Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sky Buddha

"In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true."  -Prince Gautama Siddharta

 Sky Buddha
 ingredients: vintage book page, map fragment, decorative papers, image transfers, cut outs, various artist pens, watercolor pencils, acrylic paint

 “How is it I haven’t seen this lofty sky before? And how happy I am that I’ve finally come to know it. Yes! everything is empty, everything is a deception, except this infinite sky. There is nothing, nothing except that. But there is not even that, there is nothing except silence, tranquility. And thank God!” 
-Tolstoy, from War and Peace 

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Top Part, So Far

Here is my progress to date on the top half of the altered book cover I've been working on. 

Palimpsest: Language
ingredients: acrylic paint, map fragments, Chinese Hell Notes, vintage book pages, vintage dress pattern, vintage math scratch paper, pigment markers, images transfers, brad, metal spinner

Languages/scripts: English (various fonts, typewritten, and hand-written), Tibetan print, Tibetan pictographs, Mayan pictographs, cuneiform (2 different types), Chinese, Japanese, math symbols, numbers

I'm moving forward with this piece very slowly.  It seems that each language and culture that becomes part of it must be digested and processed somehow.  I don't know how to put it into words, ironically, but as the layers of symbols in the piece build up, so do the impressions of their forms in my mind.  This has led me to wonder about the relationship between language and thinking, which led me to research the topic.  I may share some of this with you later, if you're not quite bored enough. 

For a bit of background about this piece, and a look at the bottom part, go here.  Hopefully, more to follow soon.
A bientot,
Zai jian,
Khoda hafz,
my dear friends and fellow travelers!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday's Featured Favorite: Artist Kathleen Farago May

I'm proud to introduce you to the work of Kathleen Farago May, whose digital art eloquently speaks not of cold technology, but of a spiritual realm that resides somewhere within the time and space of our souls.  She gives visual form to states of consciousness I can only describe as transcendent.  How she makes this magic is even more of a mystery, at least to the technologically uninitiated (like me); her skills are far beyond anything I can comprehend. 

Why do you make art? How did it all begin? 

I make art because I have to – the pressure to create comes from another plane. The rewards are a combination of peace and joy – sometimes the pressure lightens briefly. I have been creating since childhood, there was never a question of what I was here to do. There have always been questions of practicality and of how to finance the creative process. Even during those periods where there was no time or support for making art, I would take “photographs” in my mind, of the beauty around me and hope that my subconscious mind would store them. The evolution of my work from drawing to painting, to photography, to printing (etchings and silk screens) and finally to digital painting has been part of my life’s adventure. While my early paintings often expressed a rejection of traditional religious forms, each subsequent medium has allowed me to express more clearly the spiritual impulses that drive my creative work.

Who or what inspires you?

Though I am glad that I studied art history at university and have a grounding in what has gone before, it is primarily my Muses who inspire me. They have always been there, but it is only in the last two years that I have been clear that it is not “I” who is doing the work. Of course, the world, the people I love, the art and beauty all around me are all inspirational elements – but this would not be enough if I could not hear my Muses. My aesthetics, technical skills, and experience as a printmaker, photographer and painter are all useful, but ultimately the work would not have the energy it needs to come alive, without the Muses. I can see this very clearly when I revisit my earlier work, from a time when my awareness of the Muses was sporadic. You might wonder who exactly these Muses are? I don’t. I am simply grateful that we finally connected and that they share with such abundance. In the last two years I have produced approximately 600 new works. I don’t worry about where the Muses come from, because all anyone has to do is to look at the work and know that their intentions are positive and filled with love. I use the time-honoured term Muses for them, simply as a convenience.

 What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore in your artwork?

The range of my themes reflects the fact that I adhere to no single religious tradition; but rather stay open to guidance. The work is clearly influenced by my spiritual and literary explorations. I am thrilled when viewers recognize a reflection of the sense of the numinous that we feel when we acknowledge Oneness. Each piece is a process of discovery and unfolding. I am often quite surprised at the gifts that appear through this intuitive co-creation. The imagery is sometimes symbolic, a sphere, a face, wings, water, the sun – alluding to elements of philosophical and spiritual significance. When the images are not figurative, there is simply a feeling in the abstracted color-scapes and mandalas – a sense of awe, wonder and transported gratitude. If the work leads to someone asking new questions about their place in the cosmos, the elements of their lives; if a viewer can feel their heart more vividly, become more aware of the present moment and glimpse the flow of all that is here – then that painting is successful.

Do you have a work space or studio? How would you describe it?

My "twin flame", Bodhi, has been beyond generous in encouraging me to dedicate a corner of our living room for my computers and printers, and lately that is all I need for studio space. I would love to also have a “wet” space for paint and other messy techniques – I do love to get into tactile media, but that will come if it is meant to. My studio space and our living space are seamlessly intermingled - we still use this area for living and even eating – because the dining room has also been re-purposed. It is a lovely, warm, creative chaotic whirl, with many of the things that comprise our lives left out in the open – there is little time or incentive to tidy up, because the Muses just won’t wait.

What is your typical process for creating a piece? 

Sometimes, with great anticipation, I set aside time to create; I am alone, the house is quiet, the dog is asleep and I can dive in with great gusto. Just as often, my Bodhi is talking to me, the phone is ringing, the dog is trying to corral us into meeting his schedule, dinner is running late – and I keep saying, “just a few more minutes, I'm almost done …” The inspiration to work is not something I can set up – I can only show up. I do have art that I have collected – mostly from unknown artists and some from a contemporary group collectively known as Visionary Artists – that I look to for inspiration, but I rarely sketch and never plan. Usually there is neither time nor need for any preparation – before I even realize it, a digital painting is forming on my monitor and I am so curious as to how it will develop. I do make aesthetic choices, and if I don’t like where a work is going I will sometimes stop and store it for another day. I have often returned to these unfinished pieces and completed them later, when I found a fresh insight about their direction and purpose.

What goals do you have for the future? 

I hope the future sees me continuing to spend a great deal of time exploring this exciting co-creation. I would be immensely gratified if the work could be more supportive of the cost of its production – this is an age-old challenge for artists and it always has been one in my life. Another goal is to find ways to expose the work to more eyes – without having the traditional exhibition process consume time that is now being dedicated to creating.  It would be delightful if the Muses would send me an agent I could entrust with the practical elements of exhibiting the work.

To see more of Kathleen's work, please visit her facebook galleries:

You can purchase her archival quality giclee prints here:

Other sites:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

National Collage Society's 27th Annual Exhibit

I was recently thrilled to learn that both my entries were accepted into the National Collage Society's 2011 27th Annual Juried Exhibit.  This year's exhibition is their first to be shown strictly online, which is cool, because it means that more people will have access to it.

There is an impressively wide variety of techniques, styles, media, and content represented here.  I'm excited and honored to have my work included, and hope you'll take the opportunity to see the exhibit; I don't think there's any way you'll be disappointed.

I'll leave you with a new collage I just finished- one of the small ones I think of as studies or experiments.  To be honest, I had no idea where this one was going, and I'm not sure if it's arrived there yet. 

ingredients: vintage book pages, image transfers, watercolor pencil, acrylic ink, Chinese hell notes, acrylic gel

I haven't come up with a title for this one- any ideas?