Tag Archives: Art

Magnum Opus 2009, A Square One event produced by Okesene Tilo

Here is a slideshow from our adventures in Ybor City at Magnum Opus, a tremendously successful art event presented by Square One and produced by Okesene Tilo.

The event was absolutely packed, and people were waiting in line around the block to make their way into the Ritz Theater, that many Tampa kids may recall used to be the old Masquerade.  Since Natalie is an artist that was exhibiting in the show, we were able to skip all the lines and go right in with our crew.  We even had someone tried to gank our in and claim she and her friends were with us.  Ah, love Ybor!

The large space inside was filled fashion divas, acres of canvas spread across the walls that made up what appeared to be a billions pieces of art.  The Ritz is an absolutely perfect space to host this kind of large event.  Looks like it can handle anything from concerts to art shows and everything in between.  Very cool space in which to party.  Bodies were packed tightly, but that was okay.  It was a party and everyone was having a good time.  Music was on stage, the energy was great.  It felt great to see this kind of event in Ybor.  More, please.  And more often.

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MAGNUM OPUS featuring selections from my Goddess series

Magnum OpusMAGNUM OPUS, a Square One Creative Event, will take place between 7pm and midnight on Saturday, November 14th, 2009 at The RITZ Ybor in Tampa, Florida.

MAGNUM OPUS will revolve around the ecological themes of creation and self-preservation.  It will feature selections from my Goddess series and new themed artwork by Christopher Michael Zenger, Gary Randall, Gina Rathbun, J.Alfonso, Jason Moriarty, Jedd Lancaster, Jeff Cinco, Julia Ozimek, Kat Wilson, Katy Alderman, KLAAREN, Linda Alexander, Mary Martinez, Matt Moore, Melia, Melissa Fair, Nelani Palomino, Robert Wegmann, Rory O’Neil and Warren Gibson to debut at the event.

Over 80 local artists will be on display with all artwork available for purchase by the general public.

Show times for the MAGNUM OPUS stage shows will take place from 8pm to 9pm and 10pm to 9pm and will feature original performances by Bella Danza (Artistic Director: Maria Capitano Pardo), Enigma Dance Kru, Kinetic Dance Group, HEMISPHERE Dance, a Wear To The Tear Fashion Show (with the Bentley Salon), Disco Dolls, Anye Cole and Jeremy Gloff. Jeremy Gloff will hold an album release party and performance for his upcoming 16th studio album, 21st Century Love Songs, in the side Royal Room from 9pm to 10pm.

MAGNUM OPUS will be open to the general public of all ages. Guests are encouraged to wear the colors green and white to the event. There will be an optional $1.00 donation at the doors of the event to help benefit Dalmation Rescue of Tampa Bay. Reserved Seats for $5.00 each and V.I.P. Tables for $10.00 each will be made available for purchase by visiting Square One’s Magnum Opus event info page.

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The Goddess Freya


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.

To see more fairy inspired creations, check out this week’s Created Byhand Challenge.


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


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The Fairy Photo Shoot.

Nyx, Goddess of Night

Natalie’s latest painting of the goddess Nyx has just been completed.  Its fifth in the series so far, and probably my favorite one to date.  It is hypnotic and has a certain pleasing symmetry.  But that’s just me, and I am admittedly biased.

The painting is the result of what Natalie had called the “Fairy Photo shoot” which took place in May.  We had a few friends over and had an absolute blast.

The actual photo shoot planning started months before.  Natalie placed a casting call to models on Model Mayhem, a social networking site “Where professional models meet model photographers.” Natalie’s plan was to do a Fairy shoot and take images of models in whimsical dress  she will then use as a reference when creating the pastel itself.

Through Model Mayhem we electronically met model Jessika Napua Akana.  She and Nat exchanged a few emails and we decided to meet at Sacred Grounds coffee shop to discuss the shoot.  Jessika proved to be very professional and contributed plenty of great ideas and was a joy to work with.  We also met with our good friend Georgette Khaziran who is an absolutely exceptional hair and makeup artist.  After a few rounds of meeting and brainstorming, we chose a date and made it happen.  We had three models that day.  Natalie would also act as a model with Jessika and another one of our dear friends.  It was really a great collaborative effort.  Everyone was creative, inspired, and focused on making the shoot a success.

