Sunday, November 30, 2014

Totem Treasures

Totem Treasures
9 x 12
Pastel on Canson Mi Tientes Paper - Smooth Side
Here are some more treasures from around the house. Once again, while I picked them up randomly, their collective symbology is pretty interesting. These include:


  • Cooper's Hawk Feather - from the yard. The hawk animal totem represents the Messenger. It is "akin to Mercury, the messenger of the gods. Hawk medicine teaches you to be observant, to look at your surroundings....You are only as powerful as your capacity to perceive, receive, and use your abilities."*
  • Small metal sculpture of a bear - given to me by my friend Big. The bear animal totem represents Introspection. "Bear seeks honey, or the sweetness of truth, within the hollow of an old tree. To accomplish the goals and dreams that we carry, the art of introspection is necessary."*
  • Turquoise (and other beads) necklace - Made by Big's friend who runs a cheetah conservation/rescue group in Africa. Turquoise has impressive metaphysical properties... powerful healing stones that filter the fifth element ether, into the etheric body. The natural energy of these stones helps you communicate with truth, are a strong stone of spiritual attunement and effective to aid communication.They have a strong effect within the throat chakra... and they may aid you to manifest clairaudient and clairvoyant abilities... and they help to balance your male and female aspects."**
  • A gourd - a gift from my sister in law. Gourds represent different things such as resurrection or the antidote to evil or longevity depending on your culture/religion.
Does this combination of things mean anything to you? For me, when I put this all together the message for me is "Notice your surroundings - people, places and things; contemplate the significance of these observations and their effects. Communicate and share what you have learned in these experiences. This is the recipe for revitalization and spiritual longevity.



Saturday, November 29, 2014

Transformation

Transformation
12 x 9
Canson Mi Tientes Paper - Smooth Side
The items in this still life represent the pond in my backyard. A wonderful little ecosystem. I added animals including koi and goldfish (aka "de-koi"). I also added plants -  water lily, and lotus, etc. It's also a home for animals who choose to visit such as snakes, blue herons, and dragonflies.

The treasured objects include:
  • A Mexican made flute with a snake image- 
    • Represents serene native american flute music which I enjoy and often listen to when painting
    • The snake on the flute - An animal totem representing transmutation or shedding of the skin - the life-death-rebirth cycle. On a physical level, it represents snakes who live by the pond and eat the frogs, toads, tadpoles and fish
  • A blue heron feather - an animal totem representing the power of knowing the self by discovery of it's gifts and facing its challenges. Blue heron is also the expert fisherman of koi and goldfish (aka "de-koi")
  • The lotus pod - representing the lotus flower once bloomed and seeds for the lotus of the future. The Lotus flower represents purity and spiritual awakening
  • The dragonfly - an animal totem which represents the illusionary facade we accept as physical reality.

Wow. I didn't even realize what I'd put together until I wrote it all out. Hmmm - these are pretty powerful symbols. I don't think it's random. What does it all mean? I'd be interested to hear your interpretations. 

Here's what I put together: A picture in the minds eye of stillness and peace with the music of the flute. Find the medicine of snake within your being for transmutation. Embrace the blue heron medicine and be gifted with the power of personal discovery. Accept the challenges in your life and the grace to walk the life-death-rebirth cycle. See the lotus flower and see your spiritual awakening and with dragonfly, see through the illusions we create for ourselves in this world.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Circle of Life

Circle of Life
9 x 12
Canson Mi Tientes Paper - Textured side
I am back to the easel again, post holidays, Day 2 of stay-cation, 9 more to go. I hope to do a lot of painting over the next week. 

I've found as I look at others' art, I am always and inevitably drawn to still life with the dark moody background - chiaroscuroI also particularly like still life that has meaning, like a puzzle put together by the artist. I've decided to give it a whirl. I bought some black foam core board and made a still life box. Then, I went on the hunt for interesting objects in the house. 

This painting has some found treasures from the past: 

A Decorative Mexican Pot - which once belonged to my mother
A Nest - rescued from a fallen tree in our yard
A Cooper's Hawk Feather - also found in our yard

In my odd little brain, this represents "The Circle of Life": A decorative mexican pot representing my heritage, my mother, and a vessel for growing things. The nest and eggs symbolizing a safe home for mothers giving birth and raising children, who will ultimately leave the nest to begin their own life. Finally, the Cooper's hawk feather, the natural predator of song birds, representing death. It's the beginning and end of life - the circle, and the treasures we collect in between. None of these items are valuable, but they mean the world to me because they represent love and the fragility of life. At this holiday time of year, we pause to take a moment to count our blessings and express gratitude. For me, I am particularly grateful for my family - both by blood and by choice. This includes the family before us, family with us, and family to come. It's all just fleeting, like the blink of an eye in the great cosmic plan. Carpe Diem!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Road with No Name

A Road with No Name
12 x 9
Art Spectrum Deep Ultra
Sometimes, I name my landscapes around the center of focus, or where my mind or spirit were at the time the photo was taken. Contrary to what I've learned, I'm challenged to identify a single center of focus for this painting. Is it the aspens, the road, or maybe it's really all about finding what's around the bend. What strikes you about this painting? What interests you? Where does your eye go? I'm just curious.

