent Movement and provides space on her property “for women to reconnect to the real significance of the creation energies of their wombs, and to gather in good energies for all.”
You see, in addition to being an artist, Maureen is a spiritualist rooted in shamanism, the belief that we all have the potential to access the “clairs,” as she calls them, as in clair voyant, clair sentient, clair audio, etc, the ultimate goal of which, she says, “is to become reconnected to nature, wholeness, and balance.”
The spiritual teachers attracted to teach at Maureen’s studio home, which she calls Wyldwood Sojourn, are shamans, yogis, and energy healers.
“One of my favorite teachers,” says Maureen, “is both a musician and dancer who teaches these disciplines as a way to open us to our soulfulness and inner power.”
Maureen is a woman who walks barefoot whenever and wherever she can “to absorb the healing powers of Mother Earth.” She places particular stones under her pillow for their special healing powers, and come late August of this year she’ll help usher in the new cycle of the ancient Mayan calendar.
“You’ve got to do your work,” as in discovering who you are and your place in the world, Maureen told Laurie and me, during the few days we spent with her — relaxed, at ease and at peace — in her magical environment.
The other message we absorbed from our experience with Maureen is: Sleep soundly and dream mightily!