I love the look of a southwest style painted steer skull. And I thought it would be fun to paint one myself.
When we were in Baja last Spring I got the chance.
A man stopped by our place one day with a pick up truck full of plain, white steer skulls. All of them were beautiful. It’s often hard to find ones that are so complete and not deteriorated. I chose one to paint and purchased it.
We cleaned it up and set it out to dry. But guess who got into it? Our little snoopy dog Belle. Here she is smiling at what she did.
She chewed the end off it. You can see the ragged edge of the nose.
I ended up rebuilding that part with papier-mâché. In the end, one can’t tell at all so I was pleased.
Today I’m thinking about my latest symbolic painting. I don’t often share the symbolism behind a painting as I like the viewer to create their own story about it. However, I’m going to share a bit about my newest whimsical painting titled “Protected by Warrior Spirit.”
Symbolism of Protected by Warrior Spirit
It is not a warrior as in the traditional soldier, fighting type. Rather it is a warrior of grace. A warrior of the divine. Of Spirit.
It’s a concept more than an actual person. It’s a symbol. The colors black and red symbolize the life / death / life cycle which encompasses all of life. The feather of his spear represents a sharp yet forgiving nature.
For me, sharp means to use one’s mind for self development. To use one’s mind to figure out how things work. For truth finding. For using words wisely, to inspire others and for kindness.
A warrior spirit is mindful. He is aware of his surroundings. He protects those he cares about and helps them to be the best that they can be.
A Spirit Warrior Website
I found this website called Spirit Warrior at khaledallen.com that talks a lot about what the Warrior Spirit means. They say, “A Warrior invests in herself, seeking to become her best self. A Warrior cherishes every moment, seeks to see every minute lived purposefully, even if that means at purposeful rest. A Warrior expects to stand out, to strive for excellence, and to pursue great goals.” I like that.
“Protected by Warrior Spirit”, 12″ x 12″, acrylic on wood panel, $375
Other Symbols in my Whimsical Painting
Some other symbols are a fish shape which represents food to nourish us. A moon shape representing the passing of time. Of life cycles. The shape behind the feather is a spiral of energy, representing a strong life force.
The space in his body is filled with petroglyphs. It shows that he is old and comes from ancient times. The white star and mandala-like line drawings in the blue background are magic lines of light that surround the Warrior Spirit.
A Warrior Spirit is nurturing. Hence, he is always there in my mind protecting me from harm.
To be protected by Warrior Spirit is a gift to myself and I like having him near to remind me to strive for excellence.
Full Bloom Sugar Skull, 8″ x 10″, Acrylic on Wood Panel, (sold)
I’m fascinated by the raven and I’ve made quite a few paintings with him in it. This time I’ve added him to a painting with a dream catcher.
A good explanation of the dream catcher can be found at http://legomenon.com. They say, “The shape of the dreamcatcher is a circle because it represents the circle of life and how forces like the sun and moon travel each day and night across the sky. The dream catcher web catches the bad dreams during the night and dispose of them when the day comes.” I like that.
I own a dream catcher that I have in my home in Washington. It has beautiful feathers hanging from it and is made from twigs and leather string.
Catching Celestial Dreams, 8″ x 10″, Acrylic on Wood Panel, (sold)
In Todos Santos, we can see the whales spouting and jumping out in the ocean. I love watching for them. Greg said one time he heard the whales singing when he was swimming at Las Palmas beach. That is cool!
Swim Deeper, Follow the Whales, Acrylic on Wood Panel, $375
If you would like to purchase one, send me an email.
This colorful acrylic painting is titled “Fly Me Over the Moon So I May touch the Sun.” Or you can call it “Fly Me Over The Moon” for short. It is 14″ x 14″, acrylic on wood panel, $525.
I’m pretty sure this painting is about desiring more sunshine in my life. And following my inner “owl” wisdom.
It’s been quite a change living in Maple Falls, Washington where we get 67 inches of rain per year. The US average is 37. So, that’s a lot of rain and cloudy days!
We still want to spend most of our time in Mexico (hello sunshine!) and be in Washington during the summer but as we get our ducks in a row we’re spending more time in Washington this year. So I’ve been thinking about the sun and warm weather a lot when we have blustery rainy days which is quite often!
I like the way the lotus flower is sitting on top of the body of the tree like it has a blossom head. And the symbols in the top left of the painting looks like a wink from the Universe.
Detail of “Fly Me Over The Moon.”
If you would like to purchase this painting, send an email to Lindy@artbylindy.com or you can buy a gallery wrapped canvas print in my Etsy Shop.
