In my life, animals figure most often as spirit guides. They come to me in dreams, as premonitions, and of course through my art. They help me decipher the mystery of my own psyche and guide me through the swamps and deserts of life’s journey.
But it’s pretty hard to relate this way to spirit animals without inviting flesh-and-blood ones into one’s life. Right now the Michelsen roof shelters two goldfish, a couple of hooded rats and two rescued dogs, 15-year-old Pavlov and a goofy Lab-Boxer mix named Jasmine (a.k.a. The Lummox.)
This morning Jasmine proved to me that spirit animals aren’t the only ones who can guide us to what we need.
I realized the other day that it’s coming up on three years since we moved into our house and I still don’t have a full-length mirror. Which doesn’t bother my husband but darn it, it’s just not right for me! (Or my daughter Clara, who at age 11 is intent on developing her own personal style. )
(As a side note, I wonder if the mirror thing has any significance: I read somewhere that men tend to look at themselves from the face up, while women favor the full-length view. How does it affect people spiritually to consistently see only fractured images of themselves?)
Anyway, darn it, I need a long mirror!
Well, this morning my dogs and I were returning from our morning walk when rather than accompany me on a loose lead round the last corner home, Jasmine suddenly pulled to the right. I don’t usually let the dogs drive, but this time I thought, “what the heck” and went her way to make an extra swing around the block the long way.
Well, we’d only gone a few paces when I looked down and saw it- a perfectly good full-length mirror someone had left out with the trash.
The mirror had a broken frame but was otherwise in perfect condition. And I think I know a gal who can figure out how to install a frame…
Finally finished the portrait of my daughter Clara and our dog Pavlov. This is the first and last time I’ll ever attempt to paint watercolor on canvas. Unfortunately I forget what brand watercolor canvas it was – I think Fredrix. I had a very hard time achieving the depth of tone I wanted, and the paint often seemed to wash off with subsequent layering. I like the watercolor boards a lot better!
But I am glad to have caught my daughter’s affection for Pavlov! 🙂
I have two diametrically opposite ways of approaching a painting. One is to make preliminary sketches and plan it out. The other is to splash a bunch of paint down and then see what comes of it. This piece belongs to the latter category.
It was a piece of paper that’s been sitting around for years. I think I’d done something crazy like puddle on a bunch of paint and let it dry covered with plastic wrap. Although I liked the results, it always seemed too, well…dynamic to make a good background. So it always ended up getting shoved back into a folder.
This time when I pulled it out, though, the horses appeared. So I started painting them in…
Not sure how it will turn out but it’s fun to work on.
After yesterday’s vulture post, this seems appropriate, as it’s also about death, resurrection and the cycle of life.
I did this painting about this time of year five years ago or so. I guess you could call it a plein-aire still life. Although I’m afraid landscape escapes me, I do love to paint outside, and back then I was doing a lot of it. One day I was tramping around in the woods, despairing of ever finding a composition I could handle, when I came across this little jewel lying on the forest floor.
I’m really not sure what animal donated its skull for the occasion. It didn’t seem quite like a deer skull – perhaps a sheep? Anyway, I loved the way Life was just reaffirming its hold on the old bones in the form of delicate Spring Beauty blossoms lovingly embracing them.
I like to think of my find as Nature’s brilliant reply to the old concept of Vanitas. Instead of a meditation on the transience of life and futility of pleasure, it’s a vibrant affirmation of resiliency and the triumph of life even in the aftermath of inevitable death and decay.