Cardinal in the Tree is a painting that I recently completed. I’ve done many dove and crow paintings with the sun or moon in the scene and I got the idea to try my hand at creating a similar whimsical painting of a song bird. I chose the cardinal since I felt like using bright red paint.
We have a couple of cardinal couples that hang out in our yard. One late afternoon while in my husband’s upstairs studio, I looked out the window and saw a beautiful cardinal high up in a tree branch, this surprised me because I hadn’t realized just how tall particular accent tree had gotten. I planted 15 years ago and it has tripled in size.
With that scene in mind, I started the painting. I know that many people think when a cardinal appears it can symbolize a dead loved one is thinking of them. I like that idea and every time I spot a male cardinal, I like to think that my dad is winking at me. He and my mom loved their backyard with all their song birds. I hope all are enjoying this Easter and Passover weekend.
I felt like taking a break from my abstracts to do a still life painting. For several years now, around my Mom’s birthday, I have painted one of her pitchers in her honor. I skipped this year as her birthday was in January, but recently I’ve been clearing out many of her antique items from the estate which we’d kept all these years. I’ve sold some of the silver and have taken boxes of tinware and depression glass over to the Treasure Mart, a local consignment shop. This has gotten me feeling quite sentimental.
I’ve kept her small silver-plated pitcher which does not have much value, but I love the shape. It was down in our dining room and I thought to myself I’m going to do one more pitcher painting in honor of Mom. I also liked the challenge of trying to depict silver. Since we are in the heat of summer, I chose sunflowers. I’ve been thinking and appreciating my three sisters lately and thus I chose four flowers symbolizing the four daughters that Mom had.
It was a fun painting to do and now I’m starting a new painting with the same pitcher next to my cat Tuxie to add to my cat still-life series.
After learning last week that because dragonflies zig and zag about, they symbolize flexibility and the need for a fresh perspective I was inspired to do a painting with a dragonfly focus. I then decided to check out the meaning of the number 4 since I had painted 4 dragonflies circling the sun in the earlier painting. The number four is symbolic of stability, order and structure. The year 2020 adds up to four and it’s interesting that our structures and foundations are somewhat shaky now and need transformation with all that’s going on.
Four Dragonflies is the result. I chose to have the dragonflies rising up in a spiral and decided each one would represent one of the four elements: earth, water, air and fire which helped me with the the composition and transitions. I’m not quite sure how successful it is but it was fun to paint, I loved playing with the swirls of color, trying to make it work. Well hang in there everyone, we will get through this.
Black Panther is a new painting for my large jungle cat collection. I wanted him to look powerful as he prowls through the rainforest on a full moon night contrasting with the colorful foliage surrounding him.
The panther is a general term for a large black feline. In Asia, they are solid black leopards, while in the Americas they are black jaguars. Their color caused by genetics in which the normal orange spots are black, making them extremely rare. Panthers are intelligent and agile and seldom seen by humans as they are very quiet and cautious.
In reading about the symbolism of the panther I learned that the panther is closely associated with the power of night and the dark moon. It is the symbol of a protective mother. The panther spirit animal stands for power and protection.
Though it’s the end of summer, here in Atlanta we’ve had hot dry weather for weeks now, I’m more than ready for fall to arrive. I hope all are enjoying the last days of the season.
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.
Twin Fairies is my third attempt at painting twins and I think the most successful. As I have written on my about page, I have an identical twin sister and we are the youngest in our family. My parents had an eight and four year old when we came along. They were busy with the older daughters, so the two of us were left on our own and played together all the time. We actually developed our own language and I can remember being in our own imaginary world pretending to be animals, fairies, etc. If you were to see our baby photos, we actually looked like chubby cherubs with curly hair.
My Mom was born in the early 20’s and when she was a child, her mom gave her illustrated prints of little fairies and children that were popular during that time period. Mom kept them and they hung in our bedrooms growing up. We loved them, they were magical and fun to look at. I wanted this painting to have a bit of that dreamy, magical style.
Beloved Sam is a new painting that I just completed for a birthday gift for Lauri Shock. Her husband, Billy Howard contacted me after receiving a note card of mine with the image of Adele’s Cats from a mutual friend. Billy asked if he could buy the original since one of the cats reminded them of their Sam who had recently passed away to give to Laurie on her birthday. Since I didn’t have the original I offered to do a new similar painting for him. He liked that idea and sent me his Medium Post, Sam the Cat, which has some lovely photos of Sam.
