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,

Noticing,

Noticing

Old woman’s smile,

Horoscope matching

Perfectly.

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,

Today

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,

Raven

Untitled Abstract. watercolor on paper

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

My Masters Project on Wicca

This week has been all about research.  My next major project is for my Masters in Metaphysics.  I attended the University of Metaphysical Sciences about 4 years ago and the only thing missing was my thesis, which I am finally completing.  Because the University offers a spiritual program outside of mainstream religion, its practices are more flexible and appropriate for a metaphysician.  I was allowed to co-create my thesis project in a way that satisfies the requirements of the degree but also reflects my unique patterns and gifts.

I am creating a book on the Wiccan wheel of the year.  The book will be based on a series of paintings I am creating that will illustrate the essence of each holiday (Sabbat) and contain an explanation of each one.  It will also have a section on my personal experience with this spiritual practice, tips for rituals, and my bio.  I will be turning the paintings into prints which will illustrate the written portion.  If I feel it is worthy, I may even make it available on Amazon.  The project is slightly overwhelming for me since I have never attempted something like this before but I am also really excited about it.  I am nervous about the outcome, but I trust that the process itself will expand my consciousness in many unforeseen ways.

So, although I have no sketches to show yet, I will share below some of the images I have found that have inspired me.  As my usual practice, I rarely base my paintings on any one photograph.  Rather, I like to look at a bunch of references then come up with an image that captures the essence of everything I have looked at.  The images all have something to do with the Wiccan calendar, either directly or indirectly.

Wicca is a nature-based spiritual practice centered around the rhythms of nature.  It celebrates the complementary gifts of the Male and the Female as reflections of the God and Goddess.  Nevertheless, it is essentially a female-empowering spiritual discipline that elevates the Goddess, the Earth, and Intuition.  It has gotten a bad name due to the biases of the book-based religions, but witchcraft is not evil or even superstitious.  The rituals are not believed to have power in and of themselves, they are merely visual anchors and reminders which facilitate the internal energy shifts required to make changes in one’s life experience.

I hope to explain more about this as I progress in the project.  For now, please enjoy these beautiful images derived from various sources on the internet.

May you have a beautiful, heart-centered week dedicated to service in whatever sphere you currently find yourself in.  And don’t forget to follow your bliss!  Peace and blessings.

Where Spirit Leads, I Will Follow

Life is interesting right now as my artistic life gets off the ground.  Although I have always been a long-range planner, my decisions evolve as I gain more information.  Sometimes my plans change so radically, they bear no resemblance to what I started out with.  However, the process of planning is still important.

The problem with planning is that whenever you project into the future, you are dealing with a set of unknowns.  In algebra you have to narrow a problem down to one unknown and then solve for it.  In life there are many unknowns.

When I began to get close to graduating from El Camino I would imagine my life as an artist.  I figured I would get some sort of a day job, hopefully in the art field, but I didn’t really care what field it was in.  I figured I would continue to take evening classes and do my art at night and on weekends.  I didn’t know when any of this was going to happen.  But I trusted Spirit to guide and provide and just did the things I knew to do.  Well, a little over six weeks from the end of my final semester, and my life looks exactly as I hoped it would.  I have a full-time day job and I do my art at night and on the weekends.  I plan to take painting classes at Otis and West L.A. College this fall.

Although I took classes in sculpture, ceramics, drawing, and painting, I have decided that my primary focus is painting.  I find myself expanding my mediums and have been working more with acrylics and gouache.  I am also exploring my literary past.  I graduated the first time with an English degree but did not do much writing after that except for the occasional poem, and a TV pilot I wrote in a film class.  But lately I am feeling that old flame being rekindled.  I have always loved literature but never felt that confident about my writing.  Finally, I am ready to explore this avenue with a class or two this fall and see what comes of it.

This rekindled love for literature, after studying art for two years, came as a surprise to me.  But life is exciting and never boring when you pay attention to your intuition and follow the leading of Spirit.  In looking at past journals, I see a recurring theme of wanting to write, of feeling an urge to create stories, but things happen when the timing is right.

So, if I were to give some tips on how to live an intuitive life filled with exciting twists and turns, I would say the following:

1)      Spend a good deal of time alone so that you can shut out the chatter, opinions, and agendas of other people (including the media) and get in touch with your authentic Self.

