Painting – A Peaceful Nap…Sort of.

40″ x 40″ painting of Mother and Cub Brown Bear in Alaska.

Parenting and those “oh so treasured” daily nap times.

Every parent has had the experience of “nap time” and drifting off into a snooze, only to be aware that the young one(s) are fiddle-faddling around, and nature seems to be chiming in!

This painting is the follow-up on my last post, and the final work. During the creative process and the many hours (170), it provided me with valuable insights about life itself, and how I am choosing to live it.

Detail of Alaska Brown Bear Cub Face.

This little cub is gazing at a Silvery Blue Butterfly (Glaucopsyche lygdamus) found in Alaska and the northern hemisphere. Once considered extinct, it has recently resurfaced.

Love what you are doing. We have all heard it many times. And time is what it takes to to learn, if you choose to.

I learned that in each moment of anything I am doing, painting, mopping my kitchen floor, or paying bills, if I am focused only on the task in that moment, with gratitude and love, it is a joyful experience. My energy is endless.

However, this is also a conscious and disciplined choice, and more than occasionally requires a sense of humor. It’s like meditating. When I paint fur or feathers, I paint each hair, and each feather, and with each stroke it becomes a meditation on how much I love the subject. During the process I wondered why I had ever allowed anything else (doubt, fear, anxiety) to crowd my mind? Why did I ever allow any fear, anger, anxiety or lack of self-worth to run my life? Maybe this is one of hidden gifts of the pandemic, and the months in isolation, this valuable understanding. Impulse control.

 

Detail of Mama Bears face.

I have a friend who tells me that sometimes less is more in art, and this is quite true as well. But for this painting I wanted to paint all of the little details. I love to look at illustrations and paintings that are detailed and my eye can travel through the painting and find new details each time I look at it. I love a painting I can walk into and sit down for a time, and just soak up the experience.

I hope this painting becomes that kind of experience for someone.
Nature is the most wondrous gift, along with each moment of life.

Now tomorrow, I will take on the long avoided task of decluttering my storage room, and LOVE it…….(that is the required sense of humor). I will allow myself to release what I no longer need, and then start the next painting!

– Thank you

WIP Painting – There’s No Place Like Home…

Sometimes, we have to travel far and wide to find out

we were already,

where we needed to be.

Small detailed section 8″x 8″ of a 30’x 40′ painting in progress.

Quite a few years ago, and for some reason, I decided I needed to change how and what I painted.
I began to experiment extensively with every medium, genre, and style, deciding to search for what truly felt right. I began each painting very hopeful, but most all experiments felt flat, inauthentic, and frustrating.
About a week ago just around dawn I was half asleep/half awake when I heard three questions arrive in my mind, about my own process of creativity.

1. “What do you love?”

2. “What techniques flow effortlessly for you, like breathing?”

3. “What do you love to paint the most?”

With each question the answers were immediate. They had been there all along. Time rolled back and it felt like coming home. “Home” happened to be where I was when I started this journey. I had to travel far and wide to find out, I was already, where we needed to be.

When I paint what I love, I can work for 12 hours straight and feel as refreshed afterwards, as when I sat down to begin. I think that is an important awareness for all of life. Yes, there are challenges, but the solutions are sitting right there as well.

I have begun a very large painting, 30″ x 40″ and it is full of detail. A few posts back, I was trying to avoid detail (and finding it difficult.) I love detail, and wildlife. Above, is a small section measuring 8″ x 8″ of a bear cub. All outlines eventually will be removed.

Small section in progress, of wild flowers.

Above is another small section of the painting in process. I like to work in a circular pattern over the whole painting. This is a corner of the painting that will soon be filled with wildflowers. It looks chaotic, but there is a method to this madness. Since this is a rather large and very detailed painting it will take some time.
However, as I work, it will also provide me with more observations, lessons, and a greater understanding about life itself.

First lesson;

Focus on what you love,

and find the love in all you do.

– Thank you

Painting – Resurrection of Fallen Warriors.

Print Available here, and here,

I chose a beautiful poem by Robin Decker to express the essence of my painting.

Hummingbird

by Robin Becker

I love the whir of the creature come
to visit the pink
flowers in the hanging basket as she does

most August mornings, hours away
from starvation to store
enough energy to survive overnight.

The Aztecs saw the refraction
of incident light on wings
as resurrection of fallen warriors.

In autumn, when daylight decreases
they double their body weight to survive
the flight across the Gulf of Mexico.

On next-to-nothing my mother
flew for 85 years; after her death
she hovered, a bird of bones and air.

About This Poem

“Inhabiting both earth and sky, birds serve, in many traditions, as emissaries from the afterlife, as they do in this poem. Here, I sought to combine the science of hummingbird metabolism, the cultural history of hummingbird mythology, and the personal history I associate with the bird. The words ‘visit,’ ‘resurrection’ and ‘hover’ contribute to the ‘otherworldly’ feeling hummingbirds generate in many who observe them.”
—Robin Becker

-Thank you

 

Painting – “Gently, gently…

 

..and oh, so carefully.”

The tag-line of my website is; “Living and learning through the creative mind.”

And this painting taught me a lot about life this week.

 I learn a great deal about life through the process of painting, and the many hours of observation and listening while I work. I believe it is the same for pursuing any endeavor. Living life is certainly a big job, and life is something we all have in common on a daily basis.

Over the past few years I have come to realize that if I get out of the way and pay attention, the painting will paint itself. That’s the challenge. Each painting is an opportunity to experience when I don’t do this as well.

As in life, my job is to listen and not “be” the creator or a bull in the china shop, so to speak. Not so easy to do. Life truly does have a plan in every moment, and it is always a good one, if I am not desperately seeking fulfillment out of doubt.

