Thursday, July 31, 2014

And Today...

Not that you think my studio stayed as tidy as it was in the last photo of yesterday's post. This photo I took just now. There is still some order, but I have three paintings in the works and nothing stays tidy when I paint: not my studio, or my clothes, or my hands...
We are enjoying the slow days of summer right now - it is fairly hot every day and definitely humid. Summer here is so different from the summer I grew up with in Europe. There you were never sure if you'd really get a good summer and when you did you spent every minute outside. It was often the best time of the year. And it was always sad when the summer solstice was over and the days would get shorter again.

Here, summer is for sure. For sure! And I turn into a little wilted flower. So, I've learned to stay indoors mostly and do all the things I love to do. The summer solstice is a happy day for me, knowing that the days are getting shorter and our amazing winter is on its way. It'll be October or even November before our night-time temperatures will dip below 70 degrees and we'll feel that little bit of crispness in the air, but that's ok. I know it's coming and in the meantime I am grateful for air conditioning and cool showers.

And I have enough creative projects going to keep me going for a very long time! That is a good thing!!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Light Heart

This painting perfectly reflects how I was feeling when I painted it: playful, colorful, happy, calm and yet full of energy with a light heart.
This piece evolved over several days. The deer I painted relatively quickly, but then followed several layers of color washes, paint and drips.
Each layer adds more depth and also more fun for me. I finished this on Sunday night and I keep staring at it. There is so much to see, so much to get lost in.
I tend to be a pretty serious person. I just am. I don't crack a lot of jokes, I take things seriously although I'm quick to laugh when there's an occasion, and I tend to think a lot. A lot! This play with paint is medicine to me.
It allows me to have fun while feeling inspired. To make my world colorful. To get my hands "dirty." To give my mind a break. And to create something beautiful in the process.
The spirit of the deer - I expected it to be calm and sweet, but I was surprised to also find it very playful for me. I'll try to remember that when I get too serious...

Wishing you a very light-hearted Tuesday. May it be filled with color and happiness!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Animal Spirit

Lately I have heard the animal spirits call my name. Not just in painting, but they also made me remember our collection of fetishes from the Zuni Indian Reservation. So I got them out for us to admire for a while.
Long before we moved to New Mexico and got to regularly visit the Zuni reservation, I owned a deck of Jamie Sam's Medicine Cards, all animal cards. Every day, I'd draw a card or two and learn about the symbology and lessons of that particular animal. My favorites back then were always the hawk, the wolf and the hummingbird.
Then we moved to New Mexico and Daniel would be invited to go to the Zuni reservation from time to time to do art workshops with the kids for a day or two. He'd always come home with a few new fetishes.
Each one is unique and beautiful, most still have the little tag with the name of the person who carved them. They feel sacred to me.
My all-time favorites of all of them are the snake fetishes. Especially the white one in the first photo. I love that one!
The Zuni reservation is also where I saw my first and only real rattlesnake! A baby, rattling desperately so I wouldn't step on it. I didn't, but got to admire it for a few minutes while  my heartbeat slowed down again...
As I am suddenly drawn to paint animals, I find that I focus on the spirit of the animal I am painting at the moment. Right now, it's a deer (I'll have it to show you soon) and every time I paint on it and those beautiful eyes look at me with such a gentle spirit, it reminds me to always be kind toward others and myself.  
The coyotes I painted reminded me to have fun and not take my life so seriously.  
The horses from my recent paintings unleashed some great feelings of freedom and personal power. I was born in the year of the horse and this is the year of the horse right now. The horse spirit is definitely playing with me at the moment.
Do you have animals you feel drawn to? Aside from "normal" pets? Do you sometimes see them as messengers?

Wishing you a peaceful beginning to your week. May the gentle deer spirit accompany all of us...


Sunday, July 27, 2014

"Either Put Up or Shut Up!"