2)      Develop a meditation practice that encourages mental and spiritual strength, depth, and wisdom.  Meditation teaches you how to see things from an expanded perspective rather than getting sucked into the minutiae of the day-to-day.

3)      Read.   Read lots of different types of things – magazine, books, newspapers, blogs, etc.

4)      Watch.  Watch lots of different types of things – movies, plays, YouTube clips, live events, channels you don’t normally watch, etc.

5)      When you get an intuitive hit, do not argue with it, reason with it, or ignore it.  Spirit speaks softly whereas Ego shouts.  Spirit shows up where it is welcome, although it is always present.  Ego forces itself on you and commands attention.  You have to lean forward and incline your ear to hear Spirit, but it speaks clearly.  Ego manipulates your emotions and exploits your fears.  Spirit says things that feel right to the soul.  Ego says things that stir up the passions and cause anxiety and confusion.

You don’t have to be “spiritual” to live intuitively.  Spirit, as I said, manifests where It is made welcome.  It is the “still small voice” within that wants only your highest good.  It is full of love and grace, not only for you, but for everyone. It uplifts, motivates, and is the energy behind the creative spirit.

May we all make Spirit welcome this week and follow Its Dear Voice to the path towards our highest good.  Peace and blessings.  Now go follow your bliss…

The First Time

The first time I felt “black” was in kindergarten when I noticed that the children with white skin were treated better than the children with darker skin.  The first time I felt like a woman was in high school when a classmate told me I had a nice body.  The first time I felt like an adult was when I wrote my first check in college.  The first time I felt like a mother was in the delivery room when I first fed my little one.  I looked into his eyes and knew I was needed on the planet.  And the first time I felt like an artist was Wednesday night when I received a letter accepting my application to exhibit in the Schauerman library on the El Camino College campus.

This was the first time I had ever been accepted to show my work without having any kind of “in”.  While technically my first exhibition was in the student show, where I had one piece shown, “The Unborn”, that was a teacher-recommended show.  The applicant pool for the Library, on the other hand, was open to any artist (students, faculty, and community) and I had no connection to the decision-maker.  I just submitted my materials and, quite frankly, expected a rejection letter.

In fact, when I started reading the letter, it began with such formal language: “Thank you for submitting your application…”, that I just skimmed it, looking for the “NO” sentence.  The first thing my eyes landed upon were the bolded words “June and July 2014”.  So I was confused and went back up and actually read the letter.

Then I found what I was looking for:  “It is our pleasure to inform you that your application was selected for exhibit in the Library.  We have scheduled your exhibition for June and July 2014.”  What?  Wait, what????

I danced and floated into the next room to tell my mom (forever dubious about my aspirations), that I had been accepted.  Accepted.  What a nice word.

Anyway, does this mean I have arrived?  Um, no.  Is it super cool and a wonderful opportunity?  Hell to the yes!

I am very grateful for everything I have and everyone in my life.  Thank you to those who read and follow this blog.  Please visit me on Facebook if you haven’t already so we can inspire each other on the regular!

Have a great week and please, please…Follow your bliss!  Peace and blessings….

This is my only work in progress from this week.  I will mostly start posting finished works from now on.  This upcoming week is the last week of school.  Yay!!!

P05-29-13_17

Holy &%**! I’m an Artist!

I don’t know if famous artists always knew they were artists or if it hit them one day.  For me it came this week.  I don’t often refer to myself, verbally, as an artist. I’m not sure what the hesitancy is – perhaps the fear of being compared to far more accomplished artists.  In any case, while working on one of my latest paintings I thought to myself.  Oh my God, I’m an artist.

This revelation did not come to me as a result of anything extraordinary about what I was working on.  The feeling, I believe, can be more attributed to how I’ve been spending my time.  Every day, and for most of the day, I have been reading about and/or practicing my art.  I could easily lounge around, or go out, or do any number of other things with my free time.  But what I choose to do is art.  I want to do it more than I want to do anything else.  That is what makes me an artist.

The skill will come in time.  I am getting better little by little.  But what we love and are committed to is revealed through how we spend our time.  Commitment precedes results.  Whatever it is we say we want to get better at – whether it’s being better artists, being better partners, being healthier, etc. – we have to put our time where our mouth is.  Time is the only commodity we can never get back so how we spend it is really important.

May we all use our time wisely this week and do what is important to us.  Now go follow your bliss…

This week’s work…

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