Creating Figures in my Art

Sometimes I like to put figures in my work. Some of my early paintings from when I was in my 20’s had dancing yoga figures in them which I really like and have considered revisiting and creating more of.

earlyfigures

I like them because they feel tribal and earthy….and I like that they are celebrating something…

Life, maybe?

figurerunning

These figures are what led to my sitting yoga people paintings. These are figures who are holding the energy which is represented by a swirly spiral. Atleast that is what I like to think of them doing. I call it the “Holding the Energy” series.

contemplatethepathdetail “Contemplate the Path”, acrylic on paper

tapestryDetail from “She Wears a Tapestry of Ancient Colors”

I still like to create these little yoga folk. Below is the last one I made. My friend Pam owns this one. It’s titled “Holding the Energy VIII”.

HoldingtheEnergyVIIIDetail from “Holding the Energy VIII”, acrylic on paper.

And then I also have figures in my Blue Mountain series (although all the mountains aren’t always blue).

Sing-to-the-MountainDetail from “Sing to the Mountain”

One of my favorites is the below painting.

my-house-is-as-big-as-the-moon“My House is as Big as the Moon”, acrylic on paper

I also have figures in my Native American motif series.

whitebirdKnows“White Bird Knows”, acrylic on wood

One of my newest paintings has a contemplative maiden in it. She’s holding a heart close.

feelpeace2“Feel Peace in Your Heart”, acrylic on wood

As I painted her, I wanted her form to look similar to my painting “She Wanted the Rainbow, So She Put Up with the Rain” which I did for a Fundraiser  called the “She Project” . The person who thought of this fundraiser gives the participants a saying and you have to spend 2 hours creating a painting and it has to include the saying you received. Then the paintings were put up for sale. I thought it was a fun and successful fundraiser. I participated in it 2 different times.

She-Wanted-the-Rainbow-so-She-Put-Up-with-the-Rain“She Wanted the Rainbow, So She Put Up with the Rain”, acrylic on paper

But my maiden holding the heart painting didn’t start out looking like the finished piece.

First she started out looking like this.

maiden-1And that was nice but I didn’t really like how large she was and she was a bit too cartoon like. So I changed her.

maiden-2And I have to say it was a bit of a light bulb going off in my head when I thought  of this. That once the paint is down, there is no reason why I can’t put more paint over the top and change it. There are no rules when it comes to art. I say do as you please.

That was how my thought process was working when I decided to paint over her. “Just do as you please. If you don’t like her, then change her”. It’s very freeing to change something if you don’t like it.  Wouldn’t you agree?

And as she developed, I did begin to like her.

maiden-3

I liked the peacefulness in her face and I liked thinking she holds peace in her heart.

maiden-4Wishing you peace in your heart.

"Meet Me at the Guardian Waters" Acrylic Painting

I know that snorkeling with the fish down in Baja inspired my new painting, “Meet Me at the Guardian Waters”.

I’ve been learning to snorkel for the past 2 years. We snorkeled in the Sea of Cortez when we camped for a few days down in Baja this year.  Although I’ve only been snorkeling a few times, I love being in the water and seeing underwater sea life. We’ve seen the most beautiful fish. Colorful ones, in lots of different sizes – some big angel fish and sting ray!

My fish in this painting although colorful are not as fancy as what I saw snorkeling. My painted fish are a bit trout-like.

I wanted to paint a family of fish with my aspen trees, with guardian trees looking over them.

Meet Me at the Guardian Waters“Meet Me at the Guardian Waters”
24″ x 30″
Acrylic on Board, Unframed
$750

Meet Me at the Guardian Waters detailDetail.

Water is a big part of our life. We love being near it, in it or on it. Greg and I love taking the dogs down to the river and hanging out. Or taking the boat out to one of the gorgeous mountain lakes around Bend. We like hiking along the river or mt. biking on the river trail. I knew fish and water would make their way into one of my paintings soon and they did.

“Meet Me at the Guardian Waters” Print available in my Etsy Shop. Enjoy!

Home and Love Travel Hand and Glove

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 HomeHeart and Home
Acrylic on Board
24″  x 30″, Unframed
$750

Heart and Home-detaildetail

Print also available in my Etsy Shop.



Prayer Flags in my Art

Prayerflags2

“Prayer flags are colorful panels or rectangular cloths often found strung along mountain ridges and peaks in the Himalayas to bless the surrounding countryside. Unknown in other branches of Buddhism, prayer flags are believed to have originated with Bon, which predated Buddhism in Tibet. Traditionally they are woodblock-printed with texts and images.” -Wikipedia

Our neighbors down in Baja had prayer flags attached to the railings on the top level of their home. It’s a tall brown house. The flags were very colorful and hung right off their upper patio. They would flutter in the wind and when I would paint in my studio, I could see them.

They were a happy reminder of peace and good will. I liked seeing them there.

But after a few weeks, they took them down. Don’t know why. I have to say I missed them. So I painted my own. They made their way into a small 16″ x 20″ painting.

My Prayer Flags hang in a whimsical, magical woodland. They flutter in the wind, blessing everything around them. I’ve read that the Buddhists believe that every time the flags flutter in the wind, a prayer is released up to the heavens above. I like that.

Each color of the flags symbolize natural elements of nature – earth (yellow), water (green), fire (red), air (white) and space (blue).

