Finding Your Voice is an Exciting Journey

Most of the advice to artists seems to involve “finding your voice.” Very few people, though, ever define what that is, tell you how to find, or how to know if you’ve successfully found it. Like most things in an artist’s life, one’s voice is something the artist has to find on his or her own

To me, finding your voice means connecting intimately with that what is trying to come through you. It means that people can look at your work and tell that it’s yours. Some artists come by this intentionally, some accidentally. For some, it’s an anxiety-producing struggle. For others, it’s easy. For me, it’s a fun adventure.

I can’t say that I have a “voice” yet. I still love experimenting too much. I definitely don’t feel ready to be locked down into any specific medium, mode, or type. Right now, it’s play – and I just do what I’m inspired to do.

I’ve noticed that I’m attracted to abstract painting, but I still like it to be based on something, not completely random. For example, I like looking at a picture and, instead of copying it, I love transforming it into something else. And I like fairly simple depictions with large graphics and shapes. But I’m still playing around. I expect what I make to evolve as I do.

Below are some pictures I took the other day. I use photos like this to inspire my next abstract piece. I don’t plan on copying any of them, per se. But I expect to be inspired by one or more of them in the upcoming weeks and months.

Have a great week of peace, joy, and creativity.


New Painting & Poem

I intend to link my two loves – fine art and poetry by creating a new poem to accompany each new painting.

This latest one is called “I Smile Back”


I Smile Back


Sunshine, loved

One sleeping,

Unexpected smooch,

Child’s bubble bursting

On heavy-lidded nose,

Spring day grass mowed,



Old woman’s smile,

Horoscope matching


Being noticed,

Hugged and hugging.

Tidal ocean love,

Like smelling salts

Scary thanksgiving,

I pay attention,

Mind blinks clear,

So grateful. Grateful.

Life smiles at me,

I smile back,


I smile back.

16″x12″. Acrylic on canvas. “I Smile Back”

Back in the Game

I can’t believe it’s been over 3 1/2 years since I’ve added to this blog!

In a nutshell, looking back, I allowed others to discourage me from my true passion, which is, and always will be, fine art. I never completely stopped, but I gave up on the inside. When so much of our time is devoted to making money, and if what we do to earn money is not our passion, then, oftentimes something gets lost.

Either we feel we are not doing enough to make money, or we’re making money but are unfulfilled inside. Some are lucky or savvy enough to earn all the money they need while doing their passion. The rest of us have to play a balancing game.

We have to devote some time to each. We have to have a career that brings in a stable income and we have to do what our souls yearn to do.

I’m going back through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which was a lifesaver when I first read it, and is proving to be a lifesaver for me again.

In the intervening years, I got married, got a master’s in writing, drove for Lyft, watched my son’s become legal adults, and am now studying for a real estate license.

How is all of this going to come together for me? How will I do the career vs. art balancing act? I don’t know for sure. But what I can say is that I will never let anyone’s opinion about my art keep me from making it ever again. That, I can say for sure.

All the love,


Untitled Abstract. watercolor on paper

12″ x 16″ Acrylic on canvas. “The Forest Has Secrets”

Changes in the New Year


Happy New Year! Like all years, 2015 saw lots of growth and change. I received my Master’s in English and Creative Writing, I moved, I became and atheist and a vegan, and lots more. 

2016, baby!

2016, baby!

As I plan to focus even more on my writing this year, I have decided to consolidate my blogs into one. I will still be writing about the same things, but all on one site.

If you would, please visit for all my latest musings. Feel free to drop me a line and let me know who you are as well.

Here’s to love and growth and passion in 2016!

Peace and love,

Raven Burnes


Hello, all,

I’m still on my path towards greater abstraction. I love complete abstracts, but the mixture of realistic and abstract provides a lot of options.

"Snow Leopard." Acrylic on canvas.

“Snow Leopard.” Acrylic on canvas.

I kind of backed into this painting, feeling my way as I went along. I’m pleased with the results and really like the process of more intuitive painting.

I hope your week is filled with art and love!


Seeing Abstractly

This week I had the pleasure of finishing a couple of paintings and working on another one. The painting of my niece is still in process.

In Progress

In Progress

But, as I said last time, I am looking to broaden my technique and start painting more abstractly.

I have always wanted to explore abstract painting, but I wanted to learn how to paint realistically first. Painting realistically involved learning how to really see. It is so common in life to look at things but not really see them. When you’re trying to reproduce something from life, or a picture, onto canvas, however, you must learn to visually process as much information as humanly possible. Now, I’m finding that painting abstractly involves a different kind of seeing.

"Infatuation" 18" x 24" Mixed Media on canvas

“Infatuation” 18″ x 24″ Mixed Media on canvas

To paint abstractly, I’ve had to try to interpret and translate emotions and states of being – as well as physical reality – into abstract images. To do this, I’ve had to go beyond seeing with my eyes.  I’ve had to learn how to “see” with my feelings. I’ve had to go within and discover how to translate those emotions into images. The result has been interesting and fun.

“Manifestation” 20″ x 15″. Mixed media on paper.

I need a lot more practice, but I feel like I’m well on my way to new forms of expression!

Have a great week,


New Artistic Directions

I am so excited to be painting again. My latest work is of my lovable niece, London. She is an angel, so I’m painting her as an angel in the sky. I have a long way to go, but I’m happy with my progress so far:

"London." In progress. 18" X 24", oil.

“London.” In progress. 18″ X 24″, oil.

I also bought a new art book: Realistic Abstracts by Kees van Aalst. I am eager to branch out and begin working more abstractly. I love the freedom that I feel when I paint, but I’ve always stayed within certain boundaries. I look forward to pushing past those and trying a new style.

Wish me luck!

Have a great weekend,