The Third Hand, the 7th Booklet

The seventh booklet has been mailed to the next artist.  Natasha and Dale focused on the lessons from the third hand as having no mistakes; that art is like a dream, just because you don't like doesn't mean it is bad; and to just do it.

Front and back cover by Natasha and Dale

Front and back cover by Natasha and Dale

The first two inside pages by Natsha and Dale

The first two inside pages by Natsha and Dale

The Third Hand, 6th Booklet

Billy and I completed our booklet and mailed it to the next artist on our list.  We focused on sacred geometry and the Honey Nature.

Cover by Kathleen Gray

Cover by Kathleen Gray

Back Cover by Billy Gray

Back Cover by Billy Gray

Left inside page by Kathleen and right inside page by Billy

Left inside page by Kathleen and right inside page by Billy

The Third Hand, 5th Booklet

Josie chose spring as the subject for the third hand.  Her brillant imagery of birds,  leaves, and trees, speak of the inspiration the third hand offers us at spring time.

Front and Back cover by Josie

Front and Back cover by Josie

Two Inside Pages by Josie

Two Inside Pages by Josie

The Third Hand, 4th Booklet

The fourth booklet has arrived by Sherry.  For her topic of the third hand she chose dreams and dreaming.  Her colorful images are inspired by the way the third hand delivers us inspiration from dreams.

Front Cover by Sherry

Front Cover by Sherry

Back Cover by Sherry

Back Cover by Sherry

Left Inside Page by Sherry

Left Inside Page by Sherry

Right Inside Page by Sherry

Right Inside Page by Sherry

The Third Hand 3rd Booklet

The third booklet has arrived from Ziek who has focused directly on the mystery of the third hand.  Her images portray the inspiration of Peter Max and her interpretation of the third hand.

Front Cover by Ziek

Front Cover by Ziek

Back Cover by Ziek

Back Cover by Ziek

Two Inside Pages by Ziek

Two Inside Pages by Ziek

The Third Hand, 2nd booklet

The 2nd Booklet

The second booklet has arrived from Krista who has looked at the third hand in a 3 dimensional sense.  Her idea of the third hand is the poetic way in which a hand may come into our lives expressing grace and inspiration.

Cover design by Krista

Cover design by Krista

Back Cover by Krista

Back Cover by Krista

Two Inside Pages by Krista

Two Inside Pages by Krista

The Third Hand, 7 Booklets

Mail Art in Process

Billy and I set out on a cross country journey, from Washington state to South Carolina, from August 1st through September 1st, 2016.  Along the way we visited with friends and worked on portable art booklets, inspired by “The Third Hand Painting”.  The third hand has to do with the mysterious way in which intuition comes in and changes or adds to a piece of art an artist may be working.  As artists, we have no control over the third hand, it simply inspires us while making art, sometimes in the most surprising ways.

Seven plus artists have volunteered to particpate in this journey of exploration of the intuitive process  where the "third hand" comes into play in their art.  Seven hand bound booklets (7.5"x10") were mailed to seven different artists.  Upon receipt of their booklet, each artist designs the covers and two inner pages from the place that most interests them when considering what the third hand is for them.  Once these pages are completed it is mailed to the next artist on their list who will create art on two more pages of which they are inspired by the original artist's interpretation of the "third hand".  Artists have one month to work on the 2 pages in the booklet after they receive it and mail it to the next artist on their list who will  design the subsequent 2 pages.This continues until all 7 booklets are completed, which may take 7 plus months.

As the art is completed it is photographed and emailed to me and I will post it here on this blog.  

The photos of the first booklet have been received by Bernadette.  Her cover celebrates how the earth inspires her.

Front cover of "The Third Hand" by Bernadette

Front cover of "The Third Hand" by Bernadette

Back cover of "The Third Hand" by Bernadette

Back cover of "The Third Hand" by Bernadette

Inside two pages by Bernadette

Inside two pages by Bernadette

   

 

 

 

Medicine Woman, Robin Neher

In my travels around this beautiful earth of ours, I come to know many artists. This August, on a cross country, coast to coast, road trip with my husband Billy, we stayed in Penrose, Colorado with artist/poet, Robin Neher.  I can’t say she is a conventional artist in the traditional sense of meeting the expectations of galleries and popular opinion, however,  Robin meets the expectation of a deeply, internal process.  As is also true with poetry, some people will like her work or understand it and others will have no interest.