On prayerflags.com they say, “The ancient Buddhist prayers, mantras and powerful symbols displayed on them produce a spiritual vibration that is activated and carried by the wind across the countryside. All beings that are touched by the wind are uplifted and a little happier. The silent prayers are blessings spoken on the breath of nature. Just as a drop of water can permeate the ocean, prayers dissolved in the wind extend to fill all of space…”

You can read more about prayer flags at http://www.prayerflags.com/download/article.pdf

PrayerFlags

“Prayers Spoken on the Breath of the Wind”
Acrylic on Canvas
16″ x 20″
by L. Gruger

Creating colorful, whimsical paintings in the studio


sixboards

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.

sixboards2
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.)

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.

trees1

I  really love painting these whimsical worlds because I can add anything I want to them such as organic forms…

detailsand horses and moons…

horse1

and water,

trees2hearts and homes

trees3

and birds.

birdAnd 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.

Until then, enjoy the colors of your life!

I'm unplugging for a few days

Lindybajastudio2010

This computer can be so distracting at times. I’m sure many of you who are online will agree that it can suck up the time. So I’ve decided to unplug from my computer till Thursday morning.

Oh, the idea of it. Unplugging. What words come to mind? Liberty. Freedom. Flexibility. Disengagement. Unrestrained time for art. Enjoying free rein. Creativity. Managing time more wisely. Opportunity. How nice.

My friend, artist Amy Komar did this and unplugged for three days. When I read she was going to do that, I thought to myself, I should do that too. I thought it sounded like a great idea. I was inspired! So I’m doing it.

Bye.

I’m going to the studio. I’m going to paint without the distraction of blogging, Facebook, Twitter, my Website, Etsy, etc. I’m going to soak up my surroundings, relish in my creativity under the palapa of my outdoor studio, feel the cool breeze on my face, concentrate on my art, maybe listen to some music and see what I can bring forth onto the 6 white boards I’ve primed and have ready to go.

I’ll be back next Thursday to share with you my new paintings and tell you how it went.

Okay, I’ll probably check email during that time, but that’s it!

Wish me creative abundance!

So have you unplugged recently? How did it go?

Random thoughts

My day at the art gallery. Sitting and letting thoughts wander. What comes to mind….

melodic music gently flowing through air

seeing art radiating light

reflections on red glass

redglass

hopeful whispers of peace and calm

cool breeze through open doors

smooth chocolate on tingling taste buds

bronze wise men watch with solemn eyes

Bronze

slow movement past windows to the world

wise words calm the spirit

people dropping in to say hello, how are you?

signs of spring in the afternoon

the hour of supper time approaching

purple under layers of light blue

lightblueandpurple

art all around

lingering pattern and colors to take home

Thoughts about Life and Art

beamingHello Friends,

My plan for today was to work on my Art e-Newsletter that I usually mail out on the 15th of each month and work on a few paintings. Instead I’ve done errands and gotten my haircut!

I will be working on my Newsletter after I do this blog post! It will most likely be an unusually short one because of the unexpected events of the past few weeks and how I’ve been feeling.

As some of you know, I am deeply saddened to say that my Mom passed away on March 24th from a stroke. She was 79, just shy of her 80th birthday which is in May. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I miss her.

It was mentioned to me that it is a milestone in one’s life when one’s parents have passed. Although we all know it will happen someday, the idea stays at the back of one’s mind, always in the distance…but now, for my family, it has come to be.

I think about the plans Mom and I had made to take a 5 day Art Workshop together in July. How I was looking forward to seeing what my 80 year old Mother would create! I was thinking they were surely going to be special paintings!

I had suggested taking this Art Workshop many times over the years with her but neither of us found time to do it together. But then, in March, I finally got our deposit paid and we committed! She was thrilled and especially excited to be able to say to her friends she was going to take a 5 day Art Workshop with her daughter, the artist! I can see her smiling now. I know she was proud of my art accomplishments. I hope she knew I was proud of her as well! I think she did.

I have always thought of my Mom as an artist although mainly it was when I was young that she would paint. She painted still lifes and scenery. Her paintings hung in our house and at my grandparents. It made an impression on me for sure.

When I was little, I remember more than once asking her to draw the cute cartoon characters she could do so effortlessly, the man and woman looking at each other lovingly or the bride in a flowing wedding gown. My mom could draw. And she was really good!

I remember in 1st grade she started painting a portrait of me posed as a ballerina, my arm stretched out, my leg and toe pointing downward in a straight line. She never finished the painting though. I don’t know what ever happened to it.

In time, she did less and less creating of her own art. Instead, she liked to collect art, view art and talk about art. She was in San Francisco to see an art show when she died.  She was the Chair of the Art Committee for awhile in the retirement community where she lived in Seattle. She loved to go to the cultural events around the city. The Arts were very important to her!

Others will remember her for her years in social service and dedicated community work, for her seventeen year political career, but I will remember her as my loving, creative  Mom with her vibrant personality, a lover of life and art!

I am comforted by the support of many friends and family during this time and I am very thankful! Truly the hearts and prayers from others can help heal the broken heart of another. My mom always said she saw death as the “next great adventure”. So I like to think that her spirit is following a new course, a glorious, adventurous path!

