King Elephant is a painting I made in June around Father’s Day. I woke up one morning and decided to paint a large African elephant. Only afterwards did I realize it was a compliment painting to the Mom and Baby Elephant that I had done four years prior when my daughter was about to start her freshmen year of college. She graduated from college this May. He is the father elephant. I love it when it’s only later my conscious mind catches up to my impulse to paint a subject, that’s part of the magic of art. I had been thinking of how hard my husband worked those four years to support her financially and also that he was there for her, always believing in her and supporting her ability to forge her own path.
I chose the name “King Elephant” after a game that our extended family used to play whenever we got together during the holidays and summer beach trips. Everyone would play including my parents and the young children. My brother-in-law would always start the game as the lead King Elephant. We all loved playing it.
With the advent of the “me too” movement and seeing the misuse of power by men in politics and other areas, it is heartening to see that that my husband and brother-in-laws have done their best to be balanced good men; involved and supportive dads and husbands. I appreciate them and all the men that strive to be aware and balanced.
I’ve painted Brooklyn Bridge View in honor of my daughter who is graduating from New York University in just a few weeks. These four years have zipped by quickly and I wanted this painting to serve as a memory. It is loosely based on a photo of our girl taken when we were visiting New York City the summer after her fourth grade year. We did a lot of fun tourist things that included taking a ferry tour around Manhattan.
Our girl loved New York City and on her “back to school” report in 5th grade, she wrote about her “Favorite Place.” Here is the first line from her essay, “People are moving, some rushing to get to a place, others strolling along, not in a big hurry. It’s really crowded, each person is different in NYC. New York City is my favorite place, it’s famous for so many different things…”
At that point in time I realized what a good little writer she was and that her Montessori education had been perfect for her. How lucky she was to have had such amazing and dedicated teachers. Her public education all the way through high school served her very well.
Back on that ferry, we never suspected she would attend college in NYC; but, she made it happen and has loved every minute of being there. She discovered linguistics and luckily, New York University has an excellent program where she is about to receive her degree. After a year break she plans to continue with graduate school This summer she landed a very competitive internship at Harvard where she’ll be assisting a PhD student on a research project in their linguistics lab.
We leave for NYC next week, my three sisters and her uncle and cousin are joining us to celebrate her graduation. We are all excited and happy for this major milestone. It will be fun to see her walk the stage at Radio City Music Hall and later to stand up at Yankee Stadium. My husband and I are so very proud of her and her accomplishments and are happy for this next stage in her life!
Jellyfish Bloom is a painting that I’ve just completed for my sea life series. I chose to paint a bloom of jellyfish for a couple of reasons. First, they are beautiful translucent ocean creatures which I thought would be an interesting challenge to try to capture. The second and main reason was the jellyfish has been on my mind is because they simply float through water getting all their needs met, their venomous tentacles stun their prey and also protect them from predators.
Lately I’ve been feeling that I need to chill more, honor my own boundaries and get back into what I enjoy most – painting. Last fall I worked long hours on a couple of projects in an effort to bring in more money with my art. I have to say all that expenditure of energy and work did not pay off too well. The online art shop was fun to create and I enjoyed learning a bit of Photoshop but I need to market it for the shop to be seen and I’m not sure if anyone really needs another mug, t-shirt, etc.
So I’m going to float like a jellyfish and let new ideas come to light that will be a better match for my art and also bring money in.
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.
It’s been a busy season, a couple of Sundays ago we had the yearly neighborhood artist holiday open house at my home. I enjoy decorating my home as it gets me into the Christmas spirit. Several artist friends and their lovely art fill the downstairs during the show. It was a sunny mild day with lots of people stopping by; everyone seemed to do well. The following Monday I took time to restock my framed prints over at the Flying Biscuit Cafes.
Now I’m back to painting. I’ve just completed Leo the Lion. I had painted the Lion’s Gatea while back but this time I wanted to paint a large lion as if the solar light was shining on and from him. The sun rules Leo and the Lion is it’s symbol. I have a good friend, a Leo who is having serous health issues. I admire his strength, to me, he seems gallant the way he has handled his degenerative illness and continues to be present and loving with his family.
Many years ago on Christmas, my twin sister and I received the set of books, The Chronicles ofNarnia by C.S. Lewis which we read over the winter break. Both of us loved the series as the writing was imaginative and magical. I especially loved the Aslan, the lion. He was the majestic guide, strong and kind. I pictured him in my mind as he took the children for rides on his back. How safe and secure they felt. In the film that came out a few years back, the lion was much smaller than I imagined. The lion I painted is how I see him.
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.