Category Archives: Art

Fallen Angels

In the past, I’ve used Tarot Cards, specifically the traditional and time-tested Rider-Waite cards. However, these did not resonate very much with me, for some reason. I found that Oracle cards held more meaning for me. I’ve already written about Oracle cards in a previous post, please click on the link here to read about that.

My first Oracle card deck that I bought in Australia was the Fallen Angel deck, from a bookshop in Mandurah. I was struck by the artwork. As a visual artist, imagery is very important to me.  And so when I entered the bookshop looking for a likely Oracle card deck to purchase, the Fallen Angel deck literally called out for my attention.

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You can buy this deck on Amazon, eBay, at any decent New Age store wherever you are.

What attracted me to this deck was the grungy, textured feel to the collaged images. When I saw this deck, I was reminded of an early iPhoneography project of mine, that I’d done when we lived in Ascot, near the Perth Airport in Western Australia.

Here are some images from the Fallen Angel Oracle cards deck, courtesy of Google Images, in case you’re curious and what to see what they are like.

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So today, I’ve gone into my vast archive of images stored in my 1TB hard-drive, to actively seek out my own Angels images. Arrghhh! I can only find 3…they may still be on an old computer, which I hope has not been reset to factory settings!

Instead, as a compromise, please take a look at this YouTube video that I choreographed for a musician friend, Brian Vassallo, for his track “I Am Always In Your Heart“, as it contains several of my Angels. This was back in September 2011, nearly 3 years ago.  It’s a great song, and I like to think I’ve done the music justice with my mobile photography art and choreography. At that time I was on my iPhone 4, so this would technically be termed iPhoneography.

Meanwhile, I will continue to search for my Angels on all my computers, as there are unedited photos there that I would like to process for a future project. The cemetery I took the photos in is located in Guildford, which is difficult for me to get to these days, since we moved to Rockingham nearly 40 miles away. The next closest old cemetery to me now is in Fremantle, which I will endeavour to get to on a good day, if I fail to find my old Angels.

Post addendum: Looks like a trip to Fremantle Cemetery is on the cards.

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Carpe Diem

Well, actually, no. Take away the last letters of each word in the title above, and you’ll have a fair idea of what I’m talking about.

We have about 17 Japanese Koi (or carp) and goldfish in a large, square pond out the back of our house. I say 17 because they never stay still long enough for me to do a proper headcount.

Make that 16.

I found one this morning, not swimming like its friends, but just floating and occasionally zipping out of the water all aflutter, before sinking back into the water. Most strange. I dosed the water with green multi-ailment liquid, added tap water conditioner, algicide, aquarium salt, cleaned out the sponge filter, topped up the pond with fresh water. I even held the poor fish in my hands and willed it to get better.

All to no avail. The poor thing carried on for half an hour more, with its friends gathering round and nudging it, either to encourage it to rally round, or to say good bye. It was quite touching watching them. I left it in the pond for 15 minutes more, in case it was just playing dead.

When I was truly convinced it was dead, I went into the house to get a sheet of butcher paper to wrap it in (it was a big fish, about 15 inches long). It was then I got the idea of preserving the memory of the fish on paper. It was, after all, the largest fish in our pond, and one of my favourites. :'(

Now, my cousin HM loves to fish, and he’s had some very good results with the art of Gyotaku, or fish rubbing. In fact, I wrote about him not too long ago, here.

So I decided I’d follow my cousin’s example and do my own Gyotaku with my carp before burying it. It would be a way of remembering it, and honouring it in a manner of speaking. One last dance together.

And here is how we did it.

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I quickly learnt that it’s better and easier to rub the paper over the fish, instead of placing the fish on the paper. My cousin HM used Japanese handmade rice paper, but all I had was butcher paper. My hands got stained with the food dye because I was handling the fish rather than the paper at first.
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(Anyone want to read my palms? Go ahead! 😄)

My studio is awash with fish! Some came out good, others too watery to capture much detail. Below are some of the clearer imprints. Not as good as my cousin’s, but they will serve as memorials to my fish.

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Carpe Diem!

