Friday, May 31, 2013


I think my commitment for June is going to be to draw 2-5 sketches per day in this little index card sized sketchbook. It is small enough that the big blank page doesn't intimidate me. I think as I gain drawing confidence I'll want to draw bigger. I hope. They don't have to be fancy, they can even just be doodles, but 2-5 pages, every day.

And, I want to paint horses. But at the same time I don't want to be afraid to paint other things.

So a watercolor horse on Aquabord. The gorgeous white horses Crystal Cook paints - and the fact that both my horses are white - have inspired me to try a white horse in watercolor.

I got the shetch done and transferred :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I'm no comic book artist, but last night I got a chance to hang out with four of them:  my friend Joe Emery,Matt Knieling, Kevin Steward and.... sorry, fourth guy, Matt botched the intro so badly that I can't remember your name!

I discovered that I'm definitely not keen on drawing in front of people... I really need to brush up on my drawing skills.

Instead, I watercolored another henna-esque sketchbook page (and made a chainmaille hackey sack).

Do  you dig these?  Should I do them as bigger paintings?
Today I didn't have a lot of art time ... my creativity time slot was taken up with finishing up and mailing out some jewelry orders.  But I stole about 40 minutes to work on the yin/yang piece.

Have you ever tried to draw Vitruvian Man.  Trust me, it sucks.

The green side in this piece (as yet untitled) is meant to represent Body.  Vitruvian man was an obvious choice.   The blue side was supposed to be Mind.  What to use for that?
Ultimately I decided on a Phrenology map.  It's a good bit later than DaVinci but still has that "ancient science" feel, and the 19th century's best efforts to figure out how the mind works.

I had enough time to ink Phrenology Man in on the painting but I decided to leave Vitruvian Man for another day. 

(Particle man, Particle man
I'm reading a book called The Divided Mind that talks about the relationship between Conscious and Unconscious, and their effect on psychosomatic disorders, which it says are FAR more common than contemporary medicine acknowledges.  I was diagnosed with Tension Myositis Syndrome.... my brain is causing all sorts of havoc, symptoms of neck pain, and fibromyalgia-like symptoms.  The good news is, it's not that difficult to cure.  Thus, exploring the Body/Mind relationship in art.  I've come to the conclusion that Mind is not all in your head... we have a sociosensual awareness too with loci throughout the Body.  Did I lose you?  It's cool.  You can read whatever you want into the art, that's the point of it.

Still not sure what I want to do with the space outside the little circles... I thought maybe some Zentangle-y type stuff, but I dunno yet. 

The good news is, I'm back in Art Mode.  Thanks, comic guys!   Looking forward to next time.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


We are all aware of the bias built into the Western idea that the mind is totally in the head, a function of the brain.  But your body is not there just to carry around your head."  -- Dr Candace Pert
On my "currently reading" list (I rarely read one book at a time) are two books.  One was recommended to me by my doctor.  It's called Divided Mind by Dr. John Sarno.  The premise is that for many, many people, the physical symptoms they experience, in a wide range of things from reflux to back/neck pain to fibromyalgia and depression, have their root in the conscious mind trying to suppress "unacceptable" emotions in the unconscious mind. 

I have an odd assortment of symptoms, myself.  Chronic neck pain, occasionally depression, and a host of systemic symptoms that I can't explain.  I asked my doctor whether, if I went to another doctor, he'd be likely to diagnose me with fibromyalgia.  He said, "Not likely... 100%."  He told me that Dr. Sarno's books are the reason he became a doctor, and that I needed some sort of integrative medicine.

The other book, The Tao of Equus by Linda Kohanov, is a re-read for me.  It talks about something she invented called equine-assisted psychotherapy.  Because horses are so attuned to nonverbal cues, they are aware when someone is acting incongruently.... putting on a smile when there is turmoil underneath.  As a result, she uses horses to help people who have spent so long burying their negative emotions that they don't even recognize them anymore.  I fall into this category, for sure.

The two of these books together have connected a lot of dots for me, and I have decided that the way out of pain, for me, encompasses two things.... Art, and also my horses.  I won't go into detail about some of the awesome experiences I've had since I decided to start working with them again.  They are my integrative medicine... physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.

