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Showing posts from January, 2012

Healing Herb Mandala

I started this mandala last week and finished it yesterday. It is one foot square so my scanner was unable to pick up the entire image but this is a decent representation of its essence.  I’ve been feeling under the weather again, this time with a bad chest cold. Working on this painting brightened things a bit.  I was thinking about plants, more specifically herbs, and the healing powers they possess.  It’s very interesting and most likely intuitive that I gravitated towards this type of healing subject matter just before I got sick. Our subject matter choices are so broad and widely varied that what we settle on working with has the potential to deliver important messages, if we are open to listening. I worked with a compass, ruler and was heavily dependent on the French curve.  I have a large one and a smaller curve. I’ve been curious about them but haven’t used them a great deal in the past.  It was interesting to form an entire composition around the curve and its many possibili…

Fast Forward

I have been in fast forward.  I thought when I wrote the previous post about preparing for Imbolc that Imbolc was today, instead of next week.  I had projected forward in time and actually believed the beginning of this week was January 30th.  Then, I woke up this morning sure it was Friday.  What on earth is going on?  My internal clock is usually so accurate that I don’t need to set an alarm.  I guess I just got really excited that a new Sabbat was coming up. Yesterday was a day of positive messages.  I received a great deal of positive feedback about my teaching and my classes from a variety of sources. When something like that happens, not only do I feel great but I take it is a spiritual message. I know messages are sent to us all the time from the realm of the spirit.  It is up to us to interpret them but first we have to slow down long enough to receive these messages. I have been moving fast and in fact I have been projecting myself into the future.  Yesterday was a reminder …

Preparing for Imbolc

I’m excited about the upcoming Imbolc holiday and I’ve been preparing my home for the presence of Goddess Brighid.  Many people celebrate February 2nd as Groundhog’s Day but in many parts of the pagan community it is Imbolc.  Imbolc asks us to pay attention to home and hearth.  We welcome the deities closely aligned with those sacred spaces so intimately tied to our lives.  I particularly adore Vesta and am making way for her as well.  Since I’ve been sick I’ve really become mindful of cleanliness, especially since it is suspected that I had or have stomach flu.  I have been cleaning and sanitizing all morning though I have little physical energy I have plenty of psychic energy.  The aromatherapeutic benefits of the types of cleansers I am using are also giving me a spiritual boost.  I am doing spiritual floor washes using lemongrass essential oil, while also burning very sweet smelling red and white candles and will finish up with a juniper smudge. Then for a longer term effect, I w…

Snow and Illness

If we allow it to happen, snow will awaken the inner child.  There is a since of childish wonder and awe that can come with the snow, when you don’t think of shoveling too much, that is.  Temporarily shutting down the noisy adult and instead releasing the inner child enables snow to once again captivate.  Snow makes a transformative impression on the landscape.  We have been having a great deal of snow over the past few days and I have been sick with stomach flu which gave me a lot of time to sit, think, curl up in a blanket and dream.  As an artist, winter is one of the most important times.  It can be a very productive and stimulating period in the creative calendar.  Everything is in a state of flux, changing day by day and the snow makes everything in the landscape seem bright and new.  There is a lot of mystery, so much lies beneath the surface of what we can see.  Dreams become powerful—there is no denying it--winter is the time I get the most done.  The snow makes it visually …

Spears

I love sculptural containers such as amphora, urns and even boxes. I’m especially fond of the mixed media boxes of Joseph Cornell and Greek amphorae. The ancient Egyptians also made a fascinating assortment of containers for things such as unguents and ointments.   In my series about shields and modes of shielding I created this drawing with Prismacolor pencils on colored pastel paper with the idea of containment and safety in mind. The shapes are contained and shielded from a menacing spear.  I wanted to have an overriding sense of transparency on the frontal plane and more of a notion of opacity on the secondary plane. Delicacy plays its role here as well and so does the sense of movement.  The rounded shapes are quite fragile and are reminiscent of balloons. They are juxtaposed against the angular spear shape that twists and moves through the composition. The balloon shapes are being shielded yet they are still threatened by the presence of the arrow-like spear. Several years befo…

