Chris and I visited Vancouver Lake yesterday afternoon. I got some good shots of the sun getting lower in the sky as we began our walk back towards our car further on down the path. It was just a simple street and path, but the light made it truly beautiful.
I am blown away at how amazing nature is. It seems to really call to me.
I am beginning to think I should put some focus on photography in addition to painting etc. After all, with modern photographic methods, there is no longer any danger of getting toxified from the chemicals like I did back in the day. Chris tells me I still have the touch.
The thing is is that Chris and I spent some time talking with this one fellow whose wife was taking pictures of the lake with her huge new camera.
I just had my little cell phone for these, but honestly felt like the day was so perfect it invited the photographer in anyone. Ever feel like that?? It had been raining quite a bit for a few days, so the sun came out and pulled out all the stops. The land was green and glistening.
To top it off, the trees are turning color so it was a riot out there!
Went for a walk yesterday evening and took a couple of decent shots of our local Vancouver area before there just wasn’t enough light. I love how soft and inviting it is here! And how trees, vines and bushes are so abundant.
This photo is of a favorite vista I often see during my daily walk:
So I didn’t get in as much painting today as I would have liked. Nevertheless, “The Fool” is coming along. I felt inspired late tonight!
I was actually feeling kind of depressed since I was convinced I had ruined the painting the other day. But I decided to let my imagination go and not worry about it since what was there to lose?? In actuality this attitude freed me. I think I was getting too tight about it.
I decided too to not worry any more about all the symbology. There is more than enough there without getting so carried away. So I simplified some of it and just let the artist in me take over.
It is a much more complicated piece in a narrow area than I am used to dealing with. The zig zags plus brightening the Fools clothing saved it, IMHO! That plus making the fish and mer/sky woman both more dramatic and in the shadows plus defining and highlighting the Fool’s face.
More to do but am hoping to have it all done sometime Monday at the latest!
Whether or not I choose to keep the carpet in front will be the next challenge.
Other question is, is this Visionary Surreal Art? I would guess it really is. With quite a bit of magic methinks. The gods and goddesses seem to be inspiring me despite my daily struggles…
After a discussion with my good friend (the Tarot expert and astrologer) Christine Payne Towler, I am starting to think the description of my artwork is still not fully delineated. Originally I called my artwork Ancient/Modern, rather than Goddess/Surreal. Now I am starting to think I really need to come up with new terminology altogether.
Perhaps Magical Visionary Surrealism, or simply Visionary Surreal is more fitting?? For me the world is alive, not just humans after all. And the art I do is alive with magic.
I love the work of the Magical Realists, but to be honest, my artwork is not realistic even in part although it does refer to the known world. It is overall instead based on my own internal vision.
Much like the ancients, I use pattern and expression based on dreams or dream states and psychological/emotional observation that tells stories that might be more true than my conscious mind could otherwise come up with.
The Australian Aborigines say that the Dreamtime is more real than everyday reality, and I believe it–even though of course I do try to fit my life as well as I can into the Modern World. Long ago however I came to realize it was honestly pretty impossible for me to fit in. I came to see my differences as my strength rather than my weakness.
In common parlance I am simply too sensitive. But I have never let that stop me. I have an extra quiver that I never let society take away from me, in great part due to my exposure to ancient beliefs and practices as well as ancient art. The fact my parents worked as archaeologist/ethnologists when I was young, and stayed interested in the field throughout their lives, helped me realize other realities and ways of looking at the world were and are very possible. This extra quiver has given me advantages that have helped me personally heal from what might otherwise been devastating bodily and emotional hurdles. To be truthful, some of these conditions I will live with my entire life, but nevertheless they do not stop me from living a full life given my ability to use the magic of art to help heal me as well as the more everyday arts of herbs, diet, exercise, meditation and various avenues of emotional healing.
It is my wish that what I am doing with my art becomes a kind of doorway for the viewer to begin looking at the world as part of them, rather than as a dead alienated planet. It is my belief that I am using ancient knowledge that used to be commonplace and now needs to not be forgotten. IMHO, Visionary Surreal Art and things like it are needed to help inspire us to begin the necessary paradigm shift to heal ourselves and the planet in these difficult times.
Of course this is a conversation. Likely I am not completely done with it. But offer it as ruminations on a subject that I believe needs to be aired. Plus of course it helps me figure out what it is my art might really be delineated as…
Worked really late on this next stage of The Fool. Its different than my usual work though there are definite elements I am more familiar with like the stretched leg and the fish, and even the carpet if I keep it. Am loving the imaginative stretch!
