Air Element is the final painting of my element series, it joins the water, earth and fire paintings that I’d done in the last few months. I spent a week just mulling over how to show the air element in a painting. I thought about doing a sky scene with butterflies or some sort of birds flying about. I researched air elemental myths, they are called sylphs, from what I could tell these beings look like wispy cirrus clouds and move about through wind currents helping to clean the air. I liked that idea. Once I thought of wind currents, I decided to have flying birds in the painting.
One thing I love about painting is it inspires me be more observant. That evening as I walked through my neighborhood, I kept looking at the sky and noticing the dramatic clouds as the sun sunk lower. At one point I stopped and watched several swallows feasting on insects as they swooped through the air way up in the sky. I figured that was a sign and chose to do an evening scene with swallows and sylphs.
Swallows with their streamlined bodies and pointed wings are agile flyers adapted to feeding on flying insects. They mate for life and in modern times, the swallow is usually seen as a symbol of peace, respect, love, and loyalty. I painted the sky just prior to sunset with the clouds starting to light up and the sky darken and the wispy sylphs in the air currents while swallows soar through the air.
Lamb in the Meadow is a painting I completed this week for my twin sister to use as an illustration for her devotional. My friend, who is an excellent graphic artist and an experienced self-publisher is working with her to format the devotional for publishing. She had the idea to include illustrations in grey-tone from some of my paintings on the pages with the chapter headings and such.
For one of the sections, my sister wanted a lamb laying in the meadow along a path in the same style as Fox in the Hillside, a painting I’d done years ago. It took me a while to sketch out the lamb in a relaxed manner but once I got that done, it was fun to look back at the fox painting to get the same elements of the flowers and sun.
The book is coming together:, she’s completed the editing and they are almost done with the formatting. I have a few more images to paint for them which I’m hoping to finish this weekend. Because it is a daily devotional, she has decided to publish in early fall so people will be able to have it in time for the new year. I’m so impressed with her writings and just how professional it is looking. It’s all very exciting and I’m happy to be involved.
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.
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.
In continuing the outer space theme, I chose to paint Mars. This idea came into my mind last week with all the news on the mars rover landing. I didn’t read or watch too much about it, but I did watch a video of the moment the rover landed when all the scientists and engineers at NASA stood up and cheered excited about their accomplishment. These moments in time seem to connect us all.
Mars is the fourth planet from the sun and so I painted a small sun as if one was looking from mars. Mars is named after the male Roman god of passion and war and is the ruling planet of the sun sign of Aries. Mars is known as the red planet because it appears as an orange red star in the sky. From the close-up photos we can see that mars has a rusty color due to the iron in the soil.
I chose the bright red color to help make the painting strong and graphic. While I used lots of circles and curves, I also included stronger triangle shapes to bring in the male aspect. One of the first abstracts I did last year named Dragons is a favorite of mine, beginner’s luck. In this painting I wanted to play with similar forms.
I’m pleased, it was fun to paint and is quite dramatic, like the planet mars, itself.
Sun with Two Black Holes is my painting for this week. As you can see, I have stayed with the sun theme and am also continuing to try to get a more spatial feel in the paintings. I used the black holes to bring in more atmosphere. The black color added a nice depth and provides contrast to the other colors.
I think black holes are fascinating, A black hole is caused by a star imploding on itself, if I understand it correctly. They have dense gravitational force that pulls objects in. There is no light within the black hole. I seem to remember from science fiction films that one can travel through time within a black hole. There’s so much to learn about space, both inner and outer. With all the hoopla on mars this week, I may paint mars next.
This weekend I get to spend time with my niece who is pregnant with her first baby at an outdoor baby shower. I’m so excited, my sister and other niece will also be there. I haven’t seen them since the pandemic started. We’ll all be wearing masks and social distancing which will be a bit strange. I just couldn’t pass up the chance to see my niece pregnant; her baby is due in late March. Hope everyone enjoys the weekend.
Sun #2 is my new painting for this week. Last week’s painting, El Sol, looked flat to me. so I decided to paint another, this time trying to get a more three dimensional feeling. It’s an imaginary sun with different solar system of planets revolving around it. I worked on the painting for a number of days and almost gave up on it. Luckily, I was able to push through and am pleased with how it turned out. I like the dynamic feeling and the sense of space.
We had couple of mild days here that uplifted my spirits. It was pleasant hearing the birds sing and children laugh while playing as I went on my walks. A few neighborhood friends dropped by for enjoyable afternoon gatherings in our front yard which was a needed break from this isolating COVID-19 time. Now the rain has come through and cold weather is back. I love the warm days we get here in Georgia in later winter; it means spring will be here soon. Happy Valentine’s Day weekend!
It’s a new year and I’m back to painting. El Sol is new abstract. I started with the large sun in the center and went from there; it’s not my favorite but it’s good to be back in the saddle. There is a certain resistance that sets in as weeks go by without painting, so I’m happy to have started up again. I got the idea to paint the sun after the last painting ,Orbs in Space, when a Facebook friend suggested I paint stars. I decide to start with painting our star that gives us life here on earth. This painting is actually my second attempt as the first one started to look overdone. I do like the second one better, it’s a happy painting with the bright warm colors.
This year is looking brighter. My daughter finally was able to fly to Vancouver for her graduate program at University of British Columbia. After a two-week quarantine, she’s settling in to her new home and is able to see a few of her fellow students that she’s gotten to know online though her classes. She’s texted me some photos of a trail where she jogs, a beautiful wooded trail just minutes from her dorm. We’re happy for her and glad that she’s been able to get back to some sense of normalcy.
With more time to paint now, I have a goal of doing art each day to keep the momentum going. My artist friend and I are going to help each other by texting each other an image of our progress each day. I hope each of you are having a good start to the year and I look forward to seeing your posts.
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.