Shields

After spending a lot of time considering the notion of shielding, and shields as physical and psychic protection armaments, I created this piece using watercolor pencils on watercolor paper.  I wanted to portray the fragility of our physical self, portraying an abstracted version of the body with a specific focus on its important internal organs, placing all of it behind a transparent yet powerful shield. This painting is roughly 8 x 12 inches and was done about five years ago. When I worked at the Art Institute during my lunch breaks I would visit the collections, lingering over the armor section.  The armor collection is compellingly striking and it evokes awe and wonder. Feeling vulnerable physically, psychologically and psychically, about five years ago I decided to learn to make different types of armor, using the materials at hand.  I also made an intense study of armor and then created a large variety of shields as works-on-paper that also coordinated with a heart series.  My …

Conception

Something’s afoot in the studio and outside.  It’s still cold outside, snowy even but I can feel the quickening of conception, growth and the birth of new ideas and new life germinating beneath the frozen surface of the earth.  For many months I have worked hard on a few different series of ATCs.  Now it is time to trade those and put aside the making of the cards.  The cards have stirred many ideas for other media and formats.  I may even be teaching it in an afterschool enrichment program for children.  ATCs are a way of working I hold dear and I know I will soon return to them.  I have blogged about how they remind me of working with metals and how that similarity makes me yearn to return to cloisonné. That is one of the new mediums it has spurned—something I am eager to explore in 2012.  I also want to return to one foot square patterned mandalas. This time though I am going to use some of the ideas I learned about in a workshop on aqueous media while attending the Illinois Art E…

Dealing with Rejection

This morning I woke up with rejection on my mind.  As an artist and writer this is one of the most difficult things to deal with yet it is inevitable.  Why is it inevitable?  Well, if you are putting yourself out there, to multiple markets, groups, curators, publishers, whatever, you are bound to bump up with those who do not “get” your work.  For short periods of time, sometimes admittedly longer, I find rejection debilitating.  This happens when I lose objectivity.   This morning, for some reason or another, rejections I have encountered over the last couple of weeks ballooned in my mind and made me feel empty and hopeless. Then as I was driving to get gas I started to deconstruct those negative feelings.  Being rejected is not a reflection on a person it is a reflection of various people.  The thoughts of others about your creativity, is only that, thoughts and thoughts are not facts.  I ran into that particular quote for the first time on Twitter and it really resonates, especial…

Winterscape of Body and Soul

Working the negative space is a natural move if you are an artist that enjoys landscapes during the winter.  The blank spaces left from fallen leaves, between branches and stems leave a poetic opening of artistic opportunity.  At the same time negative spaces, like winter’s effect on the landscape, give us a chance to imagine what was there and what is to come. We can either complain or be disappointed over what is seemingly not there or delve further into these seemingly blank spaces and delight in the shapes, geometric interplays and markmaking possibilities with which we are faced.  This drawing taken from my sketchbook is a still life of a vase filled with variety of blooming Dutch bulbs, most prominently tulips.  Absence of the usual intense colors of tulips is filled with enticingly rich graphite, creating its own conversation in shadow, shape and depth. The stark winter landscape which many of us will be facing for many months to come, invites us to step into the domain on the…

Whispers of the Trees

A couple of years ago, I wrote a book devoted to the healing energy of trees called, “A Healing Grove.” Way before I wrote that book, I created this drawing in situ at the Oak Park Conservatory.  I remember it was to be a gathering of local artists to paint and draw, using the conservatory as an open studio.  It was a cold night outside and it was quite damp, dark and cool inside since we were there after regular hours.  I was a little disorientated at first because of all of the different tree energies and plant life pulsating in the ecosystem themed rooms.  I settled in on the tropical room because it seemed to speak the clearest language. I’ve always loved palms and banana trees as well as other fruit trees.  They give us so much in terms of sustenance, shelter, art and craft materials, spiritual resources for healing, ceremony and ritual. I enjoy using banana papers in my studio, as well as palm waste paper and fig bark pressed into paper.  I have used these in a variety of proje…