 

Robin says,

“Materials and cultural myth are what interest me.  At some point even cultural myth springs from one individual through ritual.  Currently, I use mixed media materials, including found objects, to express my interests in both personal and cultural mythology.  I have been particularly influenced by the philosophies of Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and Rollo May on the topics of mythology and creative expression.  I see art making as a form of personal ritual. As art makers we are all influenced by our cultural mythology.  And then, at some pivotal point in our ritual, our personal myth will begin to appear and evolve.  To me, this is when we have come home in our art making.”

 

As an example, a deeply insightful individual, such as Carl G. Jung, through the work with his dreams and his patients found there to be a collective unconscious mind.  This mind, as a region, contains symbols and myths of all humanity.  The discovery of the collective unconscious is now a myth that many embrace as their own.  The mystery of how images and ideas surface from the unconscious mind intrigue Robin.  With her attention focused on this bubbling mystery brew, she begins to see how it enters into art.

 

Robin’s first experience with art came as a child playing in a sand box.  She was fed by being outdoors under the trees, listening to the birds, and using nature in her sand box.  “I think making art is a deeply spiritual process.  I believe art expression can be experienced by everybody.  There is a time in each person’s life, most often in childhood, when the artist or creator in each of us appears before any skill comes into play,” explains Robin.

 

Robin begins her art with the intrigue of a found object stimulating her at a core, aesthetic level.  Some piece of wood, a nail, a feather appeals to her visually.  “The play of process is my ritual in beginning a piece,” says Robin.  She has a relationship by way of an emotional reaction to an object whether man made or from the natural world.  From the point of finding an object that she has a relationship with, it is like solving a mystery through transformation.  It is her personal myth she is expressing while in the artful process and ritual of investigating the joys, sorrows and the imaginings of life.  Robin’s hope is that her art will inspire a personal myth-making in others.  Robin lives in Penrose, Colorado on a farm with her husband and 52 alpacas.She can reached at:   robinjneher@q.com

The Breath of the Compassionate

Studying sacred geometry and applying it to my art began seven years ago with the discovery of Michael Schneider's book "A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe".  His website is:  www.constructingtheuniverse.com   Michael's understanding of the mathematical archetypes of nature, art, and science have unleashed an appreciation for numbers in me that I frowned upon previously.  It has also allowed me to look at nature and see the continuity with numbers.  In his book, Schneider takes the reader on a voyage from one to ten explaining, demonstrating, and illustrating the magic of these numbers in art, life, and science.  

Even though I didn't fair too well in High School geometry, I began my geometric explorations with simple constructions initially and then applied them in some small way to my art as a message of the ancients' voices within the concept of each painting.  

Integrating the sacred geometry into my painting in a manner that worked beyond compositions became my challenge.  At first I used an element, such as the spiral, the pentagram, overlayed on imagery.  On a recent visit to Morocco I was so struck by the beauty of their culture everywhere.  It was in the timing of call to prayers, in the doorways within doorways, the fasting from dusk to dawn during Ramadan, and of course the beautiful tiles based on sacred geometry.  The infusion of the mystery of life I saw everywhere in Morocco, an aspect I pursue in my art work.

This led to the "Praying Dama" paintings ( see portfolio) and finally "The Breath of the Compassionate" painting.  Michael Schneider explains the breath of the compassionate symbolism as the contraction and expansion of infinite goodness.  Living near a expansive beach in Essaouira, Morocco, I thought of the ocean as that which contains all beings as one, the infinite. I took many photos of the shallow ocean over the sand, the patterns and the light reflections were endless.  The pattern for the breath of the compassionate is two overlayed squares at a 45 degree angle.  The square is symboloic of four, representing the earth and stability.  The double overlapping Islamic square pattern adds two fours together, adding up to the  number "8", which is directly related to the octave in music.  The Compassionate is the highest prouncable name of the 100 names of God in Islamic tradition.  Through this compassion, all life is created, maintained, dissolved, and renewed.  The interaction of the geometry for the breath of the compassionate with the ocean and beach in this painting released in me, and hopefully the viewer a sensation of the inhaling and exhaling, rising with the swell of the ocean.