Exactly that thought came to me yesterday when I was thinking once again about my blog. Should I continue or not. And it occurred to me that I either have to put up or shut up. 
Here's the thing. I want my blog to be more personal and I have lots of things that I want to blog about. I compose blog posts in my head and then think: "No, I can't post that. My family reads my blog and they'll worry that I'm not doing well."
Last night I made a decision. I will continue blogging and I'll blog about whatever is on my mind. I am herewith assuring my family and friends that I am doing extremely well. I am living the life of my dreams and I love what I do every day. There is no cause to worry...ever! If there is, you'll be the first to know. :)
I'm a deep, deep thinker. I have always been a deep thinker. And I am always interested in personal growth and expansion. I look at myself very critically (with kinder critical eyes these days than in the past) and I take a lot of personal "stuff" apart in my mind to gain insight into what inspires and motivates me or into what holds me back.
I want to write about some of those topics swirling around in my mind: self acceptance, growth, body image, spirituality, fears, hopes, and dreams and more.
There are some big themes in my life that seem to be part of my overall life lesson. These themes circle around every so often and I want to write about them. I used to think of life going in circles because these old topics would come around again and again.
But then I realized that life moves in spirals more than in circles - because every time that old subject appears again, I have changed and I look at it now from a different perspective. That process is so fascinating to me and I want to share that with you.
Writing helps me get things clear in my mind and in my blog I get to write and show pretty pictures at the same time. How fun is that?! :)
All these painting snippets you see are part of the background/underpaintings of my latest paintings. I'm happy I have these photographs, because in the finished paintings not much of what was there before still shows.  And isn't that a metaphor for life?!
So, my blog will live on and it will go a little bit deeper into my inner life. And of course, I'll continue to share my art as well. It's a big part of my inner growth and happiness!

Stay tuned...

With love and gratitude,


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Blog Hop Share

The beautiful and talented Kelly Berkey, one of my good friends I met through blogging, and a very gifted portrait painter, asked me to be part of a blog hop and share a few things about myself.

1. What am I working on?

Maybe the better question would be what I am NOT work on at the moment. It seems I've had sort of a creative explosion this year and have my fingers in all kinds of projects. A few weeks ago I started painting these really colorful animal images and that seems to have taken over my painting life with no end it sight.
I also always have knitting, crocheting, sewing and other creative projects going on. Recently I started making necklaces and bracelets from ribbon yarn and beads, which has become such a relaxing thing to do. Plus they are colorful and sparkly and what could be better than that?

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Much of what happens when I paint is intuitive and so just because of that it has to be different from paintings by other people. We each bring our unique personality and soul into our art. I love working with color. Color sparks happiness in me and so I use lots of it. I also like my work to be playful and not too realistic. Plus, I want my paintings to have a direct connection to the viewer. You'll find that most of my subjects will look directly back at you. I like that!

3. Why do I create what I do?

I'm very interested in intuitive painting and layering. And I love concrete subjects in my paintings. It used to be women's portraits, but now it has changed to animal portraits and for the first time since I started painting five years ago, it feels as though I have found my path in the arts. It combines all that I love - portraits I can connect with on a soul level, layering that allows my spirit to play and bright colors that just make me happy.
The other aspect I really enjoy about the way I work is that it's not predictable in the least. I allow my paint to drip and expand, I wipe part of it off, reapply it and I allow color to run all over the canvas. I spent much of my life in very predictable patterns and grew up in a culture that was nothing but predictable and this method of working allows my spirit to expand and grow and feel free.

4. How does my writing process work? 

My actually blog writing happens when I sit down at the computer to write. I've often thought about the topic long beforehand and I'm always composing partial blog posts in my head. Some of them will make it onto my blog and others I only needed to work things out at the moment. But the actual writing happens while I sit at the computer. I don't draft my writing and then let it sit. I write. I spellcheck. I read it out loud to myself to see if I'm making sense. I hit "publish." I'm done. :)

So, now I was supposed to find three artists who will continue this blog hop, but I have to confess that I didn't get my act together in time. This deadline sort of snuck up on me as I had a big week of shipping things out and getting stuff done.

And ... because I'm no longer a strict rule follower, I thought that instead I'll share a few blogs with you that I go to for various inspiration. Some of them are friends, some are big blogs where I have no personal connection, but all of them fill my creative well when I need it:

The Dreaming Palette: Paintings and Portals
Victoria's art blog combines her beautiful art with a lot of spirituality. Her photography alone takes me out of sometimes harsh reality and puts me right into that creative space where mere dreams can take on physical form. I've known Victoria for a long time through our blogs and her world is well worth visiting!

2 Bags Full
My friend Vicki's blog is my go to inspiration for knitting and travel and just simple beauty. Vicki makes gorgeous nests from yarns and ribbons (I have three of them around the house...) and has been the catalyst for many of my knitting projects. She also has the biggest heart and kindest spirit. She organizes the annual "Grow Your Blog Party," which has been so instrumental for beginning bloggers! Make sure you visit if you haven't yet.

