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.

 

 

Doodle Art – A Little Something Different

Just Doodling, a Delightful Get-away

So many of the wordpress bloggers inspire and delight me with their creativity. In a conversation with Judith at “Art Discoveries” , she was encouraging after I had commented on her doodling post that I had liked very much. Later, thought I would give it a go. I love the blogs Doodle Wash, Just Sketching, and Danny Gregory’s site. With pen in hand, I began.

Who knew doodling could be so relaxing? Doodling gave me permission to completely stop thinking and I did, I just zoned out. At this time, I really appreciate that. Doodling feels like meditating!  It clears the mind. I chose not to have goal or an outcome, I just began drawing a design, then an object, and kept going. Soon my “doodle” became a massive 18 inches as I filled the page, like a plant that has outgrown its pot. However, I still found my massive doodle sweet, quirky and kind. Then I gave it a message. Above all, I believe in a kinder world, and that it can happen.

Afterwards, I thought it might fun on a tee shirt. This can be found at; Society6. Then I thought it would also be cute for kids!

I Believe Tee Shirt

Kids I Believe Tee Shirt

If you need a break from the current situation and all the worries it contains, a doodle-break really works. You just may complete your doodle with a fresher, clear mind.
This was a fun experience, and I will do many more. Thank you for reading!

Painting – When Life Feels a Little Prickly…

“Dive into the Sweetness” 24″ x 24.” Abstract Realism.

Dive into the Sweetness.

This painting is about the sweetness of life in the midst of the thorny moments.

I live in the center of a major city, an oasis surrounded by desert. Most all of the plant life that creates the oasis has been brought in from other states and cultivated over many decades. When I first moved here I thought, “Oh my God, it’s so hot….its so brutal, what have I done, how will I ever survive?” Over time I came to see that there is an incredible beauty to be found in the desert. The miraculous gift we have within each one of us is the ability to to suspend judgement, observe, and find the inherent gift in being right where we are in this moment, and simply being alive.

If we choose it. Joy is not a “gimme.”  I have found it is not a good plan to wait and expect joy to show up at my door and yell “surprise!”

Joy is an active choice of awareness.

I sometimes have “prickly” days. Over time, I have created a fool-proof recipe that snaps me right out of it. I know that it’s a possible prickly day the moment I wake. Like a stealth saboteur, a group shows up in the back of my mind. I call them “The Band” and they first show up as a faint murmuring and grumbling in the background. The Bands name is;

“The Commentator and the Beat Up Squad.”

Have your ever heard them?

If I allow it, they will jump on anything and everything, people, world events, even the colour of my toothbrush. They offer no valuable information, and no solutions, ever. They can really put a spoke in my bicycle wheel of life.

My recipe not only turns the volume down on the band, it disconnects their speakers, and they slowly slink back into the corners I have yet to explore.

The recipe.

I begin outload (louder than the Band playlist) listing all that I love, anything, and everything.
I can’t hear them if I am talking about what I love, it’s like changing the channel. I start right in the moment, I love my bed, I love air conditioning, I love my sons, and on and on, small to big.

Then, outload I thank everything I am grateful for; beginning with the fact that I woke up, therefore I can be valuable on the planet. I move through my morning thanking everything I see. I am thankful for hot-water, coffee, having a kitchen, a roof over my head. I can continue for 30 minutes, and by that time I feel so much love and gratitude that I have forgotten about “The Band” and the rest of my day is off to a positive start.

Yes, there are a few bumps in every day, and like most everyone, I have lived through horror stories, but the grounding in the sweetness of love and gratitude brings me back into my own “Oasis” in the desert. It brings me into the the sweetness of the gift of my life, and back into myself, a valuable person on the planet who is showing up to do my job of being alive, with gratitude and love.

And that is how I choose to beat the The Band,

and the inspiration for;

When life feels a little bit prickly, dive into the sweetness.

– Thank 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 – 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 – … 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

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