This requires the courage to trust my inner most self, not the self with its hair on fire. Doubt is always my first trip and fall. Trying to be the creator or “the boss” never works for me, it is unfulfilling and the results are always pretty bad. In life we tend to want to know the outcome before we begin, don’t we? Before we take any risk at all. If we don’t know the outcome we tend to force an outcome, or play “lets pretend.” When the outcome doesn’t match our fantasy, we feel defeated, or blame others.

Back to the painting. This painting is my second attempt, okay, it’s my third. The first is so embarrassing, it would hurt your eyes.

When I began all over for the third time, all I knew was that I was painting an elderly hand, and the lighting was vital. Once this was completed I was right on the edge of moving in and “making up” a background, but I stepped away and took a walk. On my walk, I saw this image on the porch; (yep, that’s my left foot in the bottom right).

This was my inspiration for the background design. Yea! I also knew a bird would be resting on her fingers, and once this part of the painting was done it still felt too uncompleted. Again, I walked away. Keep in mind, this painting took me 5 days to paint. Then I walked back and looked at it again, and again, like checking on a sleeping baby, listening for the next step. While cleaning, the idea for the second bird in the palm came to me. It appears to be quite natural now, but I had to wait for it. The three extra stems in the middle ground arrived next, and then nothing. I began to doubt, wanted to throw in huge splashes of bright colour and almost ruined it. Again, “Gently, gently…” came into my mind for this painting, and as a new life mantra.

Gentleness requires a great deal of strength … and courage.

A friend sent me this message describing the painting; “I am caught by the emotion. The beautiful juxtaposition of the brightly colored birds, so precise against her lovely translucent skin. It is really moving, capturing life, old and new, beginnings and endings, always cyclical.” – Thank you dear friend.

That was my experience of participating in this painting.  Life is a juxtaposition of collaboration or control. In collaboration, we all win.

 and thank you for reading.

4″ x 6″ Mini Print here.

 

 

Illustration – A Promise Kept – Treasure the Little Things.

Many decades ago, I made a promise.

This week I learned that promises made to ourselves are important….even decades later.

Every five years or so, a thought will cross my mind. “Please draw Miss Hickory.” Every time it came into my mind I either ignored it, dismissed it, or had an excuse of why I was too busy. Mostly I pretended not to hear it.

When I was 6 years old I picked up a book in our school library; Miss Hickory, a novel by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey. I did not have the skills to actually read it, however, I already had definite opinions concerning the illustrations. Even then my life as an artist was already determined. I also had a serious balance of logical thinking as well, and was insulted that a creature made of twigs would have high heels, a knitted sweater, and –  just how did those flowers stick in her nonexistent hair if she had the head of a hickory nut? At the age of six I promised myself that one day, when my skills were better I would draw Miss Hickory as I saw her in my mind.

So, last week upon waking, when I heard “Please draw Miss Hickory” for the umpteenth time, I thought about it and said, “Yes.”

Drawing Miss Hickory was an opportunity to listen to my six year old self and in return, she opened the door to valuable information as I sketched and painted. Nothing is a mistake, everything is a valuable key. Our conversation gifted me a greater understanding of this incredible journey called life.

From my perspective…….

Listening to our thoughts is important. Within ourselves is a wealth of information, the library of “Us”. Parts of ourselves hold the keys that are the story of “ourselves.” Some we want to keep, some we need to update or “take to the cleaners.” Some have been a huge asset in our creative lives, and all need to be known. When we don’t listen, out fear of something “bad” is a lie. This is when we find it difficult to live comfortably in our own skin. A good friend of mine once said “Think of yourself as a corporation and you are the CEO.” This is so wonderfully creative and true. Will we listen to the “essential workers” of our corporation? Or be a petty tyrant, a bully. Or look outside of ourselves for answers.

I have never read the Miss Hickory book, but I have ordered it. Miss Hickory is a Newbery Medal award winner.  After completing my own illustration, I read reviews about the book – both good and bad, some replying it was freakishly dark. The book will arrive on Monday. It should provide either more opportunities and illustrations, or simply a good laugh and an opportunity to a close the door.

In this time of less distractions…….take the time to listen to yourself. You are an individual, a “one of a kind.”  That is what makes you a miracle.

– Thank you

Painting – Enjoy Your Rest Mother Nature

Nature Made Alter. What a Delight to find. Earth Day April 22, 2020.

Hi Mom.

Your children have all been sent to their rooms to think about who they are, and to remember, please remember, who they

could still, truly become….  even now.

In this rare moment of a little “Me Time,” you can breath a deep sigh of peace, your sky’s are bluer, your air is cleaner, and your bird’s joyful songs can finally be heard above the sounds of chaos lessened.

You, who have nurtured us and given us all we could ever want, beauty, bounty, and magnificence, have borne our ingratitude, ignorance and entitlement.

You carry the scares of our dishonorable actions towards you, our greed. Yet you continue to support us, provide for us, delight us, and unconditionally love us all.

I thank you, apologize for how we have offended and harmed you, and ask for your forgiveness. I am so sorry that we all fell asleep to your incredible love.

May we all learn that our thoughts and emotions affect you.

May we all wake to what we truly need, as as opposed to what we simply want and demand.

May we all ask for, work for, and support those inspired souls with the creativity for the better, kinder, and recompensable solutions for your resources.

May we sing a song of life in rhythm to the heartbeat of the earth, our mother, and live accordingly in honor, gratitude, and blessings in our every breath.

Happy Earth Day Mother, I love you.

Painting – “Peeps,” My Funny, Kind, Supportive, Imaginary(?) Friends

A few weeks ago, I snapped this image on one of my daily walks.

