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Category Archives: Paintings
My current series of works are inspired by various goddesses. With each goddess, I’m researching their mythology and symbolism. Then I’m devising a list of photo shoot ideas to explore with local models and a talented team that includes my husband, Brian, who photographs the shoot.
For this most recent Asian Goddess shoot, we had the talented and beautiful local runway model, Mai Dang. She brought a full suitcase of various traditional Asian outfits. Prior to the shoot, I had a brainstorming session with our hair/make-up artist, Georgette Khaziran of Verdecia Salon, who came up with a complete list of hair styles and make-up combinations that would complement each goddess.
We also had our two friends, Michael and George, on site that provided tech support. In addition, George was able to put his martial arts training to work by demonstrating marital art poses and forms for the model during the weapon shots that ranged from holding swords of all sizes and lengths to daggers and even an axe!
For my first Asian goddess painting I decided to paint Amaterasu, who is known in Japanese mythology as a sun goddess and the most important Shinto deity. Her full name is Amaterasu-o-mi-kami (天照大神) which means “glorious goddess who shines in the heavens.”
In this soft pastel painting, I illustrated some of her symbols including the rising sun disc, which is also shown on the Japanese Flag. The sword or blade represents might and honor. I also incorporated Japanese Kanji characters which, when translated into English, reads as “The Goddess of Sun”.
The goddess Amaterasu called out to me because of her diverse character. As a sun goddess, she oversees the Japanese fields of rice. She was also known as an accomplished weaver of stunning satins, silks, and brocades. And for those of you interested in reading more about the myths written about Amaterasu, you can find more information at Goddess Gift, a site dedicated to “celebrate, to nurture, and to share understandings of the goddess in every woman.”
Her inner strength is part of her beauty, and thus, I thought it appropriate to include this work in this week’s theme at Illustration Friday, “Strong”.
Freya is a Norse maiden goddess of love, beauty, fertility, war, wealth, divination and magic. Traditionally, she is captured in warrior poses with a Viking helmet and her sword. Other folklore imagery illustrates Freya in her cloak of bird wings.
For this soft pastel painting, I’ve captured her transformational fairy powers with dragonfly wings that create the wave effect of northern lights when in flight.
Here is a photogtaph of the work in progress and the photographic reference Natalie was using to create Freya. She said it was about 80% done at this point. -Brian
Nyx, Goddess of Night, is a soft pastel painting that I created today in my studio and submitted for Illustration Friday’s theme, Hollow:
“If night leaves anything undone in the working of destruction, day follows to accomplish it.” (Sophocles, Oedipus the King 196)
Night can leaving you feeling hollow in your soul, but you can transform it. Listen to the muse. Let her speak through your creations.
Nyx is a powerful goddess of the night whose dark light falls from the stars, and who influences not only the world of mankind but also the gods. She inspires artists to create and the muses have been known to sing her praises.
Nyx is my fifth goddess soft pastel painting in my most recent series. She is born out of Chaos and her offspring include Aether (atmosphere), Hemera (day), Momus (blame), Ponos (toil), Moros (fate), the twins Thanatos (death) and Hypnos (sleep), the Oneiroi (tribe of dreams), the Hesperides, the Keres and Fates, Nemesis, Apate (deception), Philotes (friendship), Geras (age), and strife. An interesting list indeed.
Here I have painted her as a young maiden, full of hope as she ponders worlds unknown.
Thanks go out to the model, Jessika Napua Akana, who posed for this painting, Georgette Khaziran, the hair and make-up artist, and my husband, Brian, who shot the reference photograph.
This week’s theme at Illustration Friday is “Leap”, which is the perfect opportunity to share this soft pastel painting I’ve been working on the past month.
It represents a leap into experimenting. The semi-nude woman appears in a half awake dream state. The wings gently hold her as she chases butterflies, creatures of transformation and renewal, while the deep red poppies are in full bloom alluding to endless possibilities.
We must continuous challenge ourselves to evolve, to experient. As Marcel Proust once stated:
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
So if you find yourself emerged in creating from comfort, challenge yourself to try a different medium or style. These experiments in time will lead to inspiration, and possibly even a new direction with your artistic path.
Tonight I discovered Mixed Media Monday. It’s another meme site that challenges mixed media artists around the world to create something new based on a weekly theme.
This week’s challenge, Whimsey, sparked something inside so I pulled out my collage scrap box and instantly came across this design I had created a couple years ago during my decoupage cigar box phase. Most of the design was created using Stampington rubber stamps if I remember correctly.
