I just recently started work on this new painting which I am now calling “Bringing Her Back To Life,” by Bea Garth, copyright 2018. Its for a show I will be participating in this September called “Stories We Could Tell” at The Cave here in Vancouver, WA.
Of course I have plenty of stories in my paintings, but this one is calling to me given my recent health crisis that became a crescendo the last couple of years. Fortunately my broken wrist is healing and is becoming stronger and more flexible with each passing month. Ditto with my knee. In addition, I have gotten clues studying genetic snps that have proven to be very helpful regarding dietary advice. That plus taking Maca and Ashwagandha is making a positive difference with counteracting some of the effects of underlying Lyme Disease that I have been struggling with the last few years.
Fortunately, I am in the process of bouncing back. I am nothing if not doggedly persistent looking for and finding remedies. That and, of course, the Painting Gods are healing me. I honestly often feel a direct connection with the healing powers of the Earth and Sky (represented here by a couple of their emissaries in this painting), especially when I am in my creative element.
I have more to do with the painting of course. Basically it is just blocked in with no shading or anything. However I really like the basic color scheme and feel like it could be very strong once completed. In many ways it reminds me of my ceramics. It has that playful yet structured character. The main thing for me is to stop before going too far! A lesson I keep needing to learn it seems in my life. Hopefully by this time I am getting better at it.
I am finally beginning a new series about the effects of radiation from Hanford etc. from a personal child-like point of view. Here I am falling through a trap door into the waiting arms of Pluto (God of the Underworld–and of nuclear radiation) with my cat falling with me at my side.
I am still planning to put in some shading etc. Otherwise I think this new 2′ x 3′ acrylic painting is close to done.
The pink represents invisible radiation that blanketed the area outside of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation the night of December 2nd and 3rd, 1949 — including where we lived in Walla Walla, Washington. Apparently it rained when it wasn’t “supposed to.” Twice the amount of radiation was released than they had originally planned. I have read they secretly released between 8000 and 12,000 curies of radioactive iodine–and that this was not the only “green run,” i.e., where green uncured uranium was used at Hanford. The scrubbers for the effluent were turned off at night for 12 hours. It was part of the Cold War race for nuclear superiority with Russia.
There was no notification to the locals so none of us knew about any of this, and thus we did not know we needed to protect ourselves. It wasn’t discovered until years later when mention of the “green run” was found inside mountains of paper-work that was given to an enquiring reporter from Spokane (Karen Dorn Steele). The paper-work was supposed to prove Hanford had nothing serious to hide. As it turned out, it was far more serious than anyone ever thought.
Now I realize my recurring dream of falling through a trap door was my child self representing what actually happened. After being a very healthy baby, at age 4 months (coincident with the Green Run) I suddenly became severely ill with pneumonia for close to a year.
Eventually I was taken to the hospital and put in isolation to figure out what could be done. I was given special treatment since my parents were local celebrities for their work as archaeologists finding and carefully uncovering Fort Walla Walla. I was taken off gluten, sugar and milk fat, plus given gamma globulin for my “failure to thrive.” Fortunately I bounced back! Much later I learned that some of the Chernobyl victims were also given gamma globulin and often special diets. Like me, they got better.
It makes me sad to think of all the other babies who could have been helped like me, but weren’t. Quite a few ended up in the cemetery. Babies are a lot more sensitive to radiation than anyone else. Clearly we need a new paradigm where the health of the Earth and those who live on it needs to come first rather than continuing a focus on an insane arms race that forgets we all live together on a fragile planet.
This makes me think of the continuing problems at Fukishima and, similar to Hanford, how real news coming from there is largely suppressed. And the very real threat of bringing back the Cold War–or a hot one, possibly started in the Middle East ,rather than focus on how we can restore our ailing planet.
Meanwhile, here in Washington at the Hanford site, problems with the clean-up continues to be a sore point. The numerous open radiation pits, leaking cannisters and the fact spent fuel rods are stored just 400 feet from the Columbia River, leaves us open for trouble. I wish it would all just go away, but it looks like Hanford’s old demons will stay with us for some time.
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…
Ironically here I am just coming off a bad migraine and contemplating my new award from the international art magazine Art/Slant. I won a First Place for Painting in the 9th 2016 round of their contest this year (a 9th 2016 ARTSLANT PRIZE SHOWCASE WINNER) and have a chance of winning a big prize at the end of the year and being part of their show in Florida next February. I honestly did not expect to win anything so this has come as a big surprise. You can find it listed here:
Its for my painting Empathy–you can see here. Just click on the picture to see a screen size shot of it. It seems to be a popular or at least semi controversial painting of mine.
Marianne Szlyck used it for the cover for her book of poems I DREAM OF EMPATHY last year which you can find on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/I-Dream-Empathy-Marianne-Szlyk/dp/1517160677/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479330057&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=Marianne+Szlyck+Empathy
I also almost got into a group show this fall all about story and the imagination (A Magical Kingdom…) with this same painting here in Portland, but didn’t. I was told they loved the piece but felt it didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the show. What can one say?
Thus to then win first prize for this 9th round at Art/Slant magazine based on this same painting was quite a nice kick in the pants!
Yes tonight (or to be more realistic, tomorrow) I paint, after attending to my other love — my art/poetry/commentary e-zine: Eos: The Creative Context (http://eosthecreativecontext.com). And more fully recover from the after effects of my migraine… Ever wonder why my work is so “dream-like”??
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…