Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Divining World

I've always been very interested in such things as astrology, tarot, fortune telling and all forms of divination. Although I'm not a firm believer in predicting the future, I have always had a certain respect for the tools one might use to predict the events of their lives or to query the spirits about some problem they are facing. As such, I have a pretty good selection of books and paraphanelia relating to the subject of divination. I have used them in the past as I sought answers to some issue or situation I was seeking clarification for and very often answers came to me.

I use these methods still today and the reason is quite simple.

I believe all answers are available to us and, when the time is right, the answers are there to grasp if we open our minds. Whether through dreams or divination, through the reading of signs or even through some game or system we develop ourselves (ie. 'If I get three green lights in a row, then the answer is GO'), we are often looking for help in deciding which road to take or which career to follow and even with the more mundane daily questions we come up with.

There is a wide array of tools one can use in a quest for answers but I have been developing my own. Of course, I do not presume to have the knowledge to create some new form of divining only instruments that I find aesthetically appealing.

That being said...My latest project will be a series of cards in the spirit of my Alpha Omega project, only much, much smaller. Presently I am working on a numerology set (pictured here) which measures just 1.5 inches by 3 inches.

I don't know if I will manage to complete it during this very busy family time of the year, but I do know it is just the first in a series because I consulted the spirits and they said so!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Goodbye, my Perfect Muse!

December 1 2009 -Today, my muse, Tabu, joined the spirit world. He was 15 years old, 12 of which he spent with our family. The first three years of his life were not the best based on the condition he was in when we picked him up in a house where he had been abandoned. We did not want a cat at that time. We had recently said goodbye to Minou, our 16 year old tabby. But my resolve dissipated during the four hour drive to our house with Tabu sitting on my lap as I drove . I had always wanted a cat that would sit on my lap...and that is where you could find Tabu every evening for the past 12 years.

We learned a lot from this little cat...The most important thing is that quiet time is good. When my husband and I would get too loud, which I dare say we often do, he would let us know in no uncertain way that this was not acceptable. And while we 'd be running around doing this and doing that, Tabu would be seeking out the sunniest spot in the house and there he would bask in the warm rays. He gave us so much but he also required a lot of love and attention, both of which we happily gave him. Now I can't imagine no longer seeing his pretty little face.
He will be missed!

Goodbye, my good little boy!

Goodbye, my perfect Muse!
(Below is a repost of February 4th 2009)
Tabu-My Muse

Tabu - aka My Muse
As a multidisciplinary visual artist, I tend to be all over the map when it comes to creative projects. I realize this makes it difficult to perfect any one process and yet I can't seem to help myself. More over, I strongly feel that artistic creativity does not limit itself to art. Everyday I consciously choose to live my own creation. I do this in keeping with the philosophy that each one of us is an artist and each one of us is a work of art in progress.

That being said, whether I'm painting a canvas in my studio or a wall in my house, whether I'm mixing paint or making a recipe, whether I'm photographing my muse, Tabu, or petting him, I am creating. I can never separate the person from the artist. Maybe that's not a bad thing, but I must confess, sometimes my mind is screaming for focus. It just feels like so many ideas, so many projects and so little time!

I look at my cat sometimes and see he has but one focus, his own comfort. Sometimes, I look at him as he sleeps and I envy him. Other times I think "Wake up, Tabu...You're sleeping your life away! You're missing all the good stuff." As for Tabu, he's not thinking at all. He just IS!

One of my Tabu projects-an old fashioned block puzzle.

Tabu pictured on a wine label for a wine we make.
Translated it reads Sleeping Cat.

Even a muse must earn his keep!

Sleep well, Beautiful Tabu!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Alpha Omega - Part II

"From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie."
Katsushika Hokusai, painter and print maker from the 1760-1849.
Outer side of the canvas envelope (roughly 40 in x 16 in)

Inside Pocket

Inside pocket with Alpha Omega cards inserted

Spread of Alpha Omega

Life is what happens between the Alpha and the Omega.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Robin's Return

A beautiful robin perched on a mountain ash just outside my kitchen window was busily gorging himself on the ripe berries. The mountain ash are barren now as winter is fast approaching. Flocks of robins, the likes of which we've never seen, are fueling up for their journey to warmer climates. I snapped this picture through the window and thought nothing more of it as I headed to my studio.

Once there, I looked at a print that was waiting for me. It was a large print with a barren landscape and barren trees. It reminded me of the mountain ash which held the perfect robin. Sweet Inspiration!
But wait, it doesn't end there! As I painted in my little robin, a memory was triggered. Robin's Return, the only song my mother ever asked my father to play on our piano.

