Saturday, July 9, 2011

White Paper and Black Ink = Magic

When I see a perfectly smooth, blank piece of pure white paper, my hands begin to tingle and my mind goes to its happy place, opening to the magic of the trance state that doing artwork brings about. I'm never quite certain how an image is going to come out, but I can tell from the first line if it's going to be any good.
Rose in Full Bloom
Several years ago, one of the houses I lived in in California had 25 rose bushes planted around the perimeter of the yard. The neighborhood was low-income, near an airport, so the planes would fly low overhead and regularly drown out the sounds of the TV or music, and there were strong iron bars on all the windows and doors. I spent time nurturing those roses, and they bloomed for me in the most beautiful rainbow of colors. I loved them so much that I couldn't resist drawing them.
Rose Untwirling
I used a pointillist technique, with a set of very fine Rapidograph pens, capturing the shadows and light across the petals and leaves of the roses. Each beautiful flower had its own expression, almost like a personality. I felt I was capturing a moment in time.
I fell in love with each of them, and when I look at these drawings that I did so many years ago, I can still see the vibrant colors of each rose in my mind's eye. Each drawing took about 12 hours, and it was so peaceful to work on them while listening to my favorite music. Sometimes early in the morning, sometimes late at night, sometimes with my children watching at my elbow in the evenings.
Seated Girl
  Here's a drawing of a seated girl - which turns out years later to look just like my beautiful daughter does now. Maybe I was dreaming her future alive.

Wolf People (Group Think)
I also love to work in color, and this is an image I did for a series of Native American myths. I loved spending time at the Museum of Man in beautiful Balboa Park, doing research to find out about the clothing, architecture, and traditions of these people. They were very wise. This painting depicts what happens to people when they don't think for themselves, instead, subscribing to the shallowness of "group think."

Part of the story behind this image is that the two little boys, Coyote's grandsons, that this village had kidnapped and tied to the centerpole, have escaped. The village men had kidnapped them in order to capture their light (enlightenment), because the village had no light (stuck in group think). The woman is Tildee, a holy woman, who is clucking at their stupidity. The men were seduced into sleep by Coyote's bees (guardians of life) and while they were sleeping Coyote glued their hair with pine pitch and escaped with his grandsons with the help of the Mice Men (mouse represents scrutiny; Coyote is always the teacher who makes things obvious when we don't pay attention - often using humor, he tricks us into realization).
The Light is Protected
 What happens next in the story is that the Wolf People chase after Coyote and his grandsons, but they can't find them because Coyote and his grandsons have jumped into the middle of a buckeye tree, which is protecting them. The tree, with its roots that go deep into the Earth, and branches that stretch to the sky and soak up the sunlight, represents the joining of the physical with the spiritual to make wholeness. The story teaches that without the grace of Spirit, we are in the dark, like the Wolf People.

Native American stories are not just for children. They have layers of teaching that offer deeper meaning depending on one's stage in life. Some of them are very funny too. I love them. I love to illustrate them. Will be doing more of this - keep in touch to see!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

New Treasures at Dreamkeeper Creations

After I finished the watercolor last week, I went right back to the lovely beads, and have some new treasures for you up in my Etsy shop, Dreamkeeper Creations.

Lotus Necklace
This lovely blue and green necklace reminds me of the peace of Monet's gardens - Nature holds the best kind of peace and healing for us in so very many ways. The lotus flower is revered by many cultures. It represents enlightenment because it begins its growth in the mud, which is akin to our physical world and lower level experiences here on Earth. When it reaches maturity, the beautiful blossoms reach up for the light of the sun, signifying purity; the growth gained from experience in the in-between world (water for the flower that eventually reaches the air, Earth for us until we reach the spirit world).

Red and Gold LOVE Necklace

I LOVE this necklace - it's spunky and bright, happy and carefree. Red is the color of vitality, held in the base chakra. It is what makes our hearts sing and lightens our steps. The focal bead is a very tactile chunky glass cylinder shape with a speckled square glass bead above, and a red circular bead which to me, always represents the continuation of life, or wholeness.

Amber Glass and Jade Earrings

These Amber Glass and Jade earrings show off the new style I've been playing with. I love the dangly beads on the bottom, and have found a place to get beautiful silver caps that finish off the ends so nicely. You'll see a lot more of this style at Dreamkeeper Creations.
Silver End Caps on Amber Glass Teardrop Earrings
 And here's a sneak peek at a new Light Catcher piece I made. Some people like to use these as bookmarks too. This one's made with a handpainted Peruvian monkey bead and a carved bone accent bead. It includes wood and glass beads as well. Sparkles like nobody's business hanging in the car from your rear view mirror.

Peruvian Monkey Light Catcher
 I'll close for now, and get back to work on more treasures. Thanks for checking in!

Little Mole's Journey To Heaven

I got a bit distracted from the beadwork and had to paint for a couple of days. Here's the result along with its story - it may eventually turn into a little children's book.

Little Mole All Dressed Up To Go To Heaven

This painting is called All Dressed Up To Go To Heaven, and it's inspired by my friend Anita's somewhat macabre photos. She came across a poor little mole in her garden that we think had been killed by a cat. Anita, with her soft heart, wrapped him in a soft green leaf and picked special flowers for his grave. She placed them with him before his solemn interment and took a couple of photos along the way (she can't help it, camera fever's got her through and through). When I found out she had photos of the little mole I asked her if she'd send them to me because it's always really valuable for an artist to see an animal up close so we can draw them accurately.

We both agreed that something about this little guy reminded us of children's book characters, so I promised her I'd paint him as one. Little did I know my artist's muse would dress him up and restore him to life - YAY!

In the painting, he's wearing red suspenders and a little black vest. This came into my mind because my husband has been cleaning out the basement this summer and we came across some adorable red suspenders that his son wore when he was not even two years old, and a little black vest as well.

The story behind the painting is that the little mole is in his spirit form, saying thank you to his old body, which served him well. He's bestowing a beautiful orange flower upon it before he hops off up the hill to play in the garden in the sky kingdom. 

Happy journeys Little Mole....

The painting took about 9 hours, and is done with Winsor and Newton watercolors. I dream of the days when I have enough time to paint. I don't allow myself to do it much right now because I tend not to sleep (or eat or anything else) when I'm painting, and I have to keep enough discipline about myself for my full-time job. But someday I'll be able to devote much more time, and it will be marvelous fun.

This little painting is important for the message it brings about the spirit continuing on after it no longer needs the physical body. If I do write a children's book, the story will begin with the end, and it will have little Angel Moles and other creatures in the Sky Garden. Because of this belief I have in the continuation of life, I like to sign off with the acknowledgment of the recognition of the spirit in all people, the spirit in you,