Painting “After the Rain, a Contemplative Walk”

The silent moments after a storm.

Sketchbook Doodle

Life is cruising along quite nicely and then, something within tilts, and then shifts. A storm of inner change is coming. More useless garbage will be blown out, and room will be made for a greater understanding of life, compassion, and the bigger picture. Still, it is difficult not to cringe while the pressure is building. It’s an uncomfortable time. “Can we do this next week, I wonder?”

Washes of Colour

This sketch is a doodle, abstract, yet linear and contemplative. It represents “battening down the emotional hatches”, focusing on paying attention to the opportunities to shift, and riding the storm into a new awareness.

Deepening Contrast and Reflective Light

As I lay-in the washes of colour, I notice I am still painting at an angle, as if reflecting the similarities to a boat in a storm, or the physical body in a storm, the equilibrium can be off. Life and the self, can feel fragile, uneasy. However the sense of baby steps, guidance and of being  protected is there as well.

Contrast and understanding deepens, equilibrium returns, colours and thoughts become brighter and reflective of a new mindfulness. The storm recedes, quiet waves move in bringing peace, and treasure. A deeper sense of grace to contemplate with each step we take, as we walk within the gift that is our life, on this planet.  — Thank you.

“After the Rain, A Contemplative Walk”

Painting “Change & The Center of Gravity”

It began with an image that had arrived in my mind. It was of a woman with a beautiful light shining from within her heart. Before I could get started on this new painting, a nagging tickle in my throat soon turned into a rib breaking cough, and days in bed with a cold.

During my waking moments, I continued to watch the image paint itself in my imagination. Once I recovered, I set to work on creating this painting. However, something had changed. The painting had changed, and it was different. I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. What I had imagined was no longer there to work from. This was very disconcerting, and I experienced a few moments of doubt. Each painting is an adventure, and I see it as a sort of movie that I participate with. Then, I finally began to understand. Feeling the discomfort of “change” was the first note of the music, or film score for this movie.

Stage Two, painting the hands

Doubt is uncomfortable and difficult. I waited, listened, and asked, “What am I painting?” The painting had changed, and the main figure was now a young man. While painting his face first, I saw that the image appeared only from the bridge of his nose down. This is the face of anyone, and everyone.

Next were the hands. The hands are protective and cherishing his heart, his center. This is the home of his “knowingness”, his light, and his truth. The truth is there waiting to offer its wisdom, and only the truth can see through the limited perceptions of his eyes and emotions.

Stage Three, tattoos and the message on the tee-shirt

As I began to paint the arms, I saw the tattoos. I thought about the stereotypes that society has placed upon men, and women for thousands of years, telling them who they “should be”  and “should not be” in order to be safe, valuable, and loved. I thought about the confusion and disappointment this causes within each person, and within their expectations towards each other.  A decade later, these stereotypes will change again, and so will the expectations of who each person “should” be.

I continued to paint this young man, who is cherishing the light and the knowingness within his heart. I began to understand the symbolism, the adventure, the message, and the painting itself. We all have the truth available and running through us in each moment. Accessing this truth, and the choice to honor and cherish this truth is ours, and requires the courage of a personal change. We also have the choice to see only with our eyes, feel only our emotional reactions in a situation, and be guided by the opinions of others. However, these perceptions are not the whole truth.

The message on the young man’s tee-shirt presented itself. “Question Everything”. The question is “what is the truth?” We can choose the gift we  have been given, to listen without an agenda or judgement. This is our greatest gift and power, and our center of gravity as we navigate through illusions, and the constant change of each day. Our center of gravity is our “knowingness”, the light within that supersedes the doubt, discomfort and fear. We have all been given this. Maybe it’s time to make friends with our knowingness, have a long talk and form a great, lifetime relationship.

Finally I painted the fabric background, symbolizing this young man’s “wings of protection and flight” as he trusts, continues to “Question Everything” and treasures the highest truth from within the core of his being. Thank you.

This is “Change & The Center of Gravity”

 

Painting the Path

Discovering the story, and painting it along the way

For quite a long time after I completed a painting, I would just post it to the website gallery, on the blog as an image only, and then move on. After a while I began to add a quote that I felt went along with the “theme”.

However, behind the scenes there was always an adventure, a path of life experiences leading up to the completion of each painting. These experiences are a part of the painting process, along with experimenting, and discovering new painting techniques to accomplish a texture, colour, or light.