I pulled double duty.  I was photographer as well as chef. The day was going to be a long one, so I wanted to make sure we had all sorts of drinks and edibles.  I think I shot a few thousand shots that day, while Mikey and George, and another pal acted as grips.  In the following weeks we spent some time each night removing the blurries, the unfocused, and the somehow unusable pictures, we still were left with many hundreds of excellent photographs.

Sorting them, going through them, rating them, was a process that took time.  Natalie wanted to find the right shots and do something incredible.  After completing long and difficult task of sorting, she finally had a few chosen that she could use for pastel work.

Nyx is the first picture to come out of photoshoot.


Georgette Khaziran is available for appointments at Verdecia Salon in Citrus Park,

call 813-852-1509 to schedule an appointment.

Georgette did the hair and makeup for the three models.  She also did it twice for each model since we had a costume change.  She was amazing.  When she wasn’t in the changing room working on models, she was out on set with me touching up and arranging hair dynamically as the shoot wore on.  Absolutely incredible.  She ran about the set with a curling iron and makeup palette making sure the models were always presented in the best light possible.  And also, to drop a shameless plug, she is currently a stylist at Verdecia Salon which is next to Citrus Park Mall.  Call her for a cut or color, she does phenomenal  work. She has a wide range of services to make you look drop-dead gorgeous.

Special thanks to Michael, George, and all of our other friends that were a part of this shoot.  Can’t wait for the next one.

The following is a slideshow showing with a few sample images from that day.

If you’d like, you can also check out the full image gallery.

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Little pearls among the ashes. Pearls of hope and faith.

The Unitarian Universalist church of Clearwater hosted an exhibit of Buddhist relics on Sunday November 2nd. The Maitreaya Project Relic Tour, consists of more than 1,000 sacred relics of the Buddha and other Buddhist Masters.

The church, decorated with Buddhist art and ceremonial regalia was filled with an ambiance of peace and tranquility which resonated in our hearts with a subtle joy as we walked in. We were greeted by a monk who told us about the significance of what we were about to find inside.

When a Buddhist spiritual master is cremated, sometimes in the ashes one can find beautiful pearl like crystals called Ringsel. The faithful believe that the Riegsel hold the wisdom and compassion of the holy masters. The belief is that these relics, much like Catholic or Eastern Orthodox relics, in the west hold spiritual qualities which can heal, help seekers find spiritual insight and even answer prayers.

“They are beautiful” I wispered. We felt their power as we walked around the large circular table with a golden statue of Buddha at its center. Some were clear like crystals, some white like pearls and a few looked like tiny specs of gold.

I knelt before the shrine and received a blessing from a monk who said a prayer and held a golden object containing some of the relics over my head. I felt hope, and a lightness of spirit. I whispered my wish, which surprisingly was not the selfish “Give me!” type of wish that usually fills my heart.

As my date and I left the church, I could not help but think. I wish more churches had the attitude of the Unitarian Universaists. I am Unitarian, nor am I a Buddhist, but I really respect a church that can open its doors to those of a different faith. I also felt grateful that my date suggested that we go see the exhibit. Thanks to her, I had an enriching spiritual experience, I learned something about a fascinating faith. As for the healing power of the relics, the cold I have been trying to shake seems to be going away.

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Windows of Swirling Possibilities

rumi abstract

For this week’s creative prompt at Inspire Me Thursday, Melanie offers a poem by Rumi.  If you read it very slowly, it might call out to you, awaken your senses:

Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.

I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down
in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language
- even the phrase “each other” -
do not make any sense.

Yes, this world we live in doesn’t always make sense so I drew windows of swirling possibilities, an abstract interpretation of this week’s theme.  I started to write out the poem with a portrait layout, but found myself wanting to turn the page to a landscape view when I started to begin the layers of soft pastels. Possibly an subconcious move that we need to change our perspective…in times such as these you have to ask yourself…do you turn to the grass to escape reality or to gather renewed strengthen, energy, and hope?

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It's a Surreal World – Opening Night


It’s a Surreal World opened on Friday, April 4, 2008, at the Progress Energy Art Gallery in New Port Richey, Florida. The featured artist of the evening was Patrick Stickney who explores dreams, meditations, and myths in his paintings.  He works in various media depending on what fits the subject matter and his inspiration of the moment – acrylics, tempera, charcoal, ink, colored pencil, paper collage, photo montage, and even enamel spray paints.

