I’ve just completed a new painting, Black Bear Emerging in Spring. I’ve done lots of wildlife paintings but have never tried my hand at a bear until now. I wanted to get the feeling of the bear just coming out of hibernation and into the beauty of spring. It took me a while to get the pose of the bear that I felt worked, I wanted him moving and looking imposing.
Years ago, I spent a year living in a small farmhouse on a mountainside outside Asheville, NC. One spring afternoon I climbed way up the mountain behind our house, higher than I usually hiked and sat on a rock to write in my journal. Suddenly I heard thunderous sounding footsteps coming from the area above my rock, When I turned around to see what it was, the sound stopped. I quickly packed up my journal and hightailed it down the mountain. I knew it was a black bear who was probably just as surprised to see me as I was to hear him.
I feel that when we humans come upon bears, their massiveness can invoke a powerful feeling of awe. Perhaps this is why the bear as a spirit animal or totem is one of the most ancient worshiped animals. I looked up the symbolism of bears and it’s what you would imagine: strength, courage and protection. It’s been unseasonably warm here but cold weather is coming back; let’s hope the real spring will be here a bit later to enjoy like this bear!
Venus is a new painting in my planet series. I’ve learned quite a bit about the mythology of Venus from the research I did for a couple of other abstracts last year. The abstract which I named Ishtar, of a eight pointed star symbolized the planet Venus’s star pattern as she travels through space around the sun from our view on earth. Ishtar is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess very similar to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty in Greek mythology. The earlier abstract I painted,Golden Mean Spiral, was based on the spiral pattern found throughout nature. Venus as she continually moves through space in a golden mean spiral forms a beautiful rose pattern. It’s interesting to me that the ancients knew about this.
I started this painting planning to get the star formed around the planet but then I thought I’d already done the star; so, I then decided to paint Venus as she appears in space. Venus is the second planet out revolving around the sun and as seen from earth is always close to the Sun, sometimes she’s the morning star and sometimes becomes the evening star. Those transitions are when the star points are formed in the pattern. Venus is a white planet brighter than the moon and has pink clouds. Here on earth, she appears as a bright white star.
I began to imagine Venus as almost like a pearl from the seashell within the sea from which she was formed in the Greek myth so famously portrayed in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus painting. I put in the sun on one side and used pastel colors, on the other side of Venus, I imagined it as the sea with its mysterious depths. It was fun to play with and I’m pleased with the painting. Spring is here in Atlanta, a great time to see the gold mean pattern and appreciate all the beauty in nature.
I have just completed a new painting, Bounding Bunny. The lovely springlike weather we are enjoying here in Atlanta has inspired me to have some fun playing with color around a leaping cottontail rabbit. I’m pleased with the sense of movement that the painting conveys.
When looking back at a similar painting done last year, Two Rabbits in the Meadow; I remember my struggle with the foreground, having to rework it many times. I prefer the new painting, there’s more movement in the sky and the little bunny is leaping. This new painting came together easily.
As I wrote before, the rabbit symbolizes good luck and abundance. In the past few days I’ve sold four items from my two etsy shops, which is encouraging as Etsy sales had slowed down last year. I’ve also gotten new framed prints up at the Fly Biscuit Cafes. I have some other ideas for marketing and like this bunny I am ready to leap ahead. March is here which means spring is just around the corner. I hope all are enjoying these days!
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.
Robin Among the Dogwood Flowers is a new painting for my bird series. It seems that around this time of year I’m usually inspired to paint spring scenes. Spring here in Atlanta is breathtaking and each day brings new colors as the various plants awaken. In the past few weeks the dogwoods are taking their turn with their bright white flowers lighting up the landscape.
The robins are back in the hood. Last week a robin landed just outside my kitchen window where I had long close up look at him. Right then I decided it would be fun to paint a robin. One thing I love about painting is that it helps me to observe more closely the the world around me. On my walks through the neighborhood, I focused on observing the robins and dogwoods as I worked on this painting.
Robins symbolize renewal and hope as they are one of the first birds to return in spring. Some Native American tribes saw the robin’s red chest and bright yellow break as a symbol of the dawning of the sun. The yellow beak symbolized the rays of the sun and when seeing a robin it was a sign to speak your highest truth.