P/S: Due to one reader’s rather insensitive remarks to me, about the fish ending up all covered in “blicky food colouring” and “smashed up in butcher paper” to become “fish fertiliser for roses”, I think I should explain what happened to my fish friend afterwards. I washed all the food dye off, then wrapped it in a fresh sheet of butcher paper. Then I dug a hole in the plant trough by our swimming pool and buried it there. I put an old log and a pot of hen & chicks over the grave, to prevent any cats from getting at it. It’s right next to Valiant, my baby Japanese quail with splayed legs that I tried to help but that drowned in its water bowl back in November last year.

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My Favourite Tangles

A little while ago, in my Artist Inspiration series, I wrote about a Zentangle artist, DiAnne Ferrer.

If you’re not familiar with the Art of Zentangle, take a look at this webpage which explains what it is, how it started, and how to get started in it yourself.

I’ve read discussions on several Art Forums debating whether Zentangles are considered an Art form or not. To me, there is no need to even consider the question. Of course it is an Art form. It’s still in its infancy, and many established artists may feel threatened by it, and that is only natural, for it’s only human to fear Change.

A similar type of discussion was held only a few years ago, about whether mobile photography should be considered “real” photography, or simply as trick photography for partygoers or for fun.

Today’s post is simply to showcase my favourite Zentangles, that I’ve come across on my travels on Google Images. It just goes to prove how very popular Zentangle is and how many excellent exponents of it there are. Zentangles come in a vast array of variety, from the very simple yet effective to the very complex.

All credit goes to the original Zentangle artists, of which there are too many to name. Enjoy!

And, if you enjoyed looking at Zentangles, why ever not give it a whirl yourself? ;)

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HAIKU : So That Butterflies May Drink

I remember once
The skies were cloudless and blue
The heat relentless

No drop of rain fell
All summer long in that year
The earth lay parched, dry

And in that same year
My emotions ran dry too
Like the barren land

I picked up the hose
My trees were calling to me
I’d neglected them

The water arrived
I sprinkled the earth with it
I heard its glad sigh

I gave it its fill
It slaked its thirst hungrily
And begged me for more

I made mud puddles
So that butterflies may drink
My reward was this

Rainbows in the air
Dancing in the bright sunshine
My garden now blooms

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By:
AlyZen Moonshadow

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Oracle Cards

Today’s post is about Oracle Cards. Some of you may be religious and consider them the devil’s work; I would ask that everyone please read this post with an open mind. The angle I’m coming from here is not a religious one, but a mixture of spirituality, affirmation and artistic creativity.

Strangely enough, Wikipedia does not have an entry for Oracle Cards. But I found one that doesn’t self-promote or advertise products, which a lot of other sites do.

From e-How:
Oracle cards are types of cards that when used together form a card deck that provides individuals with answers to their innermost questions. These questions and answers are generally prophetic in nature and are thought to provide a glimpse or outlook into the future. An individual can buy and use her own set of cards for gathering insight, or may choose to seek the services of a psychic or medium who professionally reads oracle cards.

Oracle Card Meanings

You can find many types of oracle card decks. There are also many types of oracle cards within each deck. Each of these cards has its own meaning. As an example, “Amethyst” is a card found in the Crystal oracle deck. When this card is selected in a reading, you are being told to embrace your “shadow side.” This means that you must learn to love all parts of yourself. By comparison, the “Tiger” card in the Creature Teacher oracle deck suggests that an individual learn to face all fears head on.

History

Although you may think the use of oracle cards for divination is relatively new, it might surprise you to learn that they have been in existence for over 200 years. One of the most popular decks of oracle cards is the Lenormand Oracle cards. These cards are named after famed fortuneteller Madame Marie Lenormand. While there is no certainty as to whether she created the very first oracle deck or not, she is noted as having devised her own deck of oracle cards to give readings. Today, while still not as well known as tarot cards, the cards bearing her name continue to remain popular in certain parts of Europe.

Oracle versus Tarot

While the decks of tarot cards were originally created for playing games, the oracle card was created as more of an inspirational tool. Unlike tarot cards that have the darker images of the “Hanged Man” and “Death,” oracle cards typically stick with more positive images and many decks are based on angels or healing themes. There are 78 cards in tarot decks; however, the number of cards in an oracle deck can vary from about 44 cards to as high as 55 or more, since each card deck is unique.

