Illustration – Comfort Food

“Only the pure of heart, can make good soup.”

– Beethoven.

The last seven months caught up with me this weekend. I have begun to feel weary and battle-worn while parsing truth over fiction, choosing acceptance over resistance, and faith over fear through all of the challenges.
It was time to make some comfort food. As I assembled my various offerings for a vegetable soup, a small empty container near my stove caught my eye. It is empty, yet it is filled with the secret ingredient that makes every meal, no matter how meager or grand, a five-star entree.

Twenty-some years ago I learned that each time I prepare a meal, or even a snack, it is important to center myself in the task and not to let my mind wander. Every thought and emotion you feel while cooking will go directly into the food, and into each person who shares in it. Emotions can also change the aromas and flavors. Whoever consumes the food you cried tears over, will feel the sadness you added to the food, or anger you felt as well.

However,
if you nourish yourself and your thoughts with love while preparing your food, the food itself will taste wonderful, nourish the body and spirit of each who eat, delivering exactly what is perfect and needed for each person. This is why I keep a small empty porcelain container near my stove with my “go-to” spices. It reminds me to add a the “secret ingredient” to each meal, to add a sprinkling of love.

Next time you make a salad, think of the journey these vegetables made to arrive into your hands and kitchen.
Bless the farmers who grew it,
bless the labor that harvested it,
bless the truckers that transported it,
bless the warehouse that shipped it to the market,
bless the market that made it available for you to purchase it,
and bless yourself who bought it, to lovingly prepare for yourself and others.
Add love, and serve.
All of these blessings will lift your spirits, and create a wonderful cooking experience, which otherwise could have been a chore.

This weekend I made a big pot of nourishing soup, and I painted the memory as reminder of the secret ingredient.

– Thank you.

 

 

Illustrating Mother and Child

Stage 1 – Sketching and base washes

This piece began with listening to an inspired thought. I was going forward with the intuition to let the work create itself.  A new illustration technique arrived in my mind. I think I was vacuuming at the time.

I saw the face, and I saw the kindness and the strength within the eyes simultaneously. I didn’t worry about the challenge, although I wanted to. I wanted to commit to stepping back, and let the work develop itself. I assured myself it was just an experiment in trying. Lets see what happens.

Stage 2 – Sketching Hair, Adding Washes and Detail

We moved on to the hair. This was created by sketching and adding washes. This stage enforces patience. It feels like a thousand strokes, and with the right focus, can also be a meditation. It’s interesting how much I wanted to know the “outcome”, as if commiting to trusting that step by step process depended on if I liked the final work. I found this quite similar to life in many ways. The temptation is not to take a risk that involves your inner knowingness and time, unless you have an advanced guarantee of the outcome you hope for. In this case, I didn’t. And most work can take up to sixty hours.

Painting the Peals (of Wisdom).

I have never worked with pearls in an image, and this was fun.
Pearls represent calmness and centeredness. They also represent faith, loyalty, truth, purity, and personal integrity. Pearls of wisdom. Something was cooking here…..

Stage 4 – Peonies and Butterflies

The next time I sat down to work, the flower arrived in my mind, and the butterflies. Peonies represent riches and honor. Butterflies represent change, hope and transformation.

Then the work became quite. Was it done? Was it finished? I wanted it to be, I wanted to move on, but…I wasn’t sure. I left it up where i could see it. I would peek at it from time to time while I cooked or cleaned. At times I would sit looking at it. Nothing. All was quiet. It wasn’t done and I didn’t know why.

Days passed and I started a new illustration. I checked back, but still, there was no “green light” feeling. I had no inspiration for a next step, still I trusted that it just wasn’t finished.

While working on something else, I saw this illustration in my mind, and the next inspiration arrived. Her baby. And just like babies, we are not exactly sure when inspiration will arrive, but it will.

All that is represented here is about the challenges of trusting ourselves, trusting our inner compass. It’s about approaching each moment with the faith of a child, and caring for our faith as if we were our own children. It requires loyalty, truth, and personal integrity. It also requires patience, perseverance and a great sense of humor.

I think not knowing the outcome was worth the endeavor, and I am pleased. Which also includes the ability to celebrate ourselves. – Thank you.

This is “Mother and Child”

 

8 Stages of Painting Owl

The Face

Prior to painting Owl, I had already painted a design that I chose to use for a background. It needed a face, and the following images are the stages of creating Owl. Once completed, I slid it into the background.

Painting a Bunny in 6 Stages

The bunny below, was painted in six stages. Under each image is a caption, with the steps, washes, and the colours used. I never tire of the surprise, when less of technique, can appear as so much more.

Bunny

Bunny

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