California poppies peeking through a wrought iron fence.

I felt this image illustrated perfectly the experience of self-isolation at this time. Naturally, I wanted to I paint this image but wondered if the fence might be a little too stark and oppressive. Ideas began to arrive in my mind; create it like stained glass, the leading can symbolize the fence (too obscure), and then more ideas arrived, but none with the “zing” that feels like inspiration.

I decided to just begin painting and see what happened along the way. After completing the flowers, I sat back and wondered, “what next?” From the corner of my eye I see one of my little friends waving, posing, and smiling its impish little smile, “OH me! Me! choose me!”

“Again?” I ask, “You’re already in two or three paintings.” My friend tilts his little head, and blinks his little eyes.

“Well, alright,” I concede, and he strikes a pose as if hanging off the mast of a ship. “So you’re Captain Ahab now?” I  snicker, and he just grins.

Once his image was added, the painting still felt unfinished. Now on my shoulder, my little friend reminds me that it will soon be Easter, why not invite Bunny? She will be perfect  symbolizing the celebration of “New Life and New Beginnings.” I thought for a while, “no, too hokey” I answered, and all the joy left the moment, and left the room as well. I waited. And waited.

Finally, in the lingering silence and knowing I had not chosen well, I whispered “Bunny, would you consider allowing me to paint you into this painting?”

For such a shy little creature, Bunny is exceedingly fast, and even reminded me of a previous painting session. “Jump in!” I invite, and the painting was soon completed. As we three observed the finished work i wondered what to name it. “Peeps” said my little friend.

“Like the marshmallow candy?” I ask.

“Like the candy, …..and for good friends.”

My little chickadee friend is exceedingly proud and pleased, and Bunny is shyly delighted, and together we wish you a heartfelt and wondrous Easter.

– Thank you

Painting – The Power of a Smile

“Everyone smiles in the same language.”

– George Carlin

“Iggy” Nature Spirit. 24″ x 36″

Many artists/writers/musicians have recently felt a shift within their creativity. At first it felt as if the well were dry, but slowly inspiration began to trickle back in, returning in a gentler, more thoughtful use of their skills and the messages they are sharing.  So it is with myself. I am happy to say I am working on a new painting, although it too is gentler, more thoughtful, and I am taking my time. I am fortunate in that I am still employed and working from home. Instead of the news, I “google” random acts of kindness caused by the virus. On my break I walk. It’s spring, hopeful and beautiful. I meet many on the path and our exchange of a genuine, simple smile is so very powerful. On my way home, I thought to re-post the painting “Iggy,” from a few years ago, along with some lovely quotes on the simple power of a “smile.” – P.S. – I am so very grateful to every “essential service” worker. Thank you. – Peace, and Goodwill to All.

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”Thich Nhat Hanh

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. “H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I love those who can smile in trouble.”Leonardo da Vinci

“A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles.”William Hazlitt

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”Thich Nhat Hanh

“Smile, smile, smile at your mind as often as possible. Your smiling will considerably reduce your mind’s tearing tension.”Sri Chinmoy

“Always find opportunities to make someone smile, and to offer random acts of kindness in everyday life.”Roy T. Bennett

“Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile”Mother Teresa

“When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. “Unknown

“Nothing shakes the smiling heart.”Santosh Kalwar

“It only takes a split second to smile and forget, yet to someone that needed it, it can last a lifetime.”Steve Maraboli

“A smile cures the wounding of a frown.”William Shakespeare

“The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.” Thich Nhat Hanh

“Anyone can smile on their best day. I like to meet a man who can smile on his WORST.”– Lauren Graham

“A smile remains the most inexpensive gift I can bestow on anyone and yet its powers can vanquish kingdoms.”Og Mandino

“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”– Joseph Addison

“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.”– Paramahansa Yogananda

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”Leo Buscaglia

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”Phyllis Diller

“After every storm the sun will smile; for every problem there is a solution, and the soul’s infeasible duty is to be of good cheer.”William R. Alger

Take care, and thank you!

 

 

Painting – Spring! “Bird & Bee” + painting video clip

 

Bird & Bee. “22” x “18.”

Spring!

March 19th was the first day of spring, I am a few days late with this work, although I had good intentions!

A bird and a bee ushering in spring. However, they are not located in the great outdoors, and something in the image appears to be missing, or is it?

Below is a short (55 seconds) fast-frame clip of painting the poppies and the stems of this image. Less than a minute, but super fun. I hope you enjoy it!

Spring represents new light, life, a new path, and balance. At this time, balance in all things is vital, along with choosing faith over fear, and one moment at a time. The present is certainly a new way of life, and we are all forging a new path each day. My gratitude for all things has magnified. Choosing acts of kindness, goodwill, laughter and love raises the spirit, and strengthens the immune system within the body. May we begin with ourselves, and offer peace, laughter, and comfort freely and abundantly to all.

This painting was a challenge in balance and light. A challenge in depth, texture and colour. A similar experience of myself and life at this time.  But with all things….I want to look back and say “….it taught me a great deal, and I had fun.”

Happy Spring! – Thank you for reading!

Painting – Contemplation & Solutions

Contemplation & Solutions – 24″ x 34″.

“Contemplation & Solutions”

While creating this painting, its essence became very dear to me. Contemplation is the choice of taking a few moments to listen within for the best solutions. Contemplation means giving up reacting. Each day is filled with a multitude of moments that we are constantly making choices amongst the momentum of “rush, rush, rush” and “hurry up.” When did we allow this rushed feeling become the fearful boss of us? Moreover, why did we? Giving ourselves permission to pause for a few moments, contemplate the best choice of our words or a solution, is an action of honoring the best of who we are, each and every one of us. We honor each other with our mindfulness, and this will always serve us and life, well.

