Monday, November 21, 2016

The Guardian and How She Came to my Canvas

I have been painting since I took a course from the amazing Shiloh Sophia. My style still shows a connection to hers, but it has evolved in its own way into something slightly different.

One thing I learned from her course is to start with the background and let the final painting emerge through that portal. I have kept that technique and allow my intuition to shape my paintings.

Here is a bit of the original background that shows on the sides, top and bottom of this painting:

Lately, I've started using reference photos for my latest obsession: the female face. It helps me create faces that don't all look alike like they did when I painted fantasy faces.

 Right now I'm working on a series of women's faces to illustrate the feminine spirit. I start with a photo from books, magazines or google searches and I do a charcoal sketch. I won't be showing the photos I start with because they are not copyright free.

My sketches of strangers don't quite look like the original faces either,  so it's OK that I'll be showing my version of the female face that caught my attention. Here's one:

My sketchbook is rectangular, but the canvases I chose are square, so I squared off the area I would use for sketching to make it easier for me to reproduce her on the canvas.

I learned the hard way that if I filled the rectangular space and then tried to copy the face onto a square canvas...I kind of squashed the face into Neanderthal proportions.

NOT what I had in mind!!

I may someday use my own face, but for this project I'm using strangers. I once tried to sketch my own unsmiling face from a black and white photo.

The photo was scary, and the first sketch made me look old and tired. The second one, where I didn't put in any laugh lines or frown lines, looked like a wide-eyed young girl who had no clue.

I suspect I'm a mixture of both of those characters, but I'm not ready to publish THOSE sketches!

Inspired by my sketch, I paint a background for her to emerge from and then outline yet another version of the face and allow inspiration to tell me what to add. Including skin! Some of these women want to remain outlines to keep their archetypical power and who am I to argue with them?

This one asked for cattails and a lotus blossom necklace, even though the original photo was of an Asian woman.

 Then she asked that I give her eyes and let her background shine through. So I did.
                           She said she was the strong woman inside us all who protects us from danger. IF and when we listen to Her. 
                                                    She told me she was called     

                                                       THE GUARDIAN 

The music goes round and round and comes out here!

     My last post was at the end of my very first class in my master's degree program, and this one is being written near the end of my very last class. In fact, it's written as one of my six steps in my integrative plan for my final assignment.

                                                    Graduation approacheth.  


     So one of the six steps I planned was to restart my blog and rededicate it to blogging about arting. Arting for the sake of arting, collaging for the sake of SoulCollage®, painting for eventual showing and journaling too.                                                                                    

   This is my painting representing my thesis:

Unplugging: A Phenomenological Study of the Perceived Holistic Health Benefits of Regular, Weekly Digital Detox in the Context of Jewish Shabbat

In plain English: Is taking time off of electronic media good for us? 

Almost 2 years of research and writing later and I'm here to tell you that the plain answer is:

Yes! And might I add....DUH!

My conclusions were that unplugging leads to increased social connection, time for self-care, opportunity for immersion in nature, spiritual community and spiritual experiences.

Here is the right-brained art based method I used to find themes in my work with my subjects.

I had studied my subjects by asking for narratives and photos and organized their responses into groups out of which themes eventually emerged.

Along the way, after using SoulCollage® for my own use, I went to a training center to become a facilitator and have run three workshops so far. I intend to do more. 

     To the left is a picture from the latest workshop I facilitated.

I set up this workshop to combine wellness coaching with SoulCollage® in order to give people a tool to help them balance their lives in 6 dimensions of holistic health: body, mind, spirit, financial, environmental and social.

 To the right is a card I made for myself to remind myself that I have the training to help others access their inner wisdom with this wonderful method. In this blog, I plan to describe my process of using SoulCollageR and creating my own cards.

My plan is to write one SoulCollage® post a week and at least one extra post a month focused on my painting practice.

In my next post, I'll show you my method for painting as it has evolved so far.