“Animals” Art Show – Colors of Humanity Art Gallery

 “Laysan Waltz” and “Night Parrots” from my Cosmic Nature paintings have been accepted for inclusion in the November 2017 art exhibition and show, “Animals” at Colors of Humanity Gallery in the USA.

So many wonderful entries!


“This show will run November 1-30, 2017. Artists from around the world were called to submit their work. There were 103 accepted entries and they came from 16 different states in the USA as well as 11 other countries: Canada, Germany, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malta, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Kingdom. A variety of styles and mediums were entered, including but not limited to, acrylic, beads, colored pencil, digital, fiber, glass, gouache, graphite, ink, mixed media, oil, pastel, photography, and watercolor. The judging criterion was originality, interpretation, quality, demonstration of ability, and usage of medium. Other factors, such as the clarity of the images provided and their ability to be viewed online, also contributed to our decision. “Best of Show”, “First Place”, and “Second Place” winners received a monetary award in addition to special recognition.

We were very happy to donate 10% of all entry fees from this show to the Bedford County Humane Society, located in Bedford, PA, USA. For more information about BCHS please visit their website. http://www.bchsonline.org/ Colors of Humanity Art Gallery, LLC is not affiliated with the BCHS. It is our hope that this small act of kindness will blossom and grow to help someone else.

Thank you to all the artists who participated! Your talents and skills gave us a diverse body of work to create this attractive show.”

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Cosmic Thoughts – Starlight

“We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

There’s something infinitely powerful about horses. If you’ve ever stood so close to one as to feel it’s snorting breath, its rippling muscles and those eagle-sharp eyes, you’ve probably felt this presence. If you’re a horse owner, leisure rider, professional horseman, then you know what this feeling is all about.

It’s somewhere between calm, yet ready to spring into life at any moment. A horse is a prey animal; so it’s every fibre is ready for action, should the need arise. The universe, to me, has this same quality; a fluid, well-oiled, perfectly synchronised machine, yet hiding something tumultuous.

Perhaps these thoughts are the reasons why I painted Tower of Starlight, but perhaps these are just the inspirations I realised after. I knew what I wanted to paint, and how I wanted to paint it.

 

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Tower of Starlight, 100 x 60cm Oils on Canvas

 

We (roughly) know how the universe was formed, and when.

The ‘why’ is always a bit more of a mystery.

Tower of starlight
Free-falls into the mountains
And a horse seeks warmth.

Learn more about my cosmic nature paintings.

How To Save Five Species

The International Rhino Foundation is working around the globe to protect the five rhino species from extinction. It’s a big job, and every little bit helps. Please consider making a donation of $5 (or a multiple of $5) to help rhinos today. Every gift, large or small, helps us do more. LOOKING FOR EVEN […]

via Five Buck Friday: How Five Bucks Can Save Five Species — The International Rhino Foundation Blog

Cosmic Thoughts – Existence

“No man is an island,” wrote the poet John Donne. I would add: no island is an island. Nature does not exist in isolation. It’s birth, evolution and daily chimings are dependent on the greater nature beyond our planet’s fragile borders. My mind wonders to the numinous thought espoused by the science of quantum biology that mutation in the genes of life-forms on earth could have been triggered by the sun’s rays affecting the way DNA copies itself in terrestrial veins. So the random mutations that lead, through non-random ways, to our very existence, could have come from the very fingertips of our star.

Aesthetically, too, nature is wedded to the cosmos. The colours of the sky, of plants, of the sea, of the rainbow, all of them, are dictated by the cosmos that veils our planet. And I can think of no greater masterpiece than a tower of starlight in free-fall over a tundra or a great lake. All we can do is be humble and get into that ring of beauty, see what we’re made of – literally.

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Neighbours, Watercolours

You can learn more about my cosmic nature paintings here.

Painting and Endometriosis

Some artists are like Bansky. A spectre flitting in and out of the public eye, full of mystery, but empty of identity apart from what their art projects.

And then there’s the other end of the artistic spectrum, the Picassos, the Dalis, those that make it a point to share their personal lives as much as their art. In both cases, these guys create a story around themselves which is rich, complex, often disturbing, sometimes scary, full of emotion.

I never expected to make many stories out of my art that were too much about me, in the most direct sense of the word. I’ve always talked about my art for what it is; my awe and passion for all things nature, my shrewdly optimistic, David Attenborough-narrated view of the world.

But a chronic illness can somewhat change your perspective. Of yourself, which ultimately changes your perspective of your art.

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I have endometriosis. For those lucky enough to have not heard of this, endometriosis is when the lining of the uterus starts to grow in places where it shouldn’t – essentially, all over your reproductive organs, pelvic organs, nerves, whatever happens to be in the way. Each month these growths bleed, build up, bleed, build up…it’s terribly painful, trying, frustrating and unfortunately pretty incurable.

Having a chronic illness changes your perspective about yourself. I feel as though I’ve learned more about the person behind the easel, as well as the way the rest of the world looks at you. It’s about learning to live in a slightly different way than you lived before. I guess what I’m trying to say is that painting and endometriosis, for me at least, have a lot in common.

It’s deeply personal

Everyone’s symptoms are different. Pain is felt differently and in very different ways. One person’s ‘mild’ is another’s ‘severe’. Art is the same; one person can be moved to tears by a portrait, whilst the other seeks reprieve in a sultry abstraction. My pain feels so deeply personal to me, that it’s extremely difficult to explain to an outsider. My painting is the same. This is just the way it is.

It has good and bad days

Ever thrown in the towel after a few brushstrokes, having sat yourself down with the perfect composition, the perfect lighting, perfect colours, only to find that it just isn’t working? It’s the same with endo. Some days you’ got it, some days, it’s got you.

