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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mixed Media, Expansion, Play and Real Artistry

I do believe my beautiful blue lady has found a finished place. Its not uncommon that a painting sits on a stand or an easel for months while I contemplate whether its finished with me.

Often, they feel done, but upon later inspection, they're not.

Sometimes, they call for new details, new pieces, new directions.

Sometimes, I paint over them and start anew.

This lovely lady just wouldn't let me be. Each time she seemed to be done, she called for more and more.

She just wasn't content in her mixed paints (acrylic, metallic, clear glue).

Instead, like her namesake, she wanted something special. So, special she did get...

Tiny, pink jewels create warrior paint on her lovely face.

The mythic Mother Goddess of the Tuatha De Danann certainly deserves nothing less than shine and sparkle. Metallic paint in highlighted areas, tiny jewels, glitter and clear glue offer a glow that appears under indirect lighting.

Arguably, the most ancient of the Celtic Goddesses, Danu is sometimes interpreted as both god and goddess, or the universal or complete Divine source. A goddess associated with the element of water (perhaps in connection with the Danube), art, craftsmanship, and creativity, she is quite right for those elements of change and transformation that continue to pop up in my own life.

Although, perhaps 'change' is too strong a word. Expansion would be more apropos, I think. There have been many opportunities for me to expand my awareness, my practice, and my personal life. My Danu is a prime example. At some point, probably in a middle school art class, I developed the thought that mixed media was somehow substandard and that 'real' artists only used oils. Now, I dislike oils as a medium. I always have. Perhaps, this is why I lost my painting practice all together for more than 20 years.

Recently, I've been experimenting more and more with mixed media in a very humble way. I add shapes and objects (fabric, plastic, and other materials), gems and glitter-based products, metallic paint to my typical mix of sharpie pen drawings and acrylic paints. I've been removing canvas from its stretchers and dry mounting and framing (something I would've never done in the past).

In other words, I've returned to a place of expansion -- where I can play and not worry about destroying a piece. Gesso does cover all ills. Well, most. And, what it doesn't cover, leaves interesting texture, for certain. Somewhere along my path, I'd forgotten how to play. I'm remembering. I don't know if I'd consider myself an artist. I'm just someone who uses paint to express herself. So, define that however you wish. In the interim, I'm just going to call it playing with paint and other things. And, I'm going to do it as long as its fun.

I'll leave you with a little verse from The Book of Leinster (1150 AD) telling the story of the Tuatha De Danann and how they came to Ireland:
"Ireland with pride, with weapons, hosts spread over her ancient plain, westward to the sunset were they plunderers, her chieftains of destruction around Temair. 30 years after Genann goblin hosts took the fertile land; a blow to the vanquished People of Bags was the visit of the Tuatha De Danann.

It is God who suffered them, though He restrained them -- they landed with horror, with lofty deed, in their cloud of mighty combat of spectres, upon a mountain of Conmaicne of Connacht. 

Without distinction to discerning Ireland, without ships, a ruthless course the truth was not known beneath the sky of stars, whether they were of heaven or of earth. If it were diabolic demons the black-cloaked agitating expedition, it was sound with ranks, with hosts: if of men, it was the progeny of Bethach. 

Of men belonging to law the freeborn who has the strong seed: Bethach, a swift warrior-island son of Iarbonel son of Nemed. 

They cast no assembly or justice about the place of Fal to the sunset: there was fire and fighting at last in Mag Tuired.

The Tuatha De, it was the bed of a mighty one, around the People of Bags fought for the kingship: in their battle with abundance or pride, troops of hundreds of thousands died."