Inspired by a Michelangelo sculpture, this painting expresses the earnestness of the soul as it reaches towards the light of the Divine. In my view, grapes represent abundance...and so life's cup overflows. The hand portrays contrasting gentleness and strength. I feel hands are expressive of one's emotions.
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The small village of Benton City runs parallel to the Yakima river's banks. This arid and often dry climate, is made lush and vibrant by the nourishment of the river. In the autumn it is a joy to drive along DeMoss Road and observe the abundance of fowl nesting and thriving. One day I observed large birds in the trees preening. And then there was this egret, standing in the marshes by a natural spring. Undoubtedly she was searching for the evening's meal. The area was alive with the colors of autumn.
Our lives are full of golden moments - joys shared with those we love, magical words between friends, and smiles between strangers. It becomes a dance or interplay between souls—moving in harmony, dipping together, spinning about. These bobbing heads tell such a story. The center one looking forward, beckons you to join in. Do you hear the melody?
The ladies of Summer move to quiet rhythms. Their petals jostle about like fluffy petticoats on voluptuous women. Dancing uninhibited and partnered with golden skylight, they move to the syncopated beat the wind provides. Can you feel the movement?
Sun above, sun below...glimmer of sky peeking through. These petal shaped rays of vibrant gold and orange surround and support the center. The spiraling movements mirror a souls journey through life—reaching, touching, connecting, seeking.
This painting started as a companion piece to the previous posting "Windows of the Soul". Sunflowers lived in my studio for a while - in their normal spot on the still life table...their heads turned from me in such a coy and aloof manner. Below them a bright head screamed for attention. Look at me! She was hiding just beneath the other's sage toned leaf. The entire image was stylized a bit, emphasizing a much happier feeling than the last painting. And the white dove was added upon the suggestion of my student. The entire painting reveals such strong feelings of peace and joy. Does the dominant flower remind you of the Statue of Liberty's torch held upright—imprisioned lightning?
Petals dance about. They sway to a quiet symphony as heads nod and leaves whisper gentle reminders to each other. "Remember what it was like when we were young, the games we played in cool grasses as the shadows grew long? When family gathered around the table--the day's stories complete and supper's nourishment absorbed." Family memories are as long as the roads to return there and as deep as the pool of my soul. They guide me through the days now, their soft voices mumble--catching me unawares. It's as though I paint from the places of my past - I'm sitting in the back yard with palette held in young fingers, paint sloshed about, images created. And so the evolution of this flower seems to encompass this passage of time and the various stages of life. The large flower, strong-young-energetic reaches toward the sun. It caresses and protects the other two which are still quite lovely, but losing their vibrancy...allowing space for the wilting flowers to dip gracefully to the soil. They look sad, but life is sometimes sad. It's the opposition in all things that makes us appreciate the good. And dying is a part of living, right?
Perhaps these images evoke something different in you. I would welcome your stories.
Here is another hand painting in another format. This one represents the healing power in us all. My image honors the Soaring Crane method of Qigong--a mind-body practice and a self-initiated moving meditation. Here the hand becomes the bird. A drawing together, and development of healing.
Early in the year I painted a 3 part series devoted to my love of stained glass and my artist friends who so lovingly create them. One of my friends would privately recite a "love mantra" to herself as she placed each piece into the growing image. What a wonderful skill - to take things that are whole, break them into small pieces, and then place them back together--creating an entirely new image and work of art. Once broken--now whole.
These 3 small paintings (each measuring 4x4) are first scratched using a sharp tool, then painted and gloss varnished. In a black frame they are unified, mounted on an eggplant colored mat, each surrounded by a black fillet. As paintings, do they call to mind the luminescence of glass?
All the varied nuances of the artichoke come to light in this small painting. This globe with it's pine cone appearance is a perennial in the thistle group of the sunflower family. The "vegetable" that we eat is actually the plant's flower bud. If allowed to flower, the blossoms measure up to seven inches in diameter and are a beautiful violet-blue color. It probably resembles the musk-thistle, considered a noxious weed in many states.
What is this happy golden retriever thinking as gazes into your eyes in such a loving manner. A piece of grass was plucked from his chin, as he settled into this comfortable pose. "What are they going to feed me? My family surrounds me and I love them so much!" He was a special pet in the lives of our family friend's, coming to stay with us when they were out of town. His name was Kiowa, named after a small town in Colorado where he was born.
The day waned into the afternoon, as the sun began to cast long slanting rays across the land. What a spectacular view, as the landscape took on a jewel-like quality. It shone like a thousand tiny diamonds, even the grasses seemed to vibrate. Painting on site wasn't an option, so my camera kept the image alive a while longer. Later during isolated studio time, it was ressurected on the clayboard surface. And through all that shimmering, the sounds of water, breeze, rustle of brush and bird calls awakened again the joy I felt at the time.
This second painting in the black clayboard series, shows the beauty of autumn along the Yakima River in Benton City. Skeletal trees embrace the banks of the river, their fringe of cheat grasses and cattails add a decorative element.
This starts a small series, created by scratching into black clayboard and then applying light passages of watercolor tints. The inspiration was a photo of a towering pine tree that I saw while visiting Birch Bay up by Bellingham, Washington. The mighty tree was a strong presence during my stay there.
This image was revised from an earlier painting titled "Love in Three Movements". It is a triptych bolted together to form one painting. The center 12"x12" canvas sits slightly higher than the other two. So what is going on here? A month ago I contemplated doing illustrations for story books. This represents a more illustrative quality than others I have done. The fish represent the yin and yang in us all and demonstrates how love involves so much balance and reveals truth. It is truly what makes the world go around.
This was painted in the fall of last year. I now realize I hadn't posted it earlier. The still life was staged in the studio and the pears that had been there didn't make the final painting--they started to decay. So the small leaf on the far left was added instead. I call it my still life landscape. I had planned to add more sky and hillsides in the background, but decided to keep it simple.
6" x 24"
Oil on Cradled Gessobord
*Note: this painting won the second place prize at the Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts, Joseph OR, June 2008
I met Sam, a friendly black labrador, early last year. His owners commissioned me to paint his likeness as a way of honoring the love of a faithful friend. They lost him a few months after the painting was completed.
This eager fellow of lab descent hungrily awaits the bone offered him. Started as a loose oil sketch on golden gessoed masonite, it quickly arrived into finished form. I plan to do another with full paint regalia. Steps are being taken towards my goal of many pet portraits. Perhaps a "dog a day"?