And Love Yourself

Invisible Scar - The Billion Dollar Gift

By:  Melissa A. Montero

The ultimate freedom of expression is a blank canvas, it allows you to capture whatever emotions your imagination gives it.  ”Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right.' Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” George Herbert

The ultimate freedom of expression is a blank canvas, it allows you to capture whatever emotions your imagination gives it.

”Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right.' Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” George Herbert

I’m grateful for every single set of eyes that may lay upon this, so thank you in advance with all my heart.  My name is Melissa Montero and I HAVE an Invisible Scar just like so many of you.  Most of us have a few, but the one I’m about to share, runs deep.  It was endured by being in a toxic, to say the least, relationship with a dark and dangerous man.  The Invisible Scar left such a mark that I felt the strong urge to form a company over it, to help women who have suffered a traumatic life event in a romantic relationship as well.  My gaping wound is on its way to a full healing, but I still have daily pulls at my heartstrings (CASSIOPEIA).  If I can prevent 1 woman from going through what I did, we’ve won!  As awful as the relationship was, without the traumatic event, I never would have come to love myself or even know what that means.  And believe me - it’s not a spa day!  Who knew a Morally and Spiritually bankrupt tech Billionaire, still attempting to torture me today by holding my 6 pound dog Cassiopea captive, could end up being my greatest teacher.  To this day he has not honored a single legal binding promise and holds my precious Cassiopea to hurt me.  My heart breaks daily being away from her!  What keeps me going is the belief that there is such a thing as Karma.  In the Spiritual World - I have Won. In his Materialistic World - I have Won too.  His money could not buy me.  There are lyrics from a song that says - “My name is LOVE, I can’t be bought…” This is the warrior path I suppose? You win some, you lose some!


A Journey To Self Love:

I formed this philanthropic organization called Invisible Scar, LLC for many reasons.  My favorite one being -- to let women know that if I can come out the other side of a nightmare, you can too! I want other women to know it is possible and you can heal anything from a minor break up to leaving a predator with the clothes on your back after enduring years of psychological and physical abuse.  This ‘profound’ romantic relationship that caused the scar, wasn’t romantic at all, yet the biggest lesson of my life.  Love does NOT consist of lies, manipulations, abuse and torture lovely ladies.  Relationships take work, but I was someone’s property, no longer a person towards the end.  I was imprisoned behind 2 guard gates in Newport Coast, California.  A dear girlfriend use to call my runaways the “Escapes from Alcatraz!”  She and her son would pick me up outside one of the guard gates after I jumped a wall to then fall several feet down to my landing.  The 9-1-1 calls, the blood and the evenings I wanted to end my own life, were all a part of the beautiful outcome today.  Do not let the zip code of where I lived for many years fool you. Being with him was the darkest and most terrifying time in my life!  It almost cost me mine...

Melissa applying the  Natural Earth Pigments  and egg yolk mixture to the canvas  I receive compensation when you purchase products through the affiliate link on this page.

Melissa applying the Natural Earth Pigments and egg yolk mixture to the canvas

I receive compensation when you purchase products through the affiliate link on this page.

Let The Healing Begin:

I had one opportunity and one opportunity only, I believe, to leave once and for all a few years ago.  I remember it so vividly even to this day.  The day I chose me.  The day I chose to live and take my life back and leave him.  I was outside looking up at the stars and I received a message to leave right then no matter what.  I had always been a deeply spiritual person, but at that time I had lost all of me.  But that didn’t matter -- this message was stronger than me and I did it.  I left literally with the clothes on my back and never turned around.  He still has all of my belongings!  Truth Be Told - I could care less about the materialistic items.  I don’t miss a single item.  What I do miss is a part of my heart in the form of a small dog named Cassiopeia!!!

Back to the evening that changed my life… That evening I left in an Uber refusing a ride in his limousine. From that moment on, I wasn’t considering how I was going to heal from the trauma, I was panicked over how was I going to live???  Where was I going to live???  How would I eat???  These were just one of many racing thoughts I had. Well today, as a PTSD Survivor from what he did to me, I have a job I love and a career in service to other women exiting divorces and/or toxic relationships.  I did it!  Typically - the survivors journey starts out really shitty! :)  For the first time in my life, I have amazing high vibrating humans, with moral compasses all around me.  High integrity people surround me daily.  I’m still evolving, learning and growing.  I always will be! The difference is I want to be here and experience all of life, versus, contemplating how to exit and end it.