Yesterday this image came to me in meditation.  The concept of Yin and Yang means that things are not black and white.  There is a little of this in that, and a little of that in this.  Dark and light, passive and active, spiritual and physical, female and male.  The intent of this painting is that you cannot separate mental/spiritual from physical.  They both affect one another.  Once you accept everything, there is wholeness... and healing.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Watercolors To Go

"Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul — and you answer.” ~Terri Guillemets
Love that quote.  It's what I believe is the essence of art.  Art isn't about reproducing an image of a thing (at least not anymore, in this age of digital photography and camera phones).  It's about following your soul's music.

Yesterday my son Brandon and I went to Hobby Lobby to find a light for my friend Joe's art table (a birthday present).  We didn't find a good one.  I had to drop Bran off at a doctor's appointment and I was going to run errands while he was there, but something grabbed me and said, Go back to Hobby Lobby, get yourself some watercolors you can take with you and paint on a whim.

So that's what I did.  I picked up this cuuuuuute little paint box (it's less than 6 inches across) by Windsor & Newton.  The really cool thing about it is, if those colors don't jive with the palette I want to use, I can take them out and order different ones to replace them.  Doesn't it look... well, way too pretty and not messy enough, yet. 

Whenever I get new paints I do these little charts.  The cramped little space at the bottom is the new paints.  Even though I have this thing about cake watercolors that says, "those are for kindergartners," these seem to be actually much better quality than anything I currently have in a tube. 

In other incredibly awesome news, my mom is painting now.  She recently retired and is taking a watercolor class.  She's one of those people who wanted to be an artist, and whose parents told her, "Do something practical, I'm not supporting any starving artist."  So she learned to type and spent 50 years doing that.  Now she's answering 'the knocking from her soul,' and I'm so excited for her.  And my son Brandon will be an Art major as of fall.  I'd like to think I had a little to do with inspiring both of them. :)
Two images occurred to me while I was meditating today.  This is the first.  I'm sure you can tell it's going to be a yin/yang symbol.  Green = body, blue = spirit.  That's all I'll say for now, since I only have layer one completed.

The other is a girl on horseback (bareback, but you probably won't be able to specifically see that), obviously at a gallop, but a closeup of her bent over the horse's neck, with mane and hair flying in the wind, intermingled.

I want to do an Equine Tarot, and this latter image may end up becoming one of the cards.  I just haven't decided if I want to do the images in oil, or watercolor.  I am far more adept at oils, but... I dunno.  We'll see who is there when I open the door.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Her Sensual Curves

Well, I decided to work in the kitchen this morning with the sun pouring rainbows through the crystals in my window.  It was kind of nice.

I finally finished this piece, mostly... I played viola in high school and taught myself violin there towards the end of school.  I bought myself a beautiful black violin a couple of years ago but it's on that list of stuff I never seem to get to... maybe one of these days.

Anyway, this was sort of experimental, as it's watercolor on Aquabord.  The jury's still out on the Aquabord... I'll let you know after the next one ;)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Chakras are the subtle energy centers in your body, and you have seven.  They are typcally depicted as different colors.  Your root chakra (the base of your tailbone) is red, sacral chakra (deep in your belly) orange, solar plexus yellow, heart green, throat blue, third eye indigo (sometimes purple), and crown purple (sometimes white, or gold).  When they are open and spinning is when you feel your best.

I wanted to paint a series of small paintings, one for each of the chakras, and hang them vertically on my wall.  I base coated three of them yesterday, but the red one wasn't ready to paint on today so I went with the sacral chakra, whose Sanskrit name is Svadhisthana.  It is the center of physical procreation, controls our maturation and regulates our appetites for food, sex and pleasure.

Why did I start out of order?  Well... the panel for the root chakra wasn't quite dry yet, and besides, today is Beltane... a very appropriate day to be painting my sacral chakra ;)

Besides a color, each chakra is associated with an area of the body, a shape, an element, etc.  Here's the rundown for this one:

Location:  2 inches below the navel and 2 inches into the pelvis.
Color:  Orange
Musical note:  D
Element:  water
Aspect of intelligence:  sensation/pleasure
Essential oils:  jasmine, neroli, orange blossom
Crystals:  carnelian, tiger's eye, some agates
Plant:  Jasmine
Life issues:  to know that who you are and what you do are enough, to have enough rest, food, exercise, fun and money; to not link self worth with what you have; to create healthy boundaries and protect your vital life force
Archetypes:  Empress/Emperor (positive), Martyr (negative)

I may or may not add to this little painting, which I did with impasto henna and oil paint on a little 4 x 4 panel.  It will soon be joined by its other six comrades :)

My 30/30 Marketing challenge for today is to form an artist mentoring group.  So I'll be asking around to see if anyone is interested.