This is my new painting of a little hippy teardrop trailer titled “Dream a Little Dream of You.”
My new whimsical teardrop trailer art features a raven riding on top. It makes me smile. There are prayer flags waving in the wind under a tropical paradise of purple palm trees. And it all rides on dreamy waves of blue and pink.
This little painting on light blue painted reclaimed wood is titled “Two Ravens Sit & Reflect IV.” I’ve drilled two holes in the end and strung some wire for hanging but I think it looks pretty cool sitting on a shelf with other fun items.
I wake up every morning to look at a small decoratively painted ceramic steer skull hanging on the wall in our bedroom. It was a souvenir from one of our Mexico trips. I love the decorations and color of it not to mention the symbolism of strength, protection and courage. I’ve been wanting to paint a steer skull acrylic painting since we moved to the Southwest and now I have!
Signing my work “Lindy” in the lower right corner on my whimsical paintings.
Always signing my full signature, date and title on the back of the painting.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for purchase of paintings on my website or blog.
And then, Greg and I, as we were looking at the rainbow, recalled the day that we drove through one.
It was amazing. We were driving in my truck to go downtown. This is when we lived in Bend. We saw a rainbow in the distance and we were admiring it. And then, all of a sudden, we were in the rainbow! It was like a prism. There were thousands of rainbows all around us. And then we drove out the other side! And the rainbow was gone. If we hadn’t both experienced it, no one would believe it! We were in awe. Never had we heard of this happening. It was exhilarating and wonderful and a “once in a lifetime” experience. So we love reminiscing about being in a rainbow. “Remember the time…” Brings smiles. Have you ever heard of anything like that? Being inside a rainbow?
As I wrote earlier, I’m taking the super awesome painting e-course by Flora Bowley called Bloom True. But it’s not just about painting! It’s about intuition, meditation, playfulness, yoga, letting go, not judging, trusting the process, being open and a whole lot more!
I just love it!
I’m painting on 2 canvases (actually wood boards) for the class but then I have a bunch more pieces I’m working on too. I’m incorporating what I’ve learned from the course with a mix of what I already know about painting. A lot of what Flora is teaching us incliudes things that I learned from Peggy Zehring a number of years ago but with a slightly different take. This e-course is just what I’ve needed to grow and further my path as an artist. I’m so grateful I signed up for the Bloom True e-course!
We’re using lots of different kinds of tools and brushes as well as our fingers and thick and fluid acrylic paint.
This is a large painting I started but since I took this photo it has changed. One starts with an undercoat of personal mark making.
It transformed into this
and then this
Check back later for more of the progression on this piece.
It is so fun to play with paint and make different and unusual marks. Here are a few more I’ve started. They also have since been transformed since I took this photo.
Here’s some detail of early mark making.
Having fun with color is an artist’s dream! So I am really enjoying this!
Trust is a big part of this course. Because all the different mark making can feel chaotic and bring up different emotions, I have to trust that every mark I’m making is meant to be there and it’s all okay. It’s okay to cover up the different areas with new marks and experiment and try different things. There is no right or wrong and that is a good thing to remember as an artist.
Art is about creating and not about putting judgements on myself about whether I am doing it right. And that thought is very freeing. It allows me to just create and let the marks come from my intuition and feelings. Allowing the brush in my hand to stay loose and free flowing is something I need more practice on and I’m so enjoying this practice!
Check back later for more about my painting sessions.
There are lots of symbols and stories being told with my art. I’ve had a long facination with symbolism.
One of my favorite books on archetypes and symbolism is “Women Who Run with the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. One can learn many lessons about life from reading the stories in this book. The author’s explanations about the symbolism in these stories is really amazing. I love that the theme of some of these stories is in similar stories throughout the different cultures of the world. Which to me demonstrates how we are all connected. Connected by the stories passed on from generation to generation.
I use tree images a lot in my work. One of my recent paintings titled “Women in Rhythm” for Bend’s City Walls at City Halls art exhibit called Place:Twelve, used tree symbolism and tells a story.
Let me explain some of the symbolism in this painting and what it represents to me. I don’t usually explain the symbolism behind my paintings because I want the viewer to make up their own story for the painting but I thought it would be fun to share my thoughts regarding this particular painting.
The theme for the show is about how our past inspires our present and the future. Thirteen artists were juried into the Place:Twelve show. I’m honored to be one of those artists.
Each of the artists was to choose a photo from a book about Bend’s history and then paint a conceptual painting inspired by the photo.
I chose a photo of Klondike Kate.
This is what I wrote about my painting which was difficult to write because I hadn’t finished the painting yet when I had to submit the artist statement for it.
