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.
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!
I am pleased to be the Artist of the Month for May at the Phoenix and Dragon Bookstore here in Atlanta. It’s given me the opportunity to honor my Mom. Every year around her birthday I do a painting in her memory and some are showcased in the show. As the years go on I realize how my Mom’s creativity inspired me to become an artist. I am happy that I can honor her in this way. The poster and photos of the opening are below. The show is going on through May. Happy Mother’s Day!
This week I felt like creating a more painterly painting. I chose to do a floral still life and then layered lots of paint on the paper and played with texture and color. Daises in a Blue Vase is the result. I’m fairly pleased with the result.
We are looking forward to our daughter coming home for spring break on Monday. She is spending the weekend in Chicago with friends, it’s very chilly there and snow is expected on Sunday. So far it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a big storm so hopefully she won’t get snowed in.
Enjoy the weekend and good luck with springing forward an hour tomorrow!
I was feeling happy and upbeat last week and felt liking painting a bluebird. I painted one a few years ago that was loosely based on a vintage post card. We have bluebirds in our neighborhood and I love watching them soar about on my walks. The bluebird symbolizes joy.
Here in Atlanta like much of the country we are already having mild spring-like weather, birds are chirping and beginning to pair up and flowers are blooming. I even mowed our lawn last Wednesday. A Facebook friend of mine posted a picture which said “What a lovely spring we are having this winter,” which brought smile to my face but at the same time I wondered what kind of summer we are going to have in Hotlanta. Regardless, it’s hard not to be happy with this wonderful spring-like weather.
In Bluebird in Flight the joyful bird is flying over the meadow with the sun shining above. I so enjoyed painting it, layering the various colors on and seeing what came about. I hope that joy is reflected in the painting.