Lion Stage one.

And the discovery of what it is I am painting and why…the story of the image and understanding life through the creation of the painting.

Stage One; An image of a Lion popped into my head and I wondered how in the world I was going to paint all of that fur! I also wondered why I was going to paint a lion. At that time, only a part of the greater image of the painting would arrive in my mind. Never the entire image. I began painting the lion. I found that if I painted a wash of colour and then scratched the paint, it would create a nice look for the fur.

Lion Stage Two

Stage Two; By adding more washes, and scratching them with different degrees of pressure, some of the scratches maintained the wash underneath, creating an interplay of light, tint, and texture.

 

Lion Stage Three

Stage Three; More washes of the deepest contrast were applied in specific areas, as well as some additional texture with a bristle brush.Then using an opaque cream colour, and a fine brush, I added the highlighted whiskers and hair around the face and random areas.

As the lion reached this third stage the “setting” for the background of the image came into my mind. This was an older type of subway system with brick walls. Personally, I had been listening to, and observing life around me, and all of the changes that have been happening so rapidly worldwide for all of us. Issues with lifestyle, belief, religion, and who’s right and wrong were escalating. I realized that the unconscious norms of society about “how to live life” were rapidly leaving, and leaving many at an emotional, economical, and spiritual loss, escalating an inner feeling of confusion, depression, despair, and mistrust.

Ruck sack, Candle, Clock and Compass

So what is left to one and all in these highly charged, and rapidly, changing times? Perhaps the mode of “follow the leader” is failing completely, and each person must now look within themselves, and find what is true for them.

I painted the rucksack, symbolizing that from the moment you were born, all of the tools and skills you needed in this lifetime came with you. As a very wise and funny friend of mine says, “sometimes, you need to remember when and where you left your backpack.”

I painted the candle for the light within each of us that is illuminating our way, especially in the dark.

The clock symbolizes time, in that the time is now, living someone else’s plan for you and remaining un-true to yourself is over for everyone, and this is the discomfort, the “shake-up.”

I painted a compass to represent that although we may not trust it, we each know what direction is our own, and the world map, represents a reminder to be open to all possibilities, and that maybe our own path is not just one place, but many places along the way.

The young girl symbolizes the innocent child of the universe in each one of us, and through this part of ourselves, this goodness is available, by simply asking.

As I put the finishing touches on the Lion, this powerful, protective creature of grace and strength, I came full circle with my experience of the painting, and the present moment in my own life. The Lion represents the Creator, the God or whatever you choose, that beats your own heart, no matter what name the Creator is given in any culture or belief system. Present when we are confused, present when we stamp our feet and demand the whole “story” before we try, always present, always there watching over our individual path, custom designed for each and every one of us, with offering us what we need to know each step of the way when we choose to ask and listen. When we ask, when we follow our own truth, we are each a pathfinder of our own story.

Sometimes we bump into other people’s stories, but that is a different painting!

This is the “The Pathfinder”

The Pathfinder

Thank you

 

 

Painting “Whispers” & Happy New Year

Whispers

Whispers illustrates a moment experienced as a nudge, an intuition, or simply the feeling of just “knowing” something, although you may not be able to explain why. It’s about becoming still and listening. It’s about asking what to do, and then listening for the answer that is calm and clear. To capture that moment visually and paint it, I decided to use the symbolism of the crow, the fox, and the willow. Although various attributes can be found for each of these, I chose the following;

Fox – The Celts believed the fox to be a guide, and was honored for its wisdom. Fox is alert, clever, and mindful of his surroundings.

Crow – Crow symbolizes the void or core of creation, from darkness to light and the keeper of the sacred law.

Willow Leaf The Willow represents balance, learning, growth and harmony. The willow tree represents strength and flexibility while standing firm, and withstanding the greatest of challenges.

Whispers is about listening, paying attention, discernment and making choices that are true to yourself.

Happy New Year to all in 2018. May you hear inspiring whispers of wisdom, grace, truth and lots of humor!

 

 

Ivan

Green Man, Nature Spirit, Brother

Today I saw the well-known bumper sticker that reads, “The Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth.” – Chief Seattle. Again, I thought of the technology and intelligence available and ready with the solutions. And again, I ask that those businesses with the focus on profit only, wake up within to the concept of harmony for the greater good.  Taking care of the Earth first, and making a profit as well.

I think Ivan would agree.

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