When I first heard about Klondike Kate (Kathleen Rockwell), I was just a child. I might have learned about her from lessons about the Yukon Gold Rush and its many characters, from both that period or from the movies.
When I moved to Bend and saw a sign posted near Brothers indicating that Klondike Kate’s home was in the area, I was surprised and delighted that this lively and colorful woman had lived near Bend. She moved to Bend from Brothers, Oregon in 1917, but she also lived in Seattle and New York, as well as in Dawson City, in the Alaska Yukon.
A July 21, 2010 Bend Bulletin article about Kate said that she was “A truly liberated woman, adventurer and entrepreneur, hero and harlot, Kate had few peers yet many friends.” She was a humanitarian who helped during an influenza outbreak in 1918 and befriended Bend’s voluntary fire department. She even helped purchase Bend’s first Fire truck. The “Klondike Kate Awards” are still presented by the Bend Fire Department today to people “who are not members…yet who have made significant contributions or volunteered resources.”
My painting is in honor of all Bend women who give of their time and effort to the community. They can be inspired by Klondike Kate, a woman who spent 30 years here, and who lived her life on her own terms, as an adventurer, a business woman and an entertainer. Kate lived through life’s ups and downs, through fortunes gained and lost, and through hearts filled and also broken. She was a strong woman who gave to others and who helped the Bend Community with her humanitarian contributions to the fire department and the local hospital. She made people laugh and feel happy and that is what I want of my art; to lift the spirits of others!
I chose the photo because I liked that Kate helped the community and that she was an adventurer and traveler. She seemed to have a colorful past with being an entertainer and business woman. She had lived in New York City and Seattle and so have I.
So my idea was to show an image of Klondike Kate and somehow show how she has inspired others with her humanitarian contributions to the community. I wanted to show how she has helped to inspire the giving, nurturing efforts of today’s women who give of their time and energy to helping the Bend community.
So I started a painting that had women holding hands which represents the past, the present and future beings being connected.
I pretty much finished this painting when I decided it didn’t feel right. It felt too cliché and forced. So I tossed it aside and started fresh.
This time I began with the idea of Klondike Kate being a tree with deep roots. The roots symbolizing the past and the history of Klondike Kate. I used her hour glass figure as part of the trunk of the tree. The tree’s foilage is colorful and bright to represent Klondike Kate’s past as an entertainer and her colorful personality. Her arms are spread wide open to symbolize her open, generous spirit.
I wanted her to be surrounded by women figures holding hands t0 symbolize the connection we have to each other. One of the women holds a heart which represents a caring nature.
The row of house-like forms across the horizon represents the Bend community. I added a river running infront of the building images and behind the figures to represent he flow of the past to the present and future. Bend has the Deschutes River running through it so it also represents this area.
I started to add a bird in a nest to the lower right corner to represent the nuturing nature of women but I deleted it because I decided it didn’t need this image.
Below is the final painting “Women in Rhythm”. I framed it with a white mat and a plain black wood frame. I like the simplicity of this because it keeps the focus on the painting rather than the frame.
So do you usually like it when an artist tells you the story behind the painting or do you like to make up your own story?
I think it’s fun to get a hint of what the artist was thinking and usually I get that from the title of a piece. Generally I don’t want the whole story because I like to make up my own interpretation when I look at art. So I hope I didn’t spoil it for any of you by telling you some of the symbolism behind this painting.
Place:Twelve Art Exhibit
Opens on Friday, May 6th and runs through the end of July.
Are you suffering from destination frustration? It’s quite amazing that we often really really really let ourselves believe that ‘someday’ we will get ‘there’. Someday we will have it all figured out, someday we will have the perfect day, or the perfect body, or the perfect year, or the perfect family, or the perfect marriage. And then we hold on to that belief and we wait and wait and wait for the happiness it will bring, and work and work and work for it, making us blind to all of the things that are gifts in the every day.
The fact is, we never really do get ‘there’ and have it stay ‘there’ for any length of time without the same amount of work that it took to get ‘there’. The journey just continues until the day we die. This is why it’s so important to understand that it’s all about the journey. It’s about using your best china every day, and saying the words in your heart every day, and treating every day like it might be the last day and not waiting any more.
Because really, the only destination that we truly have control over is our mindset. And that can happen NOW. So why wait? THIS IS YOUR LIFE. TODAY. RIGHT NOW.
Make the most of it. See that you already are someONE wonderful even though you might have been tricked into thinking that it’s all about being on the way to someWHERE wonderful.
You are there because you are you.
And you are so loved. xoxo
And what is my “there” that I’m trying to get to?
