Bees are Life

It’s been nagging at me, the fact that there are so many bees dying. I am sure that it is all the pesticides that are being sprayed for the produce and other food we eat. I understand that it’s a much bigger picture than just that but it’s been weighing heavy the last few weeks. I decided to create a piece of art to commemorate how much bees are needed for the survival of the human race. I started with a test bee on the counter of my tables where I work and then graduated to my art journal, finally landing on a small 18×20 canvas.

This isn’t the end of this conversation for sure but at least it’s a start.

This is my practice bee…

Here are pictures from my art journal….

This is my final canvas painting

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50 has Come & Gone and I am Grateful

Well, my birthday has come and gone. I am 50 and it seems like things are still as they were, nothing feels or  looks different. I had a wonderful party with loads of friends, good food, and lots of laughter. I think it was probably the best way to spend my birthday. Sometimes when I think about my age it still freaks me out at bit, I think “how did I get here – wasn’t it just yesterday I was living in France and going to school?”

Life moves so quickly,  I need to remember that and live each day like it is THE most important day. I must remember that I have a sweat life; a partner whom I love dearly and who loves me more than anyone has my whole life. I have the dog of my dreams, I have wanted this dog for at least 20 years. I have a wonderful home and have the best job in the world, AND – I get to create art everyday in studio in the back of my home.

Through out my life, people have come and gone – family has come and gone but through all of this I have loved everyone. I know that one day everyone will know how much I have loved them. I have lived my life with respect for others and tried to be the best person I can. I have tried not to judge others and  tried earnestly to live and let live. I know that even through my life’s choices some of my friends and family have judged me and have said and done things that have been hurtful.  What they don’t understand is that the choices I have made through out my life made me the woman I am today. We all have made choices in our lives that others may not understand – but that’s the funny thing about our lives – they are all different. My choices and decisions that I have made throughout my life have brought me to this most awesome place – and at the age of 50 I can say it with all my heart – MY LIFE IS GREAT!

I am grateful for all the things I have done, the places I have gone, the adventures I have been on (good & bad) all the people who are and were in my life – all of this has shaped who I am today – I KICK ASS 50-year-old woman, artist, dog mom and wife.

Pictures below: 1. Me and my partner 2. The view from my studio 3. My dog – Chimay  4. My last art show in San Francisco

birthday pic looking out my studio

My Belgian Malinois playing at Yosemite - Chimay
My Belgian Malinois playing at Yosemite – Chimay

Raven at the Gallery

Thinking Like an Artist

I had a friend of mine tell me the other day that she is starting to think like an artist. WOW! What a great feeling to be able to connect what you are doing in your life to how you are feeling on the inside. I have decided that all my free time is going to be dedicated to making my insides and my outsides match!

I spent a few weekends working on my artist statement and my CV. It took a lot of revisions and reworking but and a very patient friend (the same friend as previously mentioned) helped me with the editing. I am very thankful to her and her help.  I feel really good about my artist statement and think it’s time. It’s time to let the world see what I have been up to and show them that I am indeed an artist and they would do well to pay attention to me. I feel so much happiness and joy when I am creating my work that I have a hard time staying inside my body. I move around like a little kid who has to go to the bathroom. I get all wiggly and can hardly sit still. I am going back to my meditation classes this week which should help ground me. The Saraha Kadampa Buddhist Temple really brings peace to my life, my mind and my world. I am very excited to be able to find a place nearby that I can get to once a week. The Dalai Lama said, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness”.

Bringing kindness to myself and others is one of the ways that I help bring the balance in my life. The balance of myself (inside and outside), balance of life vs. work vs. art vs. friends.

I am going to do it, I am going to start thinking like an artist and put my art out there in the world. I just sent an application in to be in a book. It’s called Embracing Encaustic, by Linda Womack. I think it is very fitting that as I am embracing my life as an artist I am embracing a book that is embracing encaustic art.

50 Paintings in 6 Months

I was told by a friend of mine that any reputable art gallery won’t show your work unless you can show them you can do 50 paintings a year. Well, I took that as a personal challenge – to do better than that; I am trying to do 50 paintings in 6 months.

I have been writing this blog for 3 months now and went into my studio today and counted all my paintings to make sure I was still on track. I counted 32 paintings so I am ahead of schedule and pretty happy with the way things are going.

