"Beloved Body, Sacred Animal" - mixed media on gallery wrapped canvas, 16" x 40" x 1.5". Ready to hang,
Counting down until Friday night, the opening reception for Blue Wild, a solo show featuring art and a book signing - and where am I? In the studio, painting.
I should be printing labels, buying wine and confirming all the last minute items. I might want to figure out what I'm wearing. Some might say I should sending out e-blasts and tweeting multiple times a day. But no, I am painting.
This piece, a paint over (remember Ivan, Stilted?) called to me in my dreams. It's a big piece for me, but this forest spirit wanted to be painted and who am I to refuse the muse? It all started with an article I read about being sensitive and loving our bodies.
And ok yes, I've read and heard that bit of wisdom before. But this particular piece described our bodies as a sacred animal, sent to serve us for our entire lives. As a sacred animal, it deserves a bit of awe, reverence and respect. I thought immediately of all the wisdom, spiritual connection and energy I feel from totem and spirit animals. Think of how you feel when you see a moose, a bear, a whale...that sense of hush and pause and wonder. That - that I believe is what the writer intended us to feel when thinking of our beloved bodies. And I hadn't thought of it that way before.
If I think of my body as a sacred animal....it changes everything. Imagining myself as a mystical horned creature in the deep woods of the pacific northwest, and I feel wise and strong and calm. I want to adorn my antlers with beads and feathers, paint symbols on my chest and run wild through thundering waterfalls and between towering trees. I hear the drums calling me.
Oh, and the phone. The painting done, I take one last look at the forest behind me and plunge into my to-do list.
"Starry Night" - mixed media on cradled board, 12" x 12". Ready to hang. Click here to purchase this piece on Artfinder.
Supermoon week and our eyes are turned toward the sky (ok, and toward Facebook where folks have posted the most amazing moon pics). There is something about the energy of this moon, which is in Taurus, which is comforting and grounding. Big changes may be coming, but our practical side will take charge and see us through, even if things feel a little emotional along the way.
This week I found myself thinking over what a wild ride 2016 has been, even as we rocket into the holidays at lightning speed. And for some reason, my heart is drawn again and again to the "Catch a Falling Star" piece which is in her forever home in across the pond.
Last evening, I was delighted to attend a demonstration by an artist, Teresa Kirk, (Check her out here) who delights my sense of sisterhood every time I see her. This girl has a huge headdress full of sparkling stars winking at everyone she sees. By headdress I mean, of course, a wildly wonderful shock of hair and attitude of joy which illuminates it. :) The pure joy the audience felt watching her work her magic on aquabord is a glistening reminder of the beauty we create inside when we come together for the fun of creating something outside.
Before we go any further...let's remember where this all started five months ago...here are the "before" pictures:
After my initial consultation with Danielle at GetNEAT, I was given homework: sort and purge all of my supplies, remove everything from the room and paint the walls. So I did. Now back to our story....
Let's take a look at the things I love - those rolling carts underneath the counter are filled with wrapped paintings. So easy to move them out, sort through them and roll them back into place. The counter is perfect for pieces in process, and there is a little metal bar across the back which is fun for hanging inspiration images and things I need to quickly grab.
I cannot wait to get back to work in my revamped space, which feels three times as large since the renovation. There is room to grow and space to breathe with everything light and bright and cheery. I got my wish today!
Ever so grateful to Danielle at GetNEAT (check out her amazing services here). We used her NEAT Office service for this makeover, and spent a lot of time thinking about what worked, what didn't work in the space and what needed to happen for it to feel just right. It was MUCH easier than I expected, so now I am looking at my bookkeeping and saying hmmmm...maybe NEAT Books is next?
"Earth Mother" and "Shaman" - mixed media on reclaimed wood. Each 18" x 7". Ready to hang.
It's been a week of little epiphanies.
My husband gave me some wise words this morning. He advised me not to be "the lead pony" on a metaphorical wagon. Sometimes it takes me several smacks on the head before something sinks in, but the visual on this one resonated right away. I think he was suggesting I choose to be in the second or third row of ponies in this metaphor, but I started smiling as I imagined myself the lone horse trailing behind the wagon on a single lead. Just the mental picture made me relax, laugh a bit and decide to trail behind the wagon for the day. It was delightful.
Then I came across this beauty in the Facebook feed of an artist I adore:
The hanging "y" - I mean, the entire quote is exquisite and just what I needed for the week. But the hanging letter made me smile, just like the wagon ponies. The artist expanded this quote, saying unpredictability is a gift, it's all a matter of how you think of it. Hmmmm. There isn't much unpredictability when you're the lead pony, is there?
