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!