Thank you.

Test Driving Procreate

Do you remember your first attempt at rollerskating, skateboarding, or snow skiing?

Arms out careening around trying to find your balance? That was me on testing out procreate today. Last night I received a new iPad. In the ten years since my first and only iPad purchase, a lot has changed! After powering up, I just had to hold my iPhone next to it upon start-up, and wahlaa, I was in and set up!

This morning I downloaded the procreate app and thought I would give it a test. Wow, what a learning curve! Arms out, careening around through brushes, layers, and colour picking. Of course the image I created is just a stab at random textures, and shy on anything creative (actually, it reminds me of something found on a 1918 tea towel after sopping up spilled tea for two decades), but that’s not the point. It was an adventure in trying to see if I could create anything in a foreign land. It was pretty tough and I still have no clue, but that is the beauty of knowing that brilliant and talented people share great information on Youtube and I can research their wisdom.

Procreate is fast, this test drive was just about a 3 hour drive. Again, I had no plan what-so-ever. I thought I would just make a brushes swatch page, but my circle strokes became an apple….and I just kept going. I can tend to become overwhelmed with having to learn a new program, but once I get my feet wet the challenge seems to entice me into more discoveries. I love the feel of the pencil and not a mouse, or a pen on a wacom tablet while looking at a screen. I purchased a “paperlike” matt protecter film that really feels like paper! The sketching feeling is terrific. Best yet, is that this is the “mobile” painting pallet I can take anywhere, and just doodle or continue a work in process. I am excited to see how far I can take this new program, today I just learned how to start it up and signal I was merging into traffic!

If anyone has suggestions of a great set of brushes, their experience, or tutorials, I would really appreciate it!

Best, Liza

Painting – Departures & Arrivals

Thank you for everything 2019.

Welcome in, Opportunities of 2020!

In this painting, the past year is symbolized by the Crow. As he exits, we can reflect upon a year of experiences, both personal and shared collectively, that were meant to bring transformation, wisdom, grace and truth. The image of the departing crow is a symbol of learned wisdom gathered throughout the past year. He has completed his job.

The New Year arriving is represented by the Titmouse. The titmouse is a symbol of love, faith, hope and honor. All of our daily experiences are opportunities to see beyond the form, beyond how a situation appears and our personal judgements. Beyond the form is the essence, and in that essence is the truth, a gift of wisdom and grace, and the best of who you truly are, will respond with honor.

New Years Eve Tradition

Every year by habit, I find myself thoroughly cleaning my home the day before New Years Eve. The Christmas decorations are put away and everything receives a good scrub. At the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve I open the back door and thank the previous year for all of its blessings, and each experience to learn as an individual and as part of the greater whole. Then, I open the front door, and welcome in the New Year and all of the opportunities it will bring.

I am not sure where I learned this tradition, it just seems to have always been there. It may be an Irish custom? Begin the New Year with a clean home, gratitude for the past year, and a warm welcome for the gifts and opportunities for the next!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL.

– Thank you!

 

 

Painting – Heading Out….

I was playing around, working with texture and colour.

Ideas were arriving, and changes in style as well.
This is simply a test swatch of that play. Bright colours, more texture and with it, as well as a little bird, a messenger.
This swatch has gone on to become a much larger painting, with its own story and is almost finished. However, the little bird was not included.
He was heading out, and only arrived as a reminder to reflect upon the end of another year, and all I have learned, realized, and experienced.

Heading out of 2019, and preparing for 2020 with the bright colours and textures of a life (hopefully) well lived!

Thank you.

WIP Painting completed… and it was Magic.

BELIEVE

Thank you for following the creative adventure of this painting!

The magic has been added, and here is the final painting. Below, is another version that I created for a Christmas card.

Christmas is a celebration of life, of believing in the greater goodness within us all, and sharing the joy of that belief. We do it every day. We enjoy a sense of humor, and laugh a great deal of the time. As we continuously give our attention and actions to all that is good and kind, and we support that blessing for all of life, as we support life itself. We bring the light of belief into ourselves, then through ourselves and into the world, in each moment. We are grateful, and we become grace itself. Peace in your heart, peace through your thoughts and actions, and peace on earth.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND….

Thank you!

WIP Painting – … and then along came The Girl

Stage two of three – Painting the girl.

In the last post I wrote about painting the polar bear. Next came “the girl” giving the bear a hug. The following images show the different steps of painting the girls face and hair. While I painted, I thought about what she would be wearing, and naturally, that would be a thick sweater and gloves. How was I to paint the texture of a knitted sweater? The detail needed for the knit seemed overwhelming, so I created test swatches to see if I could do it. The two knit test swatches and a detail shot from the final painting are included.

Next up will be the final stage.

The final painting with the background. I hope some of this has been interesting, helpful, and inspiring. – Thank you

WIP Painting – It Began With A Bear…& the Post Office.

I was thinking about Christmas and what the season means to me. A painting I had created some time ago came into my mind. I still had all of the progress images, and thought it would be fun to share the progress of how it developed, and what I had learned. As usual I did not have a finished image in my mind when I began this painting. I simply trusted a painting would develop itself as I worked. The painting arrived in three stages, so I will be posting each stage over the next week. It began with a bear while pondering Christmas, “Believing in all that is good,” choosing faith over fear, and delighting in the cheerful anticipation.

Example; this morning I left my home early to arrive at the post office almost an hour before they opened just to get parking. There were a few spaces were available when I arrived. As I trundled my self and my heavy package into the lobby, the line of people were laughing and commenting how they thought they would be the first. Suddenly, the interior door opened. The postal workers had decided to open for business 45 minutes early for all of us! How great was that? Cheerful good will to all.

