Beloved Sam is a new painting that I just completed for a birthday gift for Lauri Shock. Her husband, Billy Howard contacted me after receiving a note card of mine with the image of Adele’s Cats from a mutual friend. Billy asked if he could buy the original since one of the cats reminded them of their Sam who had recently passed away to give to Laurie on her birthday. Since I didn’t have the original I offered to do a new similar painting for him. He liked that idea and sent me his Medium Post, Sam the Cat, which has some lovely photos of Sam.
It was my first commissioned painting and I was a bit nervous, but Billy said that they liked my style of using bright colors so I went with it. I chose my mom’s stangl pitcher that looked a bit like one in the photos. With Sam, I accented his green eyes and white patch that they loved about him. I put a painting behind the flowers of birds flying as a symbol of Sam’s spirit being freed.
Sam showed up one day and became theirs when he was about a year old and for 15 years his quirky personality brought them joy daily. It was a pleasure painting Sam. I was touched by Billy’s thoughtfulness of wanting to do this for Lauri’s birthday gift. What a wonderful idea in helping them to honor Sam’s memory.
The Jaguar is a new painting for my rainforest series. Jaguars are the largest cats native to the Americas and third largest cats in the world behind lions and tigers. The jaguar once roamed from Argentina all the way up to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Today, jaguars have been almost completely eliminated from the United States. This endangered cat hangs on in remote regions of Central America and South America. My niece spent time in Costa Rica on a college research trip and was fortunate to see a black jaguar in the dead of night.
Jaguar is a Native American word meaning, “he who kills with one blow.” In pre-Columbian America the jaguar was seen as a god in Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala. The Mayans saw him as the god of the underworld.
The idea for this painting came to me a couple weeks ago. My daughter is spending a semester abroad in Prague, and has taken advantage of her free time traveling to many exciting places, She’s been to Paris, Rome, Naples and now, Vienna and is having a great time on her adventures. We are excited for her because she’s broadening her horizons by learning about and experiencing other cultures. It’s brought back to mind wonderful memories of my travels. One of those memories was a trip with my husband down to the Oaxaca, Mexico region. In a small arts village, I bought him a bright hand painted and carved, wooden jaguar that he keeps in his office for good luck. This jaguar painting is also for my husband and a reminder of our happy memories of Mexico.
Each year around this time I paint a white dove in honor of International Peace Day which occurs on September 21st. On Monday as Tropical Storm Irma was blowing through Atlanta I decided to paint a new dove.
It was a stressful day for my husband as he was in the last stages of finishing up a big job and couldn’t afford to lose time in a power outage. I have a large studio window upstairs and watched the big trees in the back yard sway back and forth. The winds felt relentless, with big gusts coming through every few hours. In our neighborhood alone around seven or so large trees came down; many of our neighbors lost power. Half of our county lost power, with the children just returning to school yesterday. We were very, very lucky to have kept our power and also the internet service which was equally as important for my husband. It was quite a storm and my heart goes out to all that suffered loss.
I was pondering why the dove is a symbol of peace and thought one reason is the beautiful curves it has, the rounded head and nicely feminine, curved form. I tried to accent that in this painting. I then kept painting curving colors around and through the dove. I starting seeing all the curves that I was painting as the wind that I was hearing. It was a good distraction from our fears of losing power.
I liked the way it turned out. When I look at this dove it makes me think of these powerful natural events that touch us and in some ways bring our humanity out as we come together to help and renew.
Crab and Tide Pools – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval
Here are two paintings I’ve done for my sister’s upcoming birthday. She and her family live in Seattle and she wanted a couple of prints for her bathroom. She was looking through all my fish prints and trying to decide what to use. The thought came to me to do a new painting for her with sea life from the Pacific Northwest. Her shower curtain had oranges and blues and tans so I worked with those colors.
Years ago we lived in Oakland California where I worked as an outdoor program specialist for the San Francisco Bay Girl Scouts. I drove a van throughout the bay area leading special programs for girl scout troops. Every so often I would meet a troop out on the coast where we would explore the tide pools. The Northwest coast can be pretty gray, chilly and overcast; but the tide pools are just bursting with color of the various sea creatures. The stark contrast made it exciting, like finding a treasure. I loved teaching about how the sea creatures had adapted to their stark environment, opening and closing with the tide changes.
It was a fun and challenging painting the tide pools, and it helped that I did them both at the same time. The paintings brought back happy memories that I had not thought about in years. I feel they turned out pretty well and hope my sister will like them and that they will work in her space.
This week I felt like painting something light hearted so I chose Ganeshas my subject. Ganesh is one of the most worshiped gods of the Hindu Religion. He helps to destroy selfishness and vanity and to remove obstacles in one’s path. He brings good luck and fortune as he represents the material universe with all it’s many manifestations. His elephant head represents super intelligence, his one tusk represents being focused and his large tummy symbolizes digesting both the good and bad peacefully.
One of my sisters who has an elephant collection has always liked Ganesh. Years ago I made her a papier mache bowl with a painting of Ganesh on it. She still has it and it makes me feel good whenever I go up to visit her and see it. Her partner liked the white elephant that I painted last year and mentioned that he would like a Ganesh note card to give to his Indian friends at work, so that’s the plan. I’ll make some note cards of this to give to him for Christmas.
It seems to me that Ganesh knows how to relax and enjoy life, which helps to bring good luck. That is something we westerners could learn and benefit from. Here in Georgia the schools have already started up in what used to be the lazy last days of summer. In our home, my husband has just gotten a large job and will be working like crazy all month so we’ll just have to make do and relax when we can. I hope that everyone can carve out some relaxing time during these last days of Summer.
Little Owl is my new painting of a small owl sitting on a branch in a forest just prior to dusk. In late May, my good friend was in town for a visit and to see my art show. After dinner we took a walk through the neighborhood as the sun was setting. I happened to glance over at a dogwood tree in a wooded front yard where I noticed a large barn owl only about eight feet from us on a low branch. We stopped to watch him as he stared at us silently with his large eyes never moving. He was striking and must have been waiting for darkness to set in before hunting.
In recent years, owls have been a big decor item and I had been resisting painting them. Since seeing this owl and also recently hearing an owl’s hoot in the late night I decided it was time to paint one. I looked up what it could mean when you see an owl and read that there could be a mystery afoot or some kind of transition coming up. Owls also represent wisdom and intelligence.
My daughter leaves to study in Prague for the semester in just two weeks. She’ll be taking a photography class along with a couple of language and core classes. Her passport and visa finally came in the mail today, her new film camera for the class arrived yesterday so she is just about ready. Her twentieth birthday is a few days before she leaves. She’s got a lot to look forward to, we’re excited for her upcoming adventure. I plan to paint all weekend, don’t have a subject picked out yet. Enjoy your weekend!
The Lion’s Gateis my third try at painting a Lion. This Egyptian Lion is standing below the Sirius star. The ancient Egyptians viewed Sirius as the bringer of new life because Sirius was newly visible in the sky at the time of the yearly flooding of the Nile River. They depended on the flooding to fertilize their lands. In August, Sirius lines up directly with the pyramids in Giza.
I wanted to paint a regal lion, as if he were a king. I placed him on a large monolithic structure looking out upon his kingdom. As I continued, it became a night scene, which was fun to do. I like the way he turned out, I feel it’s getting easier for me to paint lions.
The summer season is moving along, my daughter has a month left before she returns to school. We’ll be visiting my twin sister in a few days, hanging out by their pool, which I’m looking forward to. Hope all are enjoying these hot summer days!