Sunflowers in Mom’s Silver Pitcher

Sunflowers in Mom’s Silver Pitcher – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

I felt like taking a break from my abstracts to do a still life painting. For several years now, around my Mom’s birthday, I have painted one of her pitchers in her honor. I skipped this year as her birthday was in January, but recently I’ve been clearing out many of her antique items from the estate which we’d kept all these years. I’ve sold some of the silver and have taken boxes of tinware and depression glass over to the Treasure Mart, a local consignment shop. This has gotten me feeling quite sentimental.

I’ve kept her small silver-plated pitcher which does not have much value, but I love the shape. It was down in our dining room and I thought to myself I’m going to do one more pitcher painting in honor of Mom. I also liked the challenge of trying to depict silver. Since we are in the heat of summer, I chose sunflowers. I’ve been thinking and appreciating my three sisters lately and thus I chose four flowers symbolizing the four daughters that Mom had.

It was a fun painting to do and now I’m starting a new painting with the same pitcher next to my cat Tuxie to add to my cat still-life series.

Air Element

Air Element – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Air Element is the final painting of my element series, it joins the water, earth and fire paintings that I’d done in the last few months. I spent a week just mulling over how to show the air element in a painting. I thought about doing a sky scene with butterflies or some sort of birds flying about. I researched air elemental myths, they are called sylphs, from what I could tell these beings look like wispy cirrus clouds and move about through wind currents helping to clean the air. I liked that idea. Once I thought of wind currents, I decided to have flying birds in the painting.

One thing I love about painting is it inspires me be more observant. That evening as I walked through my neighborhood, I kept looking at the sky and noticing the dramatic clouds as the sun sunk lower. At one point I stopped and watched several swallows feasting on insects as they swooped through the air way up in the sky. I figured that was a sign and chose to do an evening scene with swallows and sylphs.

Swallows with their streamlined bodies and pointed wings are agile flyers adapted to feeding on flying insects. They mate for life and in modern times, the swallow is usually seen as a symbol of peace, respect, love, and loyalty.  I painted the sky just prior to sunset with the clouds starting to light up and the sky darken and the wispy sylphs in the air currents while swallows soar through the air.

Pluto

Pluto – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Here is a new painting for my planet series. Pluto is the furthest planet out from the sun and takes 248 years to complete its orbit. It was discovered in 1930. Because it was so far away from the sun and very cold Pluto was named after the Roman god of the underworld, he was the judge of death but also the god of wealth because of the metals and riches that lie underground. Pluto is considered a dwarf planet because it is so small. Although Pluto is small, in astrology Pluto is a powerful planet of transformation that rules the astrological sign of Scorpio.

With all that in mind, I decided to paint Pluto small in a rich dark red color. The brightness around it symbolizes the riches of the god Pluto. This painting is darker than the others because it’s far from the sun with no other planets in sight. I used layers and layers of paint. I’m fairly pleased and will start a new painting this weekend.

Lamb in the Meadow

Lamb in the Meadow- acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Lamb in the Meadow is a painting I completed this week for my twin sister to use as an illustration for her devotional. My friend, who is an excellent graphic artist and an experienced self-publisher is working with her to format the devotional for publishing. She had the idea to include illustrations in grey-tone from some of my paintings on the pages with the chapter headings and such.

For one of the sections, my sister wanted a lamb laying in the meadow along a path in the same style as Fox in the Hillside, a painting I’d done years ago. It took me a while to sketch out the lamb in a relaxed manner but once I got that done, it was fun to look back at the fox painting to get the same elements of the flowers and sun.

The book is coming together:, she’s completed the editing and they are almost done with the formatting. I have a few more images to paint for them which I’m hoping to finish this weekend. Because it is a daily devotional, she has decided to publish in early fall so people will be able to have it in time for the new year. I’m so impressed with her writings and just how professional it is looking. It’s all very exciting and I’m happy to be involved.

Saturn

Saturn – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Saturn is a new painting for my planet series. You may be wondering why I chose grayish color. In ancient times Saturn was associated with lead; it was said that alchemists could lead turn into gold. I liked the idea of painting Saturn as a lead sphere; it brought to my mind happy memories of fishing with my Dad, as we would use small lead balls that we would press on the fishing line to help the baited hook sink. I used to love to fish, it’s been a long time now, but we fished throughout our childhood.

Speaking of dads, Saturn in astrology can represent the father but it also represents a taskmaster type energy. Its placement can be challenging in childhood but over time if worked through it becomes a strength. In the painting I made the rings bright yellow as if they were gold. Years ago, I had a housemate who in her childhood had a recurring dream where she would be hanging out on one of Saturn’s rings feeling loved and accepted. I thought that was so interesting. She was a Capricorn, which is the sign Saturn rules.

I used lots of color to complement the gray color of Saturn. I wonder if there is more color throughout space that one day, we will be able to see. I’m pleased with the painting and like that it’s a little different from the other planets in a Saturn type way. My friend has invited me to the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience here in Atlanta the weekend which I’m looking forward to. Happy weekend to all!