When it was time to start the healing process, my first tool showed up with ease and grace.  Then many followed along the way.  Prior to holistic practices, Doctors put me on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications.  Those pills didn’t work, only made me worse, so I had to seek out healing on my own.  Some of the magical tools that showed up included Transcendental Meditation, the most amazing books, MUSIC, Hatha Yoga, Ayurvedic meals and beautiful people.  One extremely special, the one and only - Andrea Moni!  How we met was through synchronistic events, for such a purpose.  When she presented the idea of healing through art / painting your pain, it immediately resonated with me.  Her gift / talent speaks for itself, but I trusted her with my vulnerability most importantly.  Collaborating with her seemed so right!

6.9.19: Collaborating for healing through art

Leading up to the day that Andrea and I would ‘create’, I didn’t feel anything at all.  I had said yes to the experience of painting with her weeks prior, but until the actual day, there were no emotions no thoughts no predictions.  There were desires in my heart to help others heal and let the art be a vehicle for change, but other than that, I had no other feelings or thoughts of the event.  Day One was some sort of an out of body experience.  I woke up with mass anxiety, like I had just downed 9 cups of coffee.  Then the self judgement and fear rushed over me uncontrollably like a tidal wave.  “What if my painting sucks???!!!”  “What if this extraordinary artist thinks I’m terrible at art???”  “What if I don’t know how to let go and let God (Insert your label Here)???” “What if I’m a failure???”  “What if I freeze and don’t know how to paint???”  The noises of untruths were deafening and didn’t stop until I saw Andrea.  Then the warmest calm feeling took over and all was ok.  It was more than ok.  We laughed, shared stories, smiled at serendipity and planned.  Planned to be a vehicle for service and change.  I feel so grateful to be a tiny part of her massive movement!  I then painted with ease,using the natural earth pigments .  I could feel the release of pain and the healing of the wound.  It truly was a magical experience!  Even the fall (LOL).  Andrea and I were rinsing the canvas in the ocean and I lost a flip flop.  All I could do was think about my shoe ending up in the mouth of a dolphin or whale and killing it.  I jumped for the shoe, fell and sliced my left foot open.  All was so symbolic and the timing DIVINE.  With much appreciation for being alive and having the ability to bleed, I walked over to the canvas after retrieving my shoe and painted the bottom of my bleeding foot with white paint and stepped on the art.  My bloody foot left the most beautiful statement to me.  The colors blended perfectly and all was meant to be.  The day ended in such bliss, with so many well wishes for the future and leaving what no longer serves me in the ocean to be cleansed…

And the background is complete! Finished piece to be posted…

And the background is complete! Finished piece to be posted…

Expression of Gratitude:

This step is one of many on my journey.  The healing process is long and takes time no matter how hard you attempt to accelerate it.  I’m still practicing holistic modalities and very soon will start TMS sessions.  It’s a new scientifically backed method for healing depression.  With that and the excitement for true love, I’m just like you fighting the good fight!

Thank you Andrea for giving me a platform to witness and to continue my healing.  And to *him* - I forgive you and send you LOVE.  I truly believe the feminine and masculine are to be on this planet in an act of harmony.  I know it’s a tall order, but we can waltz versus slam dance. Being antagonistic never resulted in positive blissful outcomes.  We have too many other battles being waged on Mother Earth.  Feminine and Masculine energies fighting one another just adds to the war… May you heal, find love again and smile brighter then ever before!

Pop-Up Show

The pop - up show was curated by Carl E.Smith, owner of River gallery

and this too shall pass  by Andrea Moni

and this too shall pass by Andrea Moni

Director Carl E. Smith has organized and produced exhibitions and other art events in California and internationally for the past two decades. Smith opened his first gallery in the Czech Republic 15 years ago, curating young artists into their first exhibitions. He has advocated for artists on commercial and fine art platforms between Prague, his hometown of Laguna Beach and subsequently, CES Gallery, in Downtown LA—all with the intention of fostering artistic vision. He is passionate about art and is dedicated to helping emerging artists through the crucial first stages of their careers, while providing more established artists with unique opportunities. Smith is an active creative, specializing in art, design and education. He currently works as an art director, designer and instructor, conducting professional practice workshops for artists at various institutions. Smith is the Chair of the Contemporary Circle at the Laguna Art Museum.


