Saturday, March 27, 2010

Reflecting on Nature

"Reflecting on Nature"
Digital Photograph

I've always been a nature person. It is both my refuge and a place for me to recharge myself. When I was younger and life was pretty chaotic, I'd either do something creative or seek a woods where I could lie down on a bed of soft prairie grasses or lean my back against a warm, soothing tree. Both outlets helped preserve my inner soul.

My soul has been filled with yearning lately. Longing for more. For what, I am not sure. And this makes it difficult. All I can do is go with the feelings and see where it leads me. And I am thankful for digital computer tools for it allows me, on some unspoken level, to reflect on my my soul feelings and express it here. I was able to give the above image a more painterly, impressionistic touch with some dreaminess added for good measure. On a deeper level, I was able to enhance my experience, to tell more of a story about why I took the image in the first place. And it is a release, too, of so much more that is indescribable. That is where the spiritual comes in.

I float on the waves, not resisting or hiding in the murky depths below the surface. I reflect on this new state of being and watch it unfold. Happy Earth Day forever and ever......

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring brings out the dreamy self

"Sit Down and Have a Cup of Tea"
Digital Photograph

I'm feeling more playful. Maybe because it's Spring. Maybe because I am more willing to let my "child" out. Maybe I'm just tired of the serious side of me that seems such a spoilt sport. Whatever the reason, feeling these younger vibes is a good thing. So I'm going with it.

Today I spent much of the afternoon downloading some photos I've taken over the past week or so. I was going to paint today (still might, there's time) but somehow I actually got engrossed in looking at photos, touching them up a bit and remembering back to the day I took each image. I don't know maybe it's easier to work with photography than paint. I don't have to drag everything out like special brushes, paints, papers and so on. Maybe I'm lazy. I just need to honor wherever I'm at and go with the feeling.

For the most part, an image needs to call to my heart, to mean something to me these days. Maybe there's a piece of me in what I'm looking at. Or it has to be something that makes me look twice, pause, reflect. Oh and light and shadow are nice elements too. Throw these into a pot and voila, I can capture something that captivates me. My boredom alarm goes off if I don't follow this protocol from my heart.

The image above is a table and chair inside the visitor's center. I took this photo through a large window with the reflection of the preserve and lake shining through it, becoming a backdrop. I liked the lights and shadows that were playing off of everything, late afternoon sunlight is good for this effect. Kind of surreal, kind of mysterious, my cup of tea. And it makes you wonder about the people who might have just been sitting there and are now walking around the preserve. Well, it was a beautiful day, so why not?

And then I turned away from the window and saw this young lass gazing off, daydreaming or so it seemed. What was she thinking about, I wondered? The light glinted on her hair in a wonderful way. Her posture was intriguing to me, her hands resting on the rock just so. I liked this image because it's how I felt that day. Dreamy, full of wonder at life. We are mirrors of each other, after all.

Digital Photograph

So thought I'd share a bit of my world this week. The door to my dreamy, playful heart opens a little wider each day. I continue to be amazed at the possibilities that reside in there. And outside, the flowers contiue to bloom too. They bloom, I bloom, all good.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Seagull in Flight

"Seagull in Flight"
Watercolor on 140 lb cold-pressed paper

Have been in a photo mode lately due to recent photo exhibit. I often struggle a bit to transistion to other mediums after I've been immersed in one for awhile. I did so want to paint, was feeling the urge. Also, I was pondering subject matter. What to paint, what to paint, what has meaning to me? Oh no my inspiration is gone, I'll never create again. Oh oh monkey mind coming in to add to the choir singing in my head. A choir is happy, joyful, spiritual so maybe just say the racket spouting off in the brain.

But birds always seem to call to me and after combing through 1,000's of photos yes 1000's, I found this photo taken last Summer. I was lazilly sitting near a dock basking in the sun, yet with eyes open for something stunning to focus the camera on. Well, after hours had passed, the bird posed for me quite nicely. Outstretched wings, flying in the sky symbolizing myself stretching my wings, embracing changes and soaring to new places. Gotta have personal meaning for me to create too. External image transformed into my heart, alchemy process and voila inspiration unfolds.

The face of the bird started out rather detailed as I began the painting process and then as I got to the feathers I decided to leave a more impressionistic feel to them. Besides, I was starting to get a bit lazy (no, we''ll call it dreamy-in the zone) which sounds more positive to me. The background I left pretty much white except for a few pink thin swirls here and there. I like the illustrative quality that the white background gives to the subject.