Oracle Card Readings

The reading of oracle cards is quite similar to that of tarot cards. The person performing the reading focuses on the question at hand before shuffling the deck of cards. The card reader then selects a card and notes any impressions that are immediately apparent when she sees the card. Additional cards are then chosen as needed. Each card offers insight into the answer to the original question. The number of cards chosen generally depends on the reader and the type of spread she prefers. Some readers find that three cards can offer a past, present, future explanation, while other card readers may prefer 12 or more cards pulled out of the deck. These cards are then placed in a card spread for a more detailed reading.

In my personal photographic art projects, I like to do a Series of 100 images. Or at least 50. (I like round numbers). My first big project was my Madhatter’s Teaparty project, which I have placed under license with Kess InHouse now. My 2nd big project, and an ongoing one, is the 100 Butterflies project, of which I’ve done 45.

Most recently, due to a personal spiritual awakening in my life, I’ve decided to embark on another project, that of creating my own Oracle Card deck. I figure I have the artistic means to create the artwork, literally at my fingertips, so why not explore the spiritual world too. I won’t pretend to know much about clairvoyancy or psychic powers, but I do know I can at least write positive sayings or affirmations to go with the cards I create. Even “negative” cards will have a positive spin on it.

So that is my plan.

I’ve been experimenting with the layout and themes for my Oracle Cards, using Apps like PicsArt and Pixlr Express. The first one I did was to accompany a Haiku “The Lesson” I wrote, which I posted up a few days ago. That was just an image, without any text on it. It was titled “As Above, So Below”.
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The feedback I’ve received from friends has been very encouraging.

So I created another image, this time with text on it.
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And here is another one.
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And a third.

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I like how the latter 3 turned out, and I think that’s the way I’ll be going with this project.

I’m not sure yet about the text or explanatory notes to accompany my cards, but I’m fairly certain that when the time is right, the words will flow. :)

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Artist Inspiration : YUMI OKITA

The amazing North Carolina-based artist Yumi Okita whips up larger than life moths, butterflies and other insects using fabric, cotton, fake fur, fabric paint, embroidery thread, wire, and feathers. Each one of her creations is clearly a labour of love. The amount of meticulous detail in the stitching, embroidery and painting and the structure of her beautiful creations beggars belief. Hours upon hours of intricate work go into her creations, which can span over a foot wide. All are simply exquisite. Small wonder they are all snapped up in a hurry by collectors.

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Yumi hasn’t got a website of her own (that I can find, anyway. If you do come across it, please let me know so I can update this post, thank you). She has however been the subject of many write-ups. Here are links to some of the more notable ones:

http://www.boredpanda.com/textile-sculptures-insects-moths-butterflies-yumi-okita/

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/list/tag/yumi+okita

http://www.cubebreaker.com/textile-moth-butterfly-sculptures/

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Yumi has an Etsy online store, where she sells her wonderful creations. They sell very fast, so you’ll be lucky to get your hands on one.

Luckily, even if you can’t physically get hold of one of these exquisite creatures, you can still feast your eyes on them on Google Images. Yay!!

If only they could fly…fly to me!

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Artist Inspiration : DIANNE FERRER

I love the art of Zentangle. But I’m afraid to even start. Why? Because I know that once I start in earnest, I will get hooked, and then that crazy woman at KMart buying up all the Sharpie pens, coloured gel pens, pencils and art paper – that will be me. My home will be littered with my many attempts at Zentangling. No housework will get done (not that it ever gets done anyway!). Meals will consist of cereal and milk, the animals can feed themselves, the plants can water themselves. Hooray!

And so, I contend myself by observing the wonderful Zentangles of masters. I wonder at the artistry that emerges seemingly effortlessly from the pens of these artists. It seems almost meditative, which alludes to the very name itself – Zen Tangle.

One such Zentangle master is DiAnne Ferrer. DiAnne is a CZT, a Certified Zentangle Teacher. Yes, there really are such things. The following is an excerpt about DiAnne Ferrer from this site.