Art by Carl E. Smith and Jennifer Gunluck

Painting by Cody Lusby

Painting by Cody Lusby

Sculpture by Beverly Jacobs

Sculpture by Beverly Jacobs

And Embrace Change

Jose using natural pigments and ocean water to paint


There comes a moment in time when our children spread their wings. That moment is bittersweet, both for them and their families. Jose strives to embrace her new reality…


Today she chooses her own colors and begins to paint her picture. The outcome is yet to be seen, a process which we call life. Every action is a courageous step in the direction towards independence and adulthood…


Jose knows that her attitude towards life is affected by her ability to navigate the coming obstacles. She has some influence on what direction she will take, but like the canvas floating in the water, she cannot control every outcome. Instead of allowing herself to be dragged through life, she must influence the changes that inevitably will be an integral part of all our lives. Like with this painting process, Jose chooses to face this new stage with determination and a positive attitude.


Mixing the natural earth pigments and egg tempera

And Broaden Your Horizons

Kathy hand painting.jpg

Kathy paints, inspired by the horizon, and uses all that is available.

She writes, “ Andrea explained her process to me and I launched in. It wasn’t hard for me to see what I wanted to represent, the horizon was in front of me. I was able to enjoy this child-like experience of finger painting on a large scale, but struggled to accept that things will be imperfect, off-center or out of balance. Andrea’s process doesn’t result in perfect, it just is.”

Kathy really dug into the work, but struggled to accept that things are fine in their imperfections. However, even though she is, like us all, struggling with the imperfections of life, she is coming to see that there are always new horizons. Her message and the title of the piece is, and broaden your horizons.

“At the end of the day there is a sunset on the horizon. The day may have been perfect or not. The next day there will be a sunrise on the horizon and the day may be perfect or not.” Kathy E.

kathy E painting.jpg

Painting with Nature

Art is a great contribution to the world: it inspires us and improves us. However, sometimes the process of making art can end up hurting more than it helps. By choosing grounds, supports, and media made entirely or partially from recycled materials, or less toxic materials, artists can make environmentally friendly art without sacrificing the quality of the work. Recycled materials reduce the waste being created and limit the natural resources being destroyed.

I am working on a series of paintings using organic earth pigments, the natural flow of water and egg tempera. Egg Tempera painting is unique in its characteristics producing crisp, luminous effects that differ from oil. Using egg yolk as the binder is an ancient technique that produces a water-soluble paint.  It is a very permanent technique, but much less toxic than synthetic materials.

We only only have one planet, and while art helps to beautify it, we all can help protect it at the same time by using elements or materials that do less damage.

Source: http://natural-earth-paint.mybigcommerce.c...

And Materials Matter

Re-purposed Mixed Media on Display at John Wayne Airport

SANTA ANA, Calif. – From December 19, 2017 – January 18, 2018, sustainable mixed media by Andrea Moni will be on display at John Wayne Airport (JWA) as part of JWA’s Community Focus Space Program. These works can be viewed on the Departure (upper) Level near security screening areas in Terminals A, B and C, and on the Arrival (lower) Level adjacent to Baggage Carousels 1 and 4.

“Ms. Moni’s transformation of materials from a variety of sustainable sources, breathes new life into what already exists,” said Board Chairwoman Michelle Steel. “JWA guests will enjoy the whimsy, heroic value, and sense of rescue her work illustrates.”

and who are you

and who are you

Art Heals


Trauma and suffering. Spirituality and healing. Hope and peace. These are words that come to mind when I paint. My burn branded my body, my art and my soul. My scars will last forever, but they have fueled my creativity with a new purpose. Heal others while making something beautiful.

Currently, my work is a collaboration of ocean currents, natural non-toxic materials and healing through human collaboration. I invite individuals who have experienced their own form of pain and trauma to participate in the creative process. Some have endured; others are in the midst of struggle and self-doubt. Together, we take one huge canvas to an open ocean, and apply the pigments, allowing the currents to paint the background while we manipulate the canvas. As it rests on the sand and rocks to dry in the salty breeze, we drip and splash the colors, guided by wind and gravity, until we agree that the canvas is ready. We experience the surrendering of control to not only the forces of nature, but to each other. This is where true healing begins, in the act of letting go. The canvas is then transported to my studio where I study the lines and shadows created, incorporating them into an integral part of each composition. My work is no longer about me but about a magical process that combines nature and human energy using sustainable materials. The end result is always unknown, but always speaks for itself, inspiring by the simple act of letting go, turning hardship and trauma into a positive message to be shared by all who are willing to listen.