Michael Schneider's book "Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe" can be bought from his website or from www.amazon.com.  In addtion to his book he has a series of workbooks for more in depth explanation into sacred geometry.

As a result of my interpretation of sacred geometry and painting, I've become a member of La Kasbah Gallerie www.galerielakasbah.com in Essaouira, Morocco.

 

"The Breath of the Compassionate"

"The Breath of the Compassionate"

Morocco, Land of Arts and Mystics

Spending a month plus in Morocco for the first time is a fullfillment for my husband and me.  Our visit has been timed to Ramadan bringing thoughts of the mystic poets, Hafiz and Rumi, with call to prayer several times a day.

During our stay here in Morocco, we had the pleasurable company of artist, Josie and her husband, geomorphologist, Colin Pain.  Josie and Colin recommended the artists’ town of Essaouira as our first introduction to Morocco.  Every evening we met for tea and espresso in a people watching cafe and talked about our day’s work of painting and writing (for Colin).  

Josie is fascinated by the traditional walnut ink found here in Morocco.  Early on in our Essaouira stay, Josie and Colin took us to a small shop in the medina that sold walnut crystals.  Josie showed us how she uses the walnut ink by mixing small amounts of water with the crystals.  I watched as each crystal dissolved in the water and became a saturated ink with the addition of more ink or water.

Walnut Ink by Josie Pain

Walnut Ink by Josie Pain

In the next visit to the Medina, we four went to another hole in the wall shop to visit a Moroccan artist who painted with walnut ink on stretched goat skins.  The goat skin appears very much like canvas once stretched.  I experimented a little with painting on a goat skin.  The goat skins are also used for traditional musical instruments.

The quality I appreciate most about Josie’s work is the line that morphs into form and shape so effortlessly.  There is a fluid grace to her art that leaves me wanting to see more.  She is currently working on paper but plans to expand to larger images with acrylic on canvas.  The breadth of Josie’s work is inclusive of clay, small sculpture, inks, watercolors and acrylics.  She doesn’t dabble in each media but has a thorough repertoire.  Notice the intensity and precision of her line work on her porcelain necklaces below.  She also makes her own porcelain tiles.

Porcelain Pendants by Josie Pain

Porcelain Pendants by Josie Pain

While here is Essaouira, she created walnut ink on paper tiles that will later be mounted on foam core for a head board.

Walnut Ink by Josie Pain

Walnut Ink by Josie Pain

Walnut Ink by Josie Pain

Walnut Ink by Josie Pain

Her ideas are prolific.  Josie’s painting has a narrative quality to it.  Not limited to narratives, Josie’s abstraction of line into color lends itself to expressions of varied emotions.  Josie and Colin currently live in Andalucia, Spain.  They moved to Spain in 2012 from Australia.  Josie was born in the Philippines and Colin in New Zealand.  To see more of Josie’s art work visit:

www.josefinapain.com

Watercolour by Josie Pain

Watercolour by Josie Pain

The Dama de Elche

I first met the Dama de Elche in 2011, thanks to my painter friend, Billie Joyce Fell (www.saachiart.com/billiejoycefell), bringing the Dama to my attention.  I was immediately captivated, both by her presence and her story.  In 1897, a farm worker from the village of Elche (south of Valencia, Spain), was preparing the land for agricultural purposes and dug up this striking statue.  The statue was traced to Iberian times by archaeologists.  Originally she was painted.  Over the centuries the paint wore off.  At the back of her head is an opening which is thought to be a funerary urn.  She is made of polychrome and is approximately 3 feet high.  The pinwheels on her head are indeed fascinating.  Imagine having to wear such headgear!  

When I first began painting her in 2011, I thought about her so much, so much that a small coincidence occurred.  My husband Billy and I were hiking in the foothills behind Maro, Spain.  We sat down on some rocks to enjoy the view of the pines in the foreground and the Mediterranean in the distance.  Just as we were ready to leave, I looked down on the ground for foot placement and beside my left foot, partially buried in the ground, was a tangled bracelet.  I picked it up to examine it and discovered a shape like the Dama's earrings attached to the charm bracelet.  Billy and I looked over the inexpensive bracelet marveling at the exact shape of the Dama's earrings!  