It defines us, as much as we try to define it

Painting is a huge part of my life and who I am. Would I be a painter if I didn’t grow up surrounded by pets, nature documentaries, visiting zoos, animal parks and eating books and encyclopedias? Would I still own cuddly toys of my favourite animals? Would I still watch Tales of the Riverbank, if I wasn’t a painter? Probably not. It’s all a neatly-wrapped, sometimes overflowing parcel. Trying not to let a chronic illness define you is the same; why aren’t you having that drink, why are you choosing not to go shopping, why are your high heels gathering dust, why are you taking the car everywhere…

It makes beautiful artwork

I have to thank my endometriosis, as it gave my the courage to keep on painting and trying new directions, even when I was at my lowest, when the pain was so bad that bed was my only weekend retreat. But I knew that I loved painting, and I couldn’t let it go to waste. I still had ideas I wanted to throw on canvas, techniques to try. So I adapted my studio, more than my mind. Painting standing up becomes a stool, or placing a canvas at floor height so I can sit in front of it. Marathon painting sessions happen on a weekend, when I can rest and complain of my aches afterwards. It’s all changed, but it’s still the same person painting.

To see more of my paintings, click here

The more we talk about art, and endometriosis, the more understanding we will have of both. But right now, I’m going to leave you with some very useful resources for endometriosis. Have it? Well then you’ll have read all of these and more. Think you have it? Please read on. Know someone who has it? Take it in, listen to them. And give them a gentle hug.

Endohope – a fantastically real, down-to-earth and honest account of Endometriosis, with plenty of resources and research to boot.

Bloomin’ Uterus – a touching and open blog full of incredible stories, fantastic research and very real details.

Endometriosis UK – some of the more accurate and up to date information on this condition.

Endo Support Group, Malta – an inspiring and amazing group of women, some beautiful empathetic and kind-hearted women.

The Endo Wall – a beautiful art and Endometriosis project in Cardiff. One woman’s mission to raise awareness, encourage sharing and to give a big f*** you to the doctors that told her it was “all in your head”.

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Thanks for reading! x

 

Cosmic Thoughts – Light

The lights we see from stars and planets emit a beautiful array of colours. But light isn’t just about illumination. Light is the very DNA of a celestial body’s chemical make-up. By using spectroscopy, astronomers can deduce what elements are present on a planet or star. Each and every element in the universe, when burned, gives off a unique set of colours. And these are the same anywhere across the vast universe. Strontium is a reddish purple. Sodium is yellow. Potassium is lilac. Copper is blue. And so on.

If you look at a rainbow, you are also looking at the chemical make-up of our own sun. Our sun is about 70% hydrogen and 28% helium – which isn’t surprising, because those two are the most common elements in the universe. And as you can imagine, for a painter, knowing that colours play such an important role in the decoding of the universe – colours are essentially the bar codes of existence – is a great inspiration. So when you look at the night sky, and you paint it, you pay very careful attention as to what each and every colour you’re using actually means.

Colour then, is the language of the universe. The phrase ‘the music of the spheres’ should be redundant – the universe is quiet, but it has some very loud colours!

Dog Galaxy Watercolour Painting
The Running Dog, Watercolours

You can learn more about my cosmic nature paintings here.

Painting Rarities

Unless you’ve lived in a hole for the last 48 hours, you’ll know that the United States hosted a magnificent and rare spectacle yesterday; the first total eclipse in the region in 99 years.

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The International Space Station whizzing past the sun, just before the Moon takes a bite out of it. Joel Kowsky | NASA | Getty Images

As the earth went eerily still, eerily cold and so rapidly dark, the moon made its debut – obscuring the sun like a giant 8 ball blocking a cosmic snooker pocket. Glasses off, but only for a fleeting moment. The moon gave the sun its diamond ring  – then, glasses back on, and all of a sudden the light returned, like the sheets being pulled from your morning slumber.

People laughed, they gasped, they screamed, and they cried. What is it about this unique and extraordinarily precise phenomena that moves us in such a way? Is it the shock to our circadian rhythm, is it our fear that the sun may not peep out the other side? I witnessed a partial eclipse in the UK in 1999, and was glued to live streams yesterday. From the other side of the world, I was hooked.

A Great Eclipse Painter

A secondary source to my eclipse inspiration came from the works of a painter I’ll admit I stumbled across by chance (thank you, News Feed!). If you haven’t heard of Howard Russell Butler, and you love art and eclipses, you’re missing out.

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Howard Russell Butler, “Solar Eclipse” (1925), oil on canvas 

It’s not simply that he painted beautifully serene and emotive paintings of eclipses and other cosmic scenes, as well as landscapes. His works are beautiful in themselves, but what I find most remarkable as how he managed to plan out and sketch his eclipse paintings in 110 seconds. Once he caught his eclipse, he scribbled furiously, coming up with exceedingly complex values and mathematical symbols for the different hues of the light, the corona and the beads. All this, whilst the picture in front of him vanished.

Find out more about his amazing works

From art to photography to fashion, weirdly ridiculous and indeed mind-numbing flat-Earth theories, eclipses have inspired us for centuries. As an artist, I see great potential in this subject, and plan to take full advantage of its publicity 🙂

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Rare, Watercolours

I had started painting the stunning California Condor some time ago, and then, inspired to paint an eclipse, I found that the two would fit together perfectly.

Just like a total eclipse, the California Condor is a rarity, too, as one of the world’s most endangered birds, an enduring Native American symbol, brought back from near extinction by an expensive and dedicated conservation and breeding project. This magnificent bird is surviving, but by no means thriving.

I’m definitely going to work on another eclipse piece, but I’m waiting for the Muse to strike first! I have a few ideas…

Appreciate the rare things. Love them.