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!
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 completedTiggy, another new cat painting. In December when I was working out how I was going to paint Katniss, the last painting, I sketched out a cat laying on the page. Once I saw the photo of Katniss sitting on the wall, I decided to put the first cat sketch aside and do a new sketch of her sitting. My daughter, who was home for the holidays at the time, suggested I use that first sketch to paint our beloved cat, Tiggy. So, that’s what I’ve done and this painting is for her.
Tiggy and his sister came into our family when they were tiny kittens. We got them from our neighbor for our daughter who was three at the time. They grew up together. Tiggy was a wonderful cat, loving and patient. Through the years he was patient and present with all the kids who came in and out and he loved our daughter. He also loved being outdoors,spending hours outside laying in the front yard. Neighbors walking by would stop to pet him. He was majestic and kind to all, everyone knew him. Here’s a picture of my daughter with Tiggy.
A few years after we lost Tiggy’s sister, we brought home two new tuxedo kittens,Tuxie and Truffle. It took him a month to adjust but he soon became like a father to them; again, he was patient and kind. At thirteen, he became ill and we knew it was near the end, but he still loved laying outside. He died a week after our girl graduated from high school. It was almost as if he waited for that, he actually went up into her bedroom and passed away. I think of Tiggy as such an evolved being and know he’s somewhere up in heaven where all our beloved pets go. That’s why I did the fanciful background as if he is in a heavenly sphere.
Here is my new cat painting, Katniss which I plan to give to my chiropractor. Back in April when I had just started seeing him for my neck issue I brought him a few of my note cards which included some of the cat images. He then told me about their big, beautiful tabby cat, Katniss that he and his wife adore. He saw me once of week for several weeks and generously gave me a price cut. He is a true healer and helped me get through the six months of my slow recovery which I so appreciated. I decided to thank him with a portrait of Katniss.
I tried to capture her look from the photos of her he had emailed me. This image is from their neighbor’s back patio wall. I liked the composition and how it showed her adorable plump look. I’m going to bring the painting with me to my next appointment in in early February. I am hoping that they like the painting of their much loved kitty.
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.