I’ve always been a believer in the power of art to heal. For me, it is good for my soul to paint when I am going through a rough time. Although I haven’t made much time to be in my art studio yet, I am feeling the tug of the paintings as they sit where I left them on that day in March when I got the news about Mom. They wait to be finished. I know it will be good for me to finish them!

And then there are the new images that have floated through my head these last few weeks as I grieve my mom’s passing and feel the wonder of life’s journey. Those images are sure to be expressed in my art soon as well.

Finally, I will leave you with a quote or two by the writer, Anne Lamott. I love her book, Bird by Bird, where she gives advice and speaks of her past experiences through memoir form.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”

~~~

“We all know we’re going to die; what’s important is the kind of men and women we are in the face of this.”

~~~

“But you can’t get to any of these truths by sitting in a field smiling beatifically, avoiding your anger and damage and grief. Your anger and damage and grief are the way to the truth. We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not go in to. When we have gone in and looked around for a long while, just breathing and finally taking it in – then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home.”

~ Anne Lamott


I wish you full days of peace, inspiration, and renewal as April swings into Spring!

Sending you good thoughts,
Lindy

First phases of a painting

I thought I would share what my paintings first start out looking like. They’re not too pretty. Mostly just a bunch of color. I use a brush or my fingers and spread the color around. I’m working intuitively and not thinking too much about it…it’s rather fun and messy.

Then I use a rag from one of those white muscle man t-shirts and dab the paint around and create some texture from the ribbed pattern on the t-shirt. It’s hard to explain in writing. If you want to watch a video of me doing a demo of how I start a painting, you can check out my youtube channel where I show how it’s done.

aspen1
I know that I want to paint more of my aspen/birch tree paintings. So that is what I’m thinking about as I start these.

aspen2

I like to put in some black pattern as an under layer so it is at this point that I add the black line.

I’m working on a large one as well as the two smaller ones.

aspen4

I’m not sure I like the larger one. There might be too many trees in it. It’s feeling a little busy but maybe I just need to keep working on it. I think more layers of paint and pattern will soften it…atleast that’s what I’m hoping.

My paintings almost always go through a phase where they look really ugly! It’s the early stages before more layers are added. They often look stark and rough. I’ve learned it’s a phase and if I keep working through it, the painting gets to a point that it starts looking like what I’m aiming for.

Isn’t that true of so many things? How if we just stick with something, we will be rewarded? It is often hard to see it when we’re right in the middle of something. Sometimes we just want to give up. I’ve learned that what is on the surface is not always what it appears in the end. Sometimes we need to sit still and let the Universe reveal whatever it may be to us. Or in this case, with my painting, I need to keep moving with it, working on it, to see what is to come.

I love that about painting. The process, and how it can feel like a mystery. The “I wonder how this is going to turn out” feeling. Sometimes the painting feels like it is painting itself, easy and flowing, and other times, it is a struggle, a push to reveal itself. I don’t know why one may feel one way and another, the other way. But I do know, I have to go through the rough undercoats before I am rewarded with the final layers of beauty.

After these paintings are finished, I’ll show you the end results. Stay tuned.

New Whimsical Bird Art – Original Acrylic Paintings

I have some new whimsical bird art that I would like to share with you. They’re acrylics on paper. Mostly small.

She Watched One Thread Blossom
She Watched One Thread Blossom

I’ve been painting these little bird creatures for a number of years now. They started showing up in my paintings when we moved to Bend, Oregon in 2003.

A Small Dream in the Making
A Small Dream in the Making

We have tons of birds in our backyard. Lots of hummingbirds and quail in the summer. Robins, jays, ravens and chickadees the rest of the time.

She Felt the Sun Beaming
She Felt the Sun Beaming

I’d like to make a quail painting sometime.  I just haven’t yet. Probably will soon.

She Sat on a Creative Nest
She Sat on a Creative Nest

What’s interesting is to see how my whimsical birds have changed over the years. Below is an early bird I made. My color palatte was a bit darker.

A Small Space of Rest
A Small Space of Rest

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. It’s just different. Change, I believe, is good for an artist. It shows one is growing in their art. I believe I have grown as an artist. Here’s another early one.

An Enchantment was Cast
An Enchantment was Cast

I like this quote from “The Mission of Art” by Alex Grey.

“Art is communion of one soul to another, offered through the symbolic language of form and content. An artist creates a sensible form, through harmonious use of the medium (paint, clay, music, and so on), which expresses content, by subject and feeling. We absorb metaphysical sustenance from the balance of formal means and expressive ends. Art expands the appreciator’s consciousness by providing a glimpse into the hearts and minds of strange beautiful humanity. Art is nutrition for the soul. The soul cannot thrive on junk food.

Many artists develop technical skills – they can draw, paint, or play an instrument – but seem to have little that is fresh, original, or worthwhile to say. Other artists really have something important to express but lack the skills or courage to express it. Rare is the artist with skill who offers a significant statement.

The only way to formal inventiveness and technical ability is to work and work, studying and perfecting the craft. Artists discover unique features of their medium that contribute to actualizing their personal vision. A well-crafted work of art requires discipline. Devotional labor lavished on a work of art radiates love and care to the viewer.”