My painting style. Lately I’ve been frustrated with what I’m doing in my work. I want it to be something different but I’m not sure what I want it to be and I’ve been fussing over getting there. But this Brave Girl’s Club email reminds me to relax and enjoy the journey right now. That the shift I’m feeling will happen when it happens and I shouldn’t push it or worry about it or think there is something better than what I’m doing right now. It reminds me to be happy and stop worrying about having the perfect painting.
I think this shift in style I’m after will happen over time whether I want it to or not. It just will. If my mindset is that I want a change in style then it will most likely happen…slowly….it will. Things like this can’t be forced.
But it will only happen if I’m in the studio painting!
I’ve been trying to spend more time doing just that and less time doing other things like being on the computer! Although I love my computer and I admit to being quite the computer nerd, it does suck the time away from my studio time.
I have a bunch of projects under way that I’ve been working on. One of them is the Place::Twelve exhibit painting.
The theme of the show is How Bend’s Past Inspires the Present. The exhibit will showcase the work of 13 juried artists, with me being one of them. Twelve of the artists select a historic photo of Bend from the archives of the Des Chutes Historical Museum and create a work of art inspired from the photo.
The photo I chose is of Klondike Kate.
She was a Bend resident who was involved in the community back in the early 1900’s. She lived in Bend for 30 years! She volunteered her time and efforts to the hospital and the local fire department. She helped purchase Bend’s first fire truck.
My painting is a conceptual piece. It’s not supposed to be just a painting of Klondike Kate. This photo is to be inspiration for a painting about how Bend’s Past Inspires the Present. I’m painting a work that shows how one person can set the chain in motion to inspire others. It’s about women who give of their time and effort to the community. How one person can inspire another. My painting is titled “Women in Rhythm.”
I started with some sketches and then I made a preliminary painting before I started the final version. My preliminary painting is one I became very frustrated with because of that “style” thing….I wanted it to be different…and it wasn’t turning out the way I wanted. Then I started another painting and this one flowed. This one was more like it. This one I was feeling that shift. I’ll show you some pics after I do the final touches on it . So stay tuned.
So what is your “there” that you’ve been trying to get to and can you relate to the Brave Girl’s Club email too?
On the print of this painting, I added these words:
May you be courageous in
spite of your fears and see that
as your life has changed course
you are surrounded with love.
May that light of love
illuminate darkened paths,
lighten your spirit and
help you to find your way.
Here’s the painting in my art studio. It is an acrylic on canvas that is 40″ tall x 30″ wide, the sides are painted black. The colors are very luminous from lots of layering.
This is the painting that started out being inspired from a rug that’s in our master bath. This painting came out completely different from what I intended. I was going to do a wall of petroglyphs between the trees but then lanterns and fireflies appeared and it turned another direction. Funny how things happen like that….sort of like Life.
I dedicate this painting and print to all those who are going through a tough time right now.
I get inspired by so many things that influence my work but my latest painting (that I’m still working on) was inspired by this rug below. This floor covering lives in our master bath and I see it day in and day out.
I began to wonder what it would be like to put two trees on either side of a large vertical painting and have something in the middle between them. Petroglyphs or symbols maybe?
What I intended to do with my painting and what it has become are completely different. I was trying to explain it to Greg. How a painting will create itself.
Here’s a sneak peek of part of what I’m working on.
I really wanted to use the earth tones that I was seeing in the piece of carpet. The browns, golds, and rust color. So I put those down first. But then lanterns and fireflies started to appear and then I had to start covering up the rust with dark blues and greens to make it look like night time and the painting began to take on a completely different form. I’ll show you the finished piece when it is done.
There is a poem that is one of my favorites. It’s titled “Home and Love”. Sweet home. Sweet love. The two together are the best. See for yourself below. If you know the author’s name, let me know. (Thanks Kristen for his name)
Home and Love
Just Home and Love! the words are small
Four little letters unto each;
And yet you will not find in all
The wide and gracious range of speech
Two more so tenderly complete:
When angels talk in Heaven above,
I’m sure they have no words more sweet
Than Home and Love.
Just Home and Love! it’s hard to guess
Which of the two were best to gain;
Home without Love is bitterness;
Love without Home is often pain.
No! each alone will seldom do;
Somehow they travel hand and glove:
If you win one you must have two,
Both Home and Love.
And if you’ve both, well then I’m sure
You ought to sing the whole day long;
It doesn’t matter if you’re poor
With these to make divine your song.
And so I praisefully repeat,
When angels talk in Heaven above,
There are no words more simply sweet
Than Home and Love.
– Robert William Service
It inspired one of my newest paintings. I call it “Heart and Home.”
