Sunday, September 25, 2016

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: September 2016, Day 15: "Leaves on the World Tree: Circassian Cork Oak with Mixed Fruit" Study




This piece started out looking -very- differently as I was experimenting with under painting and splattering again:



I like this technique, but I'll still need to refine it if I'm going to try to create a rainbow with it.

Today, I chose the cork oak, in part because the oldest tree in Circassia is an oak, but also because there's an entire cork oak grove.  There are twelve cork oak leaves to represent the 12 tribes of the Circassian people.  And then, instead of acorns, there are mixed fruit: an apple, pear, cherry-plum, apricot, cornel, walnut, and quince, to represent the Ancient Circassian Gardens, that were created over 150 years ago with hardy fruit,nut, and berry grafts into the native trees.

The sixteenth leaf on my world tree is the Circassian Cork Oak.

"Leaves on the World Tree: Circassian Cork Oak with Mixed Fruit"
by Janin Wise
3" x 3" acrylic on minicanvas

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: September 2016, Day 15: "Leaves on the World Tree: Chuvash Tree of Life with Oak and Hops" Study



But Janin, it's Day 22!  You are most correct.  I fell behind by a week, but I'll do my darnedest to catch up on Saturday.  I spent a good portion of this morning gessoing the next batch, so even if it takes me slightly longer than 30 days, there will be 30 paintings (;

The fifteenth leaf on my world tree is the Chuvash Tree of Life, paired with 3 leaves from an oak, and a pair of hops with hops leaves (giving me 5 leaves and 2 'fruit' for a total of seven).  The Churvash tree of life is a motif that shows up in their embroidery and represents the people.  I chose leaves from an oak tree to represent the oldest oak tree in Chuvasia, that is 362 years old and a natural monument.  (Also, on a slight aside, I learned that there are over 600 kinds of Oak trees!)
And I paired it with hops because they've been producing beer for centuries and provide over 80% of the hops used in Russia.


"Leaves on the World Tree: Chuvash Tree of Life with Oak and Hops" 
by Janin Wise
3" x 3" acrylic on minicanvas


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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: September 2016, Day 14: "Leaves on the World Tree: Catalan Pine" Study



I've been very loose and general in my rainbows, so I wanted to try being more specific.


It's an interesting pattern, but I think it detracts from the vegetation on top of it.  Pine needles don't cover as much space and you can clearly see the background.  Unless I try again with all thin lines, I don't think I'll be using this style of background again.  Or maybe alignment-- if the thin swirl had been in the upper right hand corner instead of having the branches on top of it, it would be less distracting.  I may end up repainting this one after the 30 days.  But I do like the way the pine cones are accented in the color.

There are 7 pine cones, representing spiritual awakening and the collective consciousness, and 3 separate branches of pine, to represent the Catalan Pi Jove de les Tres Branques, the young three branch pine.

The original Three Branch Pine, a Scots Pine, took root in the 1630s, was (and is) a cultural meeting place for the Catalan people as a symbol of their unity.  The original tree died in 1915, and has been vandalized several times both before and since, specifically because it is a symbol of the Catalan people.  A short distance away is the young three branch pine, considered the original's successor, and is also classified as a monumental tree by the Catalan government.  The younger pine is still at least 200 years old and gatherings are still held at the site of these trees.

The fourteenth leaf on my world tree is the Catalan Pine.

"Leaves on the World Tree: Catalan Pine" Study
by Janin Wise
3" x 3" acrylic on minicanvas


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: September 2016, Day 13: "Leaves on the World Tree: Bulgarian Granit Oak" Study


Oh my goodness this background gave me such trouble today!  I like to use a little bit of splatter to change up some of the accent colors and wondered if I could splatter an entire painting background.  So I was back to experimenting.


Not bad.  Too wet.  But I can roll with it, right?


No!  Abort! Abort!  What did I DO?!?  My canvas looks like it's bleeding.  And old blood at that.  Yuck.

So I bet you're wondering how that turned into the first picture.  I'll not lie, I tried fiddling with this mess twice more before I decided I just was NOT going to be able to fix it like it was.  So I painted it over with a thin layer of white and let some of it creep through as background shapes and shadows, then painted an entirely new background on top of it.  It gives it a darker, deeper feel.  Before I even added any vegetation, this painting was already six layers deep.