I like to observe the changes in my art and celebrate that I’m still at it, still celebrating life with images that fulfill me, that bring joy and calm to my spirit. Work and work and more work at painting, perfecting my craft, as Alex Gray says. I try to be true to myself when I paint, even in the midst of grief, sorrow or disappointment. So here’s to staying calm and clear and bright and continuing to paint! flower

Spring into a Whimsical Bird Art Giveaway

Spring is coming!
I am celebrating March with a Whimsical Bird Art Giveway!

The winner will receive 3 things featuring my Whimsical Bird Art:

"Singing a Fiesta Song" ACEO Print

One whimsical bird ACEO print titled “Singing a Fiesta Song”.
See all three of my ACEO prints in my Etsy Shop.
Whimsical Bird Notecards
Whimsical Bird Notecards
7 different card designs
7 different card designs
One pack of my whimsical bird notecards that
features 7 different card designs in each package.
Whimsical Bird Bookmark
Whimsical Bird Bookmark

And one whimsical bird bookmark.

The contest giveaway will run for one week from March 1st to March 7th, and the winner will be announced on my blog Monday, March 8th.

I will use a random number generator to choose the winner.

Also, please remember to leave your email in the posts so I can contact you if you’re the winner!

Note: Please remember to list each comment separately. If you put all your entries into one comment, it will only be counted once!

Here’s how to enter:

Do one (or all) of the following:

1. Go to lgrugerhanson Etsy shop and pick out your favorite item then come back here and post your choice (1 entry)

2. For new followers, follow this blog, and tell me you did so as a separate comment (1 entry).

3. Tweet about this giveaway, and tell me you did so as a separate comment (1 entry).

4. Follow me, lgrugerhanson on Twitter, and tell me you did so as a separate comment (1 entry).

5. For new Fans, fan me on Facebook, and tell me you did so as a separate comment (1 entry).

4. Blog about this giveaway, and tell me you did so as a separate comment (1 entry).

5. Heart  my lgrugerhanson Etsy shop, and tell me you did so as a separate comment (1 entry).

6. Sign up to receive my Art  e-Newsletter and tell me you did so as a separate comment(1 entry).

7. Make a purchase from my lgrugerhanson Etsy shop and tell me you did so as 5 separate comments (5 entries).

Thanks for participating and supporting living, working artists…like me!

Good luck  and good thoughts,

~ Lindy

Part 4: One Artist’s Journey – 30-40 yrs old

This continues my 5 part series about my artist journey.

Part 4 is between the years 1989-1999. It will be a long post because a lot happened in that decade!

I’m glad I kept an art journal during this time because there were so many paintings and series that it would be difficult to keep track of the order if not for my writings. I had a hard time choosing which paintings I wanted to share. I took slides of all my work so I have quite a few to choose from.

cactus2

Around the time I was creating art furniture (you can read about that in Part 3), I begun painting large acrylic cactus paintings which lasted through about 1991. They were very graphic looking with straight lines and shapes which is no surprise coming from a graphic design background.

I painted quite a few of these large paintings and did a few commissions. I had a love of the southwest and wanted to someday live near Santa Fe, New Mexico. That never happened but that comes later in the story.

This is what I wrote in my journal about creating the cactus paintings.

“I liked doing them but they seemed time consuming and costly with all the paint I used. The cactus and it’s triangle spikes I really love. The desert is a special, beautiful place.”

My 30’s were about figuring out what life was about. Most of my friends were getting married and having children. I hadn’t met the “one” yet. I knew I would meet him someday but I had to be patient. One of my painting series was titled, “What’s it all about? They were acrylic and collage and I often would paint the frame as well. The triangles and spirals were oil pastel on paper cut into shapes. I used these same triangle shapes in my art furniture.

"It's About Choice"
“It’s About Choice”
"It's About Peace"
“It’s About Peace”
"It's About Youth"
“It’s About Youth”

I had every intention of painting twelve in this series. I completed eight when one night I discovered a new way of painting.

“That night was incredibly exciting for me. I had a piece of wax paper with loads of paint on it. Mixed. It looked beautiful in itself. So I decided to use it. I scraped into it, I put the triangle shapes in it. Then pressed it onto a sheet of paper. I peeled it away to find a gorgeous painting but still with too much paint on it. So I pressed another sheet onto that sheet. Which absorbed more paint. I pulled it away to find an image very exciting and pleasing to me. I added swirls and cut outs to it. Then I did more.”

This was the start of a new series and the use of wax paper as a painting tool.

presspaintingThis technique started a new series where I would paint or draw into the paint on wax paper and then press it down and lift it back up to reveal a print that I would then manipulate with more paint or collage images.

printedmanI was making monoprints. As I look at them now, they look quite crude. But I remember my excitement and how I loved experimenting with my new printing method.

I did many paintings using this technique and I sold a few at the artist run gallery, Art/Not Terminal Gallery, where I started showing my work. It was my first venture into exhibiting. I loved the camaraderie of the gallery and meeting new people who liked to talk about art!

About this time I was introduced to Peggy Zehring when I took one of her art workshops at the community college. I would continue to take her workshops over the years and she was instrumental in teaching me experimental ways of drawing and painting. She was the first person to tell me that I had a “visual language” and that it was important for me to record my mark making.

swirlpainting

TribalThen I started creating some paintings using whimsical black dancing figures. This is where my printing technique of black pattern started showing up in the backgrounds of my paintings. I was learning to create depth in my work.

