Monday, December 28, 2009

Spirit Calling

"Spirit Calling"
Digital Collage

I have been praying lately for artistic venues to appear and for my energy to stay positive. Meditating in quiet solitude has been intense, but necessary. Sometimes, though, even isolated quietude is not enough. This morning my emotions were very strong and I needed another outlet for them. So I decided to cope with them in a creative way and the image above is a result!

"Spirit Calling" is a composite of two images. One is of a coyote howling that I did in watercolor. The other is a photo I took when I lived out in Yellowstone National Park, working at Old Faithful Inn for a few summers. Yes, the environment out there was gorgeous, a creative dream. Yes, it was an escape of sorts from the "real world" I left behind. I continued to feel a restless longing within myself as I worked with the two images, marrying them together into one. I decided to add the words "Spirit Calling", which seemed to be twirling in my heart, letting them spew from the coyote's lips. Visualizing with words and images what I long for, as I have done here, may help quell my restless emotions. Or stimulate them. I shall just have to trust the process.....

Do I long for the West (or Southwest) right now? Yes, I do. I did leave a piece of my soul there. Do I feel it is again an escape? Not as much as I used to. I know I will take myself and my problems with me. At least I have that much awareness. I cannot run from them. Still, I hear the coyotes howling and the wind rustling through the trees bathed in beautiful sunsets and wonder, why not? And my soul seems to be nodding in agreement.

I feel it is necessary to paint what I believe in and long for as the need arises. And to paint my emotions as well. There is a power to creativity that seems to manifest one's truth, which wants to be heard. This is my belief anyway. And as I type these final words here, the wind rustles at the window, reaffirming that I am exactly at the place I need to be!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm low on Energy, but Creativity still Flourishes

"Green Bird"

I've been feeling a bit rundown the last few days. This allows me to snuggle with my watercolor paints and create. I notice that my ego mind seems to shut down when I'm not feeling well, allowing me access to a deeper unconscious realm that is full of untapped gold. So I know that to create during this time is like finding a treasure chest. No matter how the world collapses around me with its untended business during these times, I always have enough energy to create. Priorities are so important to me! As is just going with the flow.

I also know that my emotions are quite intense these days. When the holidays approach, I embrace my significant other and my creations that spew forth. I certainly enjoy watching and reading how others enjoy the holidays and it makes my heart glow. Yet, I celebrate differently, quietly, lots of contemplation with candles burning brightly, incense filling the air and lots of paintings emerging. As a result, my feelings calm down.

I'm quite pleased with the bird image above. I notice lately that my subject matter is isolated, with white backgrounds. How I used to paint many moons ago. The watercolors seem to flow in some areas as I add lots of water, giving a dreamy effect. Yet, I can also solidify in other places, such as in the eye and tail feathers to add contrast. The paper I used is, I believe a hot pressed paper such as bristol board. I've just been grabbing sheets of paper laying around and going to town. To fuss too much with the right paper or proper paints is to tamper with the passion I am feeling. A good thing, this not caring about the details. The paints do not soak into the paper as much, I notice, and seem to dry quicker as a result. So I really needed to be moving around and not take much to ponder where the next stroke would go. Yes, watercolor at this time seems to be my medium of choice, challenging me. My expressive nature can be allowed to run rampant as I paint.

So this is how I'm spending my days. I am filled with peace and joy internally even as my physical body is a bit beat down. Each painting I am producing is a gift to me, a way to honor myself and get back to a healthy place.

Enjoy the day! Embrace the Magic! It's all Good!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Zebra Portrait, Stripes and All


Well, I suppose I could put antlers on this fellow and add a red nose and he'd fit right in to the holiday season (well, sort of). I picked a photo out I had taken at the Zoo a while back and though the stripes seemed challenging, I made a go of it. The photo is more of a portrait with just the head and partial body showing. I had another photo of the whole zebra, but decided to start out slowly so I wouldn't be too overwhelmed. In the old days, I would have made each stripe perfect, just like the photo conveyed. But now I'm too lazy or is it a different style of mine emerging? Either way, this is what transpired. The paint brush and my rather shaky hand created wavy patterns on the body, and I feel there's more movement and energy as a result. I could have done the animal in black and white with just some touches of yellow and orange on the mane but felt I wanted him to be a bit more exciting. I've heard that white snow with its shadows has many different colors in it. Thus, why not the zebra with dashes of colors too? Done in watercolor, I tried to use more pigment than water to give purer, stronger color.

He looks a bit like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, in my opinion. Perhaps it's the droopy head. Eeyore's personality endeared me to him. His bleak, pessimistic attitude always in such contrast to the other animals. Yet, I'm glad he was part of the Winnie the Pooh group, for it made their personalities more realistic, more humanly diverse. I love all Winnie the Pooh books, enjoying the superb illustrations and the lessons I get every time I read the written word.

The zebra Eeyore-like pose brings to mind a lady buying one of my prints of an Egret done in watercolor. The slouchy posture, she said, reminded her of her daughter, and thus she had to have it. I wondered whether she'd tell her daughter the reason why she bought it. I doubt it, still it was fun that she shared this tidbit with me. Different reasoning and motives behind what captures the viewer's eye. I'm sure there's a bit of my emotions and feelings coming out here as well. Otherwise, why are we motivated and drawn to certain subjects? At least in my case, this appears true.

Anyway, glad I attempted the zebra. Often, I'll get people asking me "do you do zebras, whales, dogs, owls, etc. and I say no, I haven't yet, but I"ll try one. I'm pretty content being safe painting birds, as I have done a number of them. Lately, I'm coming out of my comfort zone, creating parrots, cats and now the zebra here. Experimentation beckons me, challenges me, alleviating my restless creative spirit!

And now I'd like to push myself more, in an external sense. I'm pondering looking into local animal shelters to see if I could do some paintings of kitties or puppies. My artist friend, Doris, got me thinking about this. Oh by the way, click on the link here, to see a beautiful portrait she did of three dogs. She inspires me, for sure. Anyway, it would be interesting to paint from real life and I know I could generate some real emotions out of this particular subject matter in this environment. If nothing else, take a few photos and try to recreate them at home! It can't hurt to ask; they can only say no! But they might say yes! So I'll sign off now and just say:

May the magic of the Holidays bring you Joy and Peace!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gimme Some Lovin'

"Gimme Some Lovin'"

One time I took a jaunt down to Crete-Monee, a small town just South of where I live. There was a psychic fair going on at a lady's house. It was an interesting adventure, meeting all the people who believed in otherworldly matters, ghosts, spirits, etc. But it was the 10 or so cats roaming around the two-story ramshackled house that got my attention. Apparently the psychic had a heart of gold and took in stray creatures. They roamed in and out of the many rooms, some looking a little worse for wear. A few limped, some had little sores on their bodies, but all of them came over to me for a little cuddling. Love conquers all ailments, don't you think? I took a few photos of these purring machines and there was one cat whom I thought might make a good painting subject.

So today I took my watercolors and began painting him (or her). This cat had the most beautiful eyes I'd ever seen, the colors of the emerald sea or maybe a turquoise stone. Fathomless depths you could lose yourself in. With a touch of attitude that said "I'm a survivor, don't feel sorry for me, I am doing quite well!" After I took his photo, he wandered aruond the grounds, with a cocky jaunt that belied his physical maladies. My compassion for him turned to admiration. Yes, we can learn from those who come into our life, whose will and intent and heart can overcome all obstacles.

I think I left my heart there at that house that day. Those sweet babes melted me. I'm glad the lady owner recognized that these four legged spirits were just as important as the ones she was calling forth from other realms. I hope all the cats are doing well. Today, with the holidays and all of us snug with our loved ones, I send my love to those who seem less fortunate. Now, let me rephrase this. I do not want to pity them. Perhaps they are content with their lot in life. It is, after all, their karma, their lesson. And I certainly don't want to mess with destiny.

