Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kiki the Cat

"Kiki the Cat"
Watercolor on fiber paper with
some scribble paints added here and there

I fell in love with a kittie photograph that a friend of mine posted on Facebook. The expression on the face was rather unique which really appealed to me. I asked her if I could paint it so I could get some more practice in painting animals. Once I got her permission, I hunted around for some paper to paint Kiki on. I was in an experimental mood and chose some fiber paper (cream colored with bits of green fiber intermingled throughout). It looked pretty sturdy, much sturdier than rice paper so thought I'd give it a shot! I sketched the cat in lightly and then proceeded to practice with some watercolors. Mistake!!! The paper was quite porous and the water sank through the paper. It became rather hard to work with after that. I wanted to toss Kiki aside and throw it in the reject pile as failed attempt. But a part of me said "keep going" so after letting the watercolors dry, I added some scribble paints here and there. The eyes got some of the glittery scribble paint as did the nose. It's hard to see the effect here, but on the original it is more evident. My husband said the final product looked tacky with the scribble paints and I should have left it in its original form. I welcome free speech.......

I really didn't want to share the painting with my facebook friend, but decided today to e-mail it to her (for the heck of it).

Lessons: 1. Be careful when you use fiber paper as a base for watercolor
2. Sometimes a photo is just too cute and sweet to reproduce and is better
left in its original form
3. Experimentation is the only way you learn sometimes!

I think in a past life this cat lived in China (note the slanty eyes)! Though this cat is not anatomically correct, I had fun bringing it to life on paper.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Winter Holding Spring Back

"Winter Holding Spring Back"
Digital Art

You'd think that 12 years after my Mom passed away into the Heavens above, I would be able to move on. But there's something about her birthday each year that throws me for a loop. Of course, the fact that I have suppressed so many of my deep emotions during the years subsequent have not made it any easier. I numbed myself in order to cope with life, yet still felt I was sleepwalking. As I wake up to my authentic self each and every day, my emotions wake up too. I didn't think I'd be able to create during this last week or so as I worked through my grief and memories of Mom, but I did. The above creation emerged slowly, hesitantly, but it finally made its presence known.

I took a photo through a store window in downtown Frankfort. Lately I've been mesmorized by condensation and/or ice forming on glass. It makes for a rather mysterious, mystical image. A straw-like formation in the center flanked by small daisies stared out from the dark interior. I was also in a Picasso mood as I played around with some computer tools, forming small cubes that seemed to pop out. My love of Abstract came out to say Hi too. Extra lines added in represented the energy of Spring chomping at the bits, waiting behind Winter for its turn, imprisoned for another month or so. Thus the title. For a little while, as I created, I floated above my grief and connected with something else. A bliss danced with me and I forgot the sadness.

They say time eases the pain of those we have lost. Yes, it has, but its the birthdays and holidays that still hit some raw emotion. But Spring will be here soon and I will remember Mom in the flowers blooming and the birds chirping. For then I know that she is all around me and really has not ever left my side......For me, that is reassuring!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Light From Within

"The Light From Within"
Digital Art

The images from Haiti flashing across the TV screen lately have twisted my heart and stomach into knots. To alleviate some of this internal discomfort, I decided to turn to creativity, many times a savior in my life. I must admit some of my most emotional pieces have come when I am in the midst of crisis of some sort. After my parents passed on, I did a series of about 8 paintings or so reflecting my grief. While we were at the Cemetary for my mom's burial, I took out my camera and began taking photos of the Springtime buds on the trees. For a little while that day, my grief dissolved a little. The Apple Blossoms were so gorgeous that day. And now, the Haiti earthquake has evoked emotional tremors within myself and again, I reach for art to soothe myself.

Yet, I feel sad. I so love and feel passion for my creative spirit but it never seems like enough. I want to help others even more in some way. To heal them, transform them, make their hurts go away. And still I stop myself. Why, why, why? Just some conflict I need to process.....

