As I sit here (still in a rental home) near a burning wood stove, the snow falling yet another day, I am reflecting on my year's art making. It has been a prolific year for me. I have created many fire inspired pieces from charred wood to charred wood with birds to charred wood with plants. Owls kept flying through and seemed to be among the most favored of my work.
"Owls represent wisdom, knowledge, change, transformation, intuitive development, and trusting the mystery. They are tied to the spiritual symbolism of “death” which brings about new beginnings with a higher understanding and evolved perspective. Owls can show up when you are being asked to listen to your intuition."
Believe what you like, but I do feel that owls' mysterious traveling through the night, their ability to hide and camouflage, and their haunting hoots have created a connection we humans feel towards the species. And so, one of my more meaningful Christmas gifts I made was an owl painting for my granddaughter, Angelica. With her permission, I share this piece which is about loss/death of a best friend. It brought tears, the good kind.
Trying to keep up on my watercolor and gouache skills, I painted a couple of new pieces in the last month of the year. They both fit in with my thoughts of how small we are in an immense environment. I've enjoyed looking through photos I've taken that reflect that thought. "What Was" says so much about our experience of the loss of our home which was snuggled into a grove of old protective trees.
22 x 15 inches
The very last painting of the year is "Sharing Secrets." I chose to paint this because there is nothing more poignant than the connection between a young person and an animal they trust and love.
This was painted on a gold gessoed piece of watercolor paper. (Gesso is a layer of paint you prime your watercolor paper with. In this case it is a metallic gold gesso.) I cut out the human and horse form with an adhesive film to protect that part of the painting while I created the background.
I am always attracted to the use of strata (horizontal layers) in a landscape. The painting above shows the first skin of gouache I used. (Gouache is an opaque watercolor paint.)
Gouache needs more layers when put on the gessoed paper. So the landscape gets developed with more layers and detail.
15 x 22 inches
Gouache on Gessoed Paper