When I look at the sheet music, I just can't imagine how he managed to play this for he did not possess the long, elegant fingers of a pianist. His hands were small, his fingers short and stubby...I would watch in amazement as he played effortlessly and my mother smiled. This was in the early 1960s. I inherited the piano and all the sheet music, but sadly none of their musical abilities.

It only stands to reason that the three page music piece inspired me to create Robin's Return - a Tryptich.

Although we are presently enjoying a little warm weather, I know it won't be long 'til the robins take flight and leave me waiting for their springtime return.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Alpha Omega

I thought it would take me a lot longer than it did to get through the second phase of my project especially as I had no preconceived notion to begin with, only a monotype which I had stored away for the last five years. I always felt it was incomplete, however my professor at the time was very much the never enhance a print! In fact, because of his words I was extremely hesitant to touch , let alone recycle, my old print. Now that I've done it, consider me hooked.

As a total control freak, just letting things happen is not so easy but I think I'm getting the hang of it. My project, which eventually evolved into Alpha Omega, began with thoughts of the how small a connected world is. I thought of the continents, the people, the common threads and the different languages. And that is where the project took on a life of it's own. Using signs and symbols, each of the eight pages looks to promote a sense of well being.

The writings and symbols include Greek, Hebrew, Sikh, Hindu, Chinese, Alchemy, and Runes. The mediums I used include pen and ink, conte crayons and acrylic paint.

The next phase is an envelope for which I have already tea-stained a piece of canvas. Not quite sure of how it will end up...Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Letting Creation Develop

Can art find expression amid the chaos of construction? I sure hope so!
A few posts back I wrote about recycling my student prints. These are works that are just laying around the studio, many of which just don't seem complete in the fullest sense of the word.

My first recycling projects were story box books. My latest is a monotype print that I am hoping will find a voice after being silenced for five years. The print was about 32 x 24 inches and the subject was about the beginning of Christianity. It invovled numerous ink passes to build up the background; some laser copy transfers of maps from a bible; chine collé using beautiful japanese paper; and impressions of skeletal hands and bones which I cut out in balsa wood, inked, positioned on the print and ran through the press.

When I came upon it in my studio I was actually looking for another print, but as soon as I spotted this one I was compelled to go with the flow. As a matter of fact that is exactly what I am hoping to achieve...going with the creative flow and just letting the piece, which seems to be in book format, develop itself. No preconceived notions; no ultimate goal. Just creating and recognizing when the piece is done!

So far, I have divided the large print into eight equal pieces;

glued them back to back to create four pages;

thus, I now have eight equal size backgrounds. What will develop will develop as it should!

The creative process has begun!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chair with a view

Until yesterday the time I've spent at the studio lately has been focused on renovations, a continuation of what we have been doing to our house. One thing that has become clear to me is: "Be Careful What You Wish For!..I always said I wanted to be a 'painter', so guess what I have been doing...Painting walls, window frames, doors, etc., etc. of course!

With winter fast approaching, I was sure my cement chair was going to have to wait 'til spring then low and behold, sun was in the forecast for two days so I got to it. It took 12 - 60 lb bags of cement, chicken wire, some copper pipes and a broken plastic adirondack chair.

I can't wait for it to be cured so that I can check out the view from a seated position! This evening, this is what that view looked like.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Blazing Sunshine

Sunshine doesn't always come softly, often it blazes, like the sunflowers below. This is the time of year when sunflowers tower over the gardens, offering their bountiful seeds to birds of all feathers. Sadly, this year my seeds hide in there envelope with no glimmer of germination because I was too busy to plant them...but rest assured their day will come. Perhaps it will be next year, perhaps the year after.

The sunflowers shown below, and which I chose to reproduce on canvas and on recycled children's blocks, were left in their seed packets for a couple of years before they finally had their day in the sun. Here are some of the pictures I took and the paintings they inspired last winter as the cold winds blew outside my studio.

24"x30" (60 cm x 76 cm)
18"x20" (46 cm x 51 cm)
12"x24" (30 cm x 60 cm)
Below are laser copy photo transfers on some wooden recycled children's blocks that I sanded. I'm not sure I'm quite finished with them yet. They have a grainy texture that makes them seem old and they may lend themselves beautifully to some words or additonal embellishment. In the meantime, every now and again, I enjoy just mixing them up and putting them back together.

7"x7" (18cm x 18 cm)
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