I loved these earthy tribal characters. I liked the way the figures danced and did yoga and had their own magical world.

I’ve always thought maybe I would paint more of these paintings but I haven’t. Maybe I will again someday.

.

Tribal2

1993, Lindy showing her painting, "Around the Ancient Tower", at Art Not Terminal Gallery
1993 – Lindy showing her painting, “Around the Ancient Tower” at the Art/Not Terminal Gallery

scratchpainting

It was around this time that I wanted to meet some more artists. So I started an Art Group in January of ’93. People came and went in the group but there were about six of us that met once a month for about 2 years. Part of our meeting time was spent experimenting with different media and then doing an art critique afterwards. I think this helped open me up to experimenting with my own art.

I begun painting abstracts. I made my first international sale, “Forward Motion” to a man in Germany. In 1994, I had my first solo show at Post Art in downtown Seattle.

"Forward Motion"
“Forward Motion”
Protected: Gathering the Spirits
Protected: Gathering the Spirits

I kept painting the abstracts but I tried adding collage to them. These I called my “White Series”.

white1

white2

In 1994 I started painting my Blue Mountain series. My painting style was beginning to form.

View For Two
View For Two
housemoon
My House is as Big as the Moon

That same year I decided I wanted to travel to Europe. I was feeling a need to expand my world.

It took me about a year to save so I could do it but in May of 1995 I went to Europe for 3 months by myself. Backpacking and staying in youth hostels. I met and traveled with many wonderful people. It was an amazing experience and I can say it changed my life. It made me realize what a great big world we live in! I wanted to experience more of that when I got home. Adventure and travel!

I decided again I would save my money to be able to move to another city. I threw the names of 3 cities in a hat and chose New York City. The other cities being Albuquerque, NM…they had an art therapy program there I was interested in because I was thinking of changing my career, and San Diego, a city of sun and fun.

I knew New York was the right choice because I felt so good about it. I couldn’t see moving to New Mexico first because I would never want to leave. But I could see myself moving to New York City, getting tired of it and moving to New Mexico.

So I moved to New York City in December of 1996. I had visited it before and had some friends there so it felt right. Everything fell into place. I got an apartment and started freelancing 3 days a week as a graphic production artist for the same company I had worked for in Seattle. On my other days, I was painting.

Prelife
Prelife

My first New York pieces were rather dark. My color palette had changed. I thought I had to paint small because there was little room in my apartment. I began painting on 8″ x 10″ paper and small postcard sized pieces. Soon though I felt the cards calling out to each other and I started to put them together like pieces of a puzzle. I called this my “Whimsical World” Series.

Lyrical World
Lyrical World

I was able to get some art studio space on 14th Street and became involved with a group of artists called the 14th Street Painters. We all shared studio space run by Craig Killy. Craig put together annual exhibitions and open studio events which were very popular.

Lyrical World II
Lyrical World II

I continued working on my Whimsical Worlds series and also a Vessel series. It was during this time, that my painting style really developed. My colors became more vivid.

Life Vessel
Life Vessel
Touching the Spiral
Touching the Spiral

I had many fantastic experiences while living in New York City. But soon I knew it was time for me to leave.

"My Chair" - Purchase Award, School of Visual Arts in Manhattan
“My Chair” – Purchase Award, School of Visual Arts in Manhattan

While I was in NYC, I enrolled in an Art Therapy certificate program at The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. I loved the program and was doing volunteer work with pregnant teenage girls making art. I thought I wanted to be an art therapist. I had been talking about becoming an art therapist for about 10 years so I was thrilled to actually be doing something about it.

But I missed the Northwest lifestyle. Hiking and camping and wearing hiking boots and fleece!

I knew of a Masters program in art therapy at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon so I decided to apply. It took a lot of work, taking psych prerequisites and doing volunteer work, but I was able to get into the program. So I moved to Portland, Oregon.

I was in New York City for 2-1/2 years. I made some life long friends who I cherish. I developed a style of painting that I use to this day. I was able to make a living as an artist in the Big Apple, show and sell my work there. I will be forever grateful for those experiences.

But while living there I missed being around “my people”. I missed my friends and family in Seattle. And where were the nature loving, mountain climbing, granola chewing, down to earth folk in New York City? I did meet a few, but they were not in large supply. So in the fall of 1999, I was happy to be moving to Portland, Oregon.

I’ll write more about Oregon living in Part 5 of my One Artist’s Journey series on Feb. 18th.

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Art and Words – Body, Mind and Spirit

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Nourished by the Mystery by L. Gruger

“If we look after the root of a tree,

the fragrance and flowering will come by itself.

If you look after the body, the fragrance of the

mind and spirit will come by itself.”

– BKS Iyengar

I was supposed to post this yesterday because I’m doing Art and Words on Fridays…but you know, life gets in the way sometimes.

I’m on day 6 of a raw food detox diet so I’ve been thinking a lot about nutrition and the health of the body lately. I’m doing it for fun and I also like to challenge myself and this is a way of eating I’ve never done before. All raw food! For a week! It’s hard! But I’m doing it.

It’s been a personal challenge to get through it! There are so many temptations!  I feel great though from what I’m eating and also for sticking with it.

I found the diet at the Detox Diet Divas website. I think I found it from a blog linked to a blog at The Kind Diet website which is a new book I bought by Alicia Silverstone that has great vegan recipes.

