This is a little story of a commissioned painting I did for Darryl Purposebut it’s also a story of meeting Darryl, his music and how it’s touched me.
When Darryl Purpose approached me to paint a commissioned painting to go on his upcoming new CD, I was thrilled! I immediately said yes!
I’ve known Darryl from way back when I was living on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle, Washington. That would be around 1996.
I first met Darryl when a friend of mine in New York City let me know that Darryl was playing a house concert on Queen Anne Hill. He encouraged me to go hear Darryl’s music live. The concert was within walking distance of my apartment. How could I say no?
So my best friend and I walked up to the concert.
When we got there, we didn’t know any one in the group of people congregating and we were wondering if it was actually okay that we were there. My friend had said, “Just tell Darryl, Steve sent you.” Sounded good to me.
The concert was in a lovely house that overlooked the city. There was a large picture window in the living room with a sweeping view of Seattle and the space needle against the sky. There were chairs set around for people to sit in. A lot of those were filled. We sat in the back.
When the concert began, Darryl stood in front of the big picture window with his guitar and played for the small crowd of music lovers.
We were mesmerized with Darryl’s music and his storytelling of black jack playing and being on the great Peace March. It was enchanting and the setting just right!
During a break in the concert, people were mingling, others getting something to drink. I headed for the restroom. When I came back to the group, I found my friend hugging Darryl with tears streaming down her face. She had been so touched by Darryl’s music and was telling him how much she loved it. It made me smile. His music brought her to tears! That’s how soulful and touching Darryl’s music is!
It’s a great memory of a beautiful evening of fabulous music and company!
His music inspired me to paint this piece titled “Blue is for River.” It’s a painting of Darryl (when he used to wear a cowboy hat during his performances) whipping up the sky with his music.
My painting title is taken from Darryl’s song titled “Paint the Sky.” Darryl graciously let me use his Paint the Sky song in my art showcase video on Youtube.
Purchase an archival print of Blue is for Riverhere.
Fast forward a few years and a few DP concerts later. I’ve seen Darryl play in Washington, New York City, and Oregon. I have all of his CDs! Can you tell I’m a fan yet?
I will always remember a road trip I took once with my late husband, Peter. I had introduced him to Darryl’s music when we lived in Portland, OR.
I think it was sometime in the summer of 2005. Peter was very thin from fighting colon cancer. He also had bought a new (used) car and wanted to take a road trip with it.
Peter’s brother, Larry, was visiting so we took that road trip. We had Darryl’s music in the CD player. Peter wanted to share Darryl’s music with Larry and there was one song Peter especially loved. It is titled, “The Island Song” from the Right Side of Zero CD.
I just remember cruising along with the sun roof open, a beautiful summer day, Larry stretched out in the back seat, Darryl’s music playing, Peter driving…we stopped to pick blackberries on the side of the road. All was well.
Sadly, Peter didn’t win the battle. He died from colon cancer that October.
Whenever I hear the Island Song, it brings me back to that day. I remember how Darryl’s music had lifted us up! How eager Peter was to share the music and the times we played Darryl’s music to make us feel good.
I’ve been sharing Darryl’s music since that first CD I bought in 1996. So you can see I felt honored to be asked to do a custom painting for the new CD.
So, I talked with Darryl about the commission.
What did he want it painted on…paper or wood? How big? What feeling did he want portrayed from it? Darryl sent me a few lyrics from some of the new songs on the CD. We exchanged thoughts about the painting and then I began.
It started out like this…
and then turned into this…
and then this…
and… so it went. Adding more layers and more layers.
Then at some point I noticed the earring. It’s funny how one can paint and not really notice the elements until much later.
Where did that come from? The earring had to go.
So I took it out and turned it into Buddha’s ear. I almost thought that “Buddha’s Ear” might make a nice title. It had a lyrical quality to it. 🙂
But the words “Still the Birds” kept repeating in my head. I almost didn’t want to title it that because it was the title being considered for the new CD. Yet, it seemed to fit perfect, so that was what I titled it.