And now, time to pick out a card from my tarot deck. I want to see how my day will evolve.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Fire Within

"The Fire Within"

I did this painting a few days ago. After wallowing in and brooding about my life situation for awhile (which seemed to keep me stuck), I went into the studio and decided to paint my feelings. I am always quite astounded by what comes out. Rather than the creation being dark and gloomy (as my emotions seemed to dictate), the parrot is colorful and free-flowing. And as the bird evolved, I felt a new burst of energy rising up within me. Amazing transformation! Art is sooooo healing! I didn't want to get bogged down on painting every feather in true form, as this takes away from the spontaneous intuition that I embrace these days. In a sense, too, I feel on a deeper level this is my soul speaking. Like the parrot losing his form, I too am losing my formulated, preconceived notions of myself. This allows me the freedom to pursue who I truly am.

I may do a series on this as it seems to tie in with my "Parrot Phoenix", which I did about a month ago. That particular parrot was rising from the ashes; this one is beginning to fly high with his feathers flaming behind him! And to Judy, again I owe my gratitude for letting me visit your parrots. They seem to have inspired me on some level!

I shall continue to foster my seeds of compassion, for fear seems to lessen as a result. Every day I seem to be learning something new about myself; awareness seems to be playing a part!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Forest Smoke Teaches Me

"Forest Smoke"
Digital Photo

In the image above, campfire smoke arises into the woods, and like a blanket of grey-blue snow it covers the land below it. Today I shall replace the smoke with fog, as fog seems to be a more appropriate word to describe my state of being the last few days.

I keep thinking I've come out of my fog, awakening from my self-induced slumber. A slumber that can now be put aside. Long ago used as a protective device, I do not see the need anymore. I am safer now, at least comparatively speaking. And shouldn't all my feelings and emotions subsequently be joyful, peaceful, tranquil, zen-like? Not quite. In a perfect world, maybe. The feelings that keep moving up through me are wicked, deep, old, old festering wounds. Sometimes I cannot physically breathe as a result. Yes, the emotions are strong, wrecking havoc both within and without.
The tree branches are fingers of old patterns, wanting to hold onto and wallow in these feelings, not allowing them escape. They want me to go to sleep. It is tempting, I must say! The price? Staying stuck with little movement and more charades. With the mask being pulled on a little tighter. And slowly dying to my heart and soul. Why would I choose this path? Because I have become used to it? I suppose. But a louder voice within says "No longer will I settle. I shall begin again. A few words I have borrowed from my friend Suz's vocabulary and that seem to fit me at this moment. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
In the grasps of nature, the fog lingers, but then leaves, evaporating into the air. Everything is temporary, nothing is for sure. I can take lessons from this and allow my emotions to take their last gasp, thus freed, outside of my inner being.

The sun will rise and set in glorious colors within me, and the fog will share its grayness, I don't deny that. I can only trust and hope that what follows will joyfully sustain me!

Love and light to all!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mood Evoked By Black and White

"Castle Tower"
Digital Photo

I remember a photographer friend of mine was exhibiting at an art fair with me saying "I notice you're not doing photography anymore. Why not?" Sometimes I think life takes dips and turns and creativity is like that too. That's why I'm thankful that I have various creative mediums to reach out for depending on my feelings and emotions. What best expresses how I feel at any given moment? I think the subject matter has to appeal to me as well. The Beverly Unitarian Church has so many cracks and crevices to explore, with much hidden spirituality that begs to be shared. Black and white photography can evoke mood, emotion and mystery that sometimes color photography cannot do. Thus the lack of color in these images here. If you look closely at the photo above, you can see the parted window curtains where I had my art exhibit set up just beyond. What an environment to tantalize one's imagination!

"The Alcove"
Digital Photograph

Here is where I had my art exhibit set up. You can see the foreground silhouettes of my art prints, etc. Tucked away from everyone else I was for the day. I liked feeling a bit hidden back here. Besides, I could look out the window and dream, dream of being a princess waiting for her Prince Charming. Although my Prince Charming was sitting on one of the church's stairwells reading a book, a girl can never have too many Princes with charm in her life, can she?

"Window and Staircase"
Digital Photo

Values of light and dark and shades of grey in-between can really evoke mood. And hopefully, the viewer will wonder what is going on here. I leave out pieces of information so the viewer can fill in the blanks. I learned this in creative writing class, and have applied this philosophy to my photography and painting projects as well. I enjoyed going inside and outside "The Castle" walls to capture the difference ambiances that were portrayed. The late afternoon shadows were casting interesting shapes throughout.

"Within the Windows"
Digital Photograph

Back outside I went again, looking for reflections cast through the glass. Light, then dark, then light again seemed wonderful for perspective. Elena has often seen ghostly reflections in her creative pieces, and Suz mentioned the church is said to be haunted. Enough said. My curiosity invoked now, I stared more closely at my photos to see what was hidden there. One never knows who is lurking around, unwilling to leave these earthly realms.

So here is my black and white photo exhibit for the day. I find that if I can take a meaningful photo, at least in my eyes, and then elaborate on it through the written word, I feel very content. Utilizing a black and white theme here seemed to evoke the mood I was after. I don't have to be locked into color all the time, which is very freeing. Thank you, Elena, for inspiring me by posting some black and white photos on your blog, by the way. Thank you, Suz, for telling me to open some doors. Peeking through curtains doesn't hurt, either!!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Spirit is Everywhere

"Ferns on Window Sill"
Digital Art

Lately I've been drawn to windows. No matter whether they're frosted, dusty, tinted or squeaky clean, there is something intriguing about them when used as a backdrop. I was again sorting through the photos I had taken at the Beverly Unitarian Church. In the bathroom on the main floor, some ferns in a pot were residing on a window sill, soaking up the late afternoon winter light. The window had a frosted, texture-like feel to it and seemed a nice contrast to the smooth plant leaves. I pumped up the color a bit and added some reddish tones to the leaves. Some light purples were dabbled onto the background to break up some of the flatter space there.

I wanted to bring out tne fern's inner essence and vitality and feel I was able to accomplish it here. There is an energetic aura surrounding the leaves that reflect this as well. To me, the plant's leaves seem to be raised in homage and prayer to Mother Earth, God, the Angels, a Higher Power or whatever name the plant wants to give it. Yes, indeed, I found spirit everywhere in the church that day, even in the bathroom. Never leave any stone unturned, for there is magic to be found where we least expect it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Primitive Spirit

"Primitive Spirit"
Digital Art

Every so often I get to a point where I can't paint. So when this dry period occurs, I grab some recent photos I have taken and see if I can get creative with them. Last Saturday I spent the day at Beverly Unitarian Church exhibiting some of my art pieces. The church is quite old and is referred to as "The Castle" because of its structure and towers. When the crowds were thinning out, I grabbed my camera and walked around inside and outside, trying to find some interesting images. Stained glass windows flanked by candles and candelabras caught my eye, as well as stone towers with shadows crossing their exteriors. I got to exhibit my work in an alcove area on the second floor and the lacy curtains adorning the windows also seemed worthy of a picture.

The above image was originally a black and white image of the window with curtains flanking either side. I decided to colorize the image a bit and change some of the shapes around to give it a more abstract feel. The orangish shape in the middle became to take on a life of its own, reminding me of primitive art, maybe something found on an old cave wall long ago. You know, those creatures that the cavemen used to hunt down. Then I felt like adding some purple, green and pink flowers or so they seemed anyway, letting them float dreamily in space.

I suppose what I created above might be called intuitive art. I begin with a shape or general design and then see what emerges as a result. No plan in mind, just letting my heart and soul create for me! It's a very freeing process really.

