It has been just over four months since we planted ourselves in Portland, and already I've met a healer, a shaman, a moon-whisperer, a rug wizard, a book maven, a rebel, a tree advocate, two yodeling hound dogs, burlesque clowns, drag queens, a modern-day caveman, a 90 year-old plant nurturer and a rabbit named Bellatrix Lestrange (to name a few).
If you're in the neighborhood Friday evening, pop in to The Salty Teacup for a little malarkey-filled adventure of your own. You just never know who you might meet along the way. :)
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"Flume and Falls" - oil on gallery wrapped canvas, 30" x 40" Ready to hang. Available here and at Artfinder
It was FIRSTS week here in the studio! The FIRST super large oil painting and the FIRST process video by my amazing intern, Fiona (who single-handedly slayed the tech aspect of this internship in one afternoon. Woot!) Thanks to many reader requests for more "in process" peeks, we're going to keep working on videography over here in upcoming weeks.
This piece began as an acrylic underpainting in bold colors. Acrylic paints don't require as much manipulating and massaging as the oils, so the underpainting allows me to get the basic composition and colors down without a ton of upper body work (which my still healing spine very much dislikes). After that, several layers of thinned oil paint to soften, provide haze and deepen the color layers and texture. The final touch, as depicted in the video, is to come back into the painting with oil pastels to amp up the color and contrast, then blend with a brush loaded with Liquin and soften with rags and a squeegee.
He and tribal leader Arnold ultimately got the U.S. Department of Defense and other agencies to allow re-vegetation projects, ceremonial harvests and other gatherings on federal lands AND convinced 16 tribes to work together with the very government with which they shared a traumatic history. Now there is way more to the whole process than that one sentence (including a decade of patience, red tape, deep listening and negotiations). But the gist of it is just that - an unlikely collaboration amongst people on opposite sides of fences and of history. You can read more about some of their projects here.
One of their projects which delights me is the revegetation of 92 acres of land over low level radioactive waste buried underground. During the ceremony, Arnold said: "If the land is sick and out of balance, so are we." And so the tribes and the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies came together to plant and heal the land. Using a mix of native and scientific methods, seeds and plants were place in the ground and the healing began. And much to the surprise of the U.S. Forest Service, the native methods of planting (in the spring) were more successful than the scientific method (plant in fall and winter). The insects have returned to where once nothing lived. The land and the people have begun to heal. Hope for the planet and hope for the people - a good news story during angsty times!
"Turn Left a Thousand Feet From Here" - oil on gallery wrapped canvas, 24" x 36" x 1.5". Ready to hang. Available here and at Artfinder.
The sea continues to call me. As do these ethereal seascapes. This one, my largest oil painting yet, took me on a wild ride for a couple of weeks. But I landed safely on the sand. :)
Choosing a title for this painting was trouble - and that's not usually a problem for me. But sometimes paintings have a strong, independent energy and demand a specific name. I finally stumbled across it in a Daniel Ladinsky translation of a Hafiz poem:
What I really want to give you
Yet all day long
I try painting maps on the sky
With bright, tender sounds
"Turn left a thousand feet from here,
Just past that next hill..."
The poem continues, but this bit made me smile. Isn't the universe like that? Painting maps on the sky while trying to nudge us in one direction or another. We can't always understand those bright, tender sounds but we stand and listen and stare and appreciate. I suppose it wouldn't be as much fun if messages came to us in clear, concise billboards. But it might be nice if the sky map were a little less challenging to decipher now and again.
Share in the transformation! Pre-order your copy of becoming SUNRISE - A Collaboration by Mary W. Cox and Jen Walls. 64 pages of haiku and full color art. Thank you so much for your support!
Jen Walls and her imaJENation