There is a lot of symbolism in this painting. I don’t often like to talk about what a painting means to me as I like the viewer to make up their own story about my art. But I will tell you that the hand symbolizes the guitar player in Darryl and how a musician uses his hand to play an instrument. The raven looking up at the moon and the swallows flying above is about time and the passing of it.
You can read more about Darryl here and on his website.
If you’d like to purchase one of your own commissioned paintings, go here.
This raven painting cracks me up. When the title came to me, I just laughed. It seemed fitting. I love that my raven has a personality named Mr. Raven. He’s a bit mysterious, a bit devious, definitely the trickster!
I’ve finished and mailed my #twitterartexhibit piece titled “Flying From a Leap of Faith.” It will be entered into the Twitter Art Exhibit in L.A. I donated a piece last year to the exhibit when it was held in Moss, Norway. This year it’s in Los Angeles on January 12, 2013.
The Twitter Art website says, “Twitter Art Exhibit: Los Angeles is the third installment of an open international exhibition of handmade postcard art for charity, donated by hundreds of participating artists from around the globe.
While the first two exhibitions were held in Moss, Norway, the Los Angeles show marks a global launch for the concept by founder David Sandum, a Swedish-born artist who conceived the Twitter Art Exhibit as a vehicle for doing good through social media and online community-building. The idea is simple: artists from all over the world receive a call through Twitter social media to create original postcard-sized art, which they mail to a local curator who then exhibits and sells them to benefit a local charity. Artists must have a Twitter account and interact with exhibition organizers to help seed the event.”
This years Twitter Art Exhibit in L.A. will help fund Art Division, a great non-profit dedicated to training underserved youth who are working toward a career in the arts.
My contribution this year speaks of moving forward with faith and courage. Always changing and evolving takes faith in yourself and the universe to move you in the direction of your dreams. It can be so rejuvenating and freeing, this hopeful leap of faith.
My painting has a fiery orange bird reminiscent of a Phoenix Rising which can signify renewal or rebirth. No wonder because I feel like I’ve been going through a transition with getting married in September and taking on a new last name (Gaskill). With those changes have come rebranding my website and art to be known as “Art by Lindy” instead of “L. Gruger Art.” It’s been a bit confusing for my art career to rebrand myself but it’s been difficult having so many names – Lindy Gruger, Lindy Gruger Hanson, Lindy Hanson. Phew! So now I’m one name – Lindy Gaskill and when it comes to talking about my art and website, “Art by Lindy.”
I like choosing a couple non-profits a year to donate a piece of art to and this is one of them. I think it’s a great way to give back while supporting an organization that I believe helps youth in the arts.
I’ve finished some new paintings and I’ll be posting them here in the weeks to come.
It’s been fabulous painting again in my Baja studio! I love the light and looking at palm trees and the view of the ocean. I feel very grateful for the opportunity to create art in this kind of setting.
I’ll first put my new work on the VIP page of my website for those who have access to view first and then a week later I’ll be posting them on my website and blog. If you have VIP access, you will have first dibs at purchasing any paintings that I put on the VIP page.
There are tiny little hummingbirds here in Todos Santos that we’ve been watching in our garden and they are beautiful!
I have a love of birds. And I think hummingbirds are special. I also love bird symbolism and what their meaning can represent.
Hummingbirds are a symbol of luck, love and joy. No wonder I love painting them!
So I’m been inspired by these tiny creatures and feel they are a good omen when I see them fluttering about.
NOTE: Normally, I would be posting images of our stay here but I forgot my camera’s download cord so I don’t have access to the photos until I get home.
I’ll be doing a series of posts about our trip but you will have to wait a few days.
We are getting ready tto travel back starting tonight by taking the Baja Ferry. We’ll be going back the same way we came. Going over to mainland Mexico from La Paz and driving to San Carlos, Nogales and Tucson and then on to Prescott.
I was painting about a dozen canvases and pieces on wood while I was taking the Bloom True e-course by Flora Bowley. I’m still working on some of the pieces and they are developing and changing and don’t look anything like the way they started.
It’s always interesting to me to watch a painting develop. In the future I’ll be posting some of these pieces to show you.