Heart and Home
Acrylic on Board
24″ x 30″, Unframed
One way to bring a little color into your home is to make colorful garden planters using paint and recycled washing machine drums.
I painted the one above last year. It’s great for cactus because they don’t need much water.
I made a bright flower motif one this year.
I’ll show you the progression of one I decorated with a cactus design below.
I started with an empty washing machine drum that I cleaned up to look like this.
Next I added a layer of color using oil paint and let it dry.
Then I used black paint and sketched out my design from some drawings I made beforehand.
Then I started filling in with color what I’d sketched.
I’m able to get different shades of color by adding white or other colors together. For instance, the green is made with a yellow and blue mix. One shade has more blue in it and one has more yellow and white in it.
I tried to add a little dimension to it by layering some lighter shades over the darker shades.
Then the fun part comes in when I get to add the details. In this case the needles on the cactus and the border along the top.
I especially liked the little cross needles on the below cactus.
This one was a fun one to paint and I especially like the way it came out.
While I was painting whimsical garden planters, Greg was making this rustic chair. The back is made from palm stems that he recycled when he trimmed the palm trees. He had to cut the barbs off each stem or else one would get their clothes stuck on them.
The stems will eventually turn brown as the wood dries. We like the green color though, so he’s thinking of staining the legs and arms a green tint. We’ll see. Either way, I think it came out really cool and it’s comfy to sit in!
Have you made something lately? Would love to know what you’ve made.
Where does the time go? I meant to make more posts this week but have been busy with painting in the studio and working on our casita.
We have a big project happening in our kitchen. We hired some help to create our new palido counter tops. It’s quite a project and takes a few days to complete. So things are a bit chaotic at our place.
They’re doing a great job. I love the color of them. A yellowish gold with tiny flexs of red in it.
We’ll add some tile touches to the front vertical area below the sink. It will be fun to go look for tile. Greg is going to build some cupboard doors which will be great instead of the curtains we’ve had hanging to hide the area below the sink.
They’re still working on the counters today. It will be 3 weeks before we can put the sealer on them though and get to really start using them. That means they’ll be ready right before we have to leave.
We have some other projects in the works too but I’ll show you those at a later date.
So last time I wrote, I was pianting in the studio.
I’ve been working on my six newest birch tree paintings. I added fish to the blue pond in one of my paintings.
I added some baby birds and a star to these two pieces.
And the sixth painting I haven’t shown you yet.
It’s gone through some major revisions.
It’s the one painting of the six that is vertical and has only one tree.
I at first had a different larger figure under the birch but I painted over it. I added a black haired maiden instead. I’m beginning to like it now and I’m thinking it will make a nice greeting card. Which painting is your favorite of these six?
It’s hard from the photos to see the changes I’ve made but they are there. Still more touches are needed before they’re complete. Some of the next things to add are the background swirls and white dot details.
I always feel it is these last touches that really complete the piece. Sometimes I hesitate to show my work before it is done because people will assume it is done but I know it is not.
These pieces I’m showing you right now are about 3/4’s complete. So stay tuned.
I’ve mentioned before that baja sunsets are gorgeous and we enjoy them almost every night. One night I noticed how beautiful the archway of flowers to our casita looked in the setting sun and captured a pic of it. I love silhouettes with the sun setting in the background.
Another night, although the sky was not very colorful, the sun looked HUGE as it was setting! I took a photo but had to use the telephoto to have it look like the sun really was big. Some times the sun sets and then the clouds turn a beautiful pink color in the after glow. That’s always pretty.
I unplugged last Friday and tried not to use my computer except for email so I could spend all my time in the art studio working on six new paintings on board. I have some minis and medium sized paintings in the works as well but I put those on hold to concentrate on the six.
I’ve accomplished a lot! I’ll share a bit of what I’ve done and then I’m back to the studio to keep working on them.
The first layer on my paintings is about getting some color down.
And working with creating texture. I use a ribbed t-shirt pressed into the paint to get some of the lines and layering of color. (See my art video on my youtube channel where I talk about creating texture.)
I knew I wanted to paint more birch tree paintings.
My imagination envisioned trees leaning into each other. Trees living near water or with animals. So I started seeing in my mind the trees in their surroundings and started laying down their white base.
I really love painting these whimsical worlds because I can add anything I want to them such as organic forms…
and horses and moons…
hearts and homes
And color. I love adding color! I can’t wait to get back to working on them!
They’re in that in between stage right now and I know after today they will look more the way I want them to. So check back tomorrow and I’ll share more of their progression. I’ll show you what is living in that pond of blue water and what else lives with this bird.