From Magical Visionary Surrealism

“The Music Genie” by Bea Garth at The Cerulean thru Feb. 26, 2018

NOTE: Jordan Clark and I will be giving an Artists Talk Sat. night Feb. 24th, 2018 from 7 to 8 PM — with folks gathering at 6:30 — over at The Gallery at Cerulean, 1439 NW Marshall St., Portland OR, PH: 503 308-9137.

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I have a bevy of paintings @ ‘The Gallery at Cerulean including my newest, “The Music Genie” you see below. I welcome those that can come hear us and see our work. The show is up through Feb. 26th. It is well presented with both my work and that of Jordan Clark harmonizing with each other by means of color and shapes–though his work is frankly boldly abstract and mine figurative.

The Cerulean is both a wine bar and art gallery on the edge of the Pearl district in Portland.

The Music Genie by Bea Garth 30 x 30 copyright 2018 acrylic on canvas
The Music Genie by Bea Garth 30 x 30 copyright 2018 acrylic on canvas

The Music Genie was inspired by my husband who was in one of his reverie’s composing music.  The watery depths in the background and the ghost like Genie to his right show him exploring his musical imagination of harmony and inter connected feeling.

I finished this painting just in the nick of time with putting in final touches just moments before putting the painting in with the rest before my husband drove off with them to take them to the gallery the day before the exhibit. Fortunately acrylic dries quickly with the aid of using a hair dryer! I had pulled an all nighter and had to crawl into bed–satisfied but curious as to how it might be received.

Art/Slant 9th round 1st Place for Painting by Bea Garth

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:

https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/422378-bea-garth?tab=AWARDS

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.

"Empathy" by Bea Garth, copyright 2014 acrylic painting
“Empathy” by Bea Garth, copyright 2014 acrylic painting

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”??

Art Studio with work in progress Bea Garth

A friend of mine asked to see what my art studio looks like these days. So tonight after I was done painting for the day I decided why not?

You can see the painting I am working on now on the easel, and my other painting I still need to finish sitting on the floor on the right.

Bea Garth Art Studio photo by Bea Garth copyright 2016
Art Studio photo by Bea Garth copyright 2016

Yes I am one of those messy artists. Nothing to be done about it! Though I want to build some more storage so I will have room to work on some clay too.

Legs Like Vines by Bea Garth work in progress

I just got started putting the color in. Thought I’d do something a little different, more like what I sometimes did working on clay. Let design have it’s say more and keep it playful.

As you can see, I am not done!

Legs Like Leaves in progress by Bea Garth copyright 2016 acrylic on canvas
Legs Like Leaves in progress by Bea Garth copyright 2016 acrylic on canvas

I have not worked on the bodies or pillow (except for the sketched in underpainting) or even finished the background. I like the bold design and colors so far however.

I may or may not put any actual leaves into the painting. I’ll  be playing around with that concept in my head whether or not I try it.

As you likely can see, the painting is in my studio in the unheated garage next to my kilns. I was working there late tonight all bundled up. The  weather is starting to get chillier.  Nevertheless, the act of painting seems to keep me warm!! I even took off my coat and hat! Though this time my second sweater stayed on…

“The Fool” by Bea Garth completed at last

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" by Bea Garth, copyright 2016 acrylic painting on paper
“The Fool” by Bea Garth, copyright 2016 acrylic painting on paper

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.

“Fool” in progress, Carpet finally in

Well am getting close.  I like how the carpet came out, though I need to add in some shadows. More to do with the book and of course the dog — though it  just might become a cat!!

"Fool" in progress with carpet, pot etc. added by Bea Garth, copyright 2016
“Fool” in progress with carpet, pot etc. added by Bea Garth, copyright 2016

“Fool” Tarot card close to done

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.

"The Fool" work in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2016
“The Fool” work in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2016

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…