The image above might be a homage to times long ago, where memories are not forgotten, but live on, even during an art show! At times during the day, I sat on the window sill in the alcove, staring out the windows, feeling like a princess locked in a tower, waiting for her knight to rescue her. Even Rapunzel came to mind, though my own hair would never make it down to the ground below. I think I was tapping into the historical ghosts of the past or so it seemed anyway. I am grateful for my dreamy self. It helps me, when the creative well runs a bit dry, to access hidden parts of me that may soon become a new image. If nothing else, the daydreaming makes me feel good inside.

As I reflect here, the primitive spirit seems to be stirring within me. A couple days ago, the wild cat came out. Today, the primitive spirit. Tomorrow, I can only imagine!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Released from the Cage

"Released from the Cage"

There's a wildness within me that wants to be released. I am not sure how I'll handle this side of me. My parents, who raised me to be a "nice" girl, would probably be raising their eyebrows at my rantings here.Yet, they ranted when I was growing up. No fair, double standard! I may use the rantings (I think my inner child is just throwing a tantrum cuz she wants to be front and center 24/7 these days) as a creative outlet perhaps. Throw some paint, rip up some papers, do a Jackson Pollock number with buckets of paint spattered every which way. Black and red colors dominating the palette (oh rainbow colors will be fine too). It's better than ripping someone else's head off when it's really just bottled up emotions coming to the surface. Like a volcano spewing lava those feelings are beginning to percolate, held back, suppressed too long. I realize there's no need to blame an innocent other who crosses my path. This is my internal battle. Just be gentle with myself. Pet the wild cat, give it a bowl of milk and then set it loose. It's been domesticated for way too long now. The fairies and angels may have to take a backseat for a bit to allow these darker stirrings to emerge. Caged within. Hidden. Holding back, yet chomping at the bit.Demanding some attention. Little purring kitty cat wants to growl.

Actually, the image I posted above started out as a nice little cat of sorts. And look what happened to it. The background, originally calming, stark white, transformed to hot orange. Colors can do that, help us process our feelings better. Maybe there is something to therapeutic art release of feelings after all. How can I not spend my time doing art? So healing, so surprising, so fulfilling!

Suddenly the song lyrics by Helen Reddy "I am woman, Hear me Roar" are dancing through my head. I think I need to pay attention to what is transpiring here.

Just some late evening ramblings from me. Hey, that's what blogs are for, right?
This was made into a draft last night, but today I shall share it. It feels right!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Daisy Gazes

"A Daisy Gazes"
Digital Art

Well, I did it. I took a week off from my blog here just to see what it felt like. For some reason, I didn't have anything to say. That was an odd feeling, but so true. In the meantime, I stayed connected with my on-line blogger friends and commented or followed along silently as they posted. And cheered them on as they followed their paths in life.

I pondered what to put on here for today. I had seen a hawk in a tree and then that same night a buck with antlers and all had walked down my driveway (This in a residential area!). I could feel their power and grace as they gazed at me and I stood transfixed by the two creatures. I then got out my Medicine cards book and read what they represented. Yes, I had it all in my mind how I would talk about the experience here on the blog. Sometimes, words though, can diminish the experience. So for now, I have put them into my memory and let them reside there for awhile. And even deeper they have gone into my heart.

So instead, I found this photo of a pretty little gerbera (I believe) daisy that was staring at its reflection in a gazing ball. During a lull at an art fair I was in, I decided to wander down the quaint streets and take in the beauty of the surroundings. This flower caught me eye! "How gorgeous I am", it seems to be saying. Yes, even nature likes to admire itself! And yes I think I can see myself taking a photo in the upper right hand corner. Surprise! Those gazing balls don't miss a trick! I added a few faint lines here and there on the daisy to depict the energy lines that run through it. Alive this flower is, so alive and it touches the gazing ball and it touches me with its power and love!

Staying in the moment and being attuned to all my senses allows for some delightful moments in my life. Whether it's a hawk, a buck or a daisy who crosses my path, I welcome them all. And I welcome my blog back into my arms too. It's time to share me again!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Feathers Come Together

"Feathers Come Together"
Digital Art

Just got back from exhibiting in an art fair in Willow Springs. It was a quiet day with about 12 artists riding on that creative supportive energy that each one of us was emitting. Sometimes just getting to know one another is enough for me. Sharing notes, comparing journeys, connecting on a deep level only other artists can relate to. And at the end of the day, sharing pizza, wine, crackers and cheese and our own selves. There is one more day of this fair. I am glad I came into the fair with no expectations; just an optimistic sense of adventure, for it is after all a 1st year event. Having an art fair in a fitness facility was a challenge. I had to sometimes go into a zen mood at times to "tune out" the distractions of people running on the track all around us, the treadmills making their noises or the occasional person hitting the punching bag nearby. An interesting intermingling of people all under one roof; yet each with different goals to accomplish!

Back at home, after I had relaxed a bit, I felt that creative voice calling to me. I had brought some art supplies to the art fair, thinking I might paint something while there. But chatting and more chatting kept me otherwise occupied. But now I did not have those distractions (a word I use in a very positive way). I found a parrot image I had done a few weeks back and scanned it into my computer. It's done in watercolor with some metallic acrylic paints added to give it some dash and oomph. That long feather in front is a feather from Waldo, a parrot I had visited about a week ago and whose owner kindly gifted me with. I played with a technique on the computer which gives it a slightly crackled effect. The black and white feather photo was an assignment I had done for an Intro to Photography class some years back. It's not a parrot feather, but birds of a feather flock together so felt it would fit in just fine. For some reason, I felt like making the black and white feather into a spiritual pendant of sorts for the parrot to wear around its neck.

I'm not sure what meaning I was trying to convey here. Maybe just playing around with collaging some different items via the computer. Or perhaps seeing what combining different tones and colors would look like. Or just simply paying attention to my inner voice saying "create, create, now, now! I still realize I have a fascination for birds and cannot seem to leave them alone or put them aside for want of something better? to create.

So just wanted to check in and say Hi and that all is well. Life is good and I look forward to each day as a new chapter in my life. Ruffling my feathers (my creativity) embracing other feathers (new artistic beings), and flying to different realms (Willow Springs) seems to be my lesson for the day. Good night!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Path With Heart

An Image Taken from the Internet
Artist Unknown - My Apologies

Today I feel lack of energy to create. Or at least at this moment. So I have taken an image from the Internet that speaks to my emotional state right now. In writing class, one of the exercises we do is to take a photo or magazine image and write about it. Sometimes, the visual helps to stir the writing muse hidden within.

I find myself longing to connect to that child within, that happy, playful imp that wants to explore and have fun. The little child above seems to be holding a lantern, nestled in a land of flowers. Perhaps she is searching for something, anything. Perhaps she is content to be where she is, and needs the lantern to explore the more hidden realms of life. The sun is shining brightly ahead of her and soon she may place the lantern down and be guided by the rays shining down on her. I can fill in the blanks as I see fit, making a story that resonates with my inner self. Although the little girl above is walking through the flowers, I recall memories of myself lying in a forest preserve, with flowers and prairie shrubs dancing in the wind just above me. Those were times of extreme bliss for me, where the world and its hooks seemed to melt away. I am a nature creature, and always have been, and I embrace that now.