The exhibit also included three soft pastel paintings featuring my new goddess series: Polyhymnia, Summoning Brigit, and Mari, Goddess of Dreams.  This series explores various archetypes from the religious to creative muses with dreamlike imagery.  Polyhymnia features a nude transposed against a guitar with little cute goldfish swimming around.  Summoning Brigit is another goddess posing nude this time with a long flowing piece of silk amidst a colorful background with a hidden light bulb.  And finally, Mari, Goddess of Dreams, has a nude cradled by heavenly wings against a full moon and imagery of transformation symbolism with the butterflies against a stark ocean view with deep red poppies.

The exhibit also featured a new mixed media painting created just for the exhibit entitled, It’s a Surreal World.

New Goddess Series

[Featured in the photo: Polyhymnia, It's a Surreal World, Summoning Brigit, Mari, Goddess of Dreams, Shakti, & Chaos Theory]

Along with these new paintings, the exhibit also features three large scale metallic prints of original paintings that have sold in prior exhibits and on my online Etsy store, Surrealmuse Studios: Shakti, Chaos Theory & Original Desire.

Other exhibiting artists include Eva Diana Berman who was born in Germany and grew up in Bavaria.  For this featured exhibit, she selected works from her portfolio that explore the discrimination, aggression, and violence that impact women, and explains:

Today, on a regular basis we are reminded of the fate of some of these unfortunate women. Some are scarred forever, some go missing, and some become pioneers to stand up for women’s rights.

It is these facts that prompted me to create the “Fractured Roses” series. Through the use of slashes and breaking up the planes of the canvas I intend to invoke feelings of uneasiness in the viewer as a reminder of the vulnerability of women.

Eva Diana Berman

Another exhibiting artist, Melissa Fiorentino, who’s influences range from Michelangelo to Piet Mondrian, strives to bring a convergence of the human passions, emotional thrills, despairing nightmares and the conquest of dreams together to the conscious and unconscious level of the human aspirations.  A variety of color schemes, intense and sometimes risky subject matter help Fiorentino’s work to project a very shocking and different motive . She tends to have a unique style bringing a representational piece, abstract and a portrait all into one. It is a way to allow for there to be a reality and dream or nightmare enclosed onto one image. As Melissa explains in her artist statement:

Nothing speaks to me more than our own emotion .. Basically my main goal is to … [bring] together a surreal and abstract idea of what a person feels while they are experiencing life.

Melissa Fiorentino

Featured below, another one of Melissa’s paintings encompasses an esoteric metaphysical feeling next to Sherry Shamback’s Spellbinding Garden & Altar Stones, spiritual words encased in cement. The small round ones have astrological glyphs on them and double as (stick) incense holders.


Branden Lukes, another exhibiting artist of the evening, displayed very large paintings that were done on different types of wood.  It is surprising how the different textures of wood in each piece really contribute to the whole experience work.  His use of  simple colors and sweeping black lines is evocative of modern comic books, anime, tribal tattoos, and finer graphic novels.


The exhibit also includes works of art by Virginia Erdie, Kathrine Jakob, Wes Trigger, the curators of the event, Paula Showen and Michelle Collins, along with many other gallery members.  It’s a beautiful exhibit so do check it out if you’re in the area now through May at Progress Energy Art Gallery:

6231 Grand Blvd.

New Port Richey, Florida 34652

Phone: (727) 848-6500

You can read more about the exhibiting artist bios & artist statements here on PEAG‘s website.
Micheal, Shannon & Natalie

After after the art exhibit, we wandered the streets of New Port Richey and discovered the festivities of the Annual Chasco Fiesta that featured pow wow dancing and various vendors from food to arts & crafts.
Chasco Fiesta - NPR

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Challenge yourself to take artistic leaps

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.

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Believe, my 2007 Christmas design.

believeBelieve, my 2007 Christmas design, is inspired by vintage photography provided by lorivintage55stock and the Lumos font.

Tell me what you think.  I’d love to hear your comments!

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Dare to Dream: The Power of Mantra Art

When it comes to creating art, there is a time for everything, and a season for all of our creative cycles.  A time for serious paintings and a time to experiment.  A time to explore in our art journals and a time to create mantra art.

Mantra art speaks to the soul.  Like a written affirmation, it contains a message that we need to remind ourselves of every day.

So I leave you with my mantra art created for this week’s theme at Inspire Me Thursday, “Watercolor“:

mantra art

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