“Petting The Cat,” ceramic vase in progress by Bea Garth

Of course I had to try making a large piece with this new low fire terra-cotta clay I got–plus have fun with all that white slip (looks blue green in the pix–will turn white in the fire).  I am really starting to enjoy this clay! And the slip. Will likely add some underglaze for more color when it gets a bit drier before it is fired.

Generally I have stuck to sculpture, since perfect regular forms and I don’t do well together. However I think maybe this is OK since this “vase” being hand-built, is obviously not meant to be perfect, even though in the end it will be able to hold flowers. It still is in its way sculptural.

So yes I am calling it “Petting The Cat,” since all the figures in this piece  are focused on this activity.

"Petting The Cat" vase in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“Petting The Cat” vase in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

My plan is to go to Eugene next week and fire this and a couple more pieces I’ve made over at a good friend’s house. She has two kilns! She makes ceramic sculpture too. Likely we will have a blast.

If I really get going this weekend,  I will make a plaque too.

“TestVase,” scraffito on slab-built clay by Bea Garth

Am trying my hand using some new-for-me lowfire red clay. Its been quite a while since I have worked with clay. I finally have a studio that is big enough for it, plus I have been exercising more and getting stronger again. It feels so good to be getting back to myself again!!

"TestVase," white engobe on red low fire clay, by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“TestVase,” white engobe on red low fire clay, by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

Fortunately this clay has grog already in it! My idea is to do scraffito with it. So I put white engobe onto the red clay, and carved through it. This is in the leather-hard stage. It has yet to dry enough to be fired. This is a test piece, small enough for my little test kiln. Will be setting up my big kilns likely sometime later this month or in early August.

“Underwater Dance,” painting in progress by Bea Garth

" Underwater Dance" acrylic painting in progress by Bea Garth 2017
“Underwater Dance” acrylic painting in progress by Bea Garth 2017

After a hard winter/spring, I am starting to feel much better. Finally got going on this painting of mine of a man and a woman dancing underwater. Its kind of a celebratory piece of getting healthier again and enjoying warmer weather finally. I am really looking forward to summer!

I still need to work on the painting Its hardly done since a lot of shadows and gradations are missing, and likely I will eradicate some more of the fish. But I got it all blocked in.  I like to work loose and then refine it.

I also applied for the local Clark County Artist Open Studios for next winter. November seems a perfect time to have it. Plenty of time to prepare…


“The Magician” Tarot Art by Bea Garth

I think the Magician Card is finally done except for the border and maybe just a wee bit more shadow on the white globe he/she is holding and the snake wrapping around the arm.

"The Magician," acrylic on canvas by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“The Magician,” acrylic on canvas by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

It definitely has taken me a while to get used to doing this genre. First of all it involves working upright rather than my usual horizontal plane for a painting. Second is figuring out what size to make the original image so it translates well into the size of a card.

Third there is a whole history and tradition I have needed to become more aware of since the images are symbolic of the various archetypes traditionally expressed in Tarot–while also expressing my own  vision I bring to the subject.

It wasn’t enough for me to be somewhat versed in the Tarot, I needed to see more cards and study its history. I thus have been perusing several Tarot decks I now own–including that of my friend Christine and her husband Michael who inspired me to try my hand at this field to begin with.

I am now starting to feel more comfortable with how it all works and look forward to making the next Tarot painting fairly soon.

Christine says in a way its like playing 3-D chess, and I think she is right, especially from the point of view of making the images  meditative pieces designed to take the viewer into a trance to more accurately divine what is or is not going on in one’s life.

“Magician” tarot card in progress by Bea Garth

I finally made some changes to my tarot Magician card the last few nights.

"Majician," tarot art in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“Majician,” tarot art in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

It finally is really coming along.  As you might be able to tell, I really made some major changes to the colors, plus added in some shadow.

There is more to do, but it shouldn’t take long.

This painting is teaching me that the magician is strong yet sensitive, male but with female traits, or is that the reverse??

The cape seems to want to be the way it is. I tried putting shadow, but it destroyed it. It needs to feel backlit it seems!! Perhaps the conscious light coming from within  Spirit??

The Majician tarot card art in progress by Bea Garth

Here’s the beginning of my Majician card for the Tarot. Its quite a project, but I seem to be getting the hang of it finally. I have gotten several tarot decks to get more of an idea of what to do.