I so want to believe in my creative self, for with that comes a spiritual enlightenment and contentment that makes me feel invincible. But as the bills continue to pile up, I feel some fear. I have done more art fairs this year than ever before, but it is still not enough for me to survive! Ah, that word survive. As I write these last two sentences, I feel a stirring from within, and my inner child starts to protest and shrink. I cannot allow this to happen. I just finished an art fair on Sunday and will be in another one the following weekend. Yet, my spirit feels tired. To have to "force" myself to make more prints and come up with new art can be challenging to me. Yet, the alternative is to work outside the creative realm of possibilities. Yes, I am limiting myself. Why can I not find a photography job or work in an art shop or something? It is not enough, really. The wages are not enough. So I continue to stew and mull and not take action, in limbo land. I do play the lottery, visualize winning, and building a spiritual/artistic center out in the Southwest somewhere. Where like minds can meet, gather, and be inspired. I also pray for a benefactor or mentor recognizing me, guiding me, encouraging me. I do believe in visualization and every day send images like this out into the world, with intent, lots of strong intent.

All is not gloom and doom, however. I went to a new friend's house and took some photos of her parrots. She has a macaw named Waldo, an incredibly gorgeous creature. He and all the other birds are amazing in their colors, each so diversified. Perhaps I can get some creative inspiration from them. Perhaps not. I feel the possibilities there, but the darker mood seems stronger. I don't want to dwell too much on my present state but feel it is a necessary place to be. To process the feelings coming up and then let them go! Let Them Go!

It's a little too chilly to lie down on the forest floor today. Although I long to escape for awhile into nature's embrace. I shall keep my lantern lit, and maybe find some answers within my heart today. My inner child is afraid of the dark, and I don't want her to get lost. Staying true to a path with heart can be fraught with detours. But the flowers will show me the way and the weeds of negativity will not detract.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Bird of Paradise - Now Enlightened"

"Bird of Paradise - Now Enlightened"
Digital Art

The best laid plans go awry sometimes. A new friend of mine sent me a number of stunning photos of her beautiful birds, including some parrots. I had hoped to paint one of them in the last few days. But that project is on hold, due to other obligations. Still, my creative appetite is whetted by these lovely feathered creatures and they will not be forgotten for long!

In the meantime, I found the digital art image above. Nestled amongst the "1,000's of computer images I have stored on my disc, it seemed to stand out from the rest. I did the image some time ago. The bird of paradise photo was taken at a local greenhouse. The background photo is an unusual perspective of a pumpkin top. As the bird of paradise is centered on top of the pumpkin, all you can see are the pumpkin's outer edges trailing out. Originally, the image above was titled "Pumpkin Top Craze". I felt artistically crazy (not holding back might be a better way of putting it) when it emerged from my inner depths. Today, though, I decided to change the title to one more personally fitting my own path in life. I suppose each title works in its own way, depending on the changing moods one is in. I like how the two photos have similar colorations which seemed to make their merging into one a little easier.

I think I will work on the image above a tad more and present it Sunday at the Center's Holiday Art Show. The Show is from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. I will be exhibiting my work there, along with many other fine artists and craftspeople. Frank, my husband, will be promoting his creative writing class too. There will probably be cookies and punch and a festive holiday atmosphere. Should be fun! For more info, click here.

So on to working on my Jungle phase. I feel I am walking on the wild side of myself these days, or so it seems. Bird of paradise flowers, orchids, parrots and whatever else wants to jump on my creative bandwagon, feel free. I am embracing all forms of subject matter now, not restricting myself, and it feels quite exciting! Perhaps a parrot will soon be landing on the Bird of Paradise flower. Creative license is so freeing, isn't it?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Orchids, orchids, orchids!

"Spider Orchid"

"Moth Orchid"

"Orchid Hybrid"
Watercolor, digital paint tools

"Puppy Love Orchid Fantasy"
Watercolor, digital paint tools

Well, I could talk about the craft/art fair this weekend and go on and on. Doors opened and I had wonderful conversations with everyone who was there. But I think I'll focus here today on the orchid heaven I was in for most of the time. In the space next to mine was Don White of Anything Orchids. For his Website, click here.
I once had a reading done by a psychic who told me that in a past life I was an aromatherapist, someone who concocted magical, healing oils from flowers. Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to flowers. So I was delighted that I was located next to Don. The fragrance in the air from his intoxicating orchards was wonderful. Don kindly answered my questions about his varied orchids and then let me paint several of them. I was able to complete three images over the weekend. I realize that painting in a public arena alleviates my anxiety and puts me in my peaceful zone. I think Frank, my partner, realizes my mood change too. Right off the bat, he kept telling me to get out my paper and start painting. This cracks me up, but yes he knows me well. I wonder, though, if I appear aloof to those who walk by my area as I am creating. I make sure I am attentive to people who stop and look at my work, but I don't want to appear too much like a hovering salesman. Painting keeps me on an even keel. Balance, balance!!! Several of my fellow exhibitors commented that it must be nice to be able to paint to wile away the time at the fair. Yes, the day does go by faster and I am able to come away with several new creations. That's nice!

Anyway, back to the orchids. Last night, I was still filling a nice buzz from the fair and wanted to keep creating. So I scanned my original watercolors into the computer and then played around with some more as I saw fit. Note the word: Play. I did play around with "Spider Orchid" but probably in a state of fatigue or it could just be that I was so in the zone, I lost my second image of it (Didn't save it). I will tell you that in the second revised image the Spider Orchids were turning into butterflies. I guess we're all going through that transformation process, aren't we? Even Orchids get their stint! Don White says that banana spiders pollinate this particular orchid. Hm, so that's why it has a spider look, maybe? Interesting.
The second image, "Moth Orchid" was painted from an orchid cutting that had broken off. The flower itself is now sitting happily in a vase of water. Don says it will last about two weeks. Ah, the beauty of orchids in my abode, how nice. I did not touch up or change "Moth Orchid" in any way and left it as is. Sometimes a watercolor needs to be left in its pure state!
The third image, "Orchid Hybrid" is taking two orchid watercolor images and merging them together via computer tools and genetically painting a new orchid as a result. Hey, I'm a scientist, just like that! I think I combined "Moth Orchid" and Puppy Love Orchid" to make the new offspring. Isn't this what creativity is all about, birthing new children? To me, this image has a more abstract feel, which gave it a bit more mystery.
The fourth image is called "Puppy Love Orchid Fantasy". I really played around with some painting tools on this one. This was my final image I created for the night and I REALLY like the effect. Alas, now I cannot remember what tools I used to get this image. Yes, I was really in the zone by then (I'd rather say that than admit I might have been tired) so it will be one of a kind, I imagine.

So this is my segment on Orchids and how they creatively invited themselves into my life. Again, this was a good exercise for me to paint in the public eye and push myself. Over the weekend, I got several more inquiries as to whether I teach. Right now I feel I am still a student myself, continuing to bloom like the orchids residing next to me at the fair. And this is exactly where I need to be. If I hasten the process and overwater too much, I may wilt. Make sense?

The doors, windows and gates continue to appear in my life. I have the choice to keep them locked, bolted and shut or open them wide to embrace the unknown that lies ahead! A garden of orchids filled me senses and I am grateful for that!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Watercolor, digital art tools

The universe works in strange and wonderful ways. I had basically given up on being in an art and craft fair (Holi-Daze) this weekend. It was full, no one had canceled and that was that.
Then last night I get an e-mail from the organizer telling me a spot had opened up. An exhibitor who was supposed to be in the fair got into an automobile accident and hurt her neck. She would not be able to make it as a result. Because of that, I was able to take her place.

I send her blessings for a speedy recovery and thank the Universe for opening up a door for me.
Life works in strange ways, doesn't it? As I said yesterday, you gotta believe!

So if you're in the neighborhood, stop by Lincolnway East High (Frankfort) on Sunday from 9:30 to 3:00 and say Hi to Marge and myself. Of course, the Bears are on TV and the weather is totally delightful but still.....

The image above is a watercolor I did of a woman's face and then added two separate photos (one of flowers and one of window glass) and merged them digitally with the watercolor. I posted it here today because it seems to "reflect" my mood, which is contemplative.

Keep all your senses wide open, because doors are creaking, beckoning us in!