DiAnne Ferrer
Featured Bio:
DiAnne Ferrer, Zentangle® Artist

Creating beautiful pieces of art is DiAnne Ferrer’s passion. DiAnne started her training at Baruch College in NYC and went on to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). She also obtained a Masters from Brooklyn College in Brooklyn NY. She channels her inspiration from her surrounding environment of patterns. DiAnne specializes in Zentangle inspired art work. DiAnne became a Certified Zentangle Teacher under the direction of Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas who both created the Zentangle® method.

DiAnne Ferrer is also a Brooklyn Art Teacher. She came across Zentangle® while attending an art teacher conference in NYC and was hooked immediately. She States, “I have not put down my pen yet, since learning this fantastic art form. The greatest thing about this artistic impression is you do not have to have any artistic experience to create beautiful art work.” Each piece of art is drawn one line at a time. She is one of a very few CZT’s in Brooklyn NY at present.

What is Zentangle®? Zentangle ® is an easy to learn art form by creating amazing images from repetitive patterns. Zentangle ® is fun and relaxing. It can help increase focus and creativity. Zentangle® provides artistic satisfaction and an increased sense of personal well being.

Zentangle has many other uses: Relaxation, Inspiration, Stress Reliever, Therapy, Increase attention span and ability to concentrate. Zentangle® is enjoyed by all ages and a wide range of skilled participants. There is always success after completion of a tile. Zentangle ®uses a 3 ½-inch x 3 ½-inch square card of fine, individually die-cut Italian printmaking paper, selected for its texture and archival characteristics. Archival quality inks are also used to produce images that will stand the test of time.

You can also use other sizes of paper plus watercolors, markers etc. to add some color to create Zentangle Inspired Artwork. All beautiful art tangles grow out of our imagination. There are no boundaries that limit the possibilities. Our imagination is Endless.

DiAnne Ferrer has created a website dedicated to this art form. http://www.atanglegrowsinbrooklyn.com. Within this site, viewers see many different images created from patterns. The possibilities are endless. – See more at: http://rockshowmagazine.com/bios/dianne.html#sthash.Jyj6shM7.dpuf

Here are a few examples of DiAnne’s work. I was drawn to her portraits of dogs, but she also draws other animals as well as objects.

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Artist Inspiration : CAROLINE YOUNG

When you look at these delicately rendered paintings of Oriental women in their natural elements, how can you not be awed? No, these are not old paintings by Chinese masters, they are very modern and fresh watercolours on silk by contemporary artist Caroline Young.

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Excerpt from Caroline’s website, which describes her background, inspiration, influences and techniques.


Caroline Young: In classical Oriental painting, artists approach their work the way pianists in the West might approach the existing compositions of the great masters. Each new painting was a performance that the artist rehearsed for by practicing the performance of earlier painters. Contemporary artist Caroline Young took that wisdom to heart. Her delicate watercolors on silk pay homage to classical Chinese technique called the “delicate style,” and the lessons she learned from her mentor, Lam Oi Char. Each is a virtuoso celebration.

“Lam Oi Char changed my life. My mother had encouraged me to paint as a teenager in Hong Kong where I was born and raised. But it was not until I began studying watercolor wit Lam Oi Char that I gained the confidence to succeed as an artist, “says Young. From her teacher Caroline Young learned the traditional forms of Chinese art and filled her silken rural landscapes. She chose as her medium Chinese watercolors, acrylic and gouache. Caroline mixes her own colors to achieve unique and vibrant tones, unavailable in commercially prepared paints.

Caroline’s soft, lyrical brush work and graceful composition has earned her critical and popular acclaim. Although her Japanese themes brought her to fame, Young decided to return to Chinese historical subjects. “I wanted to pay homage to my great-grandparents, who immigrated to Hawaii from China, and to commemorate the bicentennial celebration of the first Chinese to arrive in Hawaii.”

Caroline Young is currently at work on her most ambitious project to date, the Immortal Twelve Suite. The paintings on silk will depict legends of the twelve signs of the eastern zodiac. This is a major project for the artist which will last for many years, and one which promises to cement Young’s place in the ranks of outstanding contemporary artists in America.

“Art has given me a second chance to learn the essence of my own culture and to discover what it means to be Chinese. I will continue to paint Japanese subjects in the future because so many of my collectors enjoy them so much, and I enjoy doing them. But I will concentrate the main thrust of my artwork on Chinese subjects, such as “The immortal Twelve Suite.” When I’m not painting I spend most of my time researching Chinese history, culture, costumes and ornamentation.”

