Saturday, February 17, 2018

In The Year of the Earth Dog

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2/16/2018 began the lunar New year of the earth dog. And I find my thoughts informed by the recent events in Florida.

So here's the why I'm making this piece:

My husband and I had a lengthy discussion about it.  I won't share the heated exchange portions, but I will share the important conclusions:

"Something has gone wrong with our society.  This is a generational problem.  There are no fast and easy solutions.

So what is the solution?

The solution is teaching our kids to be kind and the morals to never even consider murder as a solution."

"How do we teach valuing another human life?  How do we teach valuing our own?  That has to be internalized to be meaningful.

Compassion, connection, empathy, self regulation, emotional self awareness, and self control, and curbing entitlement."

"That's what our leaders need to start focusing on as a nation."

"It's a call for us, all of US to get involved, and DO something.  Get involved in our communities, our schools, with our youth, mentor-- take on the responsibility of "but who's going to do anything about it"- by being the people who step up and model.

...Or admit that we don't want to and don't care enough to."

"It isn't even not caring enough.  It's just a lack of influence to do anything like it outside of your personal circle."

"So we make our circles bigger."

Art is how I communicate.

It's how I strive in my own way to help make those inter human connections that bind us all to each other. You, and this piece are my first step to making my circle bigger.  THIS, is what I can do, right now.

For the 2018 earth dog, I've chosen to pair a dachshund with Florida orchids, on a dictionary page featuring the word 'community'.

Dachshunds (And terriers) compete in something called earthdog trials, and while the name alone is already fitting for the 2018 earth dog, it's an instinct test for willingness to dig deep and work underground in pursuit of quarry for dogs that were bred to hunt vermin.

Dachshunds, like all dogs, are known for devotion, but they also symbolize the joy of life.

The earth is associated with patience, thoughtfulness, practicality, hard work and drawing things together to create harmony, rootedness and stability.

Oncidium is one of the lucky flowers for 2018. In researching oncidium orchids, I came across oncidium floridanum, the Florida dancing lady, a yellow orchid considered endangered in Florida... That alone would have been enough to choose it for this piece, but I wanted to know more about the flower's symbolism as well.

In China, orchids are regarded as emblems of integrity, elegance and friendship.  In modern interpretations, yellow orchids specifically symbolize friendship, joy and new beginnings.

For placement, the orchids are for us and the choice we face- do we get involved with our communities and youth to improve our collective humanity, or do we turn away from it and let it be left to someone else?

The dog stands guard over community, while across it's underside are seventeen swirls, one for each life lost.

And I place it on the page for community because I believe the new beginning, the solution we need to form the social attachments needed to stop this from happening again, is going to come from all of us, working together, in the ways that we can.  Stepping up, and making our circles bigger.  Getting involved with our communities and youth.

I am starting with this piece of art.  What will you do?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Capturing a Memory

Back in November, before I got busy getting ready for Fanticon, I had the opportunity to spend some time with some incredible creative, inspiring and very much fun, friends (:

And part of this fun gathering was getting to set up props for a photo shoot (:

This was the nest that I set up for myself.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to stay long enough to see any of the pictures taken with me in it.
But I was inspired to make a piece to capture this memory and had my son take some posed photos of me to work with.

Then I rough sketched in pencil and started drawing it and filling it in with my .005 and .5 micron pens, literally while sitting in bed after work that night.

...But when I got this far, I was suddenly concerned that I was -really- going to screw it up.

So I put it down.

And walked away from it for 3 months without a backwards glance.

Today, I decided to change that.

2018 is the year I go forward anyway. I'm sure I'm going to make mistakes along the way, but like I always tell my boys, the only way you really fail is by giving up.

A process photograph illustrating drawing out most of the individual white spots by hand.

Before following up behind to fill the larger areas in.

I use my smallest pen to fill in between and around each spot and then fill in the larger areas with my .5

I know a lot of artists like to work on an easel, but I prefer to turn my work around while I'm working on it.

 The finished piece:

"Capturing a Memory" by Janin Wise
7" x 10" Pen and ink on paper

Prints and other merchandise available at my society6 store

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Origin of the Aracari: January Bird Whisperer

The BirdWhisperer Project is a monthly artist project that any artist is welcome to participate in.  Everyone is inspired by the same reference photograph, and on the last Wednesday of the month, all of the pieces are posted at the same time.  The goal is to show how different each artist sees things.

To start off 2018, we began with the Curl-crested Aracari Toucan.

Like all of my Bird Whisperer pieces, I like to find out more about the bird.  The Aracari is a South American bird that lives in the south-west section of the Amazon basin.  It was considered rare and uncommon, but with the assistance of conservationists, its numbers are on the rise.

At first, I was considering doing this piece as a tribute to Tucana Constellation, and in fact, the toucan was flipped and the leaves added to align with the layout of the stars.  But I just wasn't inspired.  So I kept researching.

And that's when I came across the story of Ceiui.  According to scholars, both the Anambe and Tupi have basically the same story about Ceiui:

Ceiui is one of the Pleiades stars, come to Earth in the form of a starving old woman to fish.  While fishing, she spots a young man and demands that he enter the water.  When he refuses, she sent stinging ants to drive him into the water.  Once he obeyed, she snagged him with her fishing net and brought him home to cook him.

While she was gathering wood, her daughter set him free and the two of them fled from her mother.  Angry, she pursued them.  They tried to hide their tracks with palm branches.  These fallen palm branches turned into all the animals in creation, that Ceiui gobbled up.  Even when every creature had been made, she still chased them.

Eventually, her daughter stopped running, but the young man did not and Ceiui chased him all the way to his mother's house, who was able to stop her.

The fact that Ceiui was also a star resonated with me, and because all the animals were created, that meant that the Aracari had also been created!  I knew I'd found my inspiration!

I also found inspiration in the tattoos of the Kayabi/ Kaiabi.  Because the Kayabi language is part of the Tupian language, I anticipate that they also know the story of Ceiui.  And because of their location, they are within the range of the Curl-crested Aracari toucan.

Then I was ready to begin my project.

All drawn in!  Excited to use my first sheet of really good paper!

Blocked it with painters tape to protect the outside edge.

Mixing my first batch of colors for the background wash.

The first round of supplies.

A quick wash of colors

And the addition of salt!

After it dried.  I really liked how the white areas with the salt look like stars.

Using my .005 micron pen to reestablish my lines.

The first detail, drawn with my .005 micron pen.

Adding the second layer of wash to distinguish the bird from the background.

All washed in!

I decided to put Ceiui up in the corner with the stars (:

I was originally planning to paint the branch, but when I saw this, I absolutely loved the way it looked with just the initial wash.

ALL of the colors I used, either straight or mixed with one or more other colors to create this painting.

Starting to fill in the Kayabi inspired patterns, as well as my young man.

Added the young man fleeing.

I'm including these to show you that each square/ rectangle is done individually, all over the place, as I decide what and where the next pattern goes.  It's kind of fun to watch it progress like unveiling puzzle pieces (:

Ceiui, angry and hungry!

The boy.

Fleeing for his life.

Laying palm leaves in the path.

I officially have all of my patterns now.  I like how the triangles look like her angry teeth pursuing him through the picture.

Because I work flat, I continually turn my paper as I'm drawing.  At any given time, it can be completely upside down.

Done with the background patterns!  Time to paint the Aracari.

The full sized finished piece.  I'm so excited with how it turned out! 
I was so nervous at each step that I was going to mess it up, but excited when each new experiment worked.

"The Origin of the Aracari" by Janin Wise
Prints and other merchandise available at my society6 store