 What surprised me about painting the bear was that it was a minimalist application, yet appears to have so much detail. I used limited brushes, a broad wash brush, a smaller fine brush, and a brush called “nail.” Now for the friend.

Thank you

From Painting to Book Cover & Design.

A while ago I created the painting “Night Owl,” and then
it flew off!

“Night Owl” 24″ x 36″

Night Owl became licensed to Candace Lienhart and Kahuna Kindergarden, to be used as the cover art for her book SoThere Excerpts & Quotes.
While the painting was horizontal, the cover art needed to be in a vertical format.

Painting, Book Cover and Design

Continuing the painting into a vertical format was quite a challenge, and I enjoyed this project very much. Once the cover was completed within the book specifications, I also created the full book design, layout and graphics.

Back Book Cover and Inner Pages

I loved working with the information of this book. It’s wonderful, and I was able to read it page by page. The text was delivered to me in an editable word document by two people who had been collecting and compiling the information.

I used Adobe InDesign to create the book formatting and file. Originally InDesign was used for magazine and book layouts allowing continuity, and creativity with image placement and wrapping text for many, many pages. This book had 147. Now InDesign is used for many things, brochures, banners, eblasts to name a few.

Adobe Photoshop is the go-to for all image work. Images need to be formatted for clarity and size. Since the book was to be reproduced and bound by a professional printer, the images also needed to be formatted in CMYK for the colour process used by printers.

Adobe Pro DC is used for many steps of the process. From InDesign I can create a pdf file, edit, and rearrange pages. This file can be emailed to the client for proofing and review. It is also the program that the final “production ready” book file is created in for the printer. The whole book production process can take place in three different cities, without leaving home! But I like to meet my printer, they are an encyclopedia of “how to’s” and best cover and text paper choices. I like to make sure it feels good in my hands.

All three of these programs require some training by experimenting or online courses. YouTube is my main go-to, there are some creative problem solving geniuses out there, and I am grateful to them all! I have been using these programs since their infancy, I changed their diapers so to speak, and they just keep evolving and becoming more amazing.

That is the story of the painting becoming a book cover.

Are you designing a book or calendar? Questions are welcomed! If you ever find yourself needing digital assistance, an image formatted for web or print, or anything requiring text or design, email me at Liza@northlizalane.com, or go to my services page. Some tasks require as little as 15 minutes!

Thank you

Painting – Time Out

Joy in Time Out.  36″x36″.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
– Pablo Picasso

Along the path of creative discovery in art and in life, I have been very busy…and, I have not added to my portfolio recently. I am currently working three paintings at the same time, experimenting. It’s a new way of working and feels balanced, so I am pursuing it.

Today, as I prepared this painting (created some time ago), to be printed on a large canvas,
I thought of the experience that inspired it.

I am fortunate that I live close enough to my day-job, that I can walk or ride my bike to work. One warm evening as I walked home contemplating a challenging situation, I chose to give myself a “Time Out.” I chose to stop thinking and simply focus on the walk. Quieting the mind and emotions requires me to let go. I know the challenge will still be there when I am ready, unfortunately. I began to focus on the comfortable weather, the trees, my groovy bento box I carry, my home, my sons, and the list began to grow, including all of the beauty around me. I immediately felt gratitude. Joy began to match my gratitude with each step I walked, and with my growing list. There is a lightness of being within joy and gratitude, my sense of humor returned, and I felt the renewed energy of being twelve years old, on a beautiful day. I felt like skipping (but I didn’t, sorta). No sudden good news, no surprising change from the outside. But a change from within, changed everything. Later, and not so surprising, along with my gratitude, an inspired solution to my challenge arrived as well.

That was the inspiration for this painting; the energy and inspired solutions that arrive with having a little “Time Out” for gratitude and joy. A daily walking meditation, all day, every day, even if I am just vacuuming. I try not to ever forget this valuable lesson, although sometimes I do. I will order a print for myself, and place it so I can see it each morning, and remember to begin each day with gratitude.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Magical Realism – Painting Retrograde

Every Storm has a Key to Wisdom

Retrograde Detail, holding steady.

I painted, and then repainted this piece six times, and then I quit counting. I would give it up and then come back to it many times. The little bird with its fine feathers lifted by the winds of the storm is the only part that remains intact from the original. This is how the piece finally received its name; Retrograde.

A great deal of information about mercury in retrograde can be found on several sites. During a retrograde I try to find the customized clues within the storm of confusion. If the universe is putting in a great deal of effort, then shouldn’t I as well? Just short of dressing up and with the best of intentions I approach retrograde as a grand yet uncomfortable opportunity. I vow that my sense of humor will be my perch. I try to remain steady (and laugh), knowing the clues will arrive like random puzzle pieces smacking me in the forehead. After a lot of bruising the pieces will begin to assemble themselves, just about the time I find my perch being torn from its roots and I am not laughing anymore. Note; trying to force or reshape the puzzle pieces to fit together and into an insight is not recommended; I have tried. And then…it happens, the pieces become a key to a valuable revelation about life and I didn’t die! Yea Mercury in Retrograde.

Magical realism is a natural and favorite way for me to create. I have always wanted to see beyond what we perceive with our eyes, and paint what is occurring behind the scenes. My definition of magical realism is painting life through a mysterious lens, revealing an “interior” mystery using magical elements to make a point about reality. This is my painting illustrating mercury in retrograde. It will end on August 2nd. The next retrograde is October 31st through November 20th. Oh goody, we do get to dress up!

Thank you.

Painting – Harmony Within Chaos

This painting is about choosing to ask Chaos to have a seat & allow me to ask it questions about its job.

In every life chaos will arrive many times, the uninvited and somewhat dreaded guest.