What I love about the Bloom True e-course is you can take what you would like from it, what resonates with you, and leave the rest. Many of the things I was doing are things that I have learned in previous experimental drawing and painting classes but I had fallen away from them and this e-course got me back on track! Love that! One needs that as an artist to keep growing. And taking workshops is inspiring for that! And this one is amazingly inspiring! It is unique in that it combines more than just painting techniques. There is a whole mind, body, soul element to it. I highly recommend enrolling for the next e-course in June.
Letting images come spontaneously and intuitively, letting my own marks and color palette fill the canvas was a joy!
Below are some of the images of my painting, Protecting the Nest III, as it developed.
The final painting has some of my signature marks in it.
The marks I use with string, making spirals and swiggly marks with red and black paint. And the marks I use by scratching into paint on wax paper and pressing it into the painting. These marks are what Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D. from the smARTist Telesummit calls one’s fingerprint aka one’s artist voice with painting. The marks that make your painting yours. These are my marks and they are the one’s that a person can recognize an L. Gruger painting has. That and the black outline. I love using the black outline and currently I’m experimenting with white outline too.
What are the things that make up your fingerprint?
Sometimes, when I’m waiting for something, I have to remind myself to “be here now”. To be mindful that the present is where it’s at.
It’s easy to put myself into a stressful mindset, thinking about the future and where I want to be. And sometimes I can’t help myself to look back on the past to see how far I’ve been.
It’s this tug of war of past and future and that is where the stress comes in. If I can just relax and be where I am. In this moment, where everything is just fine, all will be well.
In this case, Greg and I are waiting to move to Prescott. We’re in this transitional period and sometimes we get a little antsy and wish we were further along then we are.
We are waiting on a house we put an offer on in Prescott, AZ. It’s a short sale house and you know how long those take! We want to hurry the process along but we just have to wait. Although we’ve put a deadline on ourselves that we will move on Oct. 31st even if the house doesn’t go through yet.
But when I start stressing about this whole situation, I have to stop myself from living in the future or the past and remember to “be here now”.
I was looking at a print of my painting titled “See How Far We’ve Come” and I’m sure it represents Greg and I looking back at the path we’ve travelled.
We have done a lot in the last 4 years. We’re coming up on our 4 year anniversary of when we met each other.
It is fun to look back on past adventures and go through our photo albums of some of our trips. The memories bring joy and remind me that we are moving forward in pursuit of our dreams.
Yet, truly, it is the present, that we are living. The now. I keep reminding myself to live in this moment. Be happy with where I am and grateful for everything in my life.
I don’t want to be distracted by fretting about the future. I don’t want to miss out on what is in front of me right now.
It’s about trusting in the present and believing that everything is happening for us exactly when it is meant to happen. Yay! I like that idea. It’s so much less stressful to think that way too.
I wanted to share two raven paintings that I finished the other day.
I’ve been working on this raven series titled “Two Ravens Sit and Reflect” for awhile now and I finished two more paintings for it. I like the play on words that I use in the titles for these paintings.
The first one is titled “Two Ravens Sit and Reflect on the Waves.” Inspired from when we went to the beach the other day and watched the surfers watching the waves.The next one is titled “Two Ravens Reflect on the Sun.” This one was heavily influenced by the sunny days here in Baja. It is wonderful to enjoy blue skies and sunshine here in Todos Santos.Talk of the weather is common because it is just so beautiful! I wanted to do something different with these black birds so I made their wings expanded with the idea that they mimic the rays of the sun which are expanding upwards as well.
Both paintings are 6″ wide x 6.75″ tall, acrylic on paper.
My little red bird print, “She Felt the Sum Beaming”, is garnering some attention over on Etsy.com. She’s in a beautiful bird Treasury picked out by the Hola Greeting Card Company. Hola Cards makes fun greeting cards and many of them have spanish sentiments on them. They’re very unique and they’re not printed, they’re made by hand! That’s what I love about Etsy…the unique handmade items that an independent artist is making just for you! Love that! ♥
I have some new whimsical bird art that I would like to share with you. They’re acrylics on paper. Mostly small.
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.
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.
I’d like to make a quail painting sometime. I just haven’t yet. Probably will soon.
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.
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.
“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!