While her roots are in New Zealand and her life is planted in Germany, Danielle ‘Bhavya’ Winter’s heart often takes her to India. Much of her work has been inspired by the experiences she’s had as she travels through that vast landscape.
But the bulk of Danielle’s creations are inspired by a more universal experience: witnessing nature and more specifically, Earth’s moon. The pieces are colourful and sublime, evoking a sense of there being another dimension; shapes connect and interweave with each other as if they are souls coming together.
Here, Danielle speaks about her artistic process, daily rituals, connection and the essence of Her.
How do you usually find inspiration?
I find a sense of continuity and inspiration in light as it shifts throughout the day. I am mesmerised by colour and the movement of organic shapes and forms. Watching leaves shimmy on a branch or wind shaping the clouds returns me to the here and now and to the eternal divinity that is ever-present and always changing.
Inspiration also comes through when I follow my breath and allow stillness to fill my being. I can be inspired by anyone and everyone when my mind is quiet. I find those who have discovered a deep beauty through profound periods of suffering to be important teachers for me – I treasure the work and experience they share.
The literature of the transcendentalists and the mystical art of visionary women painters helps me feel grounded in what I believe is truth and beauty arising from a vibrant inner world. I adore all forms of esoteric meditative tantric art – the simplicity is deeply moving and awakens in me a sense of the unbounded reality all life exists in and comes from – I feel a safe connection to a greater spaciousness when I look at this art form. I feel the same way about sacred teachings on the nature of being and higher consciousness.
What are some rituals you lie to do to get your creative juices flowing?
When I am flooded with thought and agitation and cannot settle into one thing, I just stop myself. I stand still and listen to my inner noise – as soon as I give attention to my energy I can understand what’s going on below the surface. Then I dip into my lovely medicine bag of curatives and apply a tonic. I am usually able to shift gears and find my way to a creative consciousness again.
Love…what does it mean to you?
Love is a verb in practice – as such, Love is when my heart and actions experience no separation. Love is mighty and awesome and encompasses all the glories and joys and sweetness and sorrow.
Where did the idea of the moon-shaped artworks you create come from?
The moon herself gave me my moon artworks – she took me under her wing as I journeyed through a dark night of the soul.
What materials do you use to make your works, and what is the process of creation like?
I use my camera and my laptop. Natural fibre papers and pigment inks are used in the printing of the moon pieces. Creating is beautiful and fulfilling – it’s a sort of sustenance that I need daily. Production can be tiresome because the mind has to come into play, making sure things are printed perfectly, or in my sewn pieces threading the needle can drive me crazy, and sitting for hours scrunching over my sewing materials or laptop creates pain in the body. But not creating is a worse pain – not creating is an agony.
Describe your morning routine?
Every morning I have this sense of needing to recreate the world – of having to re-enter the embodied experience. To some degree I follow the ayurvedic practice of dinacharya upon awakening – I kiss the palm of each hand – this is a sort of blessing for waking up to a new day. I open the windows and welcome the fresh morning air into the space. I drink water. I look at the sky and listen to the birds for a few minutes to attune to the pulse of Life before diving into the rest of my morning routine.
Life is full of triggers and challenges… what healing tools do you like to use when you encounter obstacles?
Becoming quiet is the first step for me when something goes awry – this enables me to find some clarity and then intuitively know how to proceed – what actions to take to change course or better understand the purpose of the obstacle. I will read something that brings me back into the moment, or watch a talk on a spiritual or healing topic that will shed light for me and just sit with the situation. Very often I receive signs in one form or another – in nature or in a dream – so in many ways answers arrive when we are open to the subtle realms.
What piece of advice has always stuck with you?
There are many pieces of advice that have stuck with me, but the statement that “wherever I go there I am” sort of stands out as a great utterance that set me on the inward path to understand and befriend myself… I remember feeling surprised when I first heard this statement, an inescapable sensation settled into my bones that my life path would lead to a knowing of the Self in terms of understanding the soul and the being (me) which have come together for the purpose of this incarnation.
Also, exploring the roots of childhood trauma and working through the layers of this have been a good foundation for all else that arises. I have a strong spiritual nature that wants to just forgive and move on, however, the shadows of unresolved or unexplored trauma will seek the light and will re-emerge again and again for further examination that ultimately brings us to the understanding and healing we need and deserve. It’s a worthy endeavour, as I find the deeper I dig into the soil of my experiences, the purer the joy and love that I experience becomes.
To follow Danielle’s art journey, follow her on Instagram. Or to purchase her works, head to her website, ‘Following The Moon’.