Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Traveler

I thought she was a traveler. She appeared to be ready to go somewhere or to have just returned. She certainly wasn't one who had been in the same place forever. A little romantic, a little dreamy. I like her a great deal. I think she has an open heart and lives well with her vulnerabilities.

This is something I have been doing a great deal of thinking about recently. I haven't had an open heart. I've kept in a box in a secret place and then tried to forget where it was. Brick walls were a comforting thing. Then I could just pretend I was there. The other extreme seemed to be connected to pain and I was tired of that. Opening your heart usually meant someone was going to come in and stomp on it and I believed that so strongly it became true no matter what else happened.

But being so tightly wrapped away leads to migraines and ulcers and bad moods. One has to be brave to do a lot of traveling, especially beyond your own brick walls. The trick is to be brave enough and strong enough to open your heart all the way..all the way, so that even when you are rejected, denied or mocked for being who you are, you can continue being who you are, truly believing that is enough and opening enough to flow past the rejection, denial and mockery to a place where you can see the hurt and fear in the Other One. If you can do that sort of travel, then vulnerabilities melt and understanding and even compassion can replace the pain.

Sometimes there is even a sort of joy to be found in that sort of journey.
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Monday, October 26, 2009


This all started with becoming enchanted with the profile of a wonderful woman friend. That day she had worn these huge disc earrings with wonderful concentric designs of bling set off against her dark hair. Everytime I caught her profile I thought she looked like a goddess. Well, really, she may well be the Goddess of Bling and Glitz. So i took a few photos with my cell phone as I had left my trusty digital camera home. Then I started to draw. Things always change once the drawing starts. She became more primal, more essential. Hmm, a lot younger, boy she would like that one. Then she was no longer she. There was a deeper essence emerging that was linked to nature and my friend was just not a nature girl. the shapes at the left became seashells, an egg, a sky symbol. This was a Muse, an inspiration in and of herself. Haughty little thing, but full of power...her own power. The words along the top are verses from various sources scratched in to be half visible. Clarity is not immediately evident with a Muse. Her flesh is very cool colors with a cool underpainting. A wild thing, to be pursued, this Muse, but she visited me that day and joined the studio retinue. The gold gesso reflects the light wonderfully and lets her feel timeless.
A wistful angel. Her wings are embellished with the words of love, but she glances downward as the Dove flies upward to her heart. She is very much a Santa Fe Santos style angel. I meant for her to be less wistful, but my own heart was sad as painted her and I couldn't stop the sadness from getting into the paint. This happens. If you have ever read "Water for Chocolate" you know that it was a good thing I wasn't cooking anything at the time.Her heart is up in the upper left corner and there are other winged things in the area trying to remind her how to fly. That is what friends are for. As I painted, the bird came last. It was the hope at the end of the day. She stands in a rustic doorway. Things will be better once she steps through and spreads her wings.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Sacred Women

The entire icon concept captured my heart and imagination. Originally, icons were literally considered doors to another world, a sacred world. There were specific rules for their creation, formats, colors, etc. Artists weren't considered artists so much as crafts people...which maybe we really are. I'm willing to go there. Being an artist isn't my crown, it's my my breath and everybody breathes. It's not as special as some would make it out to be except perhaps to me. So this first Woman of the Sacred is especially dear to me. Can you guess who she is? The long hair, the beautiful gown, the precious urn are all her attributes. I've placed her on that gold gesso so she glows with the preciousness that could only belong to Mary Magdalene. Long before there was any Da Vinci code, Mary Magdalene was precious to me. You see, it was my mother's name. Mary Magdalene De La Cruz. Her mother told me she named her that because the original Mary had been the most beloved of Jesus Christ. What a beautiful thought. So I made her beautiful, slightly Jewish looking. Those are apples in the background to link her to Mother Eve and two keys tell us she is the key to understanding Christ's humanity as well as the importance of women in Christ's plans for spirituality. Oh yes, there is that masked critter looking over her shoulder, but he is just the past, which she has turned away from. Can you tell how much I loved creating this piece ? So, if my dearest Mary Magdalene came to visit my studio, you know I also had a visit from the Great Mother, Eve. She reigns in a triptych. When I started working on this, I really thought I was going to do three distinct images, but that's not what Eve had in mind. She wanted her children there with her. Again, like the ancient icons, she floats in the eternity of gold with the fruit of wisdom, which was passed on to her children. Her heart burns with the passion of learning and her torso is a mirror as she reflects each and everyone of us equally. The silhouettes of her children peer out from the gardens. Gardens they have created in honor and memory of Eden. One has numbers and equations, the other words, representing logic and spirit respectively.