It’s the perfect little creation to follow this past weekend where I literally locked myself in my studio. Didn’t pick up the phone. Didn’t even really go outside much. And it was the best weekend ever. I painted to my heart’s content.
The painting, untitled for the moment, is quite diffent than anything I’ve painted in the past couple years, and I love it.
For the longest time, it feels like I’ve gotten so serious about my artwork that I haven’t taken time to just loosen up and enjoy the moment. As Linda Naimen wrote once, “Delight yourself and delight your world. Edison, Einstein, Picasso, and da Vinci all loved to play and they loved to explore. Through play we open our receptivity to imagination, intuition, and daydream. Play is the root of genius.”
Embracing the whimsical side of art allows us to experiment, to step outside the boundaries of what is considered proper, acceptable, or approved. So the next time you catch yourself getting too critical or serious about your artwork, just place this quote by Henry Miller somewhere near your easel, “Paint as you like and die happy.”
Created for 4×4 Friday‘s theme, Music, using soft pastels. I’m still working on the shoulder, and am debating on whether to leave the background simple or not. Please feel free to leave your thoughts and feedback…
Tell me what you think. I’d love to hear your comments!
Much of my artwork is created from the soul as a way to transform feelings, thoughts, and emotion into a visual presentation. The interesting part is that my work is often interpreted in ways I never thought of or imagined myself so it often raises the question, “Are they reading too much into my art or did I subconsciously place that thought out there, not realizing it myself?”.
So with this particular recent piece, I actually started with one thought process…imagining that the piece represented the traditional idea of the masks we place upon ourselves either to hide our true intent from others or out of some fear of our true nature. However, in time, I started to realize that the piece had even more depth than I realized. That is, in life, we are also faced with the masks that people impose upon us. As the old saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. But it’s something that we all do out of human nature.
Let’s face it…we live in a world based on labels. If you’re able to afford the greater things in life, you might be viewed in many different lights depending on the individual. Some might think you’re a pretentious snob. Others might admire or even hate you for your achievements even if they were accomplished through hard work. Then there are others that might make assumptions that are completely off base. But the sad part is, when you start to place labels on people…you can in effect alter reality. That is, if your will is strong enough and you have the ability to influence this person…you can transform the mask you see into a reality.
Another issue with masks is the fear that we might not be able to escape them. As an example, I was always the class nerd growing up. Iwore thick and heavy glasses. I also had special shoes due to flat feet that were far from trendy…in fact, they looked like Grandma shoes. So I was picked on, and being a girlie girl that I am, I wasn’t the type to flight back. But in eight grade, we ended up moving to a completely different state so I got a fresh start. My parents finally got me contacts, and my doctors understanding the social implications of “nerdy shoes” said it was ok to wear something more fashionable with insoles. The funny part is that when I sent my eight grade class picture to friends back home…the change was so drastic to them…that some of them didn’t even believe it was me.
Throughout the years, I have evolved so much in my outward appearance that most people in my life think I look my best at 30, which is typically the age where most women to start to lie about their age. However because of those years of torment and abuse, I still have a hard time embracing the idea that I’m as “gorgeous” as everyone says. And in a way, it might be a good thing. Because many pretty girls often take their good looks for granted. And as such, when their beauty fades, they might face a mid life crisis not knowing what to do since that one special gift they had all those years is gone. So I guess in a way, masks are a double-edged sword. Sometimes they can help us, protect us even. But sometimes, they can also hold us back from living our true destiny. In which case, I would say a ritual is in order.
This particular ritual is inspired by a technique that one my yoga instructors would have us try ocassionally. And while you typically might think of yoga as a peaceful means to reach inner peace…the ritual is far from quiet and peaceful. However, it definitely helped us feel more energized and stress-free. And all it required was a clay pigeon and a flat cement wall.
But in context for this particular ritual in relations to masks, I would encourage you to either make a mask or buy an inexpensive one. And considering you’re only going to have one shot at this ritual…you’ll also need some old dishes or something along those lines that you don’t mind breaking to practice with. Then when you’re ready, find a quiet place with a flat cement wall that you don’t mind damaging, and practice the ritual…throw your practice “masks” with all your might and allow yourself to let go of those inner demons. It might take a couple tries to make it real…to get into the moment. But when you do, take your “real” mask and imagine with all your will that you are casting away that mask that hinders you from becoming the person you wish to be, the person you know you’re meant to be. No matter what the real issue is that is holding you back…if you put your heart, mind, and soul into it…anything is possible.
[Image available for sale upon request.]