I got rid of the huge sun since it was too busy and took away from the impact of the Fool. Its still there, but not overpowering everything else. Color always changes everything, IMHO. I have to be and am willing to simplify as compared to a line drawing.
I am definitely relating with the Fool given all my late hours recently… I plan to get started earlier this evening in hopes I can get this done in a day or two.
This photo was taken of me last year in front of some of my paintings at the Trianon Theatre. It was at the “New Beginnings Art Exhibit” that I helped David Eisbach engineer and organize. It was a wildly successful night if I have to say myself. David was duly impressed, which was significant to me since he was a former member of the San Jose Arts Council, who had not been very friendly to me years previous when I was president of the San Jose Art League.
My husband Chris Arcus and and his crew (then called “Under The Bridge”) performed music there that night too out in the courtyard and got everyone going. It inspired the other members of the band (John Kurtyka and James Pollard) to move north to Portland too (our original destination, which after all is just across the river from Vancouver…).
All in all, it was a good ending for my art organizing activities in San Jose. Afterwards I was feted at a Chinese/American International Cultural art event and was invited to go to China to teach art. I’d still like to go someday, but selling our house in San Jose and moving north to Vancouver, WA had to take priority given that my mother had just died and so my time as working as a property manager for my family was ending, and I am not 21!
I made some more progress with the Fool tarot card last night. I put in a lot of the background. I decided at the last minute to put in the red earth to balance the meaning as well as the pix. The idea is several planes of reality mixing with each other.
I worked on my tarot card (“The Fool”) late last night after the debates. Somehow this card seems very appropriate at this time of crazy politics from both sides, IMHO!
I had to enlarge the width of the painting a tiny bit so it will make the right size card when reduced down. Thankfully I could since its on watercolor paper…and I just use blue painters tape to hold the paper down.
I decided to go ahead and use acrylic paint. I have found that acrylic is much more durable than watercolor or gouache. For instance, I have a wonderful painting of the almost mythic Wild Ox that got ruined due to my studio being too damp, and that was in San Jose, CA!! (Yes sometime I need to make another one…).
Plus if I need to go in and change things, with acrylics I can do so without sweating it. I have found the acrylics stay cleaner and are easier to frame too.
So as you can see, last night I decided to work on the faces etc. first. And in a few, I will be working on it again. Maybe work on the Sun and background before the rest.. We will see! I let my subconscious guide me in these matters. Its always fun to see where it takes me!
I have been musing about what style is it I exactly have–at first I thought it should be called “Ancient/Modern/Surreal Art.” But now realize “Goddess/Surreal Art” is better. “Goddess” is inclusive of both the ancient pastand issues of ecologyas well as howwe feel and relate. In addition, often the women depicted in my art are powerful in subtle ways (though its not just the women!), thus incorporating both ancient and contemporary feminist values. And Surreal given how much I tend to add extra joints plus combine personal or mythic symbols and unusual environments and color.
Yes it is true, I obsessively focus on feelings expressed in body language. To tell the truth, part of my obsession no doubt is influenced by the fact my mother simply could not read body language at all. I have thus had to learn what body language means on my own. It has not been a given like it is for most people. My art thus helps me figure out what this or that movement or expression means. In so doing I believe it is also helps the viewer since many of us may miss these nuances of expression otherwise.
Both of my parents worked as archaelogists when I was very young. Thus I have been influenced by ancient art from an early age–and certainly its influence shows up in my artwork. I was exposed to Native American art here along the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest as well asancient and indigenous art from around the world as a child. In addition I was very much influenced by my great Aunt Lottie’s amazing artwork and rugs she brought back from the Philippines.
Further I’m very much interested in imagery inspired by Carl Jung‘s notion of the Collective Unconscious as well as the New Age Arts such as Astrology and the Tarot.
I see the changes beginning everywhere: spontaneous expressions of Love rather than Hate, Renewables rather than robbing the Earth of its finite resources, values of Nurturing the Earth rather than killing off its plants, animals and oceans etc. The thing is that we are all connected.
I believe the Alienated isolated individualist is becoming anIcon of the Past. Of course, the old Paradigm is not going out without making a huge struggle to stay Top Dog. So this is not an easy time. But I believe we are winning on the side of making progressive change simply because we have to in order to survive.
It is my hope my art can make some small difference in helping create this paradigm change by expressing some of these new values while reconnecting with the ancient Goddess in a new and contemporary way, by having the Goddess and the patriarchal God finally begin to work together rather than be at odds.
It is my opinion we simply cannot forget what we have gained through science, technology etc. However we have to temper those gains with the realization we live in a finite world and must learn to take care of itandeach otheras stewards rather than continue to destroy our world out of greed.