The above image is a melding of three images. The background is of a blurry sunset sky image of peaches and blues. The figure on the left is a statue (I believe of the Virgin Mary) that I took over at St. Francis of the Woods. A beautiful place to retreat to, by the way. The figure on the right is a woman I had painted many moons ago and then played around with in photoshop. If you look closely enough, you can see some stained glass fragments nestled in there. Stained glass, a symbol of churches to me anyway, that gives me spiritual solace. I faded the figures a bit to give more of a dreamy, almost surreal feel to them. Maybe too, the effect is otherworldly, as that is how I feel about Haiti, like it's not happening, but it is of course. Someone commented on the image above and said she could feel much emotion, tinged with sadness. And yes, I feel sad, helpless that I cannot do more, give someone over there a hug, let them have a shoulder to cry on.....

I felt quite spiritual when I created this image yesterday. My emotions were pretty strong. And they have stayed strong. I think I have really stirred them up and they are not going away. I think that's why I stopped creating for a few years. The emotions got so intense I just couldn't handle them anymore. Yet, I must remember how good it feels to release them, to not hold them. I hope I am different now. I hope I can handle them now. Because if I don't create, I am empty.

Sending Blessings to Haiti. For now, that is all I can do! P.S. Am I losing it or what? I seem to see an image of a Haitian man? (face and torso) nestled between the two women. Does anyone else see him?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

So Many Eyes I Can See With

"So Many Eyes I Can See With"
Watercolor/Digital Art

Newest creation unveiled. I was looking at several books on how to paint peacocks. I had a pretty decent photo of the bird with his feathers all spread out, which appealed to me. There is something about feathers that open up in all their glory. (Symbolically, opening up ourselves and letting all our gifts unfold to the universe). One of the artists from his book said to draw all the lines (for the back tail feathers) with a ruler. I did as he said, then redrew the lines on the computer free form. I love the ideas of others, but guess I still like to do my own thing. Need to keep that unique stamp!
I pooped out on making the many eyes on the feathers, so decided to just do a few and leave the rest to the viewer to fill in. They can always be added later, if I so choose! I also brightened up the four "eyes" because I felt like there was deeper meaning there that I wanted to present. (Window to the Soul, for example). I'm not sure if I like the title, but for now it seems to fit my present mood. My only regret is that I didn't make this painting bigger (it's about 8"x10" or so); those tail feathers might have looked more impressive in a bigger format. Next time!
Finally, I looked up the meaning of the peacock on the internet and got this:

Contemplate the powers of the Peacock when you need more vibrancy and vitality in your experience. The Peacock can also help you on your spiritual Path, and breath new life into your walk of faith.

The Peacock can rejuvenate self-esteem levels too. If you’re feeling “blah” and blue, imagine the glorious, techno-color display the Peacock provides. This puts us in a proper mood to embrace your own nobility. In no time, you’ll be walking tall and proud as a Peacock too!

PEACOCK symbolism: astral body consciousness - inward immersion - point of transformation - outward expression integration - purification - transmutation

All good deeper meaning kind of words which made me happy I had chosen the peacock as my next creation to paint! My rather "blah" feeling lately seemed to disappear when I let the paints fly! Note to Bev: KEEP CREATING!

A new painting to add to my bird menagerie. I hope all the chirping won't disturb the neighbors!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sharing Gifts is Timeless

"Sharing Gifts Is Timeless"
Digital Photograph
by Beverly Bronson

I hope I never lose my creative spark. For heaven's sake, it has taken much of my life to reconnect with, and embrace, this vital part of me. Peeling away the layers, so many layers to get to that gold. These three men, singing joyfully, are a reminder that age is not a barrier to that which we cherish and have a passion for.

Yes, as I stare at the image above, I am transported back to that day when three angels serenaded me during an Art Fair held during October. Though the weather was certainly chilly, my heart was warmed by their voices. The impact these gents left on me was, and still is, to this day, amazing. Memories like this sustain me on my path.........when I falter and forget who I really am!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Strength and Love United!

"Strength and Love United"

I finished this painting a few days ago. I got an eagle sculpture for Christmas and thought it would be a perfect model to paint. And besides, it seems to represent strength, something I continue to work on within myself. It would not fly away, shift poses, look bored or anything. A captive audience.Maybe quite not the challenge of going down to Starved Rock and painting the bald eagles flying around, but that's for another time. Perhaps the sculpture is really just a fossilized eagle from times long ago. Okay, there goes my imagination.....I do admire those who sculpt or do pottery and other 3D creative pursuits. Those classes just never grabbed me back in art school. Oh, and those who model in life drawing classes, by the way (what patience)! I so admire their stamina!

