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........