Happy Chinese New Year! Today we transition from the Rooster, to the Year of the Dog. According to the Chinese zodiac, the Dog has a strong inner life, and a relatively restrained outer lifestyle. More apt to live a serious and careful existence, a Dog is someone who will get the job done but rarely go beyond the scope of what is asked of them. This is because to them, there are more important things to do than spending their time trying to impress others, and they would rather enjoy what they choose to do than sacrifice their freedom for a little monetary gain. Amazingly, the current President of the United States, was born under the Sign of the Dog in 1946. The above description doesn't seem to fit his personality profile at all, but in light of ongoing revelations of promiscuous behavior, one thinks that he definitely could be characterized as a 'dog'. Anyway I got in the wayback machine for the art here today. At the time I was doing people portraits and I swore I would never do animal portraits! Wrong dog breath! As a trade for some energy work, I did a small 8x10 oil sketch of my practitioner's pups: Scotch & Cinder. Note the burnt Sienna tones go well with this year's dog's element (earth). Also at bottom, I did another more fun portrait of her other pet, Wadsworth the goat. An 18 x 24 oil.
Scotch & Cinder 8x10 Oil sketch on canvas board
Wadsworth the Goat 18x24 Oil on canvas
"Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is
simply necessary to love."
-- Claude Monet
Monet's Le Printemps (Springtime) Oil on canvas 1886
In the Celtic calendar, the first of the four fire festivals of the year is Imbolc.
It is celebrated on the 1st or 2nd day of February.
The divinity acknowledged in these early Spring rites is the goddess Brigid, the queen of heaven. She is the greatest of the Celtic divinities and is closely associated with the land. She is the protector of the wells and springs. She is the guardian of nature, and therefore agriculture. As a fertility goddess, Brigid is also the patron of the poets, artists, and others who create. (The word Imbolc means literally "in the belly" in the old Irish Neolithic language.) Hence, her name is invoked at childbirth.
Brigid's protection of agriculture and poetry underscores the need to tend our inner fertility. Tending our forms of creativity is crucial to a fulfilling life. The ancients believed that gifts of expression were only on loan. We are reminded to remain grateful, and to be good custodians of artistic talents.
So, let us honor the Great Mother, the Queen of Heaven.
May we be open to her many gifts of inspiration in this season of renewal.
(Excerpted from Imbolc - A day for the Queen of Heaven by John Young)
Queen of the Heavens 12x12 Acrylic on canvas sheet
Another in the Veil Circle series. The veil is thin and the ground is looking like a rainbow protoplasmic chromosome...
As Above, So Below 12x12 Acrylic and graphite on canvas sheet
This one almost didn't happen. They cut the water to my building just as I was prepping to work. Fortunately I had some bottled water on hand and was able to proceed...
Veil Circle 2 12x12 Acrylic and graphite on canvas sheet
Hatred paralyzes life; Love releases it.
Hatred confuses life; Love harmonizes it.
Hatred darkens life; Love illuminates it.
Martin & Coretta on their wedding day, 1953.
The ox is slow,
but the earth is patient.
-- attributed to Confucius
Following in the footsteps of Light's Return, I've done two new Nocturnes. And like the former they both were done from images that come to me and hang around until I paint them. Persistent little guys, they are, waiting for me to get back to the drawing table after the holidays. Sometimes MUCH longer. (Reminds me of the quote: "The ox is slow, but the earth is patient.") Usually I do landscapes from my photos or occasionally en plain air, but not here. Most of my work is also usually linear oriented, but these scenes at twilight call for a more value based approach, with a less direct approach and more glazing, scumbling and rubbing out. While posting, I just noticed the triangular theme of both paintings. The ascending triangle in Tree reaching to the heavens, and the the descending triangle in Light is the response from above. Lord knows we could use more guiding and healing light in these dark and turbulent times...
Little Christmas Tree at Dusk 6x6 Acrylic on Gessoboard
Light in a Dark Wood 6x6 Acrylic on Canvas board
It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
-- Ursula K. LeGuin
Above, is an unfinished 6x12 plein air painting of a partially frozen Echo Lake at the base of Mount Evans I did years ago. It was a cold, grey, blustery day. A passerby on the trail commented he'd never seen anyone paint with gloves on before. Well, I eventually decided to call it a day when the wind whipped up and blew the canvas off my easel and into the lake! Fortunately I was able to recover it with a long branch and am able to present it to you here today. Yes, it is the journey that matters. And I say persevere! Stay warm out there...
“Blessed is the season which engages
the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
– Hamilton Wright Mabi
In honor of the Solstice, I have two paintings for you. We have had very dry, record warm weather these past few months, but the first day of winter has brought us here in Colorado, a forty degree drop in temperature and some snow! I love the obscuring of the snow. It simplifies and softens the visual world. That was the inspiration for A Trace of Snow, below. And of course the return of the light, for the work on the bottom. The days have metaphorically been pretty dark lately, but I truly believe brighter days for all lie ahead.
A Trace of Snow 12x12 Acrylic on Canvas sheet
Light's Return 12x12 Acrylic on Canvas sheet