It was my first commissioned painting and I was a bit nervous, but Billy said that they liked my style of using bright colors so I went with it. I chose my mom’s stangl pitcher that looked a bit like one in the photos. With Sam, I accented his green eyes and white patch that they loved about him. I put a painting behind the flowers of birds flying as a symbol of Sam’s spirit being freed.
Sam showed up one day and became theirs when he was about a year old and for 15 years his quirky personality brought them joy daily. It was a pleasure painting Sam. I was touched by Billy’s thoughtfulness of wanting to do this for Lauri’s birthday gift. What a wonderful idea in helping them to honor Sam’s memory.
This week I felt like painting something light hearted so I chose Ganeshas my subject. Ganesh is one of the most worshiped gods of the Hindu Religion. He helps to destroy selfishness and vanity and to remove obstacles in one’s path. He brings good luck and fortune as he represents the material universe with all it’s many manifestations. His elephant head represents super intelligence, his one tusk represents being focused and his large tummy symbolizes digesting both the good and bad peacefully.
One of my sisters who has an elephant collection has always liked Ganesh. Years ago I made her a papier mache bowl with a painting of Ganesh on it. She still has it and it makes me feel good whenever I go up to visit her and see it. Her partner liked the white elephant that I painted last year and mentioned that he would like a Ganesh note card to give to his Indian friends at work, so that’s the plan. I’ll make some note cards of this to give to him for Christmas.
It seems to me that Ganesh knows how to relax and enjoy life, which helps to bring good luck. That is something we westerners could learn and benefit from. Here in Georgia the schools have already started up in what used to be the lazy last days of summer. In our home, my husband has just gotten a large job and will be working like crazy all month so we’ll just have to make do and relax when we can. I hope that everyone can carve out some relaxing time during these last days of Summer.
The Brothers is new painting of mine, a portrait of our two cats. Truffle and Tuxie were rescue kitties from a feral mother that we adopted six years ago. We just love them and their very different personalities.
Tuxie, pictured on the bottom is full of energy and a terrific hunter. I can’t recall all the times he’s brought chipmunks into the house. We usually catch them and put the little critters back outside much to Tuxie’s dismay. Tuxie is always letting Truffle know who is boss until Truffle can’t take it any more and goes after him. Truffle, pictured on top is a gentle soul, for although he’s afraid to sit in our laps, he soaks up affection and would happily be pet for hours. He is large and chubby; I had to stop leaving dry food out for he ate his and Tuxie’s portion.
I’m pleased with the painting and feel that I captured them pretty well. When Tuxie was about a year old, he came home with a broken tail which was very traumatic for him and us. We weren’t sure if he would have get the tail cut off but luckily it healed and now he has this quirky curl. He loves to lay on his back and lift his paws to get affection. He’s so adorable. Truffle lounges around curled up sleeping most the day. He, unlike quirky Tuxie, has perfect tuxedo cat markings. I used the cooler peaceful colors around Truffle since he is sensitive and mellow.
The painting also shows the lush colors of the southern summer. We’ve had a rainy few weeks here as summer began, the garden is doing well. There’s an overflow of zucchini and the tomatoes are almost ripe. I hope everyone is having a good start to the season!
Jungle Elephant is a new painting in my jungle animal series for my Heni’s Happy Paintings Etsy shop. He is a royal white elephant walking up through the bamboo forest in Northern Thailand. The white elephant is considered sacred and a symbol for royal power there.
Years ago when my husband and I were hiking in Northern Thailand we kept noticing large round holes on the trail, after a while it dawned on us these holes were elephant tracks. The sun filtered lush bamboo forests are lovely and it was quite an adventure even though we never saw the elephants. I put in a full moon in this painting, as a fun memory of an experience we had in Chaing Mai. One evening we were eating at an outdoor cafe when I looked up and noticed the full moon that was being eclipsed, a large shadow was crossing it. I tried to motion to our server to let her know and she smiled and said “moon” probably thinking that I was pointing out the full moon, not realizing that a lunar eclipse was happening. The area was filled with people eating and strolling and it seemed we were the only ones aware of the eclipse. It was such a magical evening.
I painted this royal white elephant for my sister who has a collection of white elephants. She was the one that inspired us to travel to Southeast Asia. She had traveled through Thailand after her stint with the Peace Corps in the Solomon Islands. I’m so glad she gave us the idea. The year we spent traveling was such an enriching experience. It helped me view life and art in a more holistic way. Thanks Melissa!