Later, when I finished the painting I fit the bracelet carefully in the back of the stretched canvas.  It was small enough to be hidden from the front and the back unless one was looking for it.  Billy and I found a local gallery that exhibited the Dama painting and two of his paintings.  That is the last I saw of the painting.  For years I wrote to the owner of the gallery and she never answered my emails.  In 2015, Billy Gray, Billie Joyce Fell and I went to a restaurant that had the owner's jewelry cabinet.  Apparently the owner of the gallery died of a heart attack a couple of years back.  The gallery owner's husband and co-owner had loaned the cabinet to this restaurant.  We tried on several occasion to track down the husband/co-owner but did not succeed.  My first Dama painting is now burried some where in Spain, much like the fate of the Dama de Elche statue.

The Dama de Elche statue in Madrid Archaelogical Museum

The Dama de Elche statue in Madrid Archaelogical Museum

My missing painting of Dama de Elche

My missing painting of Dama de Elche

Kathleen Gray *
Kathleen Gray

Postcards from Puicheric, France

I am so inspired by the beauty in Nature around Puicheric that I 've taken to carrying some little postcards and watercolor crayons to record glimpses while on our daily walks.  Of course, the fresh fruits and vegetables, bounty from the land here, are an inspiration to the palette and the eye!  The red of the tomatoes and bell peppers encourage a feast for the eyes.  How about a painting in predominately reds!  The wild irises are coming out in full force of purples, magentas, soft blues, and yellows.  Just two days ago we saw the first yellow irises along the canal.  

To celebrate the creativity of spring everywhere in the world, I'm happy to send a postcard from Puicheric, France to the first eight people (I only have eight postcards right now) who make a comment on this post by May 5th, 2016.  Below are the images I have completed.  Simply write your comment and send me your address via my email so that I can mail it to you.  And hey, thanks for reading my posts!

fresh vine ripened tomatoes

fresh vine ripened tomatoes

red bell pepper

red bell pepper

splash of color

splash of color

wild iris

wild iris

delicious grapes

delicious grapes

view from the studio window

view from the studio window

egg

egg

le canal du Midi

le canal du Midi

The Tantalizing Dream

A couple of days ago, while in the countryside in southern France, I happened upon a ground nest of several 1.5" long eggs.  I was weeding a cultivated patch of garden around an Italian Cypress tree on a friend's land.  I pulled away some tall dry grasses and found a cavity in the ground lined with grasses and pine needles.  The eggs lay upon one another as though someone had placed them in Nature's basket.  The tops of the eggs came to a slight point.  I looked around for the mother.  There were no birds within the tree that I could hear or see.  I looked around the ground for movement thinking they might be snake eggs.  All was still.  I photographed the eggs and speculated.

Last night I had two dreams in which a snake appeared, twice.  I looked up the meaning of serpent mythology and found three pages of references to various cultures and religions.  What struck me most, as relevant, was that the snake is the god of the rivers.  For the first time in my life, I live near a river and a canal and am fascinated by their winding and meandering complexion.  I've always loved the ocean.  The river has an entirely different essence.  It holds a new kind of mystery, one that keeps me photographing it.  Just yesterday after much deliberation and four sketches I added a river behind the Dama de Elche painting I'm currently working on.  The river has transformed the painting from a declaration to a narrative.  It is tantalizing to consider my preoccupation with the slithering waters of the unconscious and how quick it is to corroborate my life.

In Search of the Relevant

My dreams are often the prompting to explore a new idea or place.  From there I stumble upon synchronistic symbols and events.  The symbols and events help me to build on an idea for a painting.  The painting is not the end all of my search, it is a byproduct of the search.  The relevance that takes place is the transformation within myself during my search for meaning.  Old architecture and ruins very often trigger, in me, something that goes back to Madrid, when I first had a spiritual experience of being an artist at age 12.  As a result, I am constantly photographing inspiration from architecture, with the idea to use it for paintings in the future.

Architectural detail in Figures, Spain

Architectural detail in Figures, Spain

Spirals on a beautifully rusted door in Puicheric, France

Spirals on a beautifully rusted door in Puicheric, France

Decorative gate in Pune, India

Decorative gate in Pune, India