This project I think will be life changing in some ways, since its undoubtedly going to improve my ability to remember which card does what in a tarot reading–which I believe will get me more consciously in touch with my unconscious (a good thing for an artist like me)–which likely will influence the rest of my artistic endeavors. I have an intuitive ability to pull significant cards and interpret them fairly well, but my memory hasn’t always been the best, especially what they mean in which order–so I usually have to look it up.

Of course I need to add in more color, shadows etc. Plus its likely some of the colors will change a bit (am thinking of lightening the blue sky–and darkening part of the cape). Nevertheless, I think its all there for this Majician.

I chose red hair to help represent the Goddess. Even though this is a mostly male card, it is displaying some of Her symbols–as well as the traditional symbols for the rest of the deck (which often equates to about the same thing!): cup, sword,  staff, pentacles –as well as Sun, quill pen, book, bird, Moon,  jar, Mercury–and even the old snake Wisdom. Plus the project many had of turning lead into gold…also representative of the Goddess.

"The Majician" tarot card in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“The Majician” tarot card in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

This time I am using acrylic on canvas, and checked the size to make sure its right. I decided to make it a regular playing card size (i.e., that reduces to 2.5 x 3.5 inches). The top and bottom will have a border so I can number and name the cards. The left and right border will be cut off, but is here for now for the purposes of the painting. There is no need for a border for the width of the cards. Am thinking of making the border for the painting gold as in the old Renaissance tradition–though I could leave it white or make it some other color…

“Lady in Pink” in progress by Bea Garth

This piece is nearly done! I may need to change the title now that I added an extra dimension with the  hieroglyphic-like facial parts and silver paint in the background.

"Lady In Pink" painting in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“Lady In Pink” painting in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

Am enjoying how the blue paint under the silver adds a subtle extra dimension.

My thoughts? Perhaps “The Whole World Is Watching.” Right now I just need to cogitate on it…

Still have to work on shadow for the hand, cat and face–but these will be minor adjustments.  Am planning to get back at it later today.

“Lady In Pink” in progress, painting by Bea Garth

Here’s my latest update of my painting “Lady in Pink” –still in progress. I did some good work on it last night. I am enjoying the rich new paint I bought recently and plan to do more with it. I am enjoying the drama the shadows bring to it.  Even though it is a very simple painting I think it creates a strong  presence.

“Lady In Pink” acrylic painting in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

Meanwhile, I think the imbalance in the world events finally got to me — I ended up depressed and developed a really bad case of hives. Talk about the itchy bitchies!

As a result, I have gotten  back into doing yoga and meditation again. It really helps me feel much more balanced and far more capable of steering a positive path in this turbulent world. Plus the meditation has helped me get rid of the hives!!

I can well imagine the “Lady in Pink” along with her trusty cat about to meditate too!

“Lady In Pink” contd. painting by Bea Garth, a new paradigm shift emerging

Despite several  interruptions this last week given the goings on in the world, plus going to visit a wonderful friend in another town who had a poetry reading etc., I have finally gotten back to my painting “Lady in Pink” again. I now realize what all the pink is about, i.e., why both this and the other painting I did recently (Legs Like Leaves) have women featured prominently with all that hot pink!

“Lady in Pink” painting in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

The fact last weekend’s  Women’s March was the largest march ever in the USA is heartening. Women and their male supporters marched (with their pink hats!) not only here, but also in 33 other countries.

I believe we are at the beginning of a new paradigm shift wherein the values of the patriarchy are just going to have to move  over. Greed and rampant egoism as well as “us vs them” thinking is destroying the planet, not to speak of our souls. There simply is no future in following that path any more.

We need to put aside our differences and learn to love or at least accept each other if we are going to heal the planet enough to have a future for ourselves and our children.

I believe creative and positive spiritual endeavors are more important now than ever to help sensitize and open us up to our feelings and what is going on in our unconscious. This can help us face who we are in a healing way and  help us see and appreciate the humanity in each other despite our differences. Thus empowered, we can become more able to finally perceive what is going on in the world without freaking out or going crazy-which will help free us to take right action to help save the planet. This is what growing a positive world culture is all about. Together we can do this; I know it in my bones.

“Wisdom” poem by Joan Dobbie; “Dreaming Underwater” pen and ink by Bea Garth

My friend Joan Dobbie just sent me this broadside she made of her poem “Wisdom” that she wrote for me, and one of my pen and inks (“Dreaming Underwater”). I feel very honored and seen. Thank you so much Joan!!