On the technical side both pieces are on heavy watercolor paper mounted on mat board. the images are acrylic, collage and oil stick. Oh yes, and love...with a bit of passion thrown in for highlighting.
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Amazing View women

I love the lighting on this fair lady's a candle beneath her chin. This is on a heart shaped paper mache shape I bought this summer with no idea whatsoever in mind as to what I was going to do with it other than I loved the shape. It is very dimensional, about an inch and half thick. I hit it with my beloved gold gesso, then thin layers of paint and collage. Old dictionary pages. metal stampings and some old lace are in there, too.. I love her butterfly eyes. she has a very different point of view, eh ? Maybe one that has morphed a bit over time. I think they are helping her find a new vision. she'll get there.
Remeber this fine friend? I left a sketch on canvas a few days back. Well, here she is in her all her finery. Gold leaf around the edges, and her heart, not on her sleeve but a bit closer to her head so she can figure life out a with a little less illusions. Look at those eyes. She's looking for truth even if it bites. It's already turned her lovely hair a bit gray, but if you could see her up close there are some lovely tones of gold and lavender there warming her, softening her. She does look like she might be tearing up a bit in those eyes, but truth will do that to you. she's confident in her red blouse. No jewels for this one. She is enough.
This would be a question for anyone who may stop by and visit my little blog. someone left a comment asking if I read the comments. Oh my yes !!! I would like to encourage some comments, so I will pose a question. there are many publications currrently available showing where women artists create. For the most part these are beautiful spaces to drool over like one does when looking Architectural Digest or House Beautiful. One does get a few neat ideas on setting up space to work in. Mine is a spare bedroom commandeered as an art studio. What you are looking at is just one corner. I have a huge drafting table that is my work space and a small desk tucked into the other corner. You can see what is one end of a wall of book cases that hold supplies as well as books. Now I know this is but one corner, but I have been accused...and I think quite wrongly...but you dear reader can tell me true...of having a STERILE work space. Sterile....sounds like the emergency room at Barnes-Jewish around the corner. Sigh. I dearly love my accuser and respect her taste deeply, but, well...Is it ? I haven;t moved a thing...I just snapped an extra shot after shooting the two previous paintings.

Let me know what you think. Inquiring minds need to know....and dear heart who made that comment....shhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Eye Candy

I have to admit that I get a little bored when I flick through other folks blogs and see nothing but florals photos or autumn leaves photos or whatever. So here is just one. Yep, just a single Monet-esque shot from the Missouri Botanical Garden. This is totally un-photoshopped and the lighting is just what was there that day. Perfect. Good composition doesn't hurt. I didn't crop it either and I don't think I would. Out of a dozen or so shots I hit on three like this that I just loved. I printed them out and now I have to figure out what to do with them. I will definitely frame them all in the same kind of frame and probably hand them in my bedroom which has shades of blue and way too much dark heavy furniture. Not that I don't like dark heavy furniture. It looks nice and sturdy to me and I don't mind it. The suite was from my husband's Uncle's furniture factory, so it has some provenance. The room has several large mirrors so it is in balance, but it needs pretty. It needs wonder. It needs these water lilies.

I did a series of watercolor paintings of waterlilies a while back. They came out very well and flew off to various parts of the world including France. Can you imagine a French person, home of Monet, buying an American Artist's rendering of waterlilies ????? Yeee-haa. So these photos inspire me, but I don't think I will paint from them. They are pretty much complete as they are.

So if you came looking for pumpkins and autumn leaves, you'll have to hunt them down elsewhere. I am too busy enjoying them to throw them into blogland right now.

