Ocean hearts project
The ocean hearts project began as a dish of inky paper shapes in a dish, stamped with hopeful words. I saw many mixed media artists on Instagram painting these heart shapes with watercolour and adding them to their art journals with affirmations and quotes. The candy-coloured hearts were so cheerful at a time when the bad news seemed relentless.
Take What You Need messages
So I painted some of my own. I’m not a fan of watercolour so I used acrylic ink instead. I pulled out my tiny letter stamps and added words: comfort, hope, energy, create and courage.
At the time I was sharing some of my art at a summer open house in Shoreham by Sea. I piled the hearts into a shallow white dish and added a “Take what you need” note. I felt a bit embarrassed as I showed them to the homeowner. Were these little gifts just a bit too… woo woo?
I was encouraged to leave the dish out for people to pick a heart to take with them. By the end of the day, they were nearly all gone. I watched from across the room as people of all ages spent time choosing a heart or fingering through them with closed eyes for a random message.
A gift of hope
Two people that day stayed in my memory. A woman who chose a small green “hope” heart and cupped it in her hands, telling me it felt like a precious gift. The other was a young boy who took a long while to pick his heart. When he was ready he took a bright yellow heart that fit in his palm, looked at it for a moment and slipped it into his pocket.
Of course, I refilled the dish of hearts during the show and each time it emptied as people took what they needed from the dish.
Affirmations and messages inspired by the sea
Since then I’ve made more hearts for myself and then photographed them for others to choose from on Instagram. I made a flip-style video to pause or screenshot a message for the day.
Little by little, the hearts have become a part of my day. I pick one every morning and add to the collection with blue, sea-inspired hearts every week. They have become an ocean affirmation deck. The blue hearts outnumber the others and the words have been carefully chosen from my beach journals. They are words that bring me back to the sea and each one has a message that the ocean teaches me.
You can pick your own digital ocean heart here on Instagram.
If you’d like to browse stickers and prints of these hearts you can find them at Redbubble.