In the old days I would have painted every feather on a bird, every scale on an alligator, etc. Now I just do impressions, little dashes and swirls here and there. The rest can be filled in by the viewer. After I completed the watercolor above, I looked more closely at it and then something Elena had posted once on her blog came to mind. She talked about finding hearts in the world around us, in inanimate objects, if we just open our own hearts and soul.
Well, the wings on this bird look like a heart, don't you think? And how perfect, to have strength and love together, represented in the eagle and its heart-shaped wings. To be strong, but not so strong and tough that love is shut out. That sounds good to me!

I then grabbed Jamie Sim's Medicine Cards book and thumbed through to see what the eagle symbolizes. An overall summary with what I thought were key points follows:
"Eagle medicine is the power of the Great Spirit, the connection to the Divine. It is the ability to live in the realm of spirit, and yet remain connected and balanced within the realm of Earth... to look higher and to touch Grandfather Sun with your heart, to love the shadow as well as the follow the joy your heart desires"

So I really do believe in the power of creativity. I saw the heart emerging from the eagle as I painted it and then Jamie's words reaffirmed with words the connection of it all. Synchronicity, another word that comes to mind. Maybe I am putting even more of my own heart self into the image and it emerged in a visual way. Hope so.

Yes, I must admit I almost donated the eagle sculpture to goodwill. I have so many tokens and tidbits already and in my decluttering state of mind, nothing is safe. But then, I would not have painted the bird, which pushed me to new levels regarding meaning and symbolism.

And yes, Carol, you are right; it really does matter what we paint and its personal affinity to us. It's not just a little bird on a fence post, but a magnificant eagle that represents so much more. Love, strength, balance, flying to new heights, leaving the old behind, more intentions and more messages for me to embrace as the New Year continues to unfold.......Thank you, Eagle!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Warbler Wishes All A Happy New Year


A bird does not sing because it has an answer.
It sings because it has a song.
- Chinese Proverb

I've decided, as one of my 2010 New Year intentions, to do things differently. Even just a small change in routine would spice up my life. I did not go out dancing and drinking champaign in my glitzy, sparkling gown with cleavage showing. I did not even watch the ball make its trek down on Times Square in New York. In fact, quietude drifted all around me as I burned candles and incense while writing down some resolutions for 2010. Then I took the small piece of paper, put it into a little black kettle (cauldron) and, sitting outside, watched the flames turn my thoughts and wishes into ashes. Some of the ashes twirled around, dancing in the night air. The blue moon shone cheerfully overhead, adding even more magic to the moment. After I shivered in the zero temps for a few minutes, breathing in the beauty of nature, I walked inside and went into my studio. And a little warbler birdie emerged in watercolor to help me celebrate the wonder of the New Year. And I got so into my zone painting him that only the firecrackers going on outside my window reminded me that the Midnight Hour had arrived!

As I said earlier, I wanted to do things differently so I took a small pack of Cotman Water Colour Postcards and proceeded to pull a tiny sheet out. Yes, the size is only 4x6 inches, but still a good quality. (140 lb cold pressed watercolor paper). I have never done creations on such small paper before so this is where I would test my abilities. Surprisingly, I found drawing the birdie quite easy to do. I think sometimes the larger paper intimidates me and I end up almost chopping off the head or legs as a result. I just can't get the size right. I like to draw freestyle and not use charts or dimensional tools, as for me it seems to ruin the spontaneity of what I am creating, trying to get it to look real, too real! After I had painted the bird, I scanned it into my scanner. Here I had problems as the image was too small and the scanner wasn't picking it up. So I placed a sheet of blue mat board behind the image and that seemed to work. After I looked at it on the computer, I started playing around with the blue mat background and as I rotated it, white edge borders emerged from the blue as my fingers slipped a bit on the computer keys. But I rather like the off kilter effect and have decided to keep it here for the moment. Another experiment. Another way to add spice to my life.

I hope to continue to make changes, no matter how small, to offset any routines I may fall victim to. I have many more intentions to abide by as the New Year unfolds. And I am glad the warbler above was a witness to my thoughts and dreams, and will chirp a reminder to me when I falter.