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…
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.
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.
I have to say my artwork is not overly sentimental despite my having chosen the title Goddess/Surreal to describe it. I often critique relationships and feelings for example. My sense of humor often shows up, as well as a desire for elegance yes while exaggerating the reach and size of our joints and limbs. Often there is something amiss that one has to think on. Its not altogether obvious but its there. Why isn’t she or he happy?? I feel like I am directly connected with the Dreamtime. My explorations of relationships and body language often tie in with the environment. All of the above makes my work fit with title “Goddess Art.”
My artwork also combines with Surrealism given its sinuous exaggerations and mythic/symbolic imagery and Inner Vision connected with the unknown. I very much believe in Carl Jung’s idea of the Collective Unconscious for instance–and its effect shows in my work.
My work has been influenced by my early exposure to the art of Basque, Celtic and non European peoples while also being married to our contemporary culture and the surrealists of old.
So this all makes it kind of hip and kind of earthy and kind of ethereal combining Heaven and Earth. Is that right? For me its just what I do, although I also try to develop and challenge myself, and thus push the envelope.
I hope you enjoy! And think about buying (or showing) some of my pieces. Shortly I will be connecting this website with my sales page on Fine Art America. You can also contact me directly at email@example.com if you are interested in buying some of my pieces — or showing them in your gallery!
I just got my new art biz cards in the mail. I am jazzed! I used this image on it which I call “The Mermaid’s Dilemma” by Bea Garth. I finally completed it late last year. Its based on a coastal Native American myth here in the Northwest. The mermaid princess has fallen in love with a landlubber. As a result the weather changes; it stops raining. Trees are falling and people are beginning to die. Even the ocean water is at an all time low! The whales try to beckon the princess, come home! She needs to return to the sea to be with her own people, but its breaking her heart…
I definitely think of this piece as being related to current day ecological issues.
This piece shows the great ability of gouache on paper to capture subtleties of color and feeling.
If you are interested in buying (or showing) this or other artworks of mine, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.