No, I’m not vegan but I like healthy recipes and reading about good nutrition. I can’t wait till Monday though when I can eat some Sweet Potato-Lentil Stew served over couscous or brown basmati rice…yumm! It’s a recipe from my new book! I love sweet potatoes and lentils, so I can’t wait!

Enjoy the Art and Words!

BodyMindSpirit

Art and Words – Wings to fly: tasting flight

Flying Toward a Slice of the Night by L. Gruger
Flying Toward a Slice of the Night by L. Gruger

“Once you have tasted flight,

you will forever walk the earth with your eyes

turned skyward, for there you have been,

and there you will always long to return.”

– Leonardo de Vinci

I’ve decided I’m not going to do the “An Artist’s Day Notes” on Fridays anymore. Time for change. Maybe I will pick it up again at a later date. Instead on Friday’s I’m going to pick a quote that I like and put it to an art image. These posts will be called “Art and Words”.  I won’t always be using my art, I may find other’s art that inspires me to go with the quote.

Hope you enjoy the Art and Words posts.

WIngstoFly

Part 2: One Artist’s Journey – 10-20 yrs old

Continuing my 5 part series on my Artist Journey…

13yrsBeach girl.

This is me at 13, I dug a big hole at the beach and put a great big log into it. I can’t remember now what I was building but I remember everyone was pretty supportive. I was pretty lucky growing up. Most of my creative endeavors had my family’s support.

1970'sart

Can you tell I grew up in the 70’s from these paintings? I loved creating art in junior high and high school. I graduated in 1977.

We had lots of art books around our house. The big coffee table kind. We would flip through them and see amazing art! I was impressed by all the great art masters. I liked colorful art. I liked the abstract and surreal art.

I mostly loved making fantasy art! I made my first set of greeting card designs when I was 19. I didn’t know how to market them back then though but a lot of my relatives bought them. Thank goodness for family.

Fantasy Greeting Card Designs
Fantasy Greeting Card Designs

I had a vivid imagination. I liked to think up characters and draw them. I used pen and ink, graphite pencil, watercolor, sometimes acrylics. Looks like I had a fascination with aliens.

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LGG-Alien1-lowMaybe it was the stories I had heard about flying saucers and alien abductions. I remember there was talk about that back then. Maybe I was feeling a little alien myself as a teenager.

I also kept small sketch books and filled them up with line drawings. In fact, I had journals of all kinds.

I started my dream journal in 1977. I still have it! It’s a pretty big, thick, green notebook. I would record my dreams and sometimes try to interpret them with what I called my “day notes”, trying to see if I could tie what happened during the day with my dreams. I was trying to make sense of life. Isn’t that what one’s teens are all about? Figuring stuff out. It would be what spurred my interest in studying psychology and dream work when I got older.

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I also was given my first “empty book” during this time. It was 1975. Inscribed on the front inside cover, my parents wrote, “This book of blank pages is given to our daughter….we know that her creativity will make it a thing of beauty and inspiration.” I thought it was a pretty cool idea. A book of blank pages, that I was going to fill up!

journals-low

I’ve collected 6 of these books over the years. I filled them with writings, collected quotes and sayings, line drawings, cool song lyrics, collage, sketches, painting titles, anything that inspired me. I still have one going to this day. If you have a creative child, I totally recommend giving them an “empty” book.

In later years, I would start a “grateful” journal.  Sarah Ban Breathnach who wrote the Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude says, “if you give thanks for five gifts every day, in two months you may not look at your life in the same way as you might now.”  I love the idea of transformation and being grateful. I like to take pause and remember what happened during my day that I am grateful for and give thanks!

I’m in love with this idea about nurturing the creative spirit. Finding ways to improve myself and also be inspired and create! I heard someone say though, they don’t like to be inspired because when that happens they’re distracted and not creating. They were saying, being inspired is overrated. When you’re too busy being inspired, you’re not creating. I disagree, for me, I love being inspired and I think I create best when I have books and photos and art around me that bring me joy and beauty and inspiration.

A great book about nurturing the creative spirit is Kelly Rae Roberts’ book Taking Flight, inspiration and techniques for giving your creative spirit wings. I love the stories and this book is the story of a creative artist who will inspire you, give techniques, inspiring quotes, pages for journaling, all to help your creative spirit soar!

I also started some larger sketchbook journals during my teens. You could call me a journal geek. Do you have a journal? What kind is it and what do you put into it?

I remember winning an award as a senior in high school for one of my paintings. A landscape of ocean dunes. I was thrilled to have my art acknowledged by more than my family and friends. I thought maybe I wanted to be an illustrator or maybe a graphic designer. I was sure I wanted to be some kind of an artist and go to college. And I did. I’ll write more about my college years and my twenties in Part 3 of my Artist Journey series.

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Artist Interview: Amy Komar

wing-series

Ya know how there are some people who you just relate to? You hear something they say or read something they wrote and you just feel a certain kinship with them? That’s how I felt when I first read Amy’s blog.

Amy Komar is a Fairbanks, Alaska artist who I met last year online. Don’t ask me how I found her blog. But I did, I found myself there and spending a lot of time reading. I absolutely loved reading it.  AND I loved looking at all the cool paintings on her website! I was very inspired! You can see more of her original acrylic paintings at http://www.amykomar.com if you just can’t wait to see more!

