The Black Madonna of Charlottesville


Just over a year ago, I began a journey in painting called The Black Madonna Pilgrimage. This study was centered around the indigenous images of the Black Madonna, inspired by her legends throughout the world, teachings about her, and music dedicated to her.    Stories and her traditions throughout the world were part of the curriculum, having been passed from generation to generation, some hidden in mystery and others changed in history.

For 33 days we held a container through an online circle listening for her message to each of us. Our paintings expressed the unfolding of our relationship with the Black Madonna in a process of discovery. We explored the symbols of her image throughout the world, and were guided on a sacred pilgrimage of the heart as we heard her voice within us.

Sue Monk Kidd wrote of a Black Madonna her in book, The Secret Life of Bees, as well as her memoir, Traveling with Pomegranates. It was a journey in seeking the Divine Feminine for each of us as well.


As I began this painting of Mary, a churning of turmoil and violence arrived in our city of Charlottesville, VA. I wrote these words on my canvas as I listened to headlines of racial strife and civil unrest erupting in the streets of the small college town where I listen to music on Fridays, eat lunch with colleagues on the Downtown Mall, and raised my children.

As the day progressed, the chaos increased, and I tearfully painted 19 prayers in red for the people who were injured in the clash of white nationalists and counter protesters on the streets of this historical place I’ve called home for many years. More trauma and an “egregious display of black-madonna-cville-2.jpeghatred, bigotry and violence” ensued as the hours passed, and the progress of the painting captured my impressions of the happenings that day.

I was not a brave person in so many ways. I was not prepared to be present in a situation of that magnitude. My heart went out to the people much more valorous than I, who showed up and were witness to what was happening. My activism was expressed on my canvas, in the brush strokes that held the prayers for those who came to represent their beliefs and values, as well as those whose hearts were filled with anger and rage.

In reading and research, I found words by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, author and activist: The Black Mother lights the treasure forward from the dark… dark that others might call chaos…

black-madonna-cville-3.jpegAnd further, to strengthen ourselves to push back in ways within our reach… 

…that Our People, Our Nations on Earth Be Not Divided, Rather Be United.

So I continued to paint. Symbols of my spiritual journey, a line in connection to Infinite Wisdom, marks representing the Divine Feminine, and more prayers. Processing what was happening in our town, our country, our future.

I painted more prayers in white for healing, love and compassion, and the grace to be able live in diverse harmony. And one, in reverence to the memory of Heather Heyer, who lost her life in the chaos.


The days and weeks passed. I would paint for hours on some days and other days, my painting languished. I would look at the strokes and feel a sense of loss, of change.

This method of painting I’ve studied is called Intentional Creativity®, developed and taught by my teacher and mentor, Shiloh Sophia. There are many steps associated in this process, each layer a representation of the conversation between spirit and mind, painting and writing.

As I write words on the canvas or in my journal, I listen to what comes up in my thoughts, and then I use paint, color and brush strokes to represent what I have pondered. It is a dance between Divine Intelligence through my consciousness to the brush onto the painting. A process of being mindful, listening to what shows up, and paying attention to the brush as it moves through me onto the canvas.

black-madonna-cville-5The next impression I received was a medicine wheel. A symbol in ancient cultures of balance and harmony. Contemporary representations of the medicine wheel emphasize the quest for harmony and balance, both within ourselves and with all communities and creatures on earth. The wheel also symbolizes a graphic reminder that change is inevitable, that development is a life process, and completing a circle of wholeness is a goal worthy of our attention. It seemed to be an answer to the many prayers and intentions that I had painted onto this canvas. For myself and for our community.

black-madonna-cville-6.jpgAnd then the shape of the Madonna wanted to appear. I saw her image filling the circle and began to make the sacred marks that would bring her into presence.

I’ve painted faces over the past few years, learning to shape the nose, brows, lips, neck, hair, and eyes, and her lines began to take form. More than that, her expression began to develop as I worked. It was a surprise and I was curious as the color and lines revealed her presence. The medicine wheel became a circle of light illuminating her from behind. Her spirit became more apparent as I progressed.

And she began to come to life.


I typically don’t paint images in a realistic way, my interpretations tend to be more abstract and symbolic. But she wanted her expression to represent the sadness, the pain the Charlottesville community experienced in August of 2017 and the aftermath of changes that followed.

She wanted to be a composite of color and light, symbolic of diversity and connection. A blue eyed woman of color. My intention was to be mindful of the strength she embodied, her vulnerability in this madness, and the pain that has continued to divide people from fear, long held beliefs, and the misuse of power.


Blue was also revealed to be the color she wanted for her garment. I researched and found that the color blue represents freedom, intuition, imagination, expansiveness, inspiration, and sensitivity as well as the meanings of depth, trust, loyalty, sincerity, wisdom, confidence, stability, faith, heaven, and intelligence.

