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!