From Visionary Surrealism

“Bringing Her Back To Life” by Bea Garth, copyright 2018

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.

"Bringing Her Back To Life" acrylic painting in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2018
“Bringing Her Back To Life” acrylic painting in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2018

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.

“Swimming Underwater,” work in progress by Bea Garth

"Swimming Underwater," work in progress by Bea Garth, copyright oct 2017
“Swimming Underwater,” work in progress by Bea Garth, copyright oct 2017

Am nearly finished with this piece “Swimming Underwater.” Its been  good to make a work that expresses the joy of life in these troubled times. What else can I say about it? Except that I feel its so very important not to lose sight of what is is that makes us happy.

For me I am reminded of swimming down in Mexico years ago off of Guaymas. I was so impressed/amazed by the quantity of colorful fish! That and of course my continual exploration of the dance between the sexes and the fineries of body language and subtle facial expressions.

From it I am inspired to do another more mythic piece of giving birth to a new world, perhaps also from underwater. Will see what and if it happens… Be watching for it. It all depends on what my psyche is ready for!!

Though for now I may want to simply finish some pieces for the Clark County Open Studios happening here in Vancouver, WA this November 11th and 12, 2017. Be watching for that too!

“Guitar,” painting in progress by Bea Garth contd.

Thought I’d be done with it, but still tweaking this painting. Even though its small its drawing me in… This is from an Instagram photo, so its not showing the whole thing. I changed some of the colors to give it more contrast.

"Guitar," in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017
“Guitar,” in progress by Bea Garth, copyright 2017

Legs and Feet Like Vines underpainting by Bea Garth

Here it is on the eve of a very significant presidential election  in the USA. I have been feeling the energy and used it by starting the rough for a new painting today. For some reason I am feeling whimsy out of it all!! Count me as crazy or what given the issues at stake.

Right now, as I look at this underpainting, I like the pillow. It feels very Toltec or Mayan to me. Hey, is that “pillow” actually symbolic for the Mayan Calendar??  The woman in back is looking down at her partner with a quizzical look. She seems to be in a quandary expressed by one of her hands on her head. She almost seems to be  saying with her free hand and the right box like angles of her arms: “Careful! Go no further!” Whereas the man is looking confident–as if saying “I am the Man!” while he is about to tumble playfully onto the pillow. Uh, well, maybe this is about the election after all??!! And maybe the Mayan 5th Sun??

This painting may become  one of my more playful pieces. I kind of think of human appendages sometimes as being like vines and flowers, and really see that in this piece with the wave like cross hatched assemblage of legs and feet.

Legs and Feet Like Vines, underpainting by Bea Garth, copyright 2016, acrylic painting in progress
Legs and Feet Like Vines, underpainting by Bea Garth, copyright 2016, acrylic painting in progress

This is just the rough underpainting. I decided to paint the “drawing” with a brush directly on the canvas, rather than draw it in with a pencil on paper (or even on the canvas). I like the spontaneity of working like this. This is how I worked with my ceramic sculpture for years –directly on the piece.

You may not realize it, but I often try to get the body shapes and expression just right even though everything is distorted and elongated. I thus shifted the legs and feet around a few times, and  also worked similarly on the torsos and faces til I felt I got it right. I used a wet brush to erase lines when I could, and overpainted dried lines with a mixture of white and reddish brown when necessary.

I like to get the underpainting more or less right before I proceed with the rest.  Its important to me since I don’t have anything else to refer to but my imagination and the canvas I am working on when I am painting. Getting the basic composition right helps create an understructure for my imagination to work with, even if I end up changing a few more things in the end.

Question is, what kind of understructure will we have as a result of this election? No one knows right now, but all that will change in just one more day. Just be sure to participate and vote. It will make a difference in how you feel, as well as in the issues of this all important election.

 

My Perspective on Voting

Just voted using a paper ballot up here in Vancouver, WA. Will put it in the ballot box downtown tomorrow. Things are done differently here, but it makes sense. It was easier to figure out who and what to vote for with the voter pamphlet at my side.

These are important times to vote, hope you get to it too. Very historic election. The future of the Earth is in balance!

Perspective by Bea Garth, copyright 2014 acrylic painting on canvas
Perspective by Bea Garth, copyright 2014 acrylic painting on canvas

Here’s a painting I did almost exactly 2 years ago called “Perspective” about holding the future well-being of the planet in our hands. This work actually inspired a group show I helped curate at Studio Bongiorno in Santa Clara, CA. It was called “Healing The Earth/Healing Ourselves.”

Its what we need to do now. So, Yes, take the time to Vote!! It Counts!!

 

“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