Oh, I meant to tell you about my newest little project/brainstorm. I signed up for a sketchbook project where the book will become part of a library of artist's sketchbooks that will tour the country. The deadline is in January and I've been so busy doing other projects I kind of let that one slide a bit. In the meantime I started sketching while sitting in front of the TV. Just doodling out faces to begin with, but they developed into fully modeled portraits of all kinds of characters. the surprise was that they tended to become very masculine when I was drawing under those circumstances ! Very strange. Anyway, I decided to bring the two concepts together and collage some of the portraits into the sketchbook and then do some directly onto the pages, also. Who knows what will happen with that. since all the TV movies airing right now tend to be slightly scary ones, maybe I'll get some scary critters on the pages. It will be fun to see what happens !!!! Yes, I'll post some of the more interesting ones !
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Start Here

So I decided to work on a stretched canvas. In another life, in the wilds of the land of Vegas, my bestus buddy was the manager for a major Art Supply store. I was the beneficiary of many art supplies that were either discontinued, damaged or just written off as samples. Lucky, spoiled little me. So six deep wrapped canvas panels moved all the way to the land of "M" and have lived in exile at the top of my studio closet. SIGH.

So I dug one out and decided in the spirit of being "Green" I would use all six, especially since they were essentially free, didn't require framing and would work well with my new acrylic techniques. YIPPEEEE !!!!!! So I started with a free hand sketch. Yep, absolutely freehand. If I think about it too much the whole thing gets too stiff. I wanted her to have that wild hair.....if you could see me now you would understand. Her face looks very sincere right now. she is going to undergo a few changes once the paint hits. I more or less randomly divided the background into a kind of quilted affair. Satisfied..kind of...I hauled a jar of thick gel medium. this is very gooey stuff you can model. I have used it in the past to create a raised background for gold leaf, which is very careful, detailed work. Here I used a painting knife and just scraped the stuff on, creating a textured background that was very loose, then a very specific texture for her hair and shirt. I then let all that dry.

What you don't see: The next layer was gold gesso over everything except the face, arm and sides of the canvas. the sides received a coat of dull red paint as an undercoat to real gold leaf. Once all that dried I did some collaging with old dictionary pages. Then the real fun began. I'll save that for later.

Also in the spirit of using the copious collection of supplies already in my studio, I primed a paper mache heart with that luscious gold gesso at the same time I worked on this canvas. I try to have several things going at the same time. I just watched a video of a very famous collage artist who works on at least four or five pieces at a time....great idea ! The heart piece, I decided would go much faster and be a bit less experimental. I did a very loose coat of textured paint as a background, then a some collaging just to create a composition.After living with that for awhile, I was inspired to create an image and went from there to finish the piece.

I completed both works within a few days of each other so now its time to start something new. I really like the idea of working one many pieces at the same time so I am considering two canvases and two icon type pieces. I love the gold gesso, but this time I think the canvases may be primed black.........
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Oh the JOY

I am back !!!! It was a big bad virus that was keeping me from posting a thing on my poor bloggie, but thanks to the folks at Symantec, it's all gone. Yippee. So I am back to floating along.....I'll be doing plenty of posts to catch you up on what I've been up to. I have a local sale going on Halloween morning along with a ceramic artist who is also my pastor !!!! She does beautiful work so I am thrilled. I'll be selling off some older works since I am now on a completely different path with these mystical ladies who have come to join me.

This one is the mermaid I have always dreamed flowing hair to get tangled in..a much more organic, coral-like do. Of course she is still dressed in a swirl of pearls and has time on her side and her heart in her hand. Her lower torso is more shell like and I love the jellyfish keeping her company.

she is a combination of collage and acrylics with the face in shiva oil sticks. I am sooooo in love with the oil sticks. I really don't have many colors, but seem to be able to do quite a bit with a tiny palette. One of my current or rather concurrent passions is Russian Icons, which also use very limited palettes. Same thing for Renaissance painters. We get a bit carried away these days with all those wild colors though I must admit a love for those quinacridone tones.

As I bring you up to date, you will see the passion for the icon style and limited palette...and some real canvas work...don't know if I love that or not. I love that I can make it look so finished if I use wrap around canvas.....but the texture is taking some getting used to.

Well, a joy to be back, but life calls.......I'll be back soon !!!
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