I learned about this, and many of the unique labyrinths around the world, from a book called The Unending Mystery by David Willis McCullough. This one is from a Native American culture, specifically People of the Desert and People of the River. The basic design is seen in baskets, mostly, and is called "Man in the Maze." I took that design and added some images that I connect those peoples. The size is 22" x 24" and the medium is watercolor with metallic gold highlights.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Through my church's B&B program, I had a houseguest last week. Through this program, I provide Board and Breakfast and the guest pays the church, so it makes money for the church. My guest last week, Matt, was a great guest. He was great fun, very interesting and a perfect guest. Although it was "above and beyond" the call of duty, he also gave me a gift, a book titled A Singular Woman, about Barak Obama's mother Stanley Ann Dunham. That was a surprise, and I explained to Matt that I would want to make a painting of his gift on a thank you card, acknowledge the gift on this blog with a posting of the painting, and then send him the card, as I've been doing since the first of the year. Doing that has been fun for me. In addition, the book is good reading. It is very well-written and thoroughly documented. I'm learning that Obama's mother was much more complicated and interesting than "the white woman from Kansas" as she has been portrayed by the media.
But wait! There's more!
I provided dinner on the first night Matt was here, and he brought wine. He also brought other goodies during his stay, such as ginseng juice and vanilla. We drank one of the bottles of wine, and it's already been recycled. The wines here are an Australian wine, "The Chook," which is what they call chickens in Australia and an Oregon wine, Lipa. This little watercolor sketch is on the back of the card. Matt lived in China for many years, so always has something interesting to talk about. He also lived in Australia, and we enjoyed talking about his treks in Tibet. A very good, interesting guest!!!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
I'm taking a break from the labyrinth project. Today I went to the Franciscan Villa at Bridal Veil in the Columbia Gorge with my art group--the Portland Plein Air and Studio Painters. My dear friend Kathy Allegri organizes these opportunities at the Villa at least once a year. It is a private setting, not open to the public, and so it is special to go there. It is the residence of Franciscan nuns who teach at a Montessori School in Portland. There are both natural and cultivated gardens, and even a waterfall! This is a small watercolor of some planted urns in a formal garden at the back of the house. I liked the light and shadow pattern. There are so many wonderful places to paint at the Villa that it is almost impossible to choose. We hope to go back again when the Fall colors are out. I especially like this place because it was the inspiration for my "Stepping Stones" paintings, done four years ago. Those paintings are, in fact, directly linked to the labyrinth paintings because they deal with the complexities of the paths of our lives.
PS: Thanks to the followers of my "Labyrinth" series. New postings will come soon.
Friday, August 12, 2011
When walking a labyrinth, a person travels a well-defined path that eventually winds up in the center and then returns to the entry following the same path. I worked on this painting in more-or-less the same way, and incorporated various symbols and steps as I moved toward the center. On the way back, I refined those symbols and steps, and reflected that we don't really get that chance in real life!!! I think this labyrinth painting reflects the beauty of living...even when there are some "snakes" and "bugs" along the way...and I am very happy with the colors in this work.
Working in a series is very rewarding and leads to thoughts like those above.....and more. I am continuing with labyrinth studies and will be posting more. This one is 20" x 20". I will be framing these in simple black wooden frames with no mats, using "Artspacers" to separate the art from the glass.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
I call this labyrinth "History of the Labyrinth" though, of course, it doesn't even touch the full history. The pattern was drawn through instructions entitled "How to Draw a Simple Labyrinth." The drawing was simple, but I added a lot of complexity along the paths (that's what life is) and also added a path around the labyrinth before the entrance. In this piece, I used symbols that I have come to associate with the labyrinth, such as the "rose" at the center, which is similar to the Chartres center. The Chartres labyrinth is probably the most famous one. Also, the things that look like polliwogs are images similar to the first drawn labyrinths...they were found in Scotland. The unpredictable path continues....there's a few rough spots in this one, as well as some easy, peaceful ones! The painting is 20 inches wide by 22 inches tall.
Monday, August 8, 2011
I was inspired to create this painting when I walked a labyrinth for the first time about three months ago. While I was walking I was reminded that the path of my life, or anyone's, has wide parts and narrow, easy passages and difficult ones, ones that take your breath away by their beauty and ones that cause you concern, etc. I imagined a labyrinth design in which I could express that. It contains big and small steps and symbols of some of my encounters and experiences along the way. This one is called "Personal Journey" It is 22" x 22" While researching how to draw a labyrinth, I discovered some very intriguing labyrinth patterns. Consequently, I want to paint more of these. This is the first painting of a series that will be at least five labyrinths. A whole new direction for me!
Friday, August 5, 2011
Day 29 I did a sketch of my big flower purse. It was a lot of fun to do this one, and it harkens back to my project of making a sketch of gifts I receive. This purse was a gift I gave myself!
Day 30 Last Saturday (July 30) I went with some friends on the Mt. Hood Rail Road. We had a 30-minute break and I did this sketch:
Day 31 was a lovely Sunday. I took a little time Sunday afternoon to make a sketch of flowers in my Roseville Vase.....very old, very pretty.
It took a while to get time to post this because I have moved on to a new project...a series of paintings based on labyrinth designs. Stay tuned!