In this encore episode I’m sharing a conversation with Linda Laino, an artist, writer and teacher who has been making art in one form or another for over 35 years.

Holding an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, she enjoys playing with words as much as form and color.

Since 2012, she has resided in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where the surreal atmosphere and sensuous colors have wormed their way into her paintings.

Finding beautiful things on the ground is a favorite pastime.

Things we chatted about in this episode:

the myth of Sisyphus

  • On being always intrigued by the story
  • how Sisyphus scorning the gods appeals to the rebel in her
  • his sentence of pushing a big giant boulder up the hill for the rest of his life – his labour/struggle to forever be sentenced to pushing it up the hill then watching it go back down, and starting over
  • loves Albert Camus’ interpretation of Sisyphus 
  • how it can be a happy struggle – the struggle of life
  • how this idea of constantly ending and beginning again is also very Buddhist, and considering the moment of walking down to retrieve the rock to start pushing it back up and how it’s the moment of consciousness
  • the in between the breath point of an inhale/exhale cycle, and how this myth speaks to the absurdity of life
  • how it’s part of our life as humans, to struggle every day in different ways, and being happy in that struggle is a nice way to view it
  • how whatever we emphasize is what we realize
  • having been a meditation practitioner for a long time – how our struggles are our thing – when we think our difficulties are not really our life – but if we remember that the struggles and difficulties are part of our live – we can change our view of our struggles and learn and transform through it
  • recognizing that everything we do has a place in our lives, something to show us
  • how struggle is necessary – it teaches us to be resilient

relationship with creativity

  • on how creativity is everything
  • has been making art her whole life – has known she wanted to be an artist since she was 11
  • went to art school, has made being an artist the focus of her life – everything else has been in service to that
  • making and immersing self in art on a daily basis – it’s not just about making a product but about living creatively
  • living creatively in the world involves being aware of surroundings, what she’s touching, seeing, hearing because all of those things come into play in your work
  • Mary Oliver’s poem – ‘pay attention and tell about it’
  • how creativity is about sharing and understanding that she can make lots of paintings/products, but it’s also about sharing the experience, that it’s about the process for artists, and being her best self when painting – and that that gets transferred to the viewer of the finished painting
  • the artwork needs to be seen in order for the process to be completed
  • a huge part of artmaking is making sure that it gets shared, because it creates dialogue too, and it’s how we connect as humans
  • how sharing and knowing about how your art touches others, and vice versa, helps us keep going as artists
  • on the experience of not being able to not be an artist – ‘I can’t not do it’
  • on having a very simple life – single with grown child – has so much time compared to carving out creative time as a younger woman
  • how she used to worry about running out of things to say and share – now realizes she will never live long enough to make all of the images and ideas she has
  • no longer worries about rejections anymore – has gotten so many rejections over the years – the positive stuff starts to build too, and confidence grows
  • how getting older means you care less, and how there are less barriers mentally – getting older has meant getting braver

relationship with body

  • On  having so much gratitude for her body
  • in a serious car accident at the age of 29/30 – changed her life and body forever – long recovery in the hospital
  • the accident made her more aware of her body
  • after her accident she became very interested in the body – looking at her own xrays, anatomy books – became fascinated with the body in that way, and started to incorporate that in her paintings
  • loves looking at organs and the insides of our body – such beautiful forms
  • studying anatomy and the body connects her to nature
  • getting older and experiencing aging and things breaking down but because of her accident and how it caused a lot of pain and debilitation, now she dances all the time
  • how much she loves dancing – because her body works now
  • on having surgery 4 years ago that completely took away her pain after having pain most of her adult life – so much gratitude
  • how wonderful to not have a car and walk everywhere

Her art can be seen at

Some of her essays and poetry can be found on Elephant JournalThe New Engagement, and Life In 10 Minutes.