I was very lucky to be able to trade an art print with her. I chose Dillan’s Moon which for me, having a love of the moon, was inspiring and magical. It is a beautiful print with gorgeous blues and it has a luminous quality and dots on the branches look like frosty magic.

To me, all of her paintings radiate magic. I am charmed by them! Read the interview and what inspires this talented lady below.

Amy Komar
Amy Komar

1. What is creativity to you?

Creativity, to me, is a delicious space to be in. It is quiet and still. It is the act of stepping outside myself and acknowledging something bigger moving through me. It is following inspired thought and being free of inner critics. It is when I feel most authentic.

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2. Why do you make art?

Throughout my life some unseen force has consistently nudged me to create. It drives me. A line keeps popping into my head to answer this question with. I read it when I was much younger and cannot properly cite where I found it. Here goes anyways – “ I make art because any other life would be a lie.”

3. What drives you to come up with ideas for your work, what are your sources of inspiration?

The daily! I believe that as artists we are always working…always seeing with artist eyes. It could be a bending birch tree seen when I am walking my dogs, a play of moonlight on roof tops, colors seen in the produce isle of a grocery store, a well written poem, the smallest details in nature…inspiration is endless.

4. When you’re preparing to do a painting, what is your process like? Do you start with a sketch, a layout, or do you just see what happens?

Quite often I just begin. I start by wetting the surface and washing in thin layers of paint. I turn the inner critic off and trust that the paint will guide me. My best work is when I look down, hours later, surprised and delighted by the shapes and colors on the board. I know then, that I have gotten out of my own way and allowed something larger to work through me. It is intuitive and based in alignment.

wedding-day_detail

5. Do you feel like your painting is integrated with the rest of your life?

Yes. I am always seeing with my artist eyes. When I get that far off look, it is usually because colors, shapes, textures and details are flashing through my brain!

6. Describe what “Art Success” looks like to you.

When someone I have never met sends me an email or stops me at a gallery show and tells me how they were moved by one of my paintings. When a new blog is posted, a grant is applied for and wet paint is on a once white board!

wedding-day_detail-2

7. What’s your current or next art project?

I am sort of doing a juggling act right now! I am putting the finishing touches on an exhibit I created for True World Gallery in California. The show opens at the beginning of March. I am also revving up to return my focus to a project that began 9/09 called Alchemy of Connection. It is where people send me a list of ( 9 ) of their daily joys and I use their list as the inspiration for a painting. It is a series that explores the connectedness of all things.

8. Are you showing anywhere now or in the near future?

I always have work up at The Alaska House Art Gallery here in Fairbanks. In March, my exhibit opens at True World Gallery.

I decided that after my show in California I am going to take a year long break from showing in galleries. I want to focus more on my website, blog and other personal creative ventures that are brewing!

wedding-day

9. What words of wisdom would you share with people pioneering a path to live an authentic life following their passion?

Get clear about what your best life looks like. Hold that vision in your minds eye. Spend time each day expanding and nuturing your vision. Don’t listen to naysayers. Believe and trust that everything is unfolding in perfect timing. Keep moving forward. Do something everyday – big or small – that reflects back to you how you are following your heart/passion.

summer-birch

10. Anything else you want people to know about you?

I collect good words/quotes. I currently have three rotating notebooks that I use to write down all of my ideas. I believe in synchronicity. I love it when I catch repeating numbers during the day (ex: 2:22 on the clock, 444 on a license plate). I love to cook and bake and am a connoisseur of ‘cozy.’ I like to live life like I am on vacation. I don’t watch TV. I once won a contest and was given the title “ Miss Congeniality.” I have driven the Alaska Highway 3 times. I like it when people ask good questions. I think reading in bed is decadent.

Thank you Lindy for interviewing me! You ask good questions…

You can find me here –

Website: www.amykomar.com

Blog: www.artistinthearctic.blogspot.com

Etsy: www.artistinthearctic.etsy.com

Mini Art Paintings on Canvas

Mini Art Paintings on Canvas

There is something about miniature art that I love. Just saying “tiny art” makes me want to either buy some, see some or paint some. It’s probably goes way back to my childhood when I liked small things such as stuffed animals and tiny dolls. I remember collecting miniature glass animals with my sister, rearranging  them, displaying them, playing with them and adoring their tiny size.

I’ve been looking at ACEO paintings on Etsy and Ebay. ACEO is an art format the size of trading cards…2.5 x 3.5 inches. This smaller format has a wide collector base of people who enjoy looking at and collecting tiny art. Because the size is the same size as typical trading cards, there are different plastic holders and ways of displaying ACEO art (which stands for Art Card, Editions, Originals).

I think one of my goals for 2010 is to create some original tiny paintings in the ACEO size. But until I do, lately I’ve been painting on a 5″ x 5″ mini canvas and having a lot of fun with that!  The painting image wraps around the edge, onto 1.5″ sides so there is no need for framing. I put bumpers on the back corners too so they’ll protect the wall. You can see the mini paintings for sale on my website.

I have different themes I’ve been playing with from garden scenes, to miscellaneous raven and angel paintings. They’re a lot of fun to do because I can finish one in a relatively short period of time and I get the satisfaction of finishing a complete painting! And then I love the way they look displayed in a grouping. I’m really enjoying using the dot pattern too which to me symbolizes connectivity.