Fire

Fire – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Fire is a new painting of mine continuing with the element theme. Traditionally the fire element represents action, power, passion, and creativity. A few years ago, I painted a night scene in the forest with a large Bonfire to represent the fire element. In this new painting I chose a daylight scene so that it would include the sun; which, of course is the biggest fire ball that lights up the sky and allows for life on our planet.

It is a another abstract landscape with the idea of a controlled fire. Fires are needed in dryer lands to clear underbrush and open acorns and seeds that open only with fire. Indigenous people have been practicing controlled, deliberate burns in North America, and around the world, for millennia.

I put in the fire salamanders as I did in the Bonfire painting. They symbolize the fire element; in fact ,the name salamander is derived from a Greek term loosely meaning “fire lizard.” Some salamanders hibernate in hollow, decaying logs of wood. When the log was used for burning the salamanders would leap out and this led to the idea of them being born of the fire.

I’m pleased with the painting and am beginning a new one today. Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all.

Crystal Cave

Crystal Cave – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Crystal Cave is a new abstract landscape painting depicting the earth element. I began with using rich golds and olive greens and then thought to bring in a cave effect with a dark purple. The cave brought to mind photos I’d seen of large crystal caves in Brazil; so, I then painted a large rose quartz crystal formation which turned into the focal point. From there I added arid mountain cliff and some tree cover and light blue sky.

When my husband saw it, he laughed and said he saw it as us coming out of cave after the year of COVID-19. I liked that idea, it made me think of how this time last year when we were all shut down throughout the world. The nights were so dark and quiet even here in the city and then we began to hear stories of wild life returning and air, noise and water pollution going down. That was an encouraging sign that the earth can heal rather quickly when we figure out how to change our ways.

Vesica Piscis

Vesica Piscis – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Vesica Piscis is my most recent abstract painting. I decided to take a break from my planet series as it was getting monotonous painting mainly spheres. I was pondering what to paint when I went to visit my good friend and neighbor who is an amazing quilter to discuss the baby quilt she is sewing for my niece’s baby. Her basement is filled with all her quilting projects and more beautiful quilts hang throughout her home. Her work inspired me; I loved all her colors and the detail of the pieces sewn together along with her creative use of stitching patterns.

This led me to the idea of treating my new the painting somewhat like a quilt with lots of detail and texture and line. I chose to the water element to have a theme. I was going to use mostly blues but kept adding more colors and it stated to have an tropical underwater feel about it. To pull it all together, I decided to overlay with a large Vesica Piscis symbol.

Vesica Piscis is made from the intersection of two circles of the same size. It is one of the oldest symbols from ancient times. The two circles joined is the foundation for the flower of life symbol in sacred geometry. The Christian religion was most likely responsible for its spread, as a fish symbol. As Jesus was a fisher of man.

The Lion and Lamb

The Lion and Lamb – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

The Lion and Lamb is a new painting that I made for my twin sister. She has always loved the idea and image of the lion laying down with the lamb. She asked me to do this painting because she is in the process of putting together a daily devotional that she will be publishing soon. It will feature spiritual writings of hers for each day of the year. She’s shared her writings through the years with her friends who have found them moving and helpful in their lives; and they have encouraged her to put them in a devotional in order to help reach others. Now she has decided to go ahead and do just that! She asked me do the lion and lamb painting for book cover.

I was happy to support her and also excited for her new venture. In the painting I wanted the lion to look strong and kind with the little lamb feeling sheltered and cared for. Happily, when she saw it, she was pleased. Now she is working on the finishing touches of the devotional and within a couple of months it will be available on Kindle! I’ll post the link here when it’s ready. I’m excited for her and know that it will reach and help many people.

Venus

Venus – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Venus is a new painting in my planet series. I’ve learned quite a bit about the mythology of Venus from the research I did for a couple of other abstracts last year. The abstract which I named Ishtar, of a eight pointed star symbolized the planet Venus’s star pattern as she travels through space around the sun from our view on earth. Ishtar is an ancient Mesopotamian  goddess very similar to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty in Greek mythology. The earlier abstract I painted, Golden Mean Spiral, was based on the spiral pattern found throughout nature. Venus as she continually moves through space in a golden mean spiral forms a beautiful rose pattern. It’s interesting to me that the ancients knew about this.

I started this painting planning to get the star formed around the planet but then I thought I’d already done the star; so, I then decided to paint Venus as she appears in space. Venus is the second planet out revolving around the sun and as seen from earth is always close to the Sun, sometimes she’s the morning star and sometimes becomes the evening star. Those transitions are when the star points are formed in the pattern. Venus is a white planet brighter than the moon and has pink clouds. Here on earth, she appears as a bright white star.

I began to imagine Venus as almost like a pearl from the seashell within the sea from which she was formed in the Greek myth so famously portrayed in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus painting. I put in the sun on one side and used pastel colors, on the other side of Venus, I imagined it as the sea with its mysterious depths. It was fun to play with and I’m pleased with the painting. Spring is here in Atlanta, a great time to see the gold mean pattern and appreciate all the beauty in nature.

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