Jane LaFazio's blog (recently discovered) really intrigues me with her watercolor sketches (I wish I had the patience to learn to sketch that way. Maybe some day. But more than that I love her fabric "paintings." She makes these small art quilts that just exquisite. I love the layering of fabrics, ribbons and then stitches on top. It's that layering thing again that really speaks to me...

I've followed this blog for a long time and I think this woman is living my alternate life. :) With five children on a small farm in Maine, always creative, self-sustaining, working hard, always a knitting project in hand and good food on the table. There's something that draws me to this rather simple yet full life. Not that I could ever imagine having children (let alone five!), but whenever I visit her blog I feel inspired to pay more attention to small things, to find a little magic in everything I see and experience and to pick up my knitting needles and get busy!

Down to Earth
Another blog that advocates the simple life. I have followed this blog for many years as well and it inspires me on many levels with recipes, simple sewing and knitting projects, articles on living more simply, connecting to the seasons, good food, etc. Whenever life seems to get too complicated and busy, that's where I go for a deep breath and grounding.

This blog by a woman in England, is happiness to my soul. She crochets and she crochets in bright colors. Whenever I need a pick-me-up, when my spirit feels a little colorless, that's where I go for my splash of happy! She blogs about her life with photos of her surroundings and her colorful home. It is delightful in so many ways. She inspired me to crochet my first blanket and other little projects. If you need a splash of color in your life, if you love to crochet (there are lots of free tutorials) or simply want to see some beautiful photos, go visit Attic24!

As you can see, I get my inspiration from many places and in different ways. I could list many more blogs, but I'll leave you with these. You'll like them if you decide to visit.

I hope you've enjoyed this little question and answer post. Although I'm not sure if I told you anything new about myself.

Happy Weekend, everyone!!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Commissioned Painting

After the first horse I painted, I received a commission to paint a second one. I often have had trepidation about commissions when the client has too clear of an idea of what they want. It makes me worry I can't make it happen correctly and it stifles the creative process a bit.
But this client was a dream. She had no restrictions and advice whatsoever, which allowed me to paint using my intuition and going with the flow of the painting.
She told me about the young woman this painting is meant for and I kept that in mind while I was working on it. I had such fun with this!
And she loved it! Which was the icing on the cake!

Linking to Paint Party Friday

Happy Friday, everyone!!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Commitment

Friends, I have made a decision. These last few weeks I have been more than excited that people - friends and strangers alike - have bought my art, my jewelry and my little sewing projects and I realized something.
When you pour your soul into your creative endeavors, it's incredibly gratifying to get compliments and to hear about how much people love your work. And then, when people buy what you have created, that's the absolute icing on the cake. It feels so good!
It makes me do the happy dance and clap my hands. (Ask Daniel, I really do that...)
The day before yesterday, a good friend was looking for a gift for her mother's birthday and bought one of my little clutches (actually, this one wasn't so little and it was beautiful).
acrylics on 11 x 14 inch canvas
Then yesterday the lovely woman who bought my horse painting, commissioned me to do a second one. It fills my heart with so much gratitude and joy, that I have decided something.
I am committing to buying only handmade gifts from now on (aside from books, which I also like to give as gifts). I have so many friends who are creative and who sell their creations that I am certain I will never run out of ideas.
I've often done just that. Bought something from my friends to give away as a gift, which really is a double blessing and makes me feel doubly good: supporting them in their business and giving away something truly beautiful and made from the heart. And now I commit to doing much more of that and spreading the joy!
acrylics on 12 x 24 inch canvas
This creative community is an amazing one and I count myself lucky that I have landed here.

With much love and appreciation, I wish you a happy Sunday on this very rainy morning.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I Found my Voice!

Well friends, I don't know how it happened or why it happened at this time, but it seems that I have found my artistic voice. Out of all the playing and experimenting has come this series of animal paintings that seem to find no end.
I love painting them and I love sending them into the world to those who connect with them!
My mind is on overdrive with ideas, but otherwise beautifully quiet.
It's a feeling that I have had for the first time in my 48 years on this earth - the feeling that I am expressing all of me. I'm going to have to get used to that...
But I like it. And I like what's pouring out of me. I hope you do, too!!

Our cat Louie was the model for the cat and the wren is one of the many who live in our garden in total peace with our three cats! It's only natural that they should be in a painting together....
The horse and coyote have sold already, but the kitty with the wren is still in my Etsy Shop.

Wishing you a beautiful week!! With love and gratitude,