Cardinal in the Tree is a painting that I recently completed. I’ve done many dove and crow paintings with the sun or moon in the scene and I got the idea to try my hand at creating a similar whimsical painting of a song bird. I chose the cardinal since I felt like using bright red paint.
We have a couple of cardinal couples that hang out in our yard. One late afternoon while in my husband’s upstairs studio, I looked out the window and saw a beautiful cardinal high up in a tree branch, this surprised me because I hadn’t realized just how tall particular accent tree had gotten. I planted 15 years ago and it has tripled in size.
With that scene in mind, I started the painting. I know that many people think when a cardinal appears it can symbolize a dead loved one is thinking of them. I like that idea and every time I spot a male cardinal, I like to think that my dad is winking at me. He and my mom loved their backyard with all their song birds. I hope all are enjoying this Easter and Passover weekend.
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.
Little Red Hen is my new painting. Years ago, when I made papier mache bowls, one of my most popular motifs was my chicken bowl. Since then, however, I had not felt like doing a chicken painting until now. A few of my Facebook friends have chickens in their yards, and I’ve enjoyed seeing their fun and sometimes humorous photos of their hens and chicks. So, with my new idea of painting images of folk tales, The Little Red Hen came to mind.
I remember the story from childhood and when my daughter was a preschooler, we had puppets illustrating the story. I loved the story of the little hen working diligently over time even though none of her friends are willing to help her and finally she has the yummy baked bread. I made the painting childlike using lots of bright colors, it was somewhat challenging I wanted it to be more abstract then it turned out.
I feel that this year I’ve been a bit like the little red hen, working diligently doing a painting each week and then writing about it here on the blog. I’m also stepping up on the marketing with sharing it on my Twitter feed and my Facebook pages and finally sharing on a new Instagram account. This work is paying off, I’ve been able to push myself in new ways with my painting and am hoping that will eventually bring some extra income in.
Woman with Red Winged Blackbird is my new painting of the week. It’s actually a redo of a painting I did in 2015. While painting my mom in the canoe a few weeks ago, I realized that over time, I’ve gotten a little better at faces; so, I pulled out this older painting and ended up redoing most of it. I feel like her face works a bit better. I then decided to change the crow and make him a red winged blackbird. I took a bit of artistic license as you don’t usually see them at birdbaths. Their habitat is in fields close to water. I used to see them all the time when I was a park ranger leading tours on trails through the marshes.
I’ve admired the works of the Pre-Raphaelite painters of Victorian England who rebelled from the style at the time by painting women with long flowing hair using rich, vivid colors in natural settings. I remember seeing some of their paintings at the Tate Gallery in London back in my early 20’s and being moved by the large size and richness of colors. This painting is a nod to that style.
Balance is a new painting. Last week while painting the dove in an abstract setting; I got the inspiration to continue mixing my abstract style with images. The International Day of Peace is always on September 21st which is on or a day away from the Fall Equinox. I wondered if the reason for this is that we need balance to be peaceful. I am trying to stay as balanced as I can during these crazy times.
To welcome the Fall equinox where night and day are equal, I thought it would be fun to paint a yin yang symbol using a crow and dove. This is my fourth painting of a crow and dove together, in fact the last one I painted, Sooner than Later was in early April, soon after the Covid-19 pandemic began. I wrote in that post; ” I view doves as a symbol of peace and crows as a symbol of magic and transformation.”
It was challenging to get the birds to look right around a circle. I like the whimsical way it turned out and am going to do a series of animal paintings in this style. My hope is that as this season moves forward, we all can maintain some sense of balance and vision of peace for our future.
Monday, September 21st is the International Day of Peace. I’ve painted a white dove of peace to honor the day for seven years now. Soaring Dove of Peace is this year’s painting, my first dove on the larger paper. With the extra space I decided to play with my new abstract style. I like the way it almost looks like stained glass
International Day of Peace is observed by people all over the world to encourage peace within and among nations. This year is the 75th year anniversary and the is theme “Shaping Peace Together.” The UN invited millions of people throughout the world to join in a global conversation on building a peaceful and prosperous future which has become even more important with the global pandemic. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. There are activities going on all weekend leading up to Monday.
We’ve been sheltering in place for about four weeks now. It’s getting tiresome, but at least the spring season is beautiful here. With the loud city sounds gone, the quiet brings back memories of an earlier time, a sense of calmness prevails. On my daily walks it’s easier to notice the birds singing and it’s also fun to see so many young families out and about.
Prior to the pandemic I had planned to get more framed prints out into local cafes and yoga studios and also to seek out galleries that may want to show my originals, now with all that on hold, I’ve got plenty of time to paint. Sooner than Later is my newest painting. Can you tell it was inspired by the pandemic?
I love painting both doves and crows and this is my third painting with both together. I view doves as a symbol of peace and crows as a symbol of magic and transformation. It was fun to paint, I spent hours playing with colors of the orbs within the sky. The particles we breathe in and out connect us all, for better or worse.
I wanted to do an uplifting painting using both light and darkness. Covid-19 is revealing dark outdated systems that don’t work for the welfare of all. Hopefully, sooner that later, our world will change for the better; with more peace, less war; more harmony, less destruction of our natural world and more equality for all people throughout the world.
I have to say that it feels good to be back painting. I’ve just completed Soaring White Dove in time for International Day of Peace 2019, which is today, September 21st. This year the focus is on climate change; certainly caring for the earth will aid in bringing peace. Here is a link with details: International Day of Peace. Because of this theme I decided to paint a dove showing a beautiful landscape below. Yesterday was inspiring and encouraging to see young people from around the globe demonstrating in the fight against climate change.
My daughter has gotten her first full time job in her field at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. She moved last week and texted me photos of the view from her apartment with the mountains in the distance which she finds beautiful. We are happy that she’s found an interesting job for herself in a new geographic area as she loves traveling and experiencing new places. Her photos gave me the idea to paint a scene with mountains reflecting the sunlight.
WordPress wished me, “Happy Anniversary” this week. I saw that I have been blogging for seven years now which is hard to believe. I’ve also been painting doves for Peace Day for many years. Some of the paintings more successful than others. My favorite is Through the Storm which I painted two years ago. I like this one also and hope you do too!
There Goes My Shadowis a painting I blogged about a year and a half ago that I recently reworked. Last month as I began the recent painting Moonlit Dove and Sunlit Crow, I took a look at this older painting because of the similar theme of dealing with the shadow. I realized then that the painting looked weak.
I have added more color and contrast to to help pop out the fall colors and I also reworked the girl’s face. My painting teacher used to have us do an exercise of painting in a darkened room since it would naturally force us to use more contrast with the lights and darks. It was a helpful lesson and it came to mind as I looked back that this painting. I think it works better now.
I’ve been thinking about the light and dark and how here in the United States each passing day brings more and more concerning news. We are living through an unique time period that has a surreal feeling to it. There are many polarizing issues with such a big gulf between them; from gun control, global warming, immigration, to race relations and gender issues. What seems clear to me, is not to others who have their own different beliefs. I’m sure they feel the same as I do. Arguing about the issues has not been productive.
There are no easy answers. I again started thinking about Carl Jung’s term the shadow and how what we don’t see in ourselves gets projected onto others. I think on a collective level we are all dealing with unhealed wounds from our past and collectively we need to blend the light and dark within ourselves.
Moonlit Dove with Sunlit Crow is a new painting of a white dove flying toward the moon and the black crow flying toward the sun is the result of my pondering. Getting back to painting is helping me refocus my energy away from absorbing too much negative news to being more centered and peaceful. This is helping me integrate my own anger issues that will hopefully reach out into the collective and help in some way.