Mermaid and Angels

This ATC features a woman from a Botticelli painting transformed into a mermaid with two angels behind her.  While I was working on it I was transported to my childhood and began pondering my connections to mermaids, the lake and the sea.  When I was growing up I spent many hours swimming in a lake fed by freshwater springs.  I would encounter all sorts of wetland creatures as I swam, like small schools of fish, turtles and even otters.  Sometimes I would get tangled in the seaweed.  Swimming and rowing were respites from a sometimes stressful life inside the house. I always found wonder and a sense of peace from observing the tides, floating and swimming deep down towards the sandy bottom of the lake.  As I grew older my uncle introduced me to the Ifa path of the Yoruba people and that was my first time of reflecting on the diverse types of mermaids of the spiritual world.  At first he thought I was a child of Oshun, but eventually it was revealed to him that I was child of Yemaya a…

Blog Hop Friday

I'm trying out many new and different things in 2012.  I'm a part of the Creative Every Day challenge started by Leah and now I'm trying out this blog hop Friday's where you link to each other's blogs. http://www.thedomesticpagan.net/2012/01/follow-friday-2.html?utm_source=BP_recent Hope I'm doing this correctly, not sure about Mr. Linky and how he works.  Anyway, this image is another in my series of ATCs.  I think I'm up to about 50 cards by now.  I'm ready to participate in a mail-in swap in Canada that is for women only, and an in-person swap in Barrington, IL in a few weeks.  I've been working steadily on this ATC edition and have had a recent focus on a rock art/petroglyph type of theme inspired by my time in Australia, living in various Aboriginal communities, and also a Goddess theme.  Yesterday I also started working with combining the petroglyph imagery with the Goddess theme and began to work dragon energy.  I've always been fascinat…

Vanilla: a Vessel of Promise

Yesterday, with ego bruised from my failed technical experiments with walnut ink and stamping, I spent some time away from the studio and instead worked in the kitchen.  I was making one of Barefoot Contessa’s recipes for baked chocolate pudding.  It called for some fresh vanilla bean.  As I peeled away the seeds and pulp of the bean I was put in touch with the magickal allure of the Goddess Gaia.  It was over a decade ago that I discovered Goddess Spirituality.  Over a short time, I came to realize the power that the divinely feminine goddesses would have on my life. For nearly a decade I wrote a column for “Sage Woman,” magazine and this column was a vessel at the time for my spirituality, now that shift has moved more towards the garden, artmaking and writing books and articles.  I mention the garden because I see and experience the Goddess and goddesses in nature most prominently.  When I hold and smell any of my favorite herbs I am immediately put in touch with earth goddesses a…

Failure is an Option

I felt pretty good about my studio endeavors recently.  Bumbling along, working intuitively had been paying off.  My work ethic has been good and I’m putting in about 25 hours per week on my art.  Then yesterday, I had this seemingly brilliant idea to go to Michaels and buy some new stamps.  The rubber stamps weren’t marked down like I thought they would be so I was on to other things.  I checked out clear stamps and acrylic blocks but that was pricier than my budget.   Then I gravitated over to stamping embellishments and found some walnut ink sprays.  I have worked a lot previously with walnut ink in the manner of watercolor with my mixed media work and thought the sprays would be convenient for ATCs.  I did buy an almost filigreed design of a tree that is quite delicate.  I thought I followed the directions the way they were presented.  I stamped with the special quick dry ink called Versa, and then sprayed on the walnut ink.  I was left with a tar-like color and the stamp ink nev…

2012--Time for New Beginnings

New beginnings can be scary.  I remember so many first days of school, both as a student and particularly as an educator, and how the unknown factors of what would eventually come together to be a class, was incredibly frightening.  As a teacher, you are the facilitator, the one who makes things go smoothly, and hopefully the one who creates an encouraging, open, safe learning environment.  I also remember the new beginnings of life in my belly.  Being pregnant is such an awesome experience there are hardly words to describe it.  Eventually though, the experience grows old and you can’t wait to give birth.  After the excruciating pain of a natural child birth, you are presented with a most precious gift, a new human being and almost right away this experience, at least for me, generates intense feelings of love.  I had this immense pleasure four times and find that within my children’s lives there are constant new beginnings that make their lives and my inclusion in them, rewarding a…