I finally finished my new painting “Discovering Joy.”
My paintings are a lot like dreams where everything gets mixed together–thus the surrealist edge. For me what I am after is an exploration of the unconscious that helps me realize what it is I am feeling and thinking of underneath.
In this case it was and is the joy of experiencing summer after a difficult winter earlier this year. It got me to remember joyful times in the past such as swimming in Mexico when I was seventeen. I remember swimming in the warm waters off of Guaymas and being thrilled by all the fish! And yes I loved being on my own with my sister and enjoying the Latin culture.
I think my trip to Mexico as a teen reminded me of my early childhood when the boy I played with next door had parents who were from Spain. I was in love with their music and dancing and very different approach to life to that of my family. I was sorry when we had to move away.
This painting mixes experiences since quite obviously I am not a red head, nor did I even have a boyfriend at age seventeen except perhaps in my imagination.
I am thinking of visiting Mexico again sometime soon when I get the chance. I bet it will help foster a whole new series of paintings celebrating life!
I am nearly done with this painting. Just needs a bit more shadow and other little fudging. I have had some delays finishing it, but now am on it again. This painting seems to express the dilemma of the feminine principle going through a rebirth in the world. She wants her male counterpart to participate, but is having some trouble getting that point across…
I finally finished “The Fool” the other night. I worked late into the wee hours the night before Halloween and got it done just in time for me to enter it into a local art competition with two of my other paintings (at Ultimum Verum Gallery in Portland), all about story and creating a world based on imagination, of which I think this piece qualifies. I’ll know by the end of the week whether I got in or not, and will let you know more when I know more.
I didn’t think finishing this painting was going to take so long, but the complexity demanded more and more attention to detail and working out the exact colors.
The Fool walking towards the hills in the distance for instance was buried by all that green despite having a red shirt initially. First I tried white, which worked but was not vibrant enough for a Fool. Finally at the last minute I chose yellow. You can still see the red poking through, which I ended up liking.
I spent a lot of time just looking.
I also added blue green to the green of the hills, and put in a lot of shadow I hadn’t had at first — including shadow on the fish. I felt the sheer number of fish was just too busy otherwise.
I go between really liking this piece and thinking I should do another one that is a lot more simplified.
Part of it is that I am not used to putting so much into one painting that is as small as it is ( 11 1/2 inches by 17 inches tall) and has narrow borders like this. So it has been a challenge.
I am considering making more of the art for the Tarot cards using pen and ink rather than paint. The only way I can tell if that is best is to try it. However I talked with someone who has a degree in illustration, and he was telling me that there are new papers and ink out there that expand the boundaries of what one can do in that arena. I want to try since I love the direct feel of having a nib rather than a brush in hand.
Not to get me wrong since I love to paint too. Its just a slightly different process. Pen and inks are quicker for me, and perhaps more automatic. So that is something I want to explore a bit more especially with the challenge of doing the art for 72 cards…
Meanwhile I am likely going to do more paintings of some of these too simply because I like to paint. But such future paintings will need to be larger next time… whereas I think this is a good size for the pen and inks.
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…