But I think it turned around well.  It's not my favorite pattern, but it's an interesting experiment and I certainly learned from it-- let layers dry or you very quickly get mud.  And yes, it's entirely possible to splatter an entire canvas...but I'll need way more practice at it to make it look any good.

Today's tree is the Bulgarian Granit Oak, and may be the oldest oak tree in the world, thought to have germinated in 345 A.D.

I was certain I would be doing my second date palm before I was doing my second oak, but I was mistaken (;  I'm pleased that they don't look the same, even though the backgrounds ended up being similar.

Continuing my theme of seven, there are seven acorns and seven leaves.

I also realized today that people may be wondering why I'll share links to tell you more about the vegetation, but not about the people.  There are two reasons:

First, when I'm making these pieces, I want them to mean something to the people, the ethnic group, represented.  I want them to be able to look at it and say, "Yes.  I can see us in this."  And second, no matter how many links I could attempt to list-- you can't actually sum up -any- ethnic group with online links.  You can hint at their struggles, their history, their traditions-- but as an outsider, I fully accept that I'm not qualified to tell you about them.  But I can hope that if you follow the links to learn about the vegetation, maybe you end up curious about the people, and the land, and that it inspires you to search for yourself.  Some of them are inspiring.  Some of them are heartbreaking.  And quite frankly, all of them are fascinating.

Who knows, maybe one day, this project will culminate in a world trip, to see and experience in person all the leaves on my world tree (both vegetation and people).

So the thirteenth leaf on my world tree is the Bulgarian Granit Oak.

"Leaves on the World Tree: Bulgarian Granit Oak" Study
by Janin Wise
3" x 3" acrylic on minicanvas

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30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: September 2016, Day 12: "Leaves on the World Tree: Bosniak Pine and Golden Lily" Study



This was one of the harder ones to do, because, like the Assyrian, the Bosniaks don't have a mortal national tree.  They're the first group that identified more with a flower: The Golden Lily.  Which is why I didn't finish it yesterday.  It needed extra research.

I considered painting just the lily, but decided to pair it, instead, with Pinus heldreichii, in part because it's a pine native to the area, and in part because it's also two of the oldest trees in the world, though not in their area:  One is located in Greece and is 1075 years old and is thought to be the oldest tree in Europe, and the other is in Bulgaria and is over 1300 years old.

I painted six lilies to pay tribute to the Bosniak flag, and scattered the seven pine cones among the needles, as scattered as the trees and the people, through the Balkans and the world.

The twelfth leaf on my world tree is the Bosniak Pine and Golden Lily.

"Leaves on the World Tree: Bosniak Pine and Golden Lily"
by Janin Wise
3" x 3" acrylic on minicanvas

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: September 2016, Day 11: "Leaves on the World Tree: Bihari Peepal" Study


I absolutely loved the background on this one today.  I played with the plastic wrap again.




Love the geometric feel of the first layer!  But for this series, that's still too much white, so I added an additional couple of layers and then began adding the Peepal leaves and figs.  The oldest documented human planted tree is a Peepal, also called the Sacred Fig, and was planted in 288 BC, making it 2,304 years old.


Because of the brightness of the yellow, I actually needed four layers of white for each leaf today.


I like that the leaves on the bottom wrap around the edge of the painting on this one.


My handy dandy 5/0 brush as I was working on the leaves.  I continued my use of the number seven in the number of figs and the total number of leaves to represent spiritual awakening and the collective consciousness.

The eleventh leaf on my world tree is the Bihari Peepal.

"Leaves on the World Tree: Bihari Peepal" Study
by Janin Wise
3" x 3 " acrylic on minicanvas

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: September 2016, Day 10: "Leaves on the World Tree: Berber Argan" Study


Day 10!  Woohoo! I'm 1/3 of the way through the challenge!

Yesterday, I had a lot of people asking about a collage of the first 9 pieces, so I went ahead and did a quick one:


It's a bit boggling to me how different all the rainbows are!  On day 6, I wondered if day 7 meant I would just start recycling my rainbows or if I was going to run into a limit on them-- but I honestly don't think I could.  Even if I repeat the same kind of pattern-- it has entirely different results, and I find that I'm enjoying that.  That the backgrounds are as unique as the pieces on top of them.

Today's rainbow is another one that called for adding pink.  So I did.



