Friday, March 25, 2011

49 by 49: beginnings

So one painting of 49 under my belt and already I am wondering what have I gotten myself into? Right away, I'm discovering the small scale format is challenging ... I had hoped for a looser, more intuitive approach towards these paintings but the size feels restrictive. Of course, I could go larger ... but being the stubborn Scorpio that I am, I am electing to see this as an opportunity to challenge myself and see what creative solutions I can come up within the limitations of the size.

i used a resist technique - vaseline over the rabbits, and then i painted the green over the entire card. once the paint was dry, i wiped away the vaseline which preserved the rabbits underneath. Rabbits were a stencil i made; flowers are painted acrylic stamps - a new favorite as they are cheap and easy!

So the theme of these pieces is a reflection upon the guides and guardians operating within my life. For the second piece, I had to honor the spirit of Rabbit that has been so persistently speaking to me in recent weeks. In addition to finding tufts of rabbit fur (which means, Hawk, my main spirit totem, has been staying nourished), I was walking to my office on campus when right by the footpath was a huge hunk of a rabbit pelt. Not a tuft - a chunk! Okay, okay I get the message!

Rabbit has been helping me to understand creative inspiration is something that will never run out; I do not need to fear scarcity or lack. My creativity has natural cycles and there will be times when I am overwhelmed by ideas and momentarily frozen with indecision - what do I act upon? But with Hawk as its partner, Rabbit has shown me I to focus upon one idea does not diminish the population. New ideas will be born again ... and again.

The third painting honors the Hindu goddess Saraswati. There are many reasons she is a significant force within my life: as the goddess of the arts, learning and knowledge she is an obvious choice for me. She prizes creative action such as painting, music, dance and writing above material possessions. She also represents right knowledge or the understanding of spiritual truths as the highest form of learning.

i used a transfer technique - hence Saraswati is backwards! a very simple process i learned from The Bodhi Chicklet here. i then painted over the transfer and filled in the areas left blank.

Saraswati is also important to me because she is part of the spiritual name that was given to me. As a sign of my commitment to the path of Yoga, I requested a Sanskrit name from my spiritual mentor. She consulted with another dear friend and guru sister (we all are part of the lineage of Swami Kripalu) and they gave me the name Sri Vidyarani Ma. Vidyarani means "queen of knowledge" but again, knowledge here means "right" understanding or spiritual truths. Ma is mother ... I was not a mother yet, but they both believed I would be always be a mother to my students (and they both believed one day I would be come a mother to my own child - they knew before I did!)

My practice of yoga has provided me with a strong foundation for a nurturing and developing a creative practice. And now the two paths have merged to become one. As I work with fearless painting and cultivating connection with intuition, I am finding it is no different than meditating or asana practice where I peel away the layers of what I am not - fears, doubts, conditioned thinking or beliefs - to experience the truth of who I am. Both practices involve a letting go of a false sense of me being in charge and embracing surrender to something greater. Surrendering to life, really, and acknowledging my connection and participation within the flow of Life versus separation.

I chose a more recent force in my life for the fourth card. I have been working with the Oracle of the Dragonfae cards by Lucy Cavendish and a card that manifests frequently for myself and Cowgirl is The Blue Lady.

back to basics; plain 'ole painting on gessoed card

The message at the bottom of the oracle card is "Nothing is impossible." It is this advice that speaks to me:

There is no safety in diminishing who you truly are. Be yourself. Follow the dream and listen to your own clear, calm inner voice. Be guided to do the impossible ... now. (Oracle of the Dragonfae)

To me, this figure represents staying true to oneself and ones vision. Believing in myself and knowing the only dreams worth living are the ones that spring from my own heart. It is better to be myself imperfectly, than to excel at a version of myself that has been sanitized, commercialized, or in any way edited for mass consumption. The Blue Lady represents what I have been working towards - quieting the outside voices and tuning into the wisdom found within my own heart.

She could do what others could not, because she trusted that still small voice and allowed the impossible a loving space in which to take hold, grow strong roots and burst into flower. (Oracle of the Dragonfae)

I hope this project does not become my impossible blue rose that I try to grow; I have a small list of ideas for future pieces but I am purposely not planning it all out and hoping to allow my guides to present themselves to me over the course of the coming months. Four paintings down, 45 to go!


  1. fabulous freakin' fabulous! Everything you've said here resonates deeply (of course)


    i look forward to the next 45...:D

  2. You - working a small format? Just how small are these - are they all the same size? Most people would thing working big was challenging...I have tried to ignore the rabbit thinking more about the physical fertility side but I see now how it can also represent multiple creations of a different nature. Wow! And Wow! for the rabbit signs you have been seeing. Isn't this type of work amazing? Judy Garland is quoted as saying, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else". Sounds like she was talking with the Blue Lady. Another 45? Piece of cake, you've got the rabbit behind you...

  3. Lis!
    Gorgeous, and your reflections, so insightful.
    I LOVE Sarasvati! Have done one art journal spread but have shied away from her, but would love to paint her. Maybe she'll show up in my 43? We'll see.
    You are inspiring my dear, no doubt about it.
    Can't wait to see the other 45!!!

  4. I LOVE this project!! Oh, I'm thinking I may need to explore this theme myself. Thank you, as always, for a much-needed shot of inspiration!

  5. Oh what a gift it has been to spend some time here on your blog looking at all this splendid work.
    I just saw your art on Nataasha's blog and I am so delighted and uplifted.
    I visited Mel at Weaving the Moon and Tracy at Expressive Souls.
    My day is better now.
    I am in the deep slog of working on a hardcore project and I came up for air to soak some of your sunshine.
    Oh and 49 paintings rocks my world.
    Thanks again you always seem to make my day better.
    I love the the Saraswati and the Ganesh pieces.
    I want prints.
    Love and gratitude for your sunshine

  6. Wow, so much wisdom packed into this post. I LOVE the blue lady and her message, "Nothing is impossible." What a neat card to get over and over again :)

    Love, love, love your paintings and guides and insight :)


    My super special card is radiating light and love all over my art nook and I ADORE it. The best surprise EVER!!!!! :)

  7. I had such an emotional response to this post,Lis!I love how you weave together for us your internal process with your creative work.Beautiful! Namaste-