I have been putting myself out there, talking to people, owners of galleries and doing what I can do put myself and my art out into the world. I started an Etsy store and have been working really hard to promote myself and my art and have sold 3 paintings from the store. If you would like to see what I have in my Etsy Store please visit it:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/RavensNestArt

There has been two results of my personal challenge; one I knew would happen which is producing a large body of work to show to galleries and put my paintings in a show. The second side effect of my personal challenge came out of the blue – I feel better about myself, I am happy in my life, I feel calm, complete and joyous every day I wake up and think about what I am going to paint today. What a wonderful side effect!

What is my wish? My wish for myself – to find the perfect match for my paintings in a gallery – for people to be moved by my paintings and to be able to continue my passion.

The Keys to Love

I love keys, painting and Paris; you could say I am a Franco-file. Since living there and going to school there, Paris has held a special place in my heart. I love the key to my old French Apartment, it was one of those old skeleton keys and it was hard to open my heavy wooden door but I loved it none the less. This encaustic painting is from my heart, from my memories of France and with all the love I have for my life right now, my past life and my future. I have decided not to be afraid anymore; I am not going to be afraid of doing new things, afraid of what people will think, afraid of becoming popular, afraid of people liking or loving my work. I want to live in my life without fear!

Encaustic painting is living without fear for me! I am going for it and really enjoying myself, I am scared out of my mind but I am still doing it. When I first moved to France I didn’t speak ONE word of French but I still went and I learned French. I was scared out of my mind then and it was a hard road for me but one that was worth walking down. I would never change that experience for anything. This feels the same to me, I am learning as I go down this path and even though it’s hard it’s worth it!

The keys to love for me is living the life I have always dreamed and that included painting, writing and sharing my joy with all who will listen.

LISTEN – LOOK – LOVE and ENJOY THE KEYS TO MY LOVE!

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Encaustic Painting and My Life

I recently went through some old boxes of mine and found art work that I did when I was 3 years old. My Mom was so great to think ahead and date each and every piece of my art work. I was amazed at what a little kid can do; in fact what I did between the ages of 3 and 10. Apparently that is when I stopped doing any art work which make me a tad bit sad but I think I feel lucky to still have these paintings. One of the most vivid childhood memories I have is me finger painting outside with one of my Dad’s old shirts on and how full my heart-felt. It was such a strong memory that I went back to that same preschool as an adult and even though it was smaller it looked exactly same and it made me smile. I can still smell the paint, my Dad’s cologne and the way the newsprint felt under my little 3-year-old fingers.

Jumping ahead to about 2 months ago, I decided that I wanted to learn how to paint with wax. I had gone to art school and wanted to learn while in school but they didn’t allow that type of painting due to its toxicity and the fact that you have to heat wax. I have been reading numerous books and watching YouTube videos and trying learn all I needed to be able to paint with wax.  Two weeks ago I felt I was ready to start encaustic painting. I had purchased all the wax, a few boards and paint brushes and set out to become an encaustic painter. It was a disaster; the first 2 paintings I did were a big mess, they reminded me of what my painting first looked like when I began oil painting. I put down my brushes and reread a book that I have on the subject. The next day I was back out in my studio at it again; I am nothing if not driven to succeed. I wasn’t going to let the WAX win! My third painting wasn’t bad, It wasn’t great either. It helped me to have my childhood paintings around hanging up in my studio. I could feel my enthusiasm building like when I was three and tried again and lo and behold my 4th painting was great.

The reason I decided to try encaustic painting stemmed from a love of 3 dimensional painting, a love of paper and found objects. It is the perfect medium to express myself. The first painting I completed that I was happy with is called 3 squared and I painted it for my brother-in-law as a thank you. I found some really cool paper and these old bingo wooden numbers that I incorporated into the piece. I cut out the letter J and put it on the bottom left hand corner of the triptych. The boards were glued together after I painted them. There is the number 3 in all the pieces, along with 3 pieces of 5×5″ clay boards. I have done 4 more paintings in the past few weeks and it’s beginning to feel like it’s becoming a part of me as an artist. I carve into the paintings & do a lot of rubbing of oil paint into the work which feels similar to how it felt when I was 3 years old connecting my art through the paint with my hands. Painting with encaustic feels like coming home; now all I need is an old shirt of my Father’s, some Old Spice and I will be 3 years old again.