She was making her presence and intent in protecting the people Charlottesville with wisdom and loyalty in response to the negative media surrounding the events that happened.

Her message was also telling me that she wanted to hold all the people, ones were injured, as well as ones who spread violence and separation, those who were harmed, the ones who stayed home, and especially, the woman and men who died. And I listened to her voice, painted all who came, with differing intentions, who she holds in her embrace.

We are woven out of the fabric of Her robes,
and she embroiders us like millions of fibers of light
and glowing threads into the stars on her cloak.
We are always intertwined, and She gives birth to our true spiritual essence.

Our Black Madonna, Protector of Charlottesville


©Hobby Parent, Our Black Madonna, Protector of Charlottesville. Golden Fluid Acrylics on canvas, 24 x 36 inches. Used with permission. All rights reserved.


If you are interested in purchasing a print of the Black Madonna of Charlottesville, please fill out the form below and more information will be emailed to you.

A portion of the cost of each print will be donated to local support of our Charlottesville community TBD.

Update September 2018: A gracious thank you to Marianne Williamson for sharing this painting on Instagram.

Thank you.

#charlottesvillestrong  #charlottesville  #cvilleblackmadonna


Woman Emerged: A Weekend Journey in Painting, Writing, & Ceremony


You are invited to join me with Christine Brodmerkel on August 17-19, 2018 at Seven Oaks Retreat Center at the foothills of beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

Dogwood tree with flowers near the river in spring time

A Getaway Weekend Women’s Retreat in Painting • Writing • Ceremony

Follow your inner compass on a journey to unravel and reveal what wants to be expressed. Experience a nurturing gathering of women in a quiet, peaceful location.

Read More Here



Mapping Your Wild Divine Energy



Are you ready for a new direction?

I’m so honored to have been invited to participate alongside master teachers, Shiloh Sophia and Amy Ahlers, in The Compass Rose Summit. Over 30+ teachings from women guides around the world will bring you intuitive, practical and wild insight on everything from sex, wealth and health. To intuition, consciousness and alchemy. To justice, self care and overcoming perfectionism.

My teaching is called Mapping Your Wild Divine Energy, Plan a Visionary Journey Guided by Your Unique Compass Rose.


At the heart of the Compass Rose Summit are women’s stories of change.

—> Register for the Compass Rose Summit Now for No Charge <—–  

The changes we’ve made that brought us to where we are and an invitation to consider a new direction for YOUR life at this time.

This isn’t just about listening,

In the Compass Rose Summit you are invited to EXPERIENCE change, catalytic shift – DURING these video offerings from each woman.

Uncommon Wisdom from the Collective This isn’t like any other summit you have heard or seen. We are women, who in our day to day lives are Doctors, Healers, Therapists, Artists, Lawyers, Writers, Teachers, Philosophers, Visionaries and activists Who have spent the past 9 months journeying together in a Radiant Circle. We have supported one another on the path, and our give back is to turn that love, support and insight into an offering for you, our community.

I am so honored to invite you to join us for the powerful conversation!

At the close of the video I offer a gift, curated just for you, that will be delivered to your inbox. I am grateful for the opportunity to share this guide. Make sure to sign in and get yours!

My No Spam Promise: I honor and respect your privacy.


Let’s live a life you love to live! ~Hobby



Compass Rose Summit


Art & Grandmother Wisdom



Grandchildren, Art & Grandmother Wisdom featured in Explore Awareness magazine

I’m delighted to share that my article, Grandchildren, Art & Grandmother Wisdom is in the new edition of Explore Awareness magazine in the April issue.

My granddaughter and I have been holding Grandmother Camp for several years and its one of the delights of my life. If you are looking for a way to connect with your “Littles” perhaps one of the ideas I share in the article will spark an interest for you and your family.

Please have a read and enjoy! ~Hobby

If you’d like more information about creating art, painting workshops, or social painting soirees,  please send me your name and email address for a list of upcoming workshops and events. Leave a comment about what you are interested in learning.

You are a sacred part of this community and I promise to keep your information private and will never share. ~Hobby


Painting the Divine Diva 2 Day Retreat


A 2 Day Celebration Retreat for Women – April 1 & 2 in Keswick VA
Paint the Blessing That Is Your Body

Paint The Divine Diva.pngJoin me in celebrating Spring and the expression of love for your own body in a 13 step painting process. You  need no experience in painting or art – simply the desire to be creative, share in a celebration with other women and explore with deep inquiry in how your body is a blessing.

We will journey in imagination, move in joyful dance, use magic paintbrushes and cosmic canvases, write words in journals – all in a beautiful retreat center quietly tucked away in the beauty of Keswick VA. There will be time for painting, journaling, connecting, private thought & creative inquiry, as well as joyful movement, walks, and fresh air.