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I love not only Caroline’s wonderful artwork, but also the fact that she is helping keep Chinese and Japanese culture and folklore alive. Her paintings very often tell the story of famous Oriental characters and fables passed down through the centuries. They also accurately depict details of the traditional costumes and accessories of the period, place settings or locations, musical instruments, body language, backgrounds, flora and fauna. By painting them now in the 21st century, Caroline is preserving the memory of those stories and historically accurate facts for future generations to appreciate. We are humbled and honoured.

More of Caroline’s artwork can be found on http://www.carolineyoungstudios.com/artwork.html

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It’s On The Cards

Or…Yet More Adventures in Serendipity.

Recently my best friend Sheila and I went on a jaunt to nearby Mandurah. We wanted to check out the New Age shops there, as I was nearly out of incense sticks at home.

Our first port of call was the Crystal Dolphin, where we had a great time browsing the store’s extensive bookshelves and looking through the various tarot and oracle cards there. I wanted a singing bowl or at least some Tibetan Tingsha bells, but the bowl was nearly $80 and the 3 bells that were there didn’t sound right to my ears. I bought some incense sticks. Sheila bought 2 CDs and some perfume oil.

Next up was lunch at Murphy’s Irish Pub by the foreshore. The food was lovely, as always, I highly recommend Murphy’s if you are ever in Mandurah, and if you happen to be Irish then you’ll feel right at home there!

After lunch we went over to Dolphin Quay, just over the bridge. While there, we came upon a New Age stall. I was interested in getting another deck of Oracle cards, so I looked at the carousel at various decks.

And then one leapt out at me. Figuratively speaking, of course. But it might as well have done so literally, so quickly did my hand reach out to grab it. You see, here was my good friend Serendipity playing her hand again.

A short while ago, I’d found an Oracle cards App on the Google Play Store on my Samsung Galaxy S4. Actually, I’d tried a few Apps but most of them did not cut the mustard with me. Except for this particular deck “Vibrational Energy Oracle Cards” by Debbie A. Anderson.

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(By the way, I was drawn to the name of the deck itself when I initially came across it…for a while now I’ve been feeling strange vibrations in my body when I’m in contact with certain people online over the Internet. Like a Wi-Fi psychic connection. I can sense right away what a person is resonating, if that person is feeling relaxed, or tense, or frustrated, happy or upset…just as soon as they appear on my radar. Now, I don’t know what this is, or if it truly is a gift, or whether the feeling will vanish as suddenly as it appeared…but it has started me on a personal spiritual journey. And I might as well notate that journey here on my blog, for all it’s worth. If anyone can shed a light on this, I would be very grateful).

I fell in love with this virtual deck because of its truly inspirational artwork by Heather Brewster. Feast your eyes on these images of just some of the cards in this magnificent deck.

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I’d since then been searching high and low online for a hard copy of this deck…to no avail. And then this happens to me today.

I took this to be a sign, so the deck of cards came home with me today.

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The Story Behind Rose Red

I was so inspired by this image I saw on Pinterest that I wrote a poem about it. The title of my poem is “Afterwards“.

Here is the image again, for those of you who aren’t already familiar with it. It’s called “Rose Red”, though some know it as “The Rose Knight” and others by its comicbook cover art title “Fables #136″.

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The artist is the uber-talented Dan Dos Santos. And I struck it lucky when I managed to find the back story behind this image. Told in Dan’s own words, too.

Here is the link: http://muddycolors.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/rose-red.html?m=1

Yes, it is an oil painting, painstakingly done by hand. No, unfortunately there are no prints to be had of it, as part of the commission agreement was that the artwork remained original or only existed as the cover of Fables #136 comicbook. The original itself has long been sold to an indisclosed buyer. Sorry, folks! But please, do read Dan’s thought process and description of how he created Rose Red, as it’s really fascinating and insightful.

Basically, Dan was asked to show the comicbook editor his concept ideas for the character Rose Red. Here are the images he came up with originally (taken from the same link as above):

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And we all know which one the editor fell in love with.

The rest, as they say, is Her Story. 😄

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