What the Bear brings…

Bear painting in watercolor and gouache
"Black Bear," watercolor and gouache sketch, 6x9"

This one was done on impulse.  I had pulled out a bunch of scraps of watercolor paper, many of which had been used to demonstrate washes, etc.  This one was covered with a decidedly pink wash and adorned with a value scale along the right hand side.  Probably I should have tossed it, but as I stared I began to imagine a bear looking back at me.

I’m told the bear is a healing totem.  When I looked it up this is what I discovered it also stands for:

bear sketch in watercolor
Sometimes you've just got to paint it, even if it doesn't seem to make sense...
  • Strength in the face of adversity
  • Finding one’s way back
  • Solitude
  • Maternal protection
  • Focus on the practical side of life

Not surprisingly, these are all  major themes in my life right now…

Do you ever get messages from animals, or feel a spiritual connection to them?  I’d love to hear about it!

Did you enjoy this post? Anne

Asian Wild Horses: link to the past, hope for the future

"The Return," watercolor sketch, 11x14" 2010

A couple of weekends ago we had some business in Minneapolis and decided to stay an extra day and make it an outing.  So we headed to one of my favorite places – the Minnesota Zoo!

Of course I’ve always been a horse nut.  Since I didn’t bring my paints on the trip, I was thankful to be able to snap a few photos of the Asian Wild Horses before my camera battery died.   (I’m also thankful that nobody seems to want to call them Przewalski’s horses anymore.  What a mouthful!)

I was intrigued to learn that Asian wild horses have a different number of chromosomes than domestic horses – 66 instead of 64.  I wonder if that has any connection to the fact that, unlike American mustangs, they have never been domesticated and are truly wild creatures?

Their primitive appearance provides a living link to  the prehistoric animals featured in the famous Lascaux cave paintings.  Painting them, I hoped to capture the spirit of the animal and its timeless connection to the natural world.

Asian wild horses are one of those wildlife success stories that lend hope for the future.  When I was a kid there were none left in the wild.  Today there’s a thriving herd of over 300 Asian wild horses roaming free on the steppes of Eurasia.

The title I chose for this sketch, “The Return,” pays tribute to this creature’s indomitable spirit, as well as the dedication and hard work provided by zoos around the world, without which the Asian Wild Horse would have disappeared forever.

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The end of a creative winter…

Spring tulips, watercolor, 8.5x6" 2010

I believe every painting is a self-portrait to a certain extent.  The painter leaves not only pigment but the mark of his soul on paper or canvas.

If art is anything, it is footprints left on a journey.  By studying what painters and other artists leave behind, one can follow the moods and sensitivities not only of individuals, but of history itself.

Personally, spring could not have come at a more meaningful time for me.  Something is breaking loose in my soul and breaking a long winter’s hold on my spirit. The creative force is beginning to flow again.

Have you ever come out of a long creative winter?  What do you think caused it?   What helped you along the way?

Did you enjoy this post? Anne

Apocalypse Cleanup Crew

4 Horsemen with cleaning tools illustration
Apocalypse Cleanup Crew

It’s been busy around here.  My freelance writing is starting to take off so I haven’t been spending much time in the studio.  However, I finally got the illustration done last week!

Feels good.  Now on to something else.  I was in Chicago last month for a conference and picked up a watercolor board at the Utrecht store downtown.  I’ve never tried those things before.  Looking forward to it!

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Illustrating is fun!

I’ve forgotten what fun illustration can be!

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Apocalypes Cleanup Crew rough
Apocalypse Cleanup Crew rough

Working on an illustration for my good friend, writer David Sklar.

The Apocalypse Cleanup Crew (David and three of his buddies) – are planning to print up T-shirts.

These are rough sketches for front and back.  The final will have a few changes, and will be white on black.

Back of shirt - cleaning up after the cleanup.
Back of shirt - cleaning up after the cleanup.

He’s got some hilarious captions for it, but I’ll spare you my attempt to remember them, and include them when I post the finished design.

I’ve forgotten what fun illustration can be!

BTW, David’s novella, Shadow of the Antlered Bird, is awesome!  You can read an excerpt here.

Did you enjoy this post? Anne