In continuing the theme of painting abstract planets, I decided to paint Mercury. Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system, just slightly larger than earth’s moon. It is the closest planet to the sun and takes just 88 days to make its trip around the sun. Because of this, from our view here on earth, it appears that mercury always travels close to the sun at a fast speed. Perhaps that’s why the ancients saw Mercury is the messenger of the gods. The actual color of mercury is a brownish grey but in astrology mercury’s color is symbolized as an emerald green.
I chose green for mercury’s color. Because mercury is zippy and small, I pictured it in my mind that it had a texture of the inside of a golf ball with rubber bands tightly wound together. I painted lines going all different directions overlaying each other as if they were communicating.
A few years back when I was going through my dad’s coin collection, I loved looking at the old mercury dimes. As a Greek god, Mercury was the messenger of the gods and had a winged hat and winged shoes; but he also was the patron of commerce which is why he must have been featured on the silver dime. He often carried a caduceus in his left hand. A caduceus is a a wand with two snakes twined around it with wings on top. He was somewhat of a magician and could do magic with the caduceus, with a touch of the wand he could heal illness and turn metal into gold
I decided to paint mercury close to the large sun with the caduceus symbol between them. I painted the caduceus upside down so it would be fairly subtle. I enjoyed learning about mercury and some of the mythology, it helps me to focus on a theme as paint these abstracts.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
After my last two paintings which were somewhat dark, I felt like choosing a more lighthearted and whimsical subject. With the festive holiday season in full swing I decided to paint the mythical sea goat constellation Capricornus.
On the Winter solstice which marks the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, the sun moves into the astrological sign of Capricorn. It’s symbol is the sea goat. The goat is sure-footed and steady as it slowly climbs up the mountain while the fish tail represents the depths of the sea. Taken together it represents a mature individual who uses both their reasoning and intuition.
In this painting, the sea goat is floating in the sky over the mountain tops enjoying the festive winter night. It’s gotten very cold here, feels like winter. Our daughter gets home for her winter break in a few days and we’re so looking forward to seeing her and spending time with friends and family. Hope everyone is enjoying this magical season.
Mermaid Basking in the Sun is a new painting for my Heni’s Happy Paintings Etsy Shop. This a my second attempt at painting a mermaid, the first was set in a moonlit scene. This time I felt like painting a mermaid enjoying the warmth of the sun.
When I was younger I loved the idea and stories of mermaids, perhaps because my twin sister and I swam all summer long and felt at home under water. Once I started snorkeling and saw the beauty of the tropical fish and coral, I could easily imagine mermaids swimming about.
With the earth having three quarters of it’s surface covered in water, it makes sense that cultures around the world have myths of mermaids. In general, mermaids are portrayed as beautiful, mysterious and powerful creatures. I’m pleased with my painting, she turned out nicely.
Spring is in full force here in Atlanta, it’s beautiful. Wishing everyone a happy Easter weekend!
I’ve just completed Pegasus, a new painting to add to the mythic creature series for my Heni’s Happy Paintings Etsy Shop. Instead of painting a white Greek Pegasus, I thought it would be fun to paint an Native American born appaloosa horse flying over the southwestern mountains at sunset. According to Greek mythology, Pegasus was born from the blood of Medusa as she was beheaded by Perseus. He guarded sacred places. As a spirit guide he represents the creative power in all of us. He symbolizes the beauty we bring to ourselves and others.
Phoenix Rising is a new painting for my Heni’s Happy Paintings etsy shop. The phoenix is a powerful mythical bird that recreates its own life from the flames and ashes of the past and arises to be reborn to fly again. Lately some of my friends and family members have been going through some very tough times including; serious health, relationship and financial issues. It helps me to think of the phoenix myth and trust that they will be OK. We have all been and will go through very challenging times in our lives. Those big challenges can help us grow to become clearer and stronger in our lives. From these experiences we can go forward with a new sense of ourselves, like the fiery phoenix rising from the ashes.