Well, the bird looks like he is soaring down but my take on this is that he's already attained some spiritual insight on a higher plane and is now coming back to earth to share his newfound knowledge/gifts with those who are grounded below. Hm, I suppose this sounds a little airy fairy but it feels right to me in my heart. Happy Weekend All!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Butterfly Fantasy

"Butterfly Fantasy"
Digital Art Painting

I am tired of fighting who I really am. Someone who loves color and fantasy with a touch of spiritual thrown in. Actually, let me revise that. I know what I love but don't always embrace it fully as coming from my heart and accepting it 100%. So "Butterfly Fantasy" celebrates this declaration of me. The image above went through many transformations. First it is was a monarch butterfly photo on a green background, then it became all purple in color via digital tools and finally I just decided to implode the image with all colors of the rainbow. It's also been cropped down a bit to allow the image to be front and center. The butterfly, of course, is symbolic of the transformation process from cocoon to full winged creature. And I join in too, transforming myself. We're really all so inter-connected, every creature on earth and have so many lessons to learn from one another.

And the writing process is no exception. In my last two stories for writing class, I have written about my prints and framed images coming alive, breaking lose from either the walls or baskets they are residing in and erupting in emotion (whether it be positive or negative or a mix of the two). In one story, my photographs duke it out with some "snobbier" photos they are sharing wall space in. This helped me process some feelings I was going through during an actual real-life photo reception last week which I squelched within myself for a few days. Therapeutic release..... In the second story, my prints jump out of a basket and begin rocking and rolling in a New Age shop. Playing tamberines, drums, crystal bowls, and living it up in a very energetic fashion. Through my writing, I am taking inanimate objects and giving them human characteristics. I find this is a very symbolic, transformative process for me. First, it alleviates my boredom as it goes beyond strictly reporting an event. Second, I am able to let out emotions in an observer role. Third, I gain more awareness of myself, and find myself coming alive (partying like my prints, letting energy explode, not holding back) through emotional freeing. A wonderful outlet which sometimes seems subtle to me but really it all adds up over time. This is really opening up my heart and soul. I am not always sure I will become a published author through participating in writing classes, but finding out who I am (and really always was from Day 1) is worth its weight in gold. Writing unlocks mysteries.....Okay, never say never, I might write a book someday about my creative process.

So transformation seems to be my companion lately. And the creative process is allowing inner changes to unfold a little more easily. Stretch your wings, little butterfly. The cocoon is too small to hold you now.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Magnolia blossoms

"Magnolia Blossoms"
Digital Photo

I'm thinking about Spring. As the rain comes down and the white patches of snow get smaller and smaller, the birds will get louder with their songs. All in good time...... Patience is a word that resonates quite often within me these days. And the following words are recited in order to soothe my emotions, to help me stay in the moment, where happiness and joy reside:

In; out.
Deep; slow.
Calm; ease.
Smile; release.
(Words written by Thich Nhat Hanh -
who is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk)

Like the flowers that are just beginning to bud now, I am opening myself up to possibilities never before considered. Like putting my photos onto different backings such as canvas or watercolor paper to give a more painterly feel to the image. I might do that with the magnolia blossom. Like walking downtown and talking to shop owners and showing them my artwork. And reading books that teach ways to welcome peace and calm into one's life. All things are being considered in all areas of my life. No stone is being left unturned.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Three Vessels

"Three Vessels"
Acrylic on Canvas

I find my resistance to looking for a job and trying to make some money seeping into my blog these days. I am not posting almost daily like I used to and find that worry continues to raise its nasty head to me, even restricting my writing here.
But something is breaking through and I am finding my creative passion beginning to conquer those ego fears (just a tad). Writing class and entering the above image into an art league contest yesterday were my saviors.
In writing class, I have a tendency to write fairy tales and fantasies. Usually it's my own life but disguised in a more childlike/imaginative world. I often will tell the class I am always seeking to find myself and that my writing reflects that pursuit. A fellow writer said to me "I hope you never find yourself. Otherwise, you'll just end up writing memoirs like me. Keep writing like you do". Her words gave me food for thought and affirmation.
And then lo and behold I entered the above image (which has a rather surrealistic feel to it) in an art league contest last night and got 3rd place. I had painted the original sometime ago and then a few days ago I touched up the third pot (it had little color before and almost blended into the dark surroundings). I also added turquoise, purple and bronze colors to a previously black background. And then I decided to share it. The members voted and I was quite amazed that they liked this piece. I'm saying this because these are artists who love realism where every detail is precise and artistic rules are followed religiously. But they seem to be thinking more out of the box and the result, for me, was feeling affirmed by more believing eyes.
I guess the best part of all this is that I am not changing my work to suit the needs of others. I am being true to myself more and more and am feeling content. And the ripple effect outward is resonating in a positive way too.
So we'll see what happens. I hope this is the start of more consistant posting and staying more connected to my blogger buddies and visiting them on a regular basis. And maybe I can stomp out resistance in the process one step at a time.