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.
Hare on an Egg is my new painting this week. My husband thought of the name, which helped me out as sometimes the hardest part is naming these paintings. I chose a a hare because the Swimming Turtle painting I did a few weeks ago brought to mind the Tortoise and the Hare story. I like the way that he looks a bit mischievous. In the beginning I had him on a winding path but eventually decided to have him balancing on an egg. This painting was a lot of fun to create and I’m about to start on a new one today.
I have recently opened an Instagram account. For years I’ve been hearing that as an artist, Instagram is the best place to be. I use my desktop for most of my social media and don’t feel too comfortable with my cell phone. My daughter helped me get it set up, she’s been there for years with her photography. I’m still learning my way around and finding it fun. My account name is Heni’s.Happy.Paintings Check it out!
The last painting of the crow and dove reminded me of the time, as a park ranger, I led a program where I told stories of animal myths from different cultures. While researching for that program I had seen many wonderful animal illustrations in children’s books and decided it would be fun to do an animal series in my abstract style. Swimming Turtle is my first attempt, it’s actually my fourth turtle painting.
Last weekend when a certain politician in the news was compared to a turtle on my twitter feed, my reaction was that was a grave injustice to turtles everywhere. I love turtles and feel fortunate when I spot one in nature. In Native American lore the earth was called “turtle island,” from a tale that the turtle carried the earth on it’s back. In this painting I have the turtle swimming through space.
After learning last week that because dragonflies zig and zag about, they symbolize flexibility and the need for a fresh perspective I was inspired to do a painting with a dragonfly focus. I then decided to check out the meaning of the number 4 since I had painted 4 dragonflies circling the sun in the earlier painting. The number four is symbolic of stability, order and structure. The year 2020 adds up to four and it’s interesting that our structures and foundations are somewhat shaky now and need transformation with all that’s going on.
Four Dragonflies is the result. I chose to have the dragonflies rising up in a spiral and decided each one would represent one of the four elements: earth, water, air and fire which helped me with the the composition and transitions. I’m not quite sure how successful it is but it was fun to paint, I loved playing with the swirls of color, trying to make it work. Well hang in there everyone, we will get through this.
Moonlit Unicorn is a painting that I started prior to Christmas. Our daughter flew home from NYC on the 18th and brought the flu with her. She got home and went straight to bed for a few days, once she was on the mend, I caught it. Needless to say our Christmas holidays were a bit subdued. We are all feeling better now, she’s out and about with friends and I have finally completed this painting.
I chose to paint a unicorn night scene because I was still thinking about the magical time of the early days of December. Years ago when my twin sister and I were sent to bed, some times our oldest sister would sneak into our room and tell us tales that she made up. I have fond memories of her stories.
When my girl was very young, around two or three at bed time I began making up stories of Grace, a loving white unicorn who would come to visit her. Our first home in Atlanta had a big wooded back yard that sloped down to a creek. It was beautiful. My husband put up a swing set and our girl loved swinging and playing there.
In the stories, Grace would always appear from the woods in our backyard as our girl was swinging. She would take her up on her back and fly her off on adventures. Who knows, maybe that’s one reason why my daughter has such an adventurous spirit.
Rose Goddess is another painting that I began years ago and have just now completed. I had always loved the composition but her face was not right. I had found the image from a photograph of a goddess statue in the Versailles gardens. Her face had always looked too masculine, so that’s what I changed to complete her.
I have heard that my mom’s mother loved roses and had a beautiful rose garden. She died when I was too young to remember her. My parents both admired her and always spoke of what a wonderful and loving woman she had been. No one ever said an unkind word about her. I think of her and her loving qualities and wished I had gotten to know her. She had a pair of rose vases that I feel lucky to have inherited. The fact that my loving grandmother loved roses has stuck with me and gotten me curious about the rose symbolism.
The rose has been associated with goddesses throughout history. In one legend the first roses sprang from the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite’s tears. In later times the rose symbolized the beauty of romantic love. Under Christianity, the rose became the Virgin Mary’s sacred flower, representing the divine feminine love. The accepting feminine loving energy is so special and much needed now.
After last week’s more complex painting, I felt like painting something more whimsical and loose. As I was pondering what to paint, I happened to see a funny cartoon of Wile E. Coyote getting into trouble with the Road Runner and later that evening Joni Mitchel’s Coyote tune came up on my Echo; I love all her music and had not heard that fun song in years. We also have had plenty of coyotes in the hood, I’ve never seen one here but have heard their strange calls in the wee hours of the night.
With the decision made, I looked up the symbolism of the coyote. He is often thought of as a trickster, a joker, and even a shape-shifter, but is also revered in Native American culture as an important messenger of personal transformation, showing endings and new beginnings.
I thought it might be fun to paint a coyote in a fanciful colorful magic-like landscape and Wily Coyote is the result. I’m pleased with the way he is looking at the viewer as if he knows something we don’t.
Next week my husband and I are heading to Seattle for my niece’s wedding. Its definitely a time of a new beginnings for my niece and also for her older sister who is days away from her second child’s birth. We’ll be there for a just under a week with all my sisters and the nieces and nephews. Our daughter will fly in from Japan, luckily her internship ends two days before the wedding date. We’re so looking forward to being with her and hearing all about her experience there. Not sure that I’ll be able to start another painting before we leave but am looking forward to new inspiration of being in Seattle during this exciting time with our extended family.
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.
Here is my new painting, Quan Yin Riding the Dragon; it has taken me a couple of weeks to complete as it was quite complex, integrating all of the elements was a challenge.
Quan Yin is an Eastern Goddess of compassion. Quan Yin carries the Goddess and Divine Mother aspect of Buddhism and is worshiped throughout Asia as an ascended master who is a protector to women and children.
I’ve done many paintings of Buddha but I felt drawn to paint Quan Yin this time around, perhaps because my daughter is away in Japan all summer.
I chose to paint her on a dragon. She is compassionate but also courageous and thus can tame the fierceness of Dragon. In the dragon’s wild and cruel nature, Quan Yin is the only one who understands the dragon and his nature. She is the one that can heal him.
It’s hard to believe we are entering the last leg of summer here, the kids in our area are already back in school. Enjoy this month!
Twin Fairies is my third attempt at painting twins and I think the most successful. As I have written on my about page, I have an identical twin sister and we are the youngest in our family. My parents had an eight and four year old when we came along. They were busy with the older daughters, so the two of us were left on our own and played together all the time. We actually developed our own language and I can remember being in our own imaginary world pretending to be animals, fairies, etc. If you were to see our baby photos, we actually looked like chubby cherubs with curly hair.
My Mom was born in the early 20’s and when she was a child, her mom gave her illustrated prints of little fairies and children that were popular during that time period. Mom kept them and they hung in our bedrooms growing up. We loved them, they were magical and fun to look at. I wanted this painting to have a bit of that dreamy, magical style.