Like the quote; “Guests are like fish, after three days they begin to smell,” chaos is a challenge, unless…we can find the blessings of change within the chaos, and the gifts within the opportunity. Chaos comes bearing gifts beyond our imagination if we are willing to receive them. Chaos is not for the faint of heart.

Chaos is not an easy adventure, and attempting to shove it out the door does not work either.

Hello Chaos, have a seat. If we make the choice to have a trusting spirit, an adventurous soul, and the courage it takes to find a peaceful place within ourselves to become still and listen, chaos will tell us what it is up to. Chaos will arrive to challenge our fears and control issues. It will ask us if our faith and trust are genuine, or just a platitude we comfort friends with, as we privately plot how the world should really be running along.

Chaos is a teacher.

If we choose the stillness within and listen with gratitude, it will direct us to a place of observation within the chaos, like a perch and a shelter. From this place it will begin to teach us about the creative force that arrives to upturn the stagnant blocks, uncover the lies, and offer the truth. Chaos can be an answer to a prayer of change. The truth will set us free unless we choose to react, run in circles with our arms in the air and join the conversations of fear, and judgement, and miss the opportunity know, to be the insider, and to watch it unfold.

Chaos holds the key to learning harmony.

Harmony is the shelter. It does not include resistance. It is a position of neutral. It asks us not to define it, or find a sense of safety in our immediate and ignorant definitions. It does not argue nor defend, it is the space that is a melody of listening and alert attention. It trusts that if action is needed, it we will will be specific, peaceful and in harmony with the moment. Knowingness and wisdom is the lesson of harmony. To know how to serve and when, and how to ask. Harmony is in the center of chaos, and chaos can usher in the light of creation and change for the greater good. Be the greater you by surrendering the smallness of you, (may include arguments). Find your perch, pay attention, ask for the wisdom and truth that chaos has to teach, and then you will fly.

This is my experience with chaos. Chaos is the greater good asking for change, and harmony is “E” ticket of the peaceful and effective path. — Thank You.

My Cover Girl – Celebrating Spring & Easter.

I giggled the entire time I created this, in celebration of spring and Easter.

Looking at her face, I just can’t help it. Spring is joyful, fresh, new, loving and hopeful.  It is an opportunity to witness the transformation in nature, and within ourselves. A time to celebrate surviving and thriving through the challenges of the past year.

I had so much fun with this that I have decided to make this my new “Play Project” in between paintings. Creating magazine covers using my own artwork with articles I would love to read. Then I will print and frame each cover, and line my home hallway with them. I will call it my Happy Hall

I think I’ll create a Rolling Stones cover next…..

Happy Spring, and Happy Easter to All.

– thank you.

Painting – “Fowl Play.”

I found myself feeling uninspired, and in a bit of a foul mood while trying to enjoy my painting time after a challenging week. What to do? I looked out of the window and observed Betty White and Pearl Bailey busy gossiping around the base of a palm tree.

Betty and Pearl are chickens living in the heart of a large city at a complex that feels as if it is not in the city at all. Betty arrived one day last year as a mystery, was quickly adopted, and Pearl was brought in to be her comrade in hyjinx. They are incredible at herding cats. These two chickens living in the heart of the financial district are quite popular, and even have their own website. It’s all quite comical, watching them at play and how they react to life around them.

“When work becomes play, and play becomes your work, your life unfolds.” — Robert Frost

Taking a my cue from Betty and Pearl I chose to play. I moved into the inspired moment, capturing the energy like a snapshot of spontaneity. Using quick loose strokes, splatters, and random colours, I worked rapidly and with limited thoughts. Then I added a little detail for the head. Later, I chose to add a background of gritty texture, replicating the dirt Betty and Pearl love to dig in for appetizers. My observation of play became the energy of how I painted, and the true essence of the image. I smiled as I worked, and my work became play. Another valuable lesson in truly living life. — Thank you.

The Abstract Realism of Life.

Do we see all that is in front of us, or just what we assume we see?

Wonder II is an abstract painting in technique and creation. However, by only adding a limited amount of shadowing to create a shoreline, it appears to be a view from across a pond in the late days of the fall season. I find this pretty interesting. My mind continues to register realism, but the painting is completely abstract. I know this, because I painted it.

I like this description of Abstract Realism; “…exploration of the pure exuberance of paint with just enough imagery to deem it realistic.” (Sherri McGraw).

So, how much of life around me am I aware of in each moment?

Detail Section – Wonder II

Creativity inspires me to wonder, and I wonder if we perceive life on a moment by moment basis, through unconscious assumptions. What we see…. may not be all that is available to be seen in the moment, and we may be missing so much of all that is truly around us. If this were true, then are we missing the information about whole truth by assuming we know the truth?

Perhaps our assumptions, or mental constructs do not allow us to see beyond them, and fully register what is actually right in front of us in every moment. What if the whole truth was available to us in each moment, if WE were fully present in each moment? If we were not thinking a few minutes ahead, or thinking about what just happened in the past, would we find ourselves without any anxiety? Would we be filled with a knowingness and with that, a peacefulness  in each moment?

Wonder II is acrylic on untreated linen, 20″ x 36″. The entire creative process consisted of adding splatters of paint, layer by layer in a rhythmic motion. Each additional layer created a “resist” for the next layer to follow. Finally I scraped all of the paint off and what was left had stained deeply into the linen. Then I added some highlights with oil pastel and washed in a shoreline.

This painting reminds me how a peaceful place can be found in the pure presence of each moment.

— Thank you

 

 

Painting – Just Makes Me Happy

 

 

Just Makes Me Happy — Detail Section of a Larger Piece, Acrylic on Linen with Oil Pastel.