Then I was ready to add the Argan tree and nuts.  Have you ever seen one of those pictures with a goat up in a tree?  There's a high probability that it was an Argan tree!

Like two of the trees before, this one is endangered, but this one is under the protection of UNESCO and declared a biosphere preserve because it's the only place in the world that they will grow and produce the nuts. Argan oil is the most expensive edible oil in the world, and also one of the rarest oils in the world -and that distinction is actually helping to save the trees.

The nuts are being harvested and the extremely hard shells have to be crushed and manipulated by hand (automatic attempts tend to destroy the kernel inside the shell).  The trees can live up to 450 years.  And argan harvesting is largely done by Berber women cooperatives with the profits divided amongst them.

This is the first truly thorny tree in my world tree series.  And I only concentrated my use of seven on the nuts.  There are twelve thorns, one for each month of the year, and the full cycle of experience.

The tenth leaf on my world tree is the Berber Argan.

"Leaves on the World Tree: Berber Argan" Study
by Janin Wise
3" x 3" acrylic on minicanvas

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Friday, September 9, 2016

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: September 2016, Day 9: "Leaves on the World Tree: Bengali Mango" Study


When I was a kid, my momma was in the Army.  And sometimes this meant that I needed to stay with extended family for a couple of months at a time.  One of my Grandma Betty's favorite stories to tell was about when I was two years old and living with her and my Grandpa Ervin.  My momma had been gone for a couple of weeks, and I was particularly sad and listless.

She asked me, "Baby, what's wrong?" fully expecting me to answer that I missed and wanted my momma, but with a sigh and the brokenest heart a two year old has, I sadly replied, "I want a mango."  See, I was born in Hawaii, and it's pretty common there.  But we were in Michigan.  In the seventies.  In winter.

My Grandma Betty had no idea what a mango was, but she spent the next two weeks trying to find one for me.  I have to admit that when I started this piece, it brought a smile to my face to remember my Grandma and her stories.


Trying out swirls and salt again (:


There was salt everywhere (lol).  My husband suggested I try larger rock salt.  So I'll be getting some of that to play with as well.  Very much enjoyed the texture after I brushed it off.  As a side note, it's not as easy to brush off as you might think.

Then I drew in my rough shapes and free hand painted the leaves.


Did you know that in India there are almost 1000 different kinds of mangoes? Some of them are sweet, others are better eaten with salt or pickled.  I chose the shape of the Totapuri mango because it's shape is easy to recognize, and accented the seven fruit in the colors available for mangoes-- yellow, orange, red, redish purple, and green.  There are also seven mango leaves, continuing my focus on the number seven, representing spiritual awakening and the collective consciousness, done on a background of rainbow colors as a bridge to the world tree.

The ninth leaf on my world tree is the Bengali Mango:

"Leaves on the World Tree: Bengali Mango" Study
by Janin Wise
3" x 3" acrylic on minicanvas

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: September 2016, Day 8: "Leaves on the World Tree: Basques Oak" Study


Today's rainbow.  So, it started life like this:


Isn't that gorgeous?!  But...I didn't want to wait for that to dry.  Because it would be hours, easily.  So I decided to try blow drying....and to try to fix that, I tried salt....



I know, I know.  I'll entire wait the next time, because the blending of the colors in the first was incredible.  And that is clearly second fiddle.  In fact, frankly, it's a mess.  And it's only a 3" canvas, so it wouldn't be that hard to scrap it and start over, yes?  But then I remember Mr. Percy and his favorite saying, "There are no mistakes in art, only opportunities."  So I decided to treat this like I -wanted- it to look like that.  And went from there:



And when I was done with the background, it reminded me of photographs of galaxies, and I can entirely work with that!

Today's tree is the Basque Oak, paying tribute to the Genikako Arbola.  In the middle ages, assemblies and great politics were held beneath big local trees.  And the tree gained great meaning for the people, so much, in fact, that during a 1937 bombing, there were armed guards stationed to protect it.

There are 5 generations of this tree, so I chose to represent a leaf for each generation.  The 'father', last 450 years.  The fifth generation was planted in March 2015 at 14.  Continuing my seven, there are seven acorns.

So the eighth leaf on my world tree is the Basques Oak.