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Parrot Phoenix"

"Parrot Phoenix"

So a few hours ago I was grumbling and in a down mood. The arts and crafts fair does not have any openings for the weekend. It is totally full. Now this tantalizes me. It must be a good fair if it is full, the economy is turning around, people can afford to exhibit in these fairs. All the more reason for me to call again today to see if there were any cancellations and there weren't. She said to me "you must feel like you're on standby". Hm, I guess that's a nice way of putting it. Well I did wait till the last minute to submit my application. I was not sure if I wanted to be in another primarily craft fair after my last experience two weeks ago. During that 4 day event, I felt like a fish out of water. My work is art pure and simple. On the bright side, I suppose it stands out from the crafts. But that is not always a good thing when people are looking for crafts (esp. Christmas oriented). So this is how I justify my feelings of rejection today. Still, I want to keep pushing myself and had hoped this upcoming fair would give me a little extra cash and maybe some exposure to the public. So I pouted for awhile this morning, felt sorry for myself, wondered how anyone could reject my application and stewed and stewed some more. Then I heard something squawking at me, or so I thought. Oh, yes, the cockatoo, he wanted me to paint him and was trying to snap me out of my could care less attitude.

So I went over to the computer and began looking at the cockatoo photos. My blog post from yesterday shows the beautiful bird smooching with its owner. Still in a venting mood, I quickly began sketching a side profile of one of the cockatoo close-up photos. Pencil lines were swirling in a crazy manner. I had laid out my soft blue and orange watercolors, figuring I'd keep it on the pastel, monochromatic side. Calm colors to soothe me, to temper my crankiness. Well, those other tubes were jostling for position too so the next thing I knew I began painting the heck out of the bird. And it got pretty colorful.Sure, while I was painting, I was wishing that the "real bird" was posing for me. But would it have stayed in such perfect repose as a photograph allows it to? Photographs can also flatten an image, and compromise the dimensional effect of the subject. See, I was still wishing for more, not willing to content myself with what I had at hand! On the bright side, I did not feel the need to touch the bird up with photoshop paint tools. An accomplishment for me, yahoo! It looks more like a parrot now and less like a cockatoo, in my opinion. And in my metaphorical/ deeper symbolism mind, the bird looks to be rising out of the ashes, like the phoenix. Like me rising out of my miserable mood.

I do feel a little better now. Creativity usually does the trick in restoring my mood to one of a more positive nature. Is my crabbiness revealed in the parrot painting? Well, some of the red-orange colors drip like blood and there seems to be a scar on its face and body. A little of my dark mood released, I suppose. That happens sometimes, where my mood is transferred and released to my creation. I suppose that's why we as artists feel such a personal connection to our paintings, etc, as we do not hold back on our heart, soul and feelings during the process.

Be patient, parrot. ( I guess I could call you Carrot or Pockatoo to depict your two bird forms). No, at the moment, Parrot Phoenix will do. You are too pretty to hide. When I find the right venue to display you, you will be able to strut your feathers. In the meantime, shine here on the blog. And thank you too, for bringing a little sunshine into my life today! My mood is arising out of the ashes!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Cockatoo Kiss and a Hug to Creative Spirits!

"Cockatoo Kiss"
Digital Photo

I took this photo at a recent art fair I was exhibiting in. There is sometimes nothing more deeply felt than the connection between owner and pet. I liked this photo and several other close-ups I took of the bird with its orange coloring and blue fringed eyes. I may try painting the bird and then contacting the owner, as she has talked about meeting with me again some day.

I mention this particular event because it seemed to coincide with a demo last night at Town and Country Art League. I almost decided not to go, for a number of quite silly reasons, but then something in my soul said "Go" so off I went. And I was glad I did. John Tylk, a wonderful oil painter and pastelist (and exquisite animal portrait artist) was the featured artist and did a beautiful rendering of a lion portrait in just a few hours. Though I wished I would have taken a photo of the lion, below is an oil painting John has done, one of many commissioned pieces.

For his website and to see more of his paintings, click on the dog painting sitting just above here. Doris, I know you might enjoy seeing his work as you, too, have done some awesome animal portraits yourself. I also read John's biography on his website and his path as an artist speaks to my own artistic quest.

Starting out with a detailed pencil drawing, he proceeded to entrance the audience (and me) with his artistic ability. He also very patiently and, with a sense of humor, answered questions from the audience. (I think I asked about 5 question myself, hey it's a learning experience, right?) I particularly liked how he used mineral spirits to give a watery feel to the background. I suppose my watercolor heart felt a personal affinity to this particular technique he used. In fact, I may attempt oil painting again myself as a result of watching John paint last night. For me, that says a lot!

My friend entered the raffle to win this Lion painting that John did and when her name was drawn, there were tears in her eyes. She had scrounged together some dollar bills and change in order to become the proud owner of this painting. She is quite an animal lover, has photographed and painted a few lion paintings herself and felt a real connection to John's lion painting. Right before her name was announced, she was talking to me about how she would frame it and where it would hang on her wall. I sat next to her affirming that she would win and I do believe our intent to make it happen fulfilled the reality of it. Believe, you gotta believe!

I am glad I did not stay home last night. Otherwise, I would not have felt that little extra spark of inspiration. I would not have seen my friend's joy as she won the Lion painting. And I would not have gotten to know John Tylk, the artist and the person. I realize that we need the support and inspiration of others and if we live in a vacumn otherwise, our potential to expand may be sacrificed. I have often pondered doing either pet photography or paintings in some form or another. So now my interest has been rekindled and I realize that the world is so much broader and the sky is the limit as to potential.

And now to my easel to paint the Cockatoo. Do I dare try some oils or should I start out with tried and true watercolors? Perhaps I'll ask Spike the Cockatoo his personal preference. Whatever I choose, I know I will feel the joy of being creative!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Mystique Memories"

"Mystique Memories"
Digital Art

"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."

- Carl Jung -

I've been looking into my heart an awful lot lately. While there is pain to deal with, the joy that resides there as well is worth all the soul-searching. When I paint and create, I forget the emotions and just go into the bliss. I suppose that is a good enough reason to want to be in this particular state of being. Yet, I also want to make sure my inner child is getting nourished as well, which is why I trekked into downtown Frankfort yesterday.

I wandered up and down the sidewalks, looking at kiddies decorated in halloween garb, who were running in and out of various stores for candied treasures. I smiled at their energetic antics for awhile and then began gazing into the storefront windows I was passing by. One particular window had a display of flowers within its rather darkened interior. I am not sure if the flowers were real or not, but the creamy whiteness of them contrasted quite well with the shadowy backdrop. Condensation formed drips and drops of moisture that trickled in vertical paths down the exterior glass, adding a dreamy mystery to the still life. The scene quite enchanted me so I took a photograph of it. Later, when I got home, I downloaded the photo onto my computer and then played around with it. While "painting" blues, purples, pinks and other pastel colors onto the image before me, my thoughts suddenly drifted to the painter Claude Monet and his garden images. I especially was getting a vision of his water lilies. So I began talking to Claude, asking for his guidance as I continued to create the image. I've read that this is a good thing, to ask for blessings and inspiration from artists who have come before us. I felt his soothing presence swirling around me and shortly thereafter, my own artistic self took over. It was an interesting experience and one I wanted to recount here for future explorations.

So "Mystique Memories" emerges here and maybe a little bit of Claude can be found nestled amongst the flowers. And a Fairy or two may be sharing the abode as well! The possibilities of creativity are really endless and that is such a freeing thing........

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Gremlins Meet a Fairy!