TwilightGarden2 DayandNight2 RedCloudsII-2

Hope you enjoy looking at my mini art!

Small is Beautiful!

Whimsical Snowflake and Birdhouse Christmas Ornaments

The Tumalo Art Co., the gallery where I exhibit my art in Bend, has put up three ornamental Christmas trees for the artists to hang their handmade ornaments that they have for sale on.

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nov09-gallerytree
I made some mini whimsical snowflake paintings…

snowflakeornaments

and painted some tiny birdhouses as my ornaments.
birdhouseornaments
They look cute hanging in a tree outside our house.

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I brought them down to the gallery today and hung them on the Christmas trees.

nov09-gallery-ornaments

nov09-closeup-treeHappy Holidays!

Artists with a Whimsical Style of Painting on New Website

Calling all artists with a whimsical style of painting and those who love to collect and view colorful, whimsical art! We need you, the artist, on our website at http://www.whimsicalpaintings.com and we need you, the collector and art enthusiast, to stop by, browse and partake in the beauty that these fine artists are creating! As the website says, it is “a collection of fine artists who are making their art accessible to enthusiasts and collectors with a love of colorful, whimsical fine art.”

www.whimsicalpaintings.com

How does it work? The website will have links to each of the artists websites where you can view the artists work and contact them for art purchases. As you know, I paint in a whimsical style and for me, it has been hard to find other artists who also have a whimsical style of painting. I’m not only a painter but I’m an art collector as well and I like to collect this type of art but it is hard to find. So I decided to create a website that features whimsical art so others don’t have to have as hard a time as I did in finding them.

So far the website has 4 artists but check back because the whimsicalpaintings.com website will be adding more artists soon. We are selective and the artists will be those that we feel are a good fit.

The website by Jeanne Williamson titled SmallArtShowcase.com which features small, affordable art pieces, helped inspire our website! We have linked to their site and also a site titled The Fine Art Department which is another website that features artists all in one spot.

I know our whimsical paintings website will fill up with artists soon! If you’re reading this, please retweet and also spread the word via your other social networks! Thanks!

Nov. 6th An Artist's Day Notes

Artist'sDayNotes3
I AM GRATEFUL
for my new warm slippers

I CAN SEE
trees swaying and
dancing in the wind

I AM HEARING
outside noises

I AM WEARING
blue and black

I AM CREATING
some holiday greeting cards

I AM MISSING
dark chocolate

I AM HOPING
I can think of some inspiring
titles for my new paintings

I AM PLANNING
to have dinner with an old friend on Sunday

PAINTING TO INSPIRE

She Carries A Tapestry of Ancient Colors
She Carries A Tapestry of Ancient Colors

Painting by me,
Lindy Gruger Hanson
To purchase original or print,
visit my Etsy Shop>

New Moonheadmama Painting Video on Youtube


The making of the first Moonheadmama painting is now on my youtube channel. It is a short video that shows most of how I made this art. And painting No. 1 is also listed on ebay! 20% of the proceeds will go to a non-profit called Acres of Hope which helps homeless women and their children.

UPDATE: This painting was SOLD on ebay.

First Moonheadmama Painting Finished

“She Sang a Garden Lullaby
to Moonbaby”

14″ x 11″
Acrylic on Paper
Unframed

I finished my first Moonheadmama painting this afternoon. #1 in the series. I’ve always loved the title Moonheadmama and I’ve had a web site by that name for about 5 years. It was here in Todos Santos over a couple margaritas and some creative brainstorming that the name Moonheadmama was born. But since then I haven’t done a lot with the Moonheadmama.com web site so recently I decided to use it to showcase Moonheadmama paintings! I will also be putting these new paintings on ebay and auctioning them off to the highest bidder. 20% of the proceeds will go to the non-profit Acres of Hope. Acres of Hope is a long term housing program for homeless women with children. I also made a video on the making of the first Moonheadmama painting and I’ll be putting it on my Youtube channel soon!

I’m positive this series of paintings will evolve as I continue to paint them. I enjoyed it immensely because I pretty much let this painting create itself. I like the title too which is always a big part of my paintings. “She Sang a Garden Lullably to Moonbaby”…I think it’s sweet. The Moonheadmama series will celebrate love, hope, joy, peacefulness and the ties between mother and child.

Fun, Whimsical Skateboard

I’m having a whole lotta fun making things with my art! I thought a skateboard would be a cool thing to design using an image from my new painting “One Played While the Others Flew”. You can see it at my Zazzle store. It is amazing all the different places you can sell your art and designs online these days. Here is a link to “40+ Places to Sell Your Designs Online” at Mashable.com. Have fun!

UPDATE: I was just notified that my skateboard design was given a “Todays Best” award at Zazzle.com. Visit: http://www.zazzle.com/pd/awards

Art Fabric and more on making stuff!

Here’s some more info on making stuff. I discovered this Web site on making art fabric on-demand. http://www.spoonflower.com/welcome Wouldn’t this be fun to design your own fabric for curtains or pillows! If you have a design and use their service, I’d love to hear about it! Here’s a company that has used them http://www.ninetomatoes.com/ and here’s another fun Web site on making stuff. http://www.craftstylish.com/