"Wisdom" poem by Joan Dobbie; "Dreaming Underwater" pen and ink by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“Wisdom” poem by Joan Dobbie; “Dreaming Underwater” pen and ink by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

“Snow Still Here: Vancouver, WA” photos by Bea Garth

This last week we had more snow than I ever thought possible here in Vancouver, WA.  Previously when I lived across the river years ago  in Portland, we never had snow

"Our Snowy Street in Vancouver" photo by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“Our Snowy Street in Vancouver” photo by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

so often or so deep. Last week we had over 12 inches of snow!!

Now here it is nearly a week later and its still here. Tomorrow it may snow again, then followed by freezing rain. We decided to go shopping for food before the roads become impassable again!

I have to chalk this up to Global Warming. Weather everywhere seems more extreme than it used to be. Of course we don’t have huge drifts. However the main problem here is that it does not snow enough to warrant getting snow tires for most people. We have chains, but driving around on them has to be kept to a bare minimum in order to not wreck the tires. Plus honestly its still dangerous. Now many of the main streets are clear, but the side ones often are still full of snow and ice. People are still getting stuck a week after our comparatively big snow.

"Snowy Front of House/Driveway" photo by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“Snowy Front of House/Driveway” photo by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

Nevertheless, I am glad to be where we are. We have a warm, well insulated house, and live in a place where neighbors are actually neighborly. For instance when Chris was clearing the snow from the driveway, two neighbors came over and helped!

Plus to be honest, this snowy patch should be over in a week at the most. Unless all of us are wrong! Its not the same as living somewhere where it is snowy for months at a time.

"Side-deck Snow, Vancouver WA" photo by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“Side-deck Snow, Vancouver WA” photo by Bea Garth, copyright 2017


“Lady In Pink,” contd. acrylic painting by Bea Garth

I added in the background and most of the pink, plus now have a yellow cat! More to do of course. But I got a lot of it blocked in.

My cat helped me by sitting on my lap.

"Lady In Pink" contd. painting in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“Lady In Pink” contd. painting in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

She was actually transfixed by what I was doing, and finally attacked the painting with her paw!

Note: Please Click image to see a larger picture.

“Lady In Pink” underpainting on canvas by Bea Garth

"Lady In Pink" underpainting, work in progress on canvas by Bea Garth, January 2017
“Lady In Pink” underpainting, work in progress on canvas by Bea Garth, January 2017

This is my new canvas painting I am working on. It is inspired by an extremely small painting on watercolor paper  I did back in San Jose (about the size of a large card).

The idea is that she will probably be wearing pink and black, and likely has dark skin.  Though all this could change depending…

Obviously I am still working on the cat!! This time it won’t be brown. It will be a contrasting color… And yes I want the cat to feel alive with movement!

I often like to make an underpainting like this before I go ahead and paint the whole thing in color with all the shading, contrast etc. This way I make sure I get the composition worked out in a simpler state rather than have to remake the whole thing if I didn’t get it right.


“Legs Like Vines or The Dilemma of Venus” painting by Bea Garth

Happy New Year Everyone!!

I finally finished my acrylic painting  on canvas: “Legs Like Vines or The Dilemma of Venus.”

"Legs Like Vines or The Dilemma of Venus" acrylic on canvas painting by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“Legs Like Vines or The Dilemma of Venus” acrylic on canvas painting by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

December was not an easy month for me, but I have come out of it feeling renewed. This painting is symbolic in some ways of that renewal, and certainly of my commitment to continue making other paintings!

This painting was in some ways an experiment to see if it might work for me to use geometrics and color more boldly in a painting. In some ways I was borrowing from some techniques I used in ceramics–such as making the rug square rather than recede into the background. I believe it really worked!

The painting expresses in many ways the dilemma between the male and female principle, as well as the continued attraction. Women are on the rise despite the outcome of the last election. Yet we continue to be entangled with men, who up until recently have been acting in many ways as our oppressors despite our love for them. It continues to be a  tricky situation.

My next step is to finish this other painting I have called “The Music Genie.” My plan is to finish it and then finally connect with some galleries here in the Portland area.

“Bea and Keiko” photo by Chris Arcus

Here’s a photo of me and my cat Keiko in front of my new painting “Legs Like Vines, or The Dilemma of Venus.” Keiko is her usual lively self.

"Bea and Keiko" photo by Chris Arcus, copyright 2016
“Bea and Keiko” photo by Chris Arcus, copyright 2016

Yes, Keiko is my “art cat”! She likes to hang out  next to me when I am painting. We are  inside the kitchen/dining area since its too cold out in the garage to work on painting there. The paints don’t even like it!!

We both wish you all a wonderful winter holiday!