"Halloween Gremlins Meet a Fairy"
Watercolor, digital art tools

It started out simple enough. A cute ittle fairy on a flower that begged to be shared here. I like creative cutsy outlets these days. Suddenly, it seemed a prankster invaded my being and I was pressing computer buttons and experimenting like there was no tomorrow. Every painting tool in the book was tapped into and explored here. The flower petals were created using a pattern brush tool, a handy little texture device. I tried to then undo some brush strokes and repaint others and had no luck. There was no going back!

So it's Halloween and I figured the spirits and ghosts and boogy men were up to their tricks. In fact, if you look closely, you might see some little haunty beings nestled into the background. I rather like the thicker paint strokes on some areas; there appears to be a 3D effect. And the flower heart on the fairy's center seems to please me. So, I'm not totally mad, just more amazed at the letting go of it all that I seemed to experience. All in all, experimenting and playing without thoughts involved.

I bet this little Fairy is ready to run for the hills, I mean Woods and go hide under a toadstool or something. Glad she was patient and tolerant with my antics today. Hope you all have fun with Tricks and Treats and laugh and dance through the pumpkin patch!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tree Spirit

"Tree Spirit"
Watercolor, Digital Photo Tools

The tree spirit wonders if she should remain hidden amongst the rainbow palette of leaves or come out to say Hi. I am this spirit, connected to nature, yet longing for balance. I want to stay connected to my artistic spirit which sometimes means withdrawing from the world. Yet, earthly matters call to me as well, forcing me out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I feel like I am being torn in two and pray that I will do the right thing. The wind rustles the leaves around me and soon they are falling gently to the ground. Then the branches and I will be exposed. Am I ready for this or shall I transform myself into a Cave Spirit where I can continue to remain hidden? I hear her soft voice murmuring "Only time will tell......." as the leaves continue to dance and twirl around. The autumn season has brought both beauty and melancholy into my soul. I await the changes within, seeking comfort from the tree spirit.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Some African Animals Brightened My Day!


"Happy Cat"

Watercolor, Computer Paint Tools

The images above were painted during an arts/craft fair I participated in recently. Though the fair in general seemed light on the crowds, I decided to take matters into my own hands to alleviate some of the boredom and/or stress I was feeling at times during the event. The people across from us, Ethnic Arts Africa, (for their website click here), were selling wonderful figurines they had brought over from South Africa. Masks, paintings and assorted animal pieces such as giraffes, cats, elephants, alligators and owls filled their tables. We struck up a great friendship and, with their permission, I was allowed to take one figure at a time over to my booth and paint it. And, in the process, I learned how to interact with my fellow vendor and brainstorm on ways to help market both of our products. I even made a bit of a story out this, telling people wandering in that the figures had walked over to my booth, clamoring to have their portrait done.

This was a great exercise for me. I have done little painting when I am in a public arena (except for painting outdoors with fellow artists), so this was a perfect opportunity to stretch myself. My husband wanted me to sit right in the aisle so I could be more viewable to the public but strollers and people walking three abreast kept me staying a little more tucked in. And I was right next to the small cafe so there were some hungry campers coming through. As it was, at one point I knocked my water cup over. Well, I'm glad I did this myself but still....accidents happen. But, really, it was more than just being exposed to the public. I needed to feel safer internally, within myself. Art-making is a very personal experience, sacred even, and I feel I put my heart and soul out on the line each time I create. My inner child/artist needs to feel protected in order for me to access and tap into this deep part of me. I think creative types can understand this! Anyway, once I finished the giraffe, I felt more comfortable and was able to keep going with other images. I also painted a small fairy girl which Ethnic Arts Africa also sells (yes, they have a variety of merchandise), and I shall post this magical creature here in the near future.

I got some nice feedback on the creations above. Even kids and babies seemed charmed by the whimsical creatures. And isn't that what it's all about too, spreading the artistic joy to those who come into our lives? I pushed my creative boundaries, tapping into some resistance and then working through it and moving on. And I learned how to interact with my fellow vendor and brainstorm on ways to help market both of our products.

So I took a chance with this fair, with no expectations and came away rich with new visions and ideas. I do miss all my african animal figurines from the fair who came over to keep me company and am glad I have their painted portraits to remember them by! Thank you, Jan and Jack, for entrusting me with their care for a few hours. I am grateful to you both for helping my artist self to grow just a little bit more!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Pumpkin Garden"

"Pumpkin Garden"
Digital Art

A watercolor I did recently of a pumpkin that implored me to paint it before a face was carved into it. The background is from an image of Monet's garden which I altered and played with. I was initially content with just the pumpkin sitting as is on a white background but then I decided to experiment. I chose the background because I liked the contrasting colors. Though the image here is rather small, if you look closely you can see many little faces emerging in the background. Perhaps one of them is Monet smiling down on me as I create. I like to think that artists from the past and present are always surrounding me in one way or another, giving me blessings and encouragement. Anyway, my surrealistic longings began to kick in (okay Salvador Dali, you're probably hidden in there too) and suddenly the pumpkin was melting into the water. Yes, this pumpkin had detangled itself from its vines and plunged into this liquid essence. Hm, quite a trip to go from Illinois all the way to France, such an adventurer.

Though I myself also dream of going to France one day and seeing the waterlilies and maybe some French pumpkins, for now I am content to paint and visualize this happening on paper. I cannot wait to hear pumpkin's stories when he/she returns. If, of course, I can get past the French accent!!!!

Believe in the Magic!!!!! Hey Linus and Snoopy, where are you?????

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Opening Myself to the Moment, I Feel the Joy

"Autumn Song"
Digital Art

It's the day after a "small" art festival in Palos Heights. Cold and rainy at the start, then things calmed down a bit. About 13 artists participated and it wa a cozy, small crowd of onlookers wandering around. Today I am thinking about process, how the art process of doing seems so fulfilling to me. The added benefits of selling your art is of course dessert. But I guess what I'm trying to say is by staying in the moment of one's life, there is so much to take in, so much joy. I sold a few things and had some wonderful comments about the pieces I shared yesterday. But so many more elements of the day have stayed with me today, which I write down here while they are fresh in my mind.

There was the lady with the orange and white cockatoo who so kindly let me take photos of. I have been so wanting to paint a bird such as this. And as an added bonus, the bird hopped onto my arm and calmly gazed around. What a treat. Though it lovingly? nipped its owner, it sat very peacefully on my arm roost. Some areas of the bird's body seemed barren of feathers and the owner stated that "Lou Lou", in moments of stress, would pick at her feathers. Yet, today, the bird was giving her owner kisses, seemingly quite relaxed. Perhaps it was the music, perhaps it was the loving caresses the bird was receiving. I walked away, feeling I had learned something. Maybe that we all have emotions, subsequent physical symptoms and have choices in how we deal with and overcome them. Three elderly men performed dixie music/banjo music/barbershop music for much of the day. I was right next to where they were performing, so it was nice to hear such happy music fill the air. They were so "in the zone" that I felt the kinship that creative souls know so well, that blissful feeling. "Wiggles the Penguin", a mascot, danced around with little kids and their excited giggles and gestures made me laugh. Later in the day, a younger woman stood by my work and made wonderful comments. One of the most interesting things she said was "that my work reminded her of the kind of art her son created". I stared at her son, who appeared about 7 years old or so. I felt quite thrilled by this, not offended in the least. I interpreted this to mean that my work has a more childlike quality to it. This is where I am attempting to go, to reconnect and embrace the playful me inside. Oh, and the sun came out for a few hours and Frank, myself and the lady I shared a tent with all sit in chairs under a awning, sunglasses on, feeling the warmth of nature. And there were other small moments during the day that if I had not been aware and fully present, might have slipped by unnoticed. So this is what I mean about the process, the process of opening all the senses and really taking in the wonder of it all.

I shall close here with just a few thoughts about the image above. A watercolor I did of grapes about a week or so ago and then I added the musical notes from a piano book of mine. The song is called "Harmony of the Angels" and to incorporate it into the grape image just seemed right to me, as my spiritual voice is clamoring to be heard.