Come join us and create an altar to the temple of your present self in healthy, happy ageless beauty, trust for the body you live in and release any old beliefs about perfection & body image. Let’s connect on a magical journey of transformation & healing using Intentional Creativity, with gentle encouragement toward abundance, deep inner knowing, & self expression.

The retreat investment is $197 for Saturday & Sunday from 10am-4pm. All the supplies you will need are included: canvas, brushes, paint, music, delicious snacks and a community of like-minded women in community. Accommodations are available for anyone wanting to stay overnight with sauna, hot tub, Japanese bath, and beautiful water views and gardens. Visit Bridge Between the Worlds for more information and pricing. Bodywork may be available before and after the workshop times by appointment. Download the DivineDiva-Registration-Form for more details.

The cost is $197 for two days of creative celebration including all supplies and snacks/tea/chocolate & more. For more information and to inquire about reserving your space, contact me here: (I promise your privacy!)

I guide heartfelt, spirited women like you who want to connect with your innate creativity by helping to open a portal between heart, mind & soul with paint, words & journey to your internal “wildish nature.”

We use Intentional Creativity as a method, following a number of steps to reveal hidden messages from your feminine soul voice, a connection to your inner wisdom & knowledge.

I love how this work creates deep change, allowing you to walk with a renewed sense of yourself, excited about the next stage of your life.




Upcoming Artist Salon Inspired Life Series!

I am excited to share The Inspired Life of the Artist Salon series Cynthia Harrison is hosting. One of the speakers is… you guessed it, ME!
Can’t wait to share this container of knowledge with you, and I am so pleased to introduce this series of conversations with Artists and Creatives from around the world as we share what inspires us.
Journey with me and my fellow creatives and visionary leaders here:  The Inspired Life Series
This series takes a glimpse into the Artists’ world and shares wisdom, demonstrations, techniques, and gives access into their inspiring worlds.
We discover and bridge the arts that help our state of regulation and alignment of our minds, body’s and our soul. A whole body approach to wellness and inspired evolution!
You’ll have the opportunity to tap into this amazing group of speakers knowledge and experience and receive bonus free tools and techniques you can use instantly.
Cynthia has prepared a process to demonstrate Intentional Creativity® within the process of bringing together teachers and coaches of the Intentional Creativity Method.
A large canvas to map our journey via co-creation with participants, Yes You! There will be a weekly experiential demonstration and a weekly inquiry you can do on your own in a journal or own canvas.
You will be invited to share what you wish via the Face Book Page where Cynthia will add to the canvas your colours, symbols or a quote you found enlightening from the week. This is optional, how much or how little you participate is up to each person.
You can just enjoy watching a new Inspirational Artist, as if you were attending The Artist Salon weekly.
So what are you waiting for? Say yes, and join us now. Just click the link right here at The Artist Salon.
inspired life artist salon movie

Coming Soon! The Inspired Life of the Artist Salon Movie


#artistsalon #inspiredlife #hobbyparentartist #creativesouljuice #intentionalcreativity

Noelle Parent shares her Gifts with RVA

A lovely interview with a bright new company! (P.S. It’s my daughter’s new business!)

Becks and the City

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“The gift is in the giving” is a sweet sentiment, and although it feels great to see someone’s face light up when you give them something from the heart, the process of picking out those gifts can be grueling and time-consuming. Gifted RVA, a new business headed by Noelle Parent, aims to take the guess-work out of this process.

I first heard of this business from a friend of mine who works at Think 804, a local advertising agency that assisted Parent in the branding of her business. There was a launch party celebrating the establishment of Gifted, and I am never one to miss a party with free hors d’ouvres. A few of the snacks provided were local products featured in the boxes, like Capital Chips and Gunther’s Salsa Fresca. Attendees got to sneak a peek at some of the new boxes and meet a few local…

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Celebrating International Women’s Day

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day! We are celebrating the cultural, economic, social and political achievements of women and girls all over the world. We are calling into awareness the contributions, sacrifices, achievements, and suffering that women have made.

I especially encourage people to talk with your daughters & sons, sisters & brothers,  mothers & fathers, family & friends who may not be aware of this day and share stories of bravery and courage within your own families to carry on your lineage. Share information about women leaders, artists, scientists, warriors, writers, and peacemakers who have impacted our lives. A great resource is A Mighty Girl for books, articles, and posts to discuss.

women_who_run_w-330Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, who is one of my mentors and author of Women Who Run with the Wolves, Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, is releasing a 25th anniversary edition of her book with 15 pages of new writings. Here is a post from her facebook page on today’s celebration of International Women’s Day. I encourage you to read her post and her words, and her books!

In addition, Emma Watson (our beloved Hermione Grainger from Harry Potter) has chosen this book for the March/April selection for her new book club, Our Shared Selves.


Today let us celebrate

Strong Women.

May we know them.

May we raise them.

May we be them.

And the men who love them

Honor and respect them.