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.
Two Pears is another painting that I started years ago. I had always loved the composition but thought it was a bit dull. I added the colorful wallpaper in the back and brightened up the pears which I think helped.
When I look at this painting I think of my instructor who said anytime you have two of something they are in a relationship on the page. It’s kind of fun to think about what the relationship is between these two pears with one in the bowl and the other not.
I’m trying to give myself a media break since it’s so crazy out there. It takes discipline and will give me more time to starting to work on a new painting.
Sunflower Still Life with Black Cat is a painting that I’ve just completed. I felt like doing a new still life and wanted to use the fish pitcher that my twin sister gave me on our birthday last year. It’s one of her many unique thrift store finds, she’s got a great eye and is always coming home with fun items. She thoughtfully passed it on to me as I like to paint both pitchers and fish. The pitcher usually stays out in the screened in back porch; I brought it in and filled with sunflowers to paint.
I decided to add a black cat to the painting to continue the still lifes with cats series. It’s the fourth one in the series and with the two other cat paintings I now have cat note card six pack for marketing purposes. I’m pleased with the cat, he’s standing for a change which I think works in this painting and it’s also bit humorous that he’s right next to the fish. I had been wanted to paint sunflowers for a while now, as they radiate warmth and happiness. The sunflower papier mache bowls I used to make were always quite popular.
It took a while to balance all the elements but I’m happy with the result. Our daughter is coming home for spring break next week, we’re looking forward to her visit. It’s gotten chilly again today, hopefully it will warm up by next week during her break.
Bonfire is my most recent painting. I had been thinking about the fire element in the last few weeks. On Valentine’s Day when the news links about the Parkland High School shooting began to appear, I found myself feeling very sad and angry on the special day marked for love. As usual the politicians offered thoughts and prayers, while acting as if nothing can be done about this continuing problem. Remarkably over the next few days, as I looked at the various social media sites, I could sense a shift. The teens and their parents were acting on their grief and anger to take back their power and those of us on the sidelines were adding to this energy of change that is starting to happen.
When my daughter was a senior in high school, there was an incident were a student skipped class and stole a cache of guns and ammunition from a home in an adjacent neighborhood. As the information about a lockdown came through, we began to hear sirens and helicopters overhead. At that point we were not sure if there was an active shooter in the school, it was frightening. The police handled the the situation and all ended well after several hours with no shooting. When my girl graduated I was relieved that that worry for her was over, even though she heading to New York City for college! I feel for all the moms and dads and children that still have that fear that it could happen one day at their school.
Each of us has an inner fire that we can call upon for standing up for what we feel is right. Traditionally the fire element represents action, power, passion, and creativity. In medieval times salamander nature spirits were thought to provide the spark for starting the fire. When looking into a fire and seeing all the movement of the colors, it’s easy to see why they thought of salamanders. I decided to add them to the fire.
It is inspiring to see these teens coming together and owning their power encouraging us to do the same and it will bring about positive change. This Bonfire is for them!
Mirror Fish is my most recent painting. Two fish are swimming together like the Pisces symbol of two fish swimming in opposite directions. My twin sister and I are Pisces; our birthday is coming up later this month. Maybe that’s why I felt like creating a new painting of the two fish to add to the other double fish paintings I’ve done through the years. In this painting I’ve tried to loosen up some and play with lots of vibrant color.
My sister and I are in good places at the moment. We are happy with our lives, our families are doing well and we’re enjoying the empty nest phase. We are identical mirror twins, which means the egg divided after 7 days and so we are mirror images of each other. She is right-handed while I am left-handed.
My sister was visiting last weekend and when we stopped by to pick up coffee at the local Dunkin Donuts, we got attention for looking alike. These days we find getting attention fun. Growing up we never felt comfortable with all the extra attention we received. Both my sister and I always smile to strangers and over the years I’ve realized that we do that because people were always staring at us.
We are still very close and talk to each other 2 or 3 times a week but like the fish above with the different colors and along with every identical twin, we each have a unique personality.
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.