There were a lot of angels walking around the art fair yesterday. Some were singing, some dancing and others just spreading their radiance by just being. May you find an angel or two in your own life!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Still Life Now Disturbed"
Digital Art

Yes, the title mimics the words just above the woman's image in the vase. I've been reading alot about surrealist artists lately. I've always enjoyed their "you have to look at it at least twice" to figure out what is going on. I like to "think" about a piece. Sometimes, though, this particular kind of art can get a bit dark and have sexual overtones. So, I'm kind of caught between fantasy/whimsical and surrealism these days. I have to let out whatever is necessary, though, to satisfy my creative muse. To be true to myself requires this. Still, it stirs up some emotional monsters within.

The image above is still a work in progress. The original painting done in watercolor was just the vase and fruit. After I scanned the image in, it slipped around and revealed some white areas around the edges. Well, suddenly I envisioned a stage of sorts and then drapes emerged and then the shadowing figure joined in (voila, the white was soon covered up). The woman was composed of two separate composites. The original painting of the woman had no head, just a body. So I found a face from another image I had done and added it here. The colors don't quite match yet. I'm not sure if that matters. Also, I touched up the shadows under the fruit and lightened them. I've been playing with this for a few days now. Don't know if I'll ever complete it or not. BUT, it is good for me to put a nude up here, no matter how small. Figure drawing was a vital part of my artistic path when I was in art school so I am getting in touch with it again. A lost friend wanting to reunite.

I find that my writing class is helping me to tell more of a story with my art as well. That is useful for me. Frank, my writing teacher and husband, says there needs to be a what and a so what in our writings. I think the same can be applied to the painting process too.

Yet, I find the image above a bit dark. I'd like to put angel wings on the woman or give her a nice white robe. A few sweet little flowers growing on the stage might lighten the mood. All of my artistic selves inside of me seem to be fighting right now for expression. I find this a bit disturbing. I will be still for a while and listen; perhaps a compromise can be reached. Otherwise, I'll just have to ride out the storm........ Who am I???????

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nine Lives of A Cat

"Nine Lives of A Cat"
Digital Art

I spent some of the morning browsing the Internet. Reading about art fairs and how to be the best exhibitor you can be. Then I was reading about photography and digital art. Someone was talking about photography from a purist point of view. He said that maybe someone who did 3D animation art could actually be called a digital artist. All the rest of the people who paint and paste and alter photographs are still considered photographers. Whatever, I thought. I'm not much of an art elitist and categories that separate each of us into compartments bores me. It's all about the love of creating and to spend too much time in the Ego suppresses that energetic flow (my opinion, anyway). So with too much information overload swirling in my head, I was ready to switch gears and just play.

I had intended on painting something, anything, but the best laid plans go astray so instead I downloaded some photos from my computer. After looking at some autumn leaf photos, I decided to place one of them here as a backdrop. The cat is another photo I took. He's actually sprawled across a sidewalk but I only really wanted his face so voila that came next. And he blends in with the dark background making him a bit more mysterious. I like that. Then I found a painting I had done of a buddha cat (that's what I call him anyway) so he got inserted on the top here. (He is an afterthought which I may take out but for now he can keep the other cat company. I painted him a bit more brightly here on the computer because I wanted him to be the main focus and then I was done. I've been in an autumn/halloween kind of a mood lately so guess that's why my creativity reflects this.

Spook needed a few companions anyway. He's been lonely. I haven't been writing anything more about him and his adventures lately. So Spook, here's the next best thing. Why don't you all go out and sniff some catnip or something? After all, it's Friday night and time to party!
But don't get too hungover because the big night, Halloween, will soon be here and then you can really go prowling. Of course, with 9 lives a cat can afford to be a little more daring that we human types. Yet, I found myself today being daring with my creative muse and pushing myself. Oh, and I do call myself a digital artist, amongst other things, by the way. And I'm proud of it!

Hope all your fantasies are coming true and that you're living life to the max!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dreams Left Behind

"Dreams Left Behind"
Digital Art

Sometimes when the wind is swirling and the frost is on the pumpkins, I reflect on time spent out in Arizona some years ago, wandering the deserts. The Native American Indians selling their turquoise and coral jewelry along the canyon rims has left a permanent imprint on my mind. I see their tanned, wrinkled faces and the mystique of it all stirs up longing.

So when these feelings arose a few days ago, I decided to reflect on them in a more creative way. After tearing out specific words and images to mirror my own emotions, I set to work putting them on paper. First I applied matte medium to a small piece of watercolor paper. Then I painted the background with southwest colors of turquoise and adobe orange. From there I added the map depicting Native American land. The groups of letters and words I then affixed were chosen because I just wanted to use some ancient text. This symbolizes the love and pride the Indians attribute to their heritage, not succumbing to modern influences. For some reason memories of being a youngster in school called to me so the alphabet letters and numbers were attached. This may be related to my own love of learning and the intrigue I find in absorbing what other cultures signify to me. "Promises" is an affirming word to me. I may just one day get back to this desert land that so fascinates me. "Remembering" was added as personal memories swirled within me. (It's funny, though, as I sit here looking at the total image, " these yellow letters look like teeth on a face backdrop. It's almost as if an Indian with a tribal mask on is staring at me. And to make it even more mysterious and haunting, a medicine man or shaman. I feel a shiver run through me now, as I see something totally different and my soul rustles within. What an adventure the creative muse takes us on! I then attached some gauzy material over various areas of the picture. Finally, I added some dried flower petals to the center. Perhaps this signifies my love for the West. There is much romanticism affiliated with this area of the U.S. So yes, I have offered my own interpretation of what this image "may" mean to me. It allows for a more personal connection to what I create and hones my writing skills as well. All part of the journey I am on.

I was happy to create from this inner realm of myself. Releasing feelings and emotions is always therapeutic for me, yet keeps me yearning for even more release. To find the hidden treasures within. To seek more understanding of who I am. A cyclic process, yet never-ending. I hope someday my dreams of reconnecting with a place where I left pieces of my soul behind will come true. Did I just hear a coyote howl? Are there Indians dancing around a pile of burning leaves? Keep that fire alive in order to rekindle your dreams. I know I am.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A New Link and Some New Stories!

"Creative Energy"
Digital Art

Off to writing class I go filled with zest and creative energy.And yes, even dolphins and porpoises can dream up a storm, don't you think? I started a new link to the right here called Writings-Poems. I just added the 2nd part to an ongoing story I had shared here recently called "Castles in the Sky But Dreamless. So please check it out. I'd appreciate comments, thoughts, or just a Hi!

Now I'm off to share "Wandering in the Wood's Embrace" with fellow classmates. It deals with a so-calleld "witch" who is searching for her true identity. (Hope to tie it in to "Castle" story). For inspiration, classmates last week shared words to use as possible topics. Bread (either money or the doughy yeast kind), taking chances, witches, and zoos all are subjects we can choose from. Or your own personal writings, of course.

And now I go wandering into the Center's woods. Hm, maybe another story in the making? I am always on the lookout for new inspiration! And if you ever want to stop into the Wednesday afternoon or evening writing class, you're more than welcome. No obligation, of course. But just be warned, you may have to sit and write a spell (or for a spell). Hey, Halloween's coming, what can I say?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

October Roars in Like a Lion!

"Lion and Cub"
Pencil, watercolor, and computer art

It did seem rather like a jungle yesterday at the Mokena Art Fair. The winds howled through the tents, and gray skies sent raindrops falling onto those who braved the elements. No, there weren't any lions roaming the streets, but rather dogs in every shape and size were strutting their stuff. Despite the weather conditions, which seem appropriate for this time of year, I enjoyed the day immensely. And I'll tell you why. It's really all about the people.