The painting is another of the resulta of my efforts on my extra day off yesterday. The subject is one of the many roads in the mountains near Beaver, Utah. I was on a drive with my friends Big and Bigger. We were looking for good photo spots for painting fodder. Alas, a storm was brewing and we wanted to get down the mountain before it hit. It was a moody sky and the smell of rain was in the air. This is my first attempt at Aspens. I have a series of paintings to do for Big and Bigger, so I best get my mountain skills going! Hmmm...I think I have a storm or two to paint as well.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Golden Afternoon

Golden Afternoon
12 x 9
UArt Sanded Paper Elephant Grey
Back in September, I went to Utah to visit my best friend Big. She and I went on a walk to see a pond/watering hole that I painted for her earlier this year. The painting was called "On Midas' Pond" because her golden labrador Midas was investigating it in the photo. On the walk to Midas' pond, we walked through the fields of rabbit brush and sage brush. The rabbit brush was in full golden bloom. It was truly a golden afternoon not only because of the flowers, but also because it was one of those golden moments that will be in my memories for many years to come. 

I had the day off today, so had a good deal of time to paint. I also registered for the IAPS bi-annual convention which will be in June of 2015. Very excited about the opportunity for learning and meeting new friends. 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fire Walkin'

Fire Walkin'
12 x 9
Art Spectrum Aubergine
Of all of my friend Gaynor's hens, I have to say this one is one of the most stunning. Those flame tipped feathers against the rich purple black with touches of iridescence. Such rich rich color. I didn't have a full image of this gal, just half. She was on the move, on her way somewhere - high stepping. Perhaps, that day she was hot footing it on a scorching hot day.

It's cold and misty outside today. But this gal, with all her color, has warmed me up, like the warm fire in the fireplace. I think I'll be doing another version of her in the near future.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Flag

Flag
11 x 8.5
Shizen Pastel Paper (Brown)
with Clear Art Spectrum Primer
This guy is a test on some new paper recommended by one of my pastel artist heroes - Enid Wood. The paper is Shizen Pastel Paper. All Shizen papers are handmade in India from 100% recycled materials using a pollution-free process. This acid-free, 200 gsm pastel paper is made from 100% cotton rag and comes in a variety of colors. My sister purchased some and shared a few sheets with me. She recommended I try them with some primer for more tooth. I primed them last weekend before I left for a work trip. They were patiently waiting for me when I got home. These are my first results. This guy is on brown paper with clear primer. The available colors for this paper are absolutely delicious. I look forward to trying some more. What's really cool about these is the deckled edge. I tried to show this in the photo, but since my board is also kind of brown, you can't see the edge well. I'll use a different color next time so the edges are more visible.

The subject is my friend Gaynor's rooster. Sadly, she doesn't have them anymore, nor as of recently, does she have her ducks. A coyote was heard in the distance one evening, and in the morning - the ducks were gone. Anyway, I liked this guy. He seems quite military to me in some way. Very proud and straight. He is mostly white (with some ivory, greenish brown mane feathers) and has of course a red comb and waddle. Since I put his red and white against a blue background - to simulate the blue farm equipment in the background - I realized he's quite patriotic as well - hence his name. Too bad I didn't get to post him on Veteran's Day! 




Friday, November 14, 2014

Pot Calling Hen

Pot Calling Hen
10 x 10
Pastel on UArt Sanded Paper
This is the hen that started it all. Rhoda. Many years ago, my friend Gaynor showed me a photo of her hen Rhoda. This hen decided the pot with the asparagus fern was a comfy nest. Since then, I've also seen photos of Gaynor's hens making a home in a chimenea. It's just such a unusual and comical sight! In this case, I liked Rhoda so well I decided to paint her. Back then, I had some very old inexpensive pastels and Bristol board. Even with the rudimentary tools, I enjoyed the experience so well, I kept painting, and painting and painting.



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Everywhere a Chick Chick

Everywhere a Chick Chick
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Sanded Paper
Old Mac Donald had a farm, E I E I O
And on that farm he had some chicks, E I E I O
With a chick chick here and a chick chick there
Here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a chick chick!
Old Mac Donald had a farm, E I E I O

This hen has got her work cut out for her. She seems to be looking at all these little chicks around her and wondering what she should do. At first, I thought, maybe she should be "The Chicken in a Shoe"..who had so many children she didn't know what to do. But, clearly, she's not in a shoe. So, I went with the "Old Mac Donald" reference. This painting has been on my easel for a very long while just waiting for finishing touches. I finally got to a point where the rest of my life allowed me some time to do just that. It felt really good to have pastels in my hand again!