Lately, I forget what I paint soon after it is completed, it seems to leave my mind within a day or two. The next time I see it, I view it as if for the first time, and I think, “Oh! Look at that!” and I am delighted all over again.
This is a detail section of a larger piece, and one of my screen savers. Each time I see it, it makes me happy.

“You have within you more love than you could ever understand.” — Rumi

Peace

 

 

Painting – “Me again…”

“Me again…”

40″ x 30″ Acrylic on Linen.

Inside any deep asking is the answering. – Rumi

This is a painting about a continuous conversation
asking questions about everything
learning how to listen
it’s about;
humble pie
incredible joy
the truth
forgiveness
kindness
apologizing
self-discipline
laughter
grace
living in harmony
giving
blessing
inclusion
cleaning up our own mess
receiving
compassion
courage
freedom
helping
supporting life
it’s about each moment within each day
it’s about asking what you can do to serve life
it’s about love.

 

 

Painting – Choosing the Long Way Home

Choosing the Long Way Home. 36″x48″.

This painting contains “hidden images.” For anyone who remembers Highlights magazine and the hidden images drawing on the last page, you may enjoy finding them as much as I did.

This work was a complete surprise. I had no “conceptual plan” whatsoever, but to just play around creating texture. It wasn’t until this piece was about to be set aside, that I saw a story creating itself within the painting. While peering closely at the detail, the painting extended an invitation to enter. I walked in as an observer, and was enchanted by what I found, beginning with all the little faces and characters. I gave this painting the title; “Choosing the long way home.” This painting also holds many stories, and you are invited in to share them. I invite your imagination to walk into the image, peek into the windows and meander along the lane.

I would love to hear about what you find, and any stories you see.

Happy New Year to all. — and I thank you.

 

Painting – Free Falling into Stillness

Free Falling into Stillness. 36″x24″

“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” – T.S. Eliot

“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” – Lao Tzu

“Whenever you deeply accept this moment as it is — no matter what form it takes — you are still, you are at peace.” – Eckhart Tolle

This painting began as an assignment; “Paint as the neutral observer instead of the creative director.” My mind immediately wanted to have at least an outline, a subject, an assignment, and a deadline. It was beside itself. No plan? That was fine for daily life, but how do you create without an idea, without seeing it in your mind, first? It was two months before I could even sit down to work. I needed to discover what this meant…….

This was a journey into discovering an inner stillness, and the true creativity within the present moment.

In the present moment, in the stillness, is everything I need to know. Listening, and then responding is a rhythm in alignment within our very being, without the mental chatter and its judgements. It didn’t happen overnight, but a time came when the hostages were set free, and there was acceptance, peace, and the joy of creating in the present moment. Not simply for art, but in each and every moment.

– Thank you.

Painting the Beekeepers Gift

Everyone has natural gifts, whether they are aware of them or not.

Bee within hexagons.

This painting started out abstract and simplistic. Just a few notes, like a melody. A bee surrounded by light, with a few hexagons to represent the honeycomb. However, the painting continued to expand, and so did its message.

Some people have gifts that they may be completely unaware of, however, these gifts are very valuable to each individual they interact with. True kindness, a sense of humor, patience, or compassion are just a few. Gifts do not require a tangible creation, like beautiful music, or a wonderful story. Gifts can not be put on like fashion accessory, or used for manipulation. All gifts are something that serve life, and live on within the recipient, lifting them up to a lighter self.

Bees symbolize community, light, and the sweetness of life. They also represent the heart, and personal power. Bees respond to, and respect the gentleness within an individual. Most people do as well. They become alarmed and threatened by insensitivity and disrespect. Bees can intuit true intentions. The Beekeeper symbolizes a pure heart, that cares deeply, and respectfully for the sweetness in life, dispelling fears.

“The Beekeepers Gift” represents the courage, and the great power of sharing our gifts in thought, word, and deed.  — Thank you.

This is “The Beekeepers Gift”

 

 

Painting The DreamCatcher

I thought about creating a design for a cell phone case, and then….

Hands off the steering wheel.

Inspiration politely sat down next to me, and with a nod I took my hands off of the steering wheel, and became a peaceful passenger enjoying the ride.

The experience felt like grace and trust, and my mind became still. The familiar motions of creating took on the synchronicity of a metronome. I enjoyed the view, and time passed without a single thought. This experience taught me that creativity can happen quite well enough on its own, without the interference of my “artistic considerations.”

Good, bad, right, wrong, contrast, light, shadow, colour. Or the doubts, “does this image make sense, is there a message, or, will anyone get it?” Considerations that any person in the act of creating may experience again and again. Sometimes, these considerations can also be fears, and a prison. These fears are a burglar invading the serenity and the joy within our desire to create.

I enjoyed the experience of not thinking. Four hours the first day, and then five hours the next, peacefully casting my line into a realm of dreams. The painting was finished quite quickly, and I felt that somehow, I had moved closer to a precious space within myself, and into the sacred space that is within all of us. Next, I will attempt the wonders of house-cleaning without a single thought, how great will THAT be? Until then, I now have my cell phone cover, and a few more items to share. — Thank you.

 The DreamCatcher

Links to the cell phone case, and other items to share.

Links; PrintCell Phone Case, Tote, Pillow, JustDreams Card, Mug, Notebook, Wall Clock.

Society6.com/northlizalane

Till next time…….thank you.

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 “Tribal Garden”

Sketching in my notebook, I began to play with a design and listen. It felt tribal, and I thought of tattoos, but I also felt a garden, and realized this image would represent a combination of the essence, thoughtfulness, and the respect many cultures live by, deeply connected in reverence with nature, honoring the gifts of the earth, and that which created it.