For example, I met a teacher exhibitor. In the three tents to the right of her own were several of her students. She said they had all rushed early to the fair so as to be next to one another. The teacher proudly introduced me to her pupils, beaming with pride as she talked about their abilities. Each student had a unique style and his/her own passion seemed evident. I marveled at the diversity and at the teacher's love of teaching. She just glowed!
Another art participant asked me numerous questions about prints. She sells originals only, gorgeous still lifes done in pastels (thought of you, Doris) and at a pretty hefty price. She is now considering the world of prints and greeting cards, in order to appeal to a more general audience. Having flexibility and new visions as an artist is growth empowering.
There was a grandfather who was taking his nine year old daughter (who is a wonderful portrait artist-he proudly proclaimed) around to meet the various artists and see their work. He said he often goes out with his granddaughter to artistic events to support her young aritistic vision. The art institute is next on their agenda. He glowed when he talked about his granddaughter and I thought "isn't nurturing and support wonderful to see". During a conversation with him and her, I gave them some tips on staying on a true artistic path based on my own experience. These "teaching" and "sharing" experiences made it all worth the raindrops that kept falling on my head, which I soon didn't even notice. Here I was in a "zone" and I wasn't even painting. Hooray!
We were closing up shop about an hour early because the weather was finally doing us in. A woman scurried up and said "oh good you still have that framed photo image. I was with my daughter earlier and she had her heart set on it. So, now, while she is gone, I'll buy it and give it to her as a surprise for Christmas". I did remember the daughter stopping by and gazing in awe at a framed trio of flowers I had on display. Her face fell when I told her the price but her mom was paying attention. Good for you, Mom! That seemed very special and meaningful to me, as there's something about someone giving my artistic creations as a gift (and a surprise, no less) that just opens my heart!
And it wasn't just people who tickled me today. Those dogs I had mentioned earlier looked like they were on parade for a judged show. All those new mixed breeds that seem to be the rage pranced up and down the road, admiring the artwork (or so it seemed). Owners happily let us pet them (the dogs, that is) and I was grooving on the unconditional love the animals gave me. Boy, I was feeling the good vibes around me, whether it was coming from two-leggeds or four-leggeds.
Oh, I forgot to mention the free breakfast. Free is always a good thing in this day and age. The organizer supplied the artists with bagels and cream cheese, huge muffins, fresh fruit and lots of hot coffee. It was a great way to start off the day. And though the crowds were light, the people who were there seemed intent on enjoying the creative sights that filled their vision.
So now, as I sit here typing, I am feeling a little soreness kicking in. But it makes me realize how good it is to be alive and share our art and our true selves with the world. It can't get any better than that!

So let your "lion" inside let out a mighty roar as you share who you are. But remember, the little cub sitting nearby. Still in that nurturing stage, like our own inner child selves. Balance!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Spook the Cat"
Digital Art

"Inhale. Let the Universe Support You."

(A message on Facebook from Sonia Choquette, a noted psychic/healer). My husband is a fan of hers on Facebook and I am just a fan period, and he passed this message on to me. FaceBook continues to be a way to send spiritual vibes out to the Universe, so I feel its usefulness as a positive communicator.

I went to my writing classes yesterday (afternoon and evening class). The last week's assignment had been to write something using the words: kitchen, destiny, fate, dreams, castles. These words can either all be in the story or just one if we so choose. I believe I put all of them into a story I wrote yesterday morning (yes, I always feel resistance and drag my feet, waiting till the last minute).I didn't plan the writing at all but felt my intuition guide my words, which flowed with many twists and turns. So here is the beginning excerpt from the story:

Castles in the Sky But Dreamless

Smoke filled lthe air from floor to ceiling, and I felt like I was in a fog as I stared through the haze. The atmosphere around me seemed conducive to my brooding state of mind, as I sat in the kitchen of my castle, dreaming of my fate. This was nothing new, the dreaming, that is. Nor the foggy mind that not even car headlights could permeate. Then I laughed sarcastically. Here I was in an exquisite kitchen, a place Martha Stewart or Emeril would die for and yet, I had never laid a hand on any item adorning the room. Recipe books lined a long marble topped counter, and their dusty aged covers spoke volumes about my lack of cooking interest. I never cooked in my kitchen, but would just stare around at the shiny polished pots and pans, marveling at their pristine qualities. I would see still life arrangements in my mind and feel the urge to paint the copper and silver items. But to prepare something to eat, never did that thought cross my mind. Nearby sat a huge kettle, and smoke continued to rise in circular fashion from it. No, there was no soup cooking away for hours on end. Just some strange brew made from potions I had gathered from the eccentric woman who lived in the dark house down the road. Why do you not light up your abode? It seems dark and ominous, i’d often ask her. She’d look at me with piercing black eyes and any more words I’d thought to utter would be immediately swallowed back down. That day she had held out her hand and several shiny objects glistened there. The objects had hopped, yes hopped over onto my own palm and now they lay boiling away in the pot nearby. Would I drink the brew, I pondered? Not while I was alone. For if it was poison and I lay dying, only Spook the cat would be able to nestle me out of my stupor. In a corner of the kitchen the cat was dosing, tail twitching in dream state, a purr emitting softly from pink pursed lips. Nope, Spook I could not depend on.

The woman in the story undergoes transformation as the story goes on, but it is implied rather subtly. I find myself wanting to write fantasy stories where lessons can be learned. We shall see where I go with my writings. And yes, images are floating in my head begging to be sketched or painted, to accompany the text, although Spook the Cat depicted above may already have a head start. I just added scribble paint to Spook's eyes a few minutes ago giving them a 3D effect. As the eyes are still drying, I shall perhaps expose Spook #2 in a future post. Creative license, don't you just love it?

As always, I welcome your comments on this story excerpt or anything else you feel like chatting about! And remember to breathe, for the universe is always there for support!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"My Lady Comes Forth"

"My Lady Comes Forth"
Watercolor, photography, digital tools

Lately, I've been feeling the urge to bring people, especially women, back into my creative life. Portraits, half length, full length figures, it does not matter as long as they surface onto paper. The winds howl outside my window, shaking and rattling my environment and I pull my afghan more tightly around me.

The woman above mimics me in some ways, seeking refuge as well from the oncoming winter, looking for shelter in a nearby cave. Yes, the purple bluish area that envelopes the lady above was originally going to be a place she could protect herself in. Shielding herself from the elements of nature and also allowing necessary time to go within herself to seek new aspects of who she might be. But does she really need to do this? Perhaps instead she is emerging from her isolation. Maybe that is really a cloak around her that she will use as adornment as she mingles with life. Or maybe that purple that merges into her earthly body is her aura, her spiritual essence shining around her for all to see. The possibilities are endless and her dreamy face reflects this. Speaking of her face, I have always had a fascination with the renaissance and medieval historical time periods. When I was a teenager, I'd check out many library books dealing with that "romantic" time period and escape from my real world. And now, years later, it seems my artist self wants to incorporate that influence, via images and/or symbolism, into new pieces. I allow this to happen, going with the flow, not resisting. The background was originally a photo of some fall flowers and leaves I saw lying around somewhere. Yes, the autumn influence is seeping into my inner creative core as well. There seemed a bit too much green in the shrubbery, so I toned that color down to give more subtle contrast to the foreground image.

So I present My Lady here. One last thought. I often see little ghostly figures staring at me when I create something. My Lady might be one of them, but she wanted to be seen so she is bigger than most of the others that seemed to want to remain hidden. Perhaps this is a good thing on my part.Maybe aspects of myself, like My Lady, are springing forth from deep chambers. All I know is that my imagination continues to be sparked. Thank you, My Lady. Welcome to my time period, and please, show me the way!