Today is the first day of spring break for all the kids here Atlanta, late last night storms came through helping to wash the pollen away. I hope everyone enjoys this upcoming weekend.
Cardinal in the Garden is a new painting of mine. Last week I spotted a male and female cardinal hopping about on our roof; there will be baby birds chirping in a nest nearby soon. Cardinals are such striking song birds. On Mother’s day I felt like painting a new song bird since I was thinking about mom.
My parents loved to garden, dad transplanted eight or so dogwoods from the countryside and in the early spring the yard was gorgeous with those dogwoods in full bloom and pink azaleas below. The songbirds that gathered on the bird feeders in in their garden kept my parents entertained while they sat in the sun room. This new painting is in honor of mom and dad who through their care and love of the natural world around them passed that love on to me. Thank you!
Philodendron in the Window is one of my earlier paintings. I’ve always loved it for the colors and because it reminds me of Mom. With spring in full force here in Atlanta I’ve been doing a lot of gardening. My wonderful neighbor helped me by tilling up a 30 foot long patch of grass along our picket fence. I’ve planted flowers and lots of veggies and am mulching heavily since they say it’s going to be a dry summer. Unlike my Mom I was I never into gardening even though my degree is in landscape architecture. Since we’ve been settled in our home for a while the little gardening I’ve done each spring is starting to add up. So here I am after eight years here with a vegetable garden in our front yard.
When my twin sister and I went off to separate colleges, we had different school breaks. On a break early in my freshmen year, Mom showed me how to make cuttings of house plants for potting later to take to my dorm room. That’s when I noticed she had lots of glass jars with various shaped leaves gracing the window sills in the kitchen and sun room. Mom said she enjoyed the years my twin and I came home at different times because she got to know us as individuals better. Now that I have a teen daughter I understand my mom’s comments. Teenagers are very much into their own world as it should be. It’s later they begin to notice more about their home experience. Wherever I’ve lived I always have plant cuttings in jars on the window sills, such as the one in this panting. Happy Mother’s day to all mothers and the gifts they pass down.
I chose to put up Red Dove on a Bowl today since I think the colors are fun and springlike. I’ve always liked this dove painting because instead of my usual complimentary colors, I used a primary color theme which really pops. It’s Spring break here in Atlanta, my daughter and I will be heading down to visit my twin sister and her family for a few days. We haven’t seen each other since the new year so we are really looking forward to our visit. Plus they have a very nice naturalistic backyard pool that I’m sure my daughter will brave to swim some while I’ll enjoy sipping wine and relaxing with my sister!
My blogger friend Renate Bell has a thoughtful blog that I enjoy following for creative inspiration: Pisces, Where Dreams Become Real. I was honored that she chose to interview me for her monthly column where she interviews “creative souls”. I very much enjoyed her interview questions, they got me thinking and I also appreciated her kind generosity and support! Please go visit and take a look around her site and check out the interview. Here is the Link: Where Dreams Become Real: Interview with Artist Heni Sandoval. Thank you again Renate!
Spring is here! The cherry tree blossoms are out along with the early flowering shrubs and bulbs. It’s lovely and the weather is forecast to be mild this weekend. I plan to get some gardening in. Here is my most recent painting, TheDove and the Crow. I got the idea to paint these two very different birds together because I’ve been thinking about how our world needs more balance. The white dove symbolizes peace while the black crow symbolizes wisdom and magic. I’ve painted them looking back at one another as if they could make a connection.
There are many conflicts now between the West and East, rich and poor, progressives and conservatives, religious and secular… After a while you wonder why there is so much extreme polarity and why people don’t work together in a balanced way. The Spring equinox brings with it balance with the day and night being equal. Wouldn’t it be great if we could work together through these differences to solve the challenging issues before us. Happy Spring to All!
Lounging Pears is another one of my pear paintings. It’s the most recent one which I painted a few years ago. I was happy with the intense colors and the way the pears relate to each other. Even though it is a still life there is a sense of movement to it.
It’s a beautiful Saturday morning here in Atlanta, clear sky with temperatures forecast to reach the high 60’s. I’m going to advantage of the nice day to get some long overdo gardening done before the next cold front rolls in. I’ve been sketching out some ideas for a new painting which I hope to start today. Inspiration is here with spring in the air! Happy weekend to all.