"Leaves on the World Tree: Basques Oak" Study
by Janin Wise
3" x 3" acrylic on minicanvas

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30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: September 2016, Day 7: "Leaves on the World Tree: Bamars Padauk" Study



Sometimes, real life gets priority over painting, and that was yesterday, so it turned out that I was back to doing two paintings in a single day.  (And to be honest, I kind of like it because then I can experiment with all the rainbows at once!)

Today, I wanted to try straight(ish) lines going across diagonally.  And I wanted to start with yellow.

In the middle of painting it, I decided I wanted to end it with yellow as well.  But I also wanted to try playing with the plastic wrap again:


And what it looked like after I removed it:


Love the textural feel of this!  But for this project, its too much white, so I corrected it, but still managed to maintain some of the texture.  Then I started painting day 7, the padauk.

This tree flowers right around the time the Myanmar people celebrate the lunar new year and the Thingyan festival-- and the flowers are yellow.  It pleased me that the rainbow I chose for it would feature so much of this color!

As I've done with each of the other pieces, I focused on the number seven, representing spiritual awakening and the collective consciousness, done on a background of rainbow colors as a bridge to the world tree, so there are seven leaves, seven blooming flowers, and 2 sets of seven buds waiting to blossom.

The seventh leaf on my world tree is the Bamars Padauk:

"Leaves on the World Tree: Bamars Paduak" Study
by Janin Wise
3" x 3"  acrylic on minicanvas


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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: September 2016, Day 6: "Leaves on the World Tree: Balochis Juniper" Study




For Day 6, the next alphabetical group is Balochis, and for them, I chose the Juniper.  Since Day 5 and Day 6 were both done today, I decided I wanted my rainbows to originate on a single side.  For this one, I wanted it to radiate up.


Like I tried with Day 5, I added salt as an experiment.


But -unlike- day 5, this time the darker colors took it.  It's not near as obvious on canvas as it is on paper, but I like the subtle popcorn of color.

And it turns out that like day 5, the Balochis Juniper is endangered.  The Zairat Juniper Forest is thought to contain trees up to 5,000 years old, and is the second largest juniper forest on earth.  Called Obashta by the locals, the trees are considered sacred, but the people are poor and would freeze to death in winter without burning branches.  That, paired with pesticides used for the apple industry has put them in danger.

To continue my use of seven, there are seven juniper berries.

So the sixth leaf on my world tree is the Balochis Juniper:

"Leaves on the Word Tree: Balochis Juniper"
by Janin Wise
3" x 3" acrylic on mini canvas

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30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: September 2016, Day 5: "Leaves on the World Tree: Azerbaijanis Iron Tree" Study


I know, you're looking at the calendar and saying, "But Janin....Today is Day 6!"  And you are correct!  BUT I did a different painting yesterday instead.

Yesterday I finished up a special piece for a friend who wanted to honor one of his friends, who is soon expecting, with a tribute to the rainbow baby sibling before, so that the new child will have a way to know his older brother.  A rainbow baby is a late term pregnancy that does not make it.  My sheet music pieces are truly original, so I'm going to share with you the modified version below:

"I am here" by Janin Wise
9" x 11" acrylic on sheet music

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And decided that today, I'd catch up and do both paintings 5 and 6.

Day 5, alphabetically in my major ethnic groups is Azerbaijanis.  I was originally considering doing the Oak for them, but then I really got into the research and discovered that Azerbaijan is home to over 180 endemic species, of which the Iron Tree is only one....and it's endangered.  The locals call it demir-agach, the scientific name is Parrotia persica, and it's believed to date back at least 6.000 years.
It's an absolutely beautiful tree but prized for its incredibly hard wood, ergo the name "Iron Tree".

It turns out Day 6's tree is also endangered, so perhaps I was supposed to work on them together.

For today's rainbows, I decided I wanted a center point off on one edge.


I figured I'd try a bit of salt...but the paint was already too dry, so it didn't work on this one.


For Day 5, I wanted to origin side to be on the left.  I like how yellow is predominant and kind of sneaking in on all the spaces.


After some rough pencil sketches to place my seven leaves, continuing my numerologic theme, I free hand painted the veins of the leaves.



Until I had all seven of them.

The Azerbaijanis is the 5th leaf in my world tree:

"Leaves on the World Tree:  Azerbaijanis Iron Tree" Study
by Janin Wise
3" x 3" acrylic on mini canvas

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