Now finally back in the Northwest, I am focusing on being the full time artist I was meant to be, and was, many moons ago. Though now hopefully, both healthier and wiser.
To keep at it, I will need your support, whether just as a friendly “like ” or note, or a purchaseofsome of my sinuously expressive Goddess/Surrealart.
If you get a chance, please check out the blog pages as well as the artpages too of course! And feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org in case you would like to purchase (or show) some of my artwork.
I finally went and did it and now I think there is no turning back! The other day I decided to go ahead and begin drawing and painting my own tarot deck. Christine Payne Towler suggested it might be a good idea since my work is “so iconic.”
The truth is after feeling a bit daunted by the prospect, by plunging ahead I have just discovered I am loving it. With this project I can combine my love of astrology and tarot with my passion for making visual art.
So tonight I really went at it. I definitely am combining symbols from astrology and the tarot as well as other sources, including symbols I like using in my work. I have decided to throw out objective reality and combine realities to create a feeling of the inner and outer planes of existence–which of course really befits the Fool.
Meanwhile I am looking at Christine’s beautiful and definitive new in depth book on the tarot (TAROT OF THE HOLY LIGHT) as well as her new deck with her husband, Michael Dowers as guides.
I am very inspired! So thank you Christine and Michael, as well as the heavens for helping me take this step!! Since yes making 72 cards is quite a project. But now I see how I can do it, using watercolor paper and pen and ink with a pencil drawing first–and just let my imagination go.
I’ll be adding in color as I go of course. I will likely start with water color… I may end up with gouache or acrylic, but we will see.
If you look closely, you can see I am getting ready to work on some clay as well as painting again too.
My friend Graeme made the cool shelving unit with my help; I made the new clay table you can see in front. I already had the slab roller table and the wedging table I made years ago. Plus of course there is the desk I use for my paints, and the sculpture stand….
The kilns are in the background. Am planning on putting them outside once I get some housing for them. I don’t want to breathe the fumes, and discovered I really need to fire my ceramic sculpture etc. the old fashioned way, slowly for quite a while before closing the lid.
I had some excitement today–finally got most of my studio together! Am looking for just a couple more things (my paint pallets and some of my paints etc.) and I should be back at it likely sometime tomorrow. Tonight sitting there, I was feeling a rush of bliss! Fortunately my friend Graeme was able to capture this wonderful moment with my phone camera.
This after having had a very painful couple of days. I made myself a new table and then tried to move my heavy studio furniture around by myself the other day. Moving the furniture was a big mistake for me. I was in intense pain the last two days. I just am not strong enough to move things like that likely due to my old injury to my L-5 vertebrae and sacrum as a kid. Plus EDS (Ehrlos Danlos Syndrome) as it turns out. It makes me super flexible, but not as strong as I might otherwise be due to having weak joints.
After joining a couple of EDS groups on FB, I have just been learning however how to increase my collagen, which should gradually help strengthen my joints a lot. And some of it is working already, since normally my neck would have been out too, but it wasn’t!! Taking diatomaceous earth and d-ribose appear to be godsends for me.
The other good news here is that I went to see a new chiropractor today who was able to adjust me better than any other chiro I have seen. Turns out she has 5 other EDS patients. So she knows gentle is the way to go.
The fact I am still very flexible at age 67 is why I am usually able to adjust myself using yoga, or my sacro-wedgy, or get Chris to pull on my leg. But it does not always work since sometimes something gets stuck, mainly I think due to that pesky childhood injury.
My plan is to slowly get stronger again. I go for walks almost daily. And do yoga at least every other day. Next I need to use my modified pilates chair again to create more strength. The nice thing is that these days I can do modified push ups and crunches too, when I haven’t gone and hurt myself over again, that is! To be an artist, I have learned, its important to be strong. It just won’t do to have joints etc. that don’t work. Thankfully through persistence and figuring out that I need more silica, plus of course, avoid things like gluten and, in my case, also high histamine, it has really paid off, and will likely just keep getting better.
My artwork, as you might be able to tell, has a style that exaggerates but really expresses this EDS condition. I think of how we are often like mermaids and mermen, lol!! It is kind of amazing that I created this style without knowing I had EDS. It just came out of my being. Although of course I discovered my body was super flexible since I can’t remember when.
Now finally after a year of getting our house ready to move, selling it, finding another and moving into it in another state, I can express that flexible sensitivity I have again in my new art studio. I believe I have earned it!!
I am very much looking forward to completing my painting of the “Music Genie”–inspired by my husband (Chris) playing music. Its the painting you can see me sitting next to in the pix above. More on that and lots of other art projects as I go along, eh?