Recently, I had the pleasure of connecting with an incredibly gifted Denver photographer by the name of Scott Wilson. Scott has captured many amazing photos of the iconic Colorado mustang, Picasso. You've probably seen his work before, but if not, let me direct you to his website, wilsonaxpe.com. There you will find many inspiring images, including the picture that I am using for my painting above, called "Picasso: Spirit of the West".
Not only was I given permission by Scott to paint this beautiful image of one of Colorado's most well-known Sand Wash Basin mustangs, but I also get to recreate it as a mural along the main street of Golden, Colorado. This work will begin this month! I'm so excited. And to bring the incredible horse alive, I thought it would be neat to have him appear as though he is leaping out of the image from the building. Something like this:
So stay tuned, because this work begins next week. And if you're driving past on Washington Street as I work on it, feel free to honk and I'll wave back to say "Hi".
In the hopes of honoring the Native American tribe that once dwelt in this place I now call home, I came up with this concept utilizing the flora and fauna of this area of Colorado, and a Native American symbol for the Great Spirit. Locals will probably recognize prairie sunflowers, blue spruce and aspen leaves. Birdwatchers will be able to pick out a Western Tanager, Chickadee and Cedar Waxwing. Even the feathers I used for the smudge feathers were painted using references from local bird life.
I always love painting animals, but the added symbology made the creation of this painting an absolute joy. May we all pray for healing for our land.
This painting will be on display and available for sale at local Golden gallery, Wings of Eagles, this coming Saturday (September 19th), from 10 to 4. I will be set up outside, live painting a similar piece, based on the Wintu Tribe of Northern California.
The prairie sunflowers are in full bloom here in Colorado, and sometimes a quick, bright painting is so happiness inducing! A time-lapse of this painting being created will soon be available, but in the meantime, I thought I'd show off the final piece. It makes me happy. I hope it makes you happy, too!
I've had an itch to do overly saturated American Buffalo for a while now. Finally got it out of my system. My bet's on the guy on the left. He has a very determined look in his eye.
My guess is that every artist has a favorite kind of trope or subject matter that they run to as something that is easy and enjoyable. For me, that's my Native ponies.
There's something serene to me in them just...being: an idealistic moment in a make-believe world, where native horses with feather and war paint prance around in early morning light or in overly bright sunsets.
No, as far as I know, I have no Native American blood personally. But my husband claims Cherokee, on both sides in his family and therefore, I hope I have a small claim in loving Native American culture and art.
In fact, let me plug a wonderful little store in my town called "Wings of Eagles", which sells almost primarily Native made art by skilled Native artisans. Here's their site: https://wings-of-eagles.business.site
Sometimes, as an artist, I find that things are just too painful to express with words. And a picture comes that expresses better than I can, what I am feeling.
The painful story of Elijah McClain is expressed better elsewhere. If you are unfamiliar with it, I recommend reading The Cut's version of events entitled "The Killing of Elijah McClain". As you scroll down the story, you will see a photo of Elijah playing the violin for stray cats at a shelter.
This painting, "Where is Elijah?" is a tribute to his memory.
Rest in Power.
I've shared before how I will often be inspired by the people I meet in my art creation. This painting is definitely one of those.
I was working on Jack o' Mines, a bunny in miner's clothing, when I met a wonderful local in my town of Golden, named Judy Denison, who shared an incredible story. She told me how in the 1990's, Nike Corporation was interested in buying the gorgeous mesas that frame the background of our town, for a large corporation, unknown to most of the town's residents. Judy and another local named Don Parker, formed "Save The Mesas", a citizen group determined to inform the town to let Golden locals make this decision themselves, rather than the decision being made for them by the town counsel.
Long story short, the group ended up buying the mesas and donating the land as public open space. Now, every weekend, you can walk the wild mesas, sometimes meeting an elk or two, and if you're lucky you might see a fox or coyote. In summer, the rattlers sun themselves on the tops of the rocky cliffs. And suddenly, the germ of an idea for a painting was born, a tribute to the protestors of the 90's who saved our beautiful open space for current and future generations.
At first, I wanted to call the painting, "Judy Saves the Mesas" to give credit where it was due, but she objected, stating humbly, "There were many people involved in that. It wasn't all me." So, we decided on naming the snake "Suzy", but the bucket hat on Suzy is inspired by the style of the 90's, and this painting was definitely inspired by Judy and the protestors who devoted their time, money and determination so that everyone can still experience Golden's Table Mountains.
I had a painting in mind of a fairy in flight. But sometimes ideas evolve little by little.
For instance, the flowers in this fairy's background started out as daffodils. But daffodils just weren't working for me. So, soon they became Queen Anne's Lace.
Second, first she was in bright daylight, with a blue sky as her background. But I just kept seeing a grayer background in my mind's eye.
Her smile and the twinkle in her eye pretty much stayed the same. I call her Lace Queen. And she is regal and delightful with a mischievous slant (which all fairies are prone to, to be honest).
One of the neat projects I am in process on is a companion coloring book for my Emily of New Moon graphic novel. This coloring book will have over 30 high quality images including many familiar artwork pictures from the webcomic.
I also made sure I incorporated more of the wallpaper backgrounds. These are based on historical Victorian wallpapers, because it seemed an appropriate place to remember Emily's trick of "holding fairy papers in the air".
My hope is that this coloring book is appropriate for any age to enjoy. The adult who likes to use fancy gel pens and prismacolor pencils for their coloring, and children. As soon as it is available for purchase, I will let you all know!
First, I'm still here. As the coronavirus interrupted all of our lives, world-wide, it interrupted mine and my plans, too. All is well and I've been working away during the shutdown. And now things are starting to get back to normalcy, a bit. Good stuff is on the horizon and I am looking forward to sharing more about that. But first, something I've been meaning to share here for awhile:
I've been working on a graphic novel of the classic story, Emily of New Moon, for over a year, now. Some of my paintings are related to this work. But I haven't yet shared about the graphic novel here, on my website. So, first I want to do that. The above image is a gif, with movement added. Because, art can be more fun with movement.
I have the first 25 pages of the graphic novel uploaded on the media site, www.dejavudimensions.com and you can find those there and see if you can find the movement in each one. This was a project of love, but it has turned into a wonderful business opportunity. This graphic novel is going to be turned into a dining experience, where you can visit select restaurants and enjoy a meal while you enjoy the show. We're working away on this project, and have been for months. To see a bit more:
I'll be updating with more about this, as we get further in, but you can also follow along on the Facebook page for the graphic novel, which can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/DejaVuDimensionsEoNM/