My new painting, White Tailed Buck is of a regal adult male deer. I’ve worked on it consistently for the past two weeks, it took time to blend the colors of the deer’s coat. The late spring forest foliage behind the buck was inspired from my daily walks. I love looking at how the light falls on the various tree leaves and branches. I’ve tried to do it justice in this painting. Here in Atlanta, we have many majestic deciduous trees growing in our environment that we tend to take for granted. Luckily, my neighborhood has many and I sure hope it stays that way as the ranch house expansion renovations continue.
Last year, at mid-morning, a large eight-point buck leapt into our wooded back yard, the tall fence was no issue. I watched him from my studio window as he strolled across stopping to snack on leaves. He then leapt into my neighbor’s yard. Occasionally, I’ll see deer at dusk over closer to a church yard that has a large, wooded area with a stream and protected flood plain. I had never seen one here and wondered what got him over our way.
The buck symbolizes the male aspect of the deer, speed, stamina, grace and regeneration since the antlers grow back each year. The antlers grow up above the head bringing it closer to the sky and making it sacred. In many cultures, the deer buck is a symbol of spiritual authority.
Raccoon by the Creek is a new painting for my wildlife series. I started with the idea to paint a raccoon and use yellow in the background color. In my recent wildlife paintings I’ve decided to be a bit more graphic and less whimsical. I included the trees in the background since they live in forests. It was fun to paint, playing with the blacks and grays and whites and to get his eyes to show through the mask. I like the way he turned out, he’s cute just like raccoons are.
Some fun facts about raccoons are that they are nocturnal and have excellent night vision, the black mask absorbs light, which helps them with glare. They are agile, their fronts paws are dexterous and actually look and work like slender human hands. They seem to wash their food prior to eating. They are intelligent and like to play. Raccoons symbolize wisdom, being resourceful and playfulness. In some cultures they are tricksters because they can be sneaky and steal food from others.
Earth with Moon is a new painting for my abstract series in space. Over the past few years I had painted most of the planets in our solar system. This week, the idea came to me that I should add the earth to complete the series. I decided to include the moon and made the earth large with the moon shining up above. The sunlight pours in from the left contrasting with the darkness of the space. It’s a bit different from the other paintings, less abstract.
This painting was challenging, there are several layers of paint, I started with light colored curving strokes and spirals adding the earth and moon expanding circles of light but it looked chaotic. It only came together once I made the earth and moon more solid and darkened the space between. I found it a bit more challenging to play with making it as abstract as I see the moon in the darkness of night and know that earth spins with the blue oceans, green and sand colored land masses with white clouds swirling above. It works somewhat but I might play with doing another one down the road.
I’ve painted many dolphins over the years and this week was inspired to paint a new one which I’ve titled Two Sunlit Dolphins. I like painting double fish because it reminds me of my relationship with my twin sister. We are identical and born during the double fish sign of Pisces. I don’t remember not knowing how to swim, we spent our summers swimming every day. On our family beach vacations we looked for dolphins out in the waves and were thrilled when spotting them. I love the way dolphins always seem happy and carefree.
I had done a painting of two dolphins in the moonlight so I decided with this painting to make it a day time scene. I enjoyed figuring out how to show the sunlight and using my favorite aqua green colors. It’s a fun light painting that I think works pretty well.
Squirrels in Spring is my most recent painting, A few years ago I painted a lone squirrel on a tree branch with the brilliant fall foliage that I had seen from my upstairs studio window. This time around I thought it would be fun to do a spring scene with more than one squirrel.
With spring is in full force here in Atlanta, all the squirrels are busy scampering through the trees like acrobats. I imagine they are happy with the cold weather gone and are enjoying the abundant food sources. The other day I saw a mom run over to rescue her young one who cried out for her as my cat looked on from our screened porch. She carried her from the nape of the young one’s neck and quickly disappeared under a fence into my neighbor’s yard. On my walk I counted nine busy squirrels in a tree shaded front yard, This time of year I also notice the lovely bright light greens of the new leaves contrasted with the tree trunks and limbs in the sunlight. So beautiful. I tried to reflect this in my my painting.
My twin sister likes the symbol of the industrious and social squirrel which is another reason I chose to do this painting, as I am rotating an abstract with my more “realistic” paintings. There is such a strong force of life this time of year in nature, I hope all are enjoying the season.
Alice’s Horse is a new abstract painting that I’ve done for my sister. She wanted one of my abstract paintings but one with muted colors that differ from my usual jewel colored space abstracts; one that would fit in with her open living space of their relatively new home. The painting is on 22″ by 33″ watercolor paper, I had not painted in this large scale for several years. In some ways it’s more freeing to paint with large strokes; I enjoyed it and I plan to do more.
My older sister took horse back riding lessons and was a natural, My dad got a beautiful horse named Scarlet for her and our family that he kept at a friend’s countryside place in Seal, Alabama. It seemed like every weekend throughout the year we were out there playing in the countryside. Alice spent many days riding Scarlet. I thought it would be meaningful for her to include a horse in the abstract landscape. Doing this painting brought back many happy memories of our times there. It got me thinking of a few more ideas of new paintings in the style to complete a series.
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!
Infinity is my new abstract painting. I chose to paint the infinity loop as I had been reading of how the infinity sign is a loop going back and forth continuously while the center point is still, which I thought was interesting.
In the painting I kept with the theme of swirls of jewel toned colors and spheres of various colors and sizes. I painted the infinity sign looping in the center with the still point centered which I played with a spiral coming out.
I’m shifting gears this week to paint a bear and then will paint another abstract with a different color palate. I think it will be helpful to change things up a bit.
I think some of my best paintings have been the one’s when I paint with love in my heart. I painted George Washington’sPortrait in memory of my Mom. It was fun to paint while thinking about her. Mom was very patriotic; she loved American history and early American antiques. I have many childhood memories of our family driving out to the small towns that dotted the countryside and spending what seemed like eternity waiting around at antique shops while my mom shopped. Our house was filled with antiques that she had picked up over the years.
My twin sister and I were born the day after George Washington’s birthday on February 23rd. Every year not only did I have to share my birthday with my twin, but also with him. Our birthday party themes always centered around George Washington. There was the cake with pink frosting and cherries. Little papier mache hatchets; tree stumps; George Washington busts; and miniature red, white, and blue drums adorned the dining room table. In my twenties I was pretty angry about that. Years later, now that I am a mom too, I realize how creative my Mom was and how it must of been fun and enriching for her to do. So this painting is a thank you to my Mom for her creative example and her taking time to follow her own passions. I like the way he looks just a little bit conflicted. Happy President’s Day!
This is a repost from Presidents Day from 2013 when I had just begun to blog. It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging since 2012.
I’ve just competed a new abstract painting titled, Inner Space. I liked the complexity of the last abstract painting, Outer Space, with the many colored spheres of various sizes and wanted to continue with that idea.
I follow the Design in Nature Facebook group and love looking at the various images posted on their page. Every so often an incredible image of a magnified leaf or flower will show up on my feed. Nature provides us with beautiful organic designs. Some of these images look a bit like space with the tiny particles and wave like lines.
I decided to imagine that I was painting a microscopic organic structure so small that I could see particles and waves. I enjoyed making the waves look like tree branches dividing and as they moved through space getting smaller. Perhaps because on my winter walks it’s hard not to notice all the many tress here with the intricate branch patterns. I used a lot of paint and played with the various sized particles to give it a spacious feeling. It was fun to do.
We’re enjoying a mild winter here, after surviving the record breaking frigid winter holiday season. The daffodils are out and the cherry blossoms are just starting. Spring will be here soon.