Embracing this concept of being present with shifting energies, the wagon train pulled into the studio and these two pieces of art were born. Very different energies, and yet they balance each other on the whole. Earth Mother and Shaman have decided they want to be in a workshop, so what's a girl to do? Follow the wagon with glee. :) Look for Exploring Archetypes: Earth Mother and Shaman, a two-day workshop at Ciel Gallery in January.
Blue Wild - Hardcover Collector's Edition and Softcover Edition available. Art by Jen Walls. Poetry by Mary W. Cox. 8" x 10". Ready to read. Click here to purchase this item on etsy. (note: current shipping time is 2-3 weeks)
Two years ago, at a gallery crawl, I met an incredible woman. Tiny, with sparkling eyes and a quick wit, she enchanted me. I didn't know her and she didn't know me. And yet our creative spirits called out to each other and then ran off to play together like lifelong friends. I believe this book was born in that first magical meeting when the universe winked at us.
Our lives are separated by miles of highway and disparate stages, and still we found a way to play. Our canvas was Facebook, which we painted with pictures and words at odd hours and on staggered days. I'd post a painting, then she would post a haiku to illustrate the painting. And one of those little masterpieces moved me so much - it became my creative mantra and the perfect introduction to my art:
Here's the blue wild, where
tiny dreamers ride beasts, speak
bird-song, hold the moon
Somehow, some magical way, this poet managed to help me understand my own art, my own creations and my very own creative soul in a way I never had before. I was gobsmacked and dazzled, and I wanted more. So I invited her to collaborate for a gallery show, and she agreed. We made more magic, this time displayed together for others to see. And the response was phenomenal. There is something about the combination of her provocative haiku and my quirky creations that just sings.
The universe wasn't quite done flirting with us yet, though. In another serendipitous moment, I met the Art Godmother (doesn't every artist need an art godmother?), an easy going, calm creative spirit with a twinkly smile and a huge talent for marrying technology and the creative process. She did the thing we thought no human could do - take our pile of art and poetry and upload it to the cyber gods and effortlessly transform it into this outrageously beautiful glass slipper that we now hold in our hands reverently, awestruck. Magical midwifery. Blue Wild was born.
Between these pages lie thirty-three paintings and their poetic illustrations. A wild outpouring of exuberance blended with a little philosophy and a nudge- nudge wink- wink of humor. It is what happens when creative spirits meld and inner children come out to play. We are tickled. We are delighted. We hope you will be, too.
Note: self-publishing is made for the brave, the fearless, the thrill-seeker and the cliff-jumper! With an Art Godmother, it wasn't nearly as terrifying. :) Self-publishing does, however, require a significant financial investment by the artist and writer. When you buy your copy of our little beauty, please know your purchase supports our investment in our art and poetry, and allows us to continue creating without limits. There is no greater honor than to know this book is held in your hands and viewed by your eyes. From both Mary and me - thank you, from the bottom of our ever playful hearts.
This creation was designed by Susan Nicolai of EyeSusan. Susan's business is digital storytelling for artists, and she specialized in books, ebooks, interactive content and videos. And we believe she has a magic wand. Here is her website. Check out her video story about our project below.
"Ginger and Curry" - mixed media on crescent board, 15" x 20". Ready to frame. Click here to purchase this piece on Artfinder.
The return of the RED prompt finds me thinking about food. Red food, of course, but food nonetheless. And so my sweet characters have names to match my mood, but I think they are perfectly suited. :)
It is the time of year when I begin planning meals. This isn't something I normally do. We are usually pretty seat-of-the-pants for meals. Maybe I'll cook up a batch of food once or twice a week, freeze some and reheat. But when November rolls around, I am salivating over Thanksgiving meals on magazine covers, perusing recipes and dreaming of the perfect dinner.
Last Thanksgiving was our first here in Florida. It was also the first time my niece helped prepare the food, and the first time my son wasn't home for the holiday (traveling the world instead). We've got a pretty groovy kitchen set up here in the new house, and it was easy for several of us to work together to make dinner (another first). One of the recipes we added to the normal cast of characters was a root vegetable curry. And boy oh boy was it good! Spicy, red goodness.
It was also the first time I had ginger tea, made with the spice alone, not a tea bag. More spicy goodness! I'm not usually a spicy foods girl, but perhaps once a year is good for me.
This November is another all new experience. Two days ago, the big switch on the side of the house was flipped, and our solar panels began producing energy from that big ball in the sky. Thank goodness we were given an app to watch the system production, because otherwise we would be sitting in lawn chairs watching the meter all day long. On the other hand, a lawn chair would be the ideal place to sit while looking at all these food magazines...
Jen Walls and her imaJENation