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


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


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


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


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


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

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


Sunday, September 4, 2016

30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge, September 2016, Day 4: Leaves on the World Tree: Assyrian Tree of Life with Jasmine and Barley Study

Today's background was actually inspired by a piece that my friend Jessica Wine King made, what feels like, a lifetime ago (:

It's a silk screen painting of the day she and my husband drove down the mountain and through a rainbow.  And I wanted to see if I could emulate the silkscreen feel of the colors on canvas.

And was pleased to see that the answer to that question is 'Yes!'

I absolutely adore the background on this piece!  I think it's my favorite rainbow so far.  (To read about how I chose my theme of rainbows and world trees, please see the first 30 in 30 painting challenge.)

Today, alphabetically, the next ethnic group is Assyrian.  If you do any searching at all for Assyrian and trees, you cannot avoid the ancient tree of life.  And I was hesitant to use it, because I'm looking for connections with the modern ethnic groups.  But then I remembered a couple of things from my previous research-- first, this is not the first group where a tree of life is easily identifiable as the national tree.  And second, I don't have to constrain myself to strictly recreating it.

So I did some further research and decide to combine the ancient Assyrian world tree with barley and jasmine.  The largest group of Assyrians today live in Syria, where the unofficial flower is jasmine. In the spring, there is a celebration called Kha b-Nisan, which is the New Year Festival and typically happens around April 1st, and the spring equinox.  Historically, it was also associated with the planting and harvesting cycles of barley and wheat, two primary crops in the region.  So on one side, I have the planting and growing of the grain, and the other, when it is ready to harvest.

The Assyrian Tree of Life is the 4th leaf on my world tree:

"Leaves on the World Tree:  Assyrian Tree of Life with Jasmine and Barley" Study
by Janin Wise
3" x 3" acrylic on mini canvas


Writing Prompt: Meditation

Spiritual Journey in the Modern Age
by Janin Wise  (the equivalent of a doodle for writing)

Bethany sat quietly in the center of her wooden floor, her mat warm beneath her, her knees bent in lotus.  She could feel the slight warmth of the candle she had burning beside her, the only source of light in the room.  It cast a warm glow of comfort about the space, sanctifying it.  Offering up purity.  She also lit a stick of incense she’d picked up at the Dollar Tree on her way home.  She’d heard it was good for smudging, and she could certainly use the spiritual cleanse after the week she’d been having.

Focus.  This is about inner peace.  Not dwelling, Bethany.

Back straight, shoulders down, she closed her eyes.  She thought about holding her hands in prayer at her chest, but she was afraid she’d just turn it into a plea, so instead, they rested, palms up, middle fingers tip and thumb pads touching, resting lightly on top of her knees.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.

Focus on the breath.  Breathe in positivity and light, breathe out negativity and frustration.  Let them melt always through grounding.

She watched the orange of the back of her eyelids, shift a little bit towards yellow…and was that navy blue off to the side?  Maybe it was the candle.  She stared a little bit harder at the back of her eyelids and the yellow went a little bit brown, then very much green and the blue was moving.  She couldn’t quite focus on it—where did it come from?  Where was it going?  Seriously, maybe it’s the candle.

So she peeked.  

But only with her right eye.  

The left one was still meditating.  She could just see the candle beyond her nose.  She’d actually have to turn her head to the left to look at it directly.  But she knew it was just the plain white candle she’d lit when she sat down.  Flame cheerfully dancing.  Warm glow still glowing.  Wax well contained and would be caught by the plate she’d placed underneath it for exactly that purpose.  The room wasn’t on fire.


She closed both eyes, squared her shoulders, and shook her head just a little bit to clear her wandering thoughts.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Focus on the breath.  Breath in positivity and light and she really should have gone ahead and had dinner first.  Did she feed the cat?  

Of course she did, otherwise Sebastian would be in the room winding his tail around her as a reminder and voicing his objections loudly.  But that didn’t change the fact that she was certain she could hear her own stomach growling (Her stomach had made no such protest). 

Breathe in, maybe tuna helper, she was pretty sure she had all the ingredients in the pantry.
Breathe out, or she could always make the pork roast in her slow cooker!

Breathe in, no, it was too late at night for that…but it would make an excellent dinner for tomorrow!  She made a mental note to start the pork roast for tomorrow so dinner could be eaten -before- she started yoga.

Breathe out, but if she was honest, it was probably going to be leftovers from yesterday’s Chinese takeout with a good rounding out of the remainder of the family sized bag of Doritos she had just opened this morning when packing her lunch.

Breathe in, breathe out.


She pictured a budding flower, small, delicate, frail, tentatively reaching for the world, trusting in the sunlight.

Breathe in positivity and light.

Breathe out negativity and you know, in the real world, someone would just pick it.  They wouldn’t care if it belonged to someone else or that picking it would be the end of it.  They would see something beautiful and unique, and they would want it for themselves, and they’d just take it.  And clearly she pictured a stranger’s hand plucking her innocent trusting bud before it had truly flowered.
Bethany opened her eyes, huffed in exasperation, and put her hair up into a ponytail from the elastic she kept on her right wrist for such a purpose.

“This is MY vision, Bethany.  Try it again.  No one plucks our flower.”

She took a deep breath, fidgeted on her mat (her left butt cheek was starting to go to sleep), squared her shoulders, and closed her eyes, again.


Breathe out.


Breathe out.


And back to the bright garden, with a fresh bud tentatively reaching for the warmth of the sun.  Through patience and nurturing, the bud begins to open, delicate white petals tinged in pink, with a bright yellow center.  I wonder what kind of flower that is.  Is it a real one?  Could I look it up on the internet?  Did I make it up?  I wonder what it smells like?  If it’s real, I bet I could get one to grow in my flower box outside my bedroom window.  Wouldn’t that be something!  To actually grow your meditation flowers!

And now her stomach really did protest, after all, she hadn’t eaten dinner before she began.  And it rumbled in harmony with her “Om”, while her right ankle itched, and her left butt cheek felt like ice.  The air conditioner kicked in and the vent blew the smoke from the incense towards her face, and she decided that was enough spiritual advancement for one day.

Time to celebrate with Doritos and left over General Tsoa’s.