Beginning Tribal Garden, Sketch

The sketch is a connection for me, and when I begin to paint, I get to listen and learn.

Tribal Design – Representing a way of choosing to live, spiritual beliefs, and could be seen as a transition in life, embracing wisdom and understanding the grace of being truly aware and alive.

Garden – The original paradise created by God as a safe enclosure. The soul, and innocence, consciousness, happiness, salvation, and purity. Gardens represent the essence of the space between people that is a true state of living in peace, because gardens represent inclusion, community, and a sense of well-being.

Tribal Garden Design

Hibiscus Flower –  Delicate beauty, immortality, and the natural beauty of being one with God. The hibiscus, represents a state of royalty in the connection to that which created this earth, respecting and honoring the hospitality that the earth has always been generously giving to us.

I then painted two more panels of this piece.

Tribal Garden Center Panel

Tribal Garden – Third Panel

And I thought about this experience, about the tribal significance of living on this generous planet, and listening to what the garden and its creator is so diligently offering to teach us. Do I listen and make time to connect to the earth? Do I honor the planet in my life choices, in what I choose to support, and do I and thank nature each day for its wisdom, and the nurturing sustenance it offers?

This is the “Tribal Garden”

Tribal Garden

Thank you.

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 Unknown is Calling”

Stage One; The Phone

Once a painting is completed, I begin to wonder what the next painting will be. This time, the image of an old black rotary telephone came into my mind. I thought this was great, I love these phones. However, this image also arrived with the essence of a mystery as well. Each painting is an adventure, a life lesson for me concerning the shared experience of us all.

I create black in a painting by applying a variety of colors on top of one another. I finish the section with two or three layers of  Lamp Black glaze,  a soft warm black. Black is the combination of all colors, and the absence of light. Most every surface will reflect the colors around it, even a piece of white paper, or the page of a book you are reading. Try it. Look closely at your finger touching the paper, then lift it about an eighth of an inch, and continue to look at that spot on the paper. If the lighting is good, you will see the color of your skin faintly on the page. When I first saw this, I thought I was having a “moment”, but with closer observation, I saw the truth of what I was actually becoming aware of.

Stage Two; The Crow

I began to create a marbled texture as well. Next, the name and the number on the phone arrived into my mind; “Unknown 0000”. OK, here we go I thought, we are painting that which we call “The Unknown”, something that immediately seems uncomfortable and mysterious. After the phone was completed, I saw that a crow was to be perched on the phone.

I sat with this painting for some time, just listening. While painting the background, the story of the image began to tell itself. To various degrees, we may consciously or unconsciously, for a false sense of safety, try to protect ourselves from the unknown. This can lead to a calcification of the light that is within all of life, by not allowing the light of awareness, joy, and love to move in and through any given moment freely. We could also grow argumentative and controlling, demanding that what we know, is the right and only way.  This would be simply our fear and not trusting an inner knowingness. This inner knowingness is created to be in constant flow through us. This is also the unknown, becoming known.

The Phone – represents information, and that life is continuously calling to us in each moment. Black represents information that is moving from the position of what you may not know in this minute, to what you will know the next, bringing it into the “light” where all of its colors can be seen.

The Crow – Crow symbolizes the void or core of creation, from darkness to light and alert for every call from the sacred.

The Dove & The Rainbow – In this painting both represent the highest truth available to all. At one moment it is unknown, and in the next, we have the opportunity to become aware of it. We do this by simply asking, by making our own phone calls, and then listening instead of hanging up. It is the peace, and the freedom we feel when we move from not knowing, into knowing. This is faith. This is asking what it is you need to know. When we think about it, this happens in each moment of every day. By choosing to remain open to change, to information with consideration, we are answering the phone in our own lives. We are being led to our own greatest selves. We become light, and within the light, we become pure color.

P.S. The day after I finished this painting a circumstance arrived at my door of life, and I was ushered into another opportunity of the great unknown. With a new set of observational skills, faith, questions, and a lot of focus/listening, and after 5 hours with a used car salesman……..a gruelling test if there ever was one, I exited dehydrated, but victorious, and with an entire new lifestyle. 100% Electric. (big smiley face)

This is “The Unknown is Calling”

The Unknown is Calling

Painting the Lightness of Being in 2018

In the wee small hours of New Years Day, I did not make a single New Years resolution.

Instead, I began to play around creating this simple image, and I as I did this I made a choice.
This choice will allow me to fail again and again, and walk away full of insight, inspiration and information.
That’s a Win-Win deal for 2018.

The choice is to be present and firmly grounded within the light that we each carry individually, and collectively.
If I find myself “thinking ahead”, or into the future, I will be powerless in the present, as well as if I am choosing to “sight-see” in the past lane.
Each time I become aware of this I can ask what was the thought or emotion that distracted me into leaving the present moment?
With this insight, I will learn more about myself, and create inspired changes with this information.

Mary Palelogos wrote it beautifully;

“There is a light that shines so magnificently that we forget it exists.
That is the light within us.

Each one of us is born with that light. We are the light at our core that’s our essence. Our light is always there, and it’s available to us to access at any time. What covers up that light is all the fears, negative thoughts and past baggage.
Our energy becomes dense and heavy as we walk around carrying the weight of the world.

We have convinced ourselves that this is who we are and we are meant to live in this way. This is not the case. The truth is we need to let go of everything that is weighing us down, holding us back and limiting us in life.

It is our birthright to feel true joy and a lightness of being. When we let go of who we think we are based on the ego keeping us captive, with its insistence that we are our thoughts, fears, personalities and dramas, we give space in the present time to find out who we really are. Who you are is a radiant soul that has come here, in this time and space, to shine your light and share your gifts with the world.”

To see the full article in the HuffPost, here is the link.

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