Category Archives: Art

My Lenormand Dogs

Last year, I created 17 decks of Lenormand divination cards, using only my trusty old workhorse, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and photo editing Apps. I had great fun creating these decks, which are available for sale through my eBay and Etsy stores. Just search for my username “AlyZen Moonshadow” and you’ll find me.

These decks are still selling quite well, not enough to sustain me or pay the bills, but enough so that I get pin money to buy things like books. Anyway, I never got into this Art thing to make money, but rather to challenge myself.

For those of you wondering what “Lenormand” divination cards are, (and yes, I’m VERY eclectic in my interests ūüėĄ), here are some links:

http://learnlenormand.com/lenormand-card-combinations-2/

http://lenormanddictionary.blogspot.com.au/p/helens-lenormand-dictionary.html?m=1

http://www.divinewhispers.net/apps/blog/show/14716898-so-you-want-to-learn-to-read-the-lenormand-resources-

And some good books on the subject, if this has piqued your interest:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Essential-Lenormand-Practical-Fortunetelling/dp/B00JN8D6RE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1401965558&sr=8-2&keywords=lenormand+rana+george

http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Lenormand-Oracle-Handbook/dp/1620553252

Today I thought, seeing as I love dogs so much, I would share with you some of my Lenormand dogs.(I’ve put down the names of the deck the card belongs to, below each image, in the event you may wish to purchase a Lenormand deck for yourself).

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(The Moonshadow Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow. The model is my own dog, Shelagh)

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(The Modern Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(AlyZen’s Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(Diana+ Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(Geometrical Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(Olde Worlde Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(The Eclectic Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow)

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(The Mongrel Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow. Shelagh, my own dog features again)

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(The Pictorial Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow. This deck simply has images, not the numbers or words associated with the cards)

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(Lenormand Plain And Simple by AlyZen Moonshadow)

Underground Graffiti

I don’t usually park in the underground carpark of my local shopping centre, but I’m glad I did the other day. Otherwise I wouldn’t have discovered this beautiful concrete forest of graffitied pillars, see below.

Now, isn’t that a brilliant idea? Not only did the commissioned graffiti artists get to indulge in their passion, legally, the mall got itself some pretty cool artwork, and drivers found themselves a new and unique way of remembering where they’d parked their car.

Now I don’t need to take a photo of where I parked my car, in case I forget. All I need to do is remember that I’m parked between the Jellyfish and the Banana. ūüėĄ

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Pink Bunnies in Perth

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!

Hare, hare, hare!

It’s the 1st of the month, so there! ūüėĄ

If you’re up or down in Perth CBD these days, you may have seen 2 rather strange-looking giant pink bunnies standing tall amongst the skyscrapers.

They are the work of artist Stormie Mills. For more information on the Welsh-born, Perth-based artist, click here.

For further information about the ideas behind the Pink Bunnies, this article is a good source.

The Pink Bunny first made its appearance at Cottesloe’s Sculpture By The Sea in 2015, and it was one of my favourite sculptures there. Since then, these “hop art” (a term coined by Mills himself) Pink Bunnies have been popping up here and there, during various festivals around Perth City.

I took some photos of the Pink Bunnies a couple of weeks ago, when they first cropped up in Perth CBD. I won’t tell you exactly where they are, but you can easily figure that out for yourselves, by looking at the surrounding landmarks. I get to say “Hello!” to them on my commute to and from the Dogs’ Refuge Home.

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Quotes on Why We Need Art

Yesterday I wrote about why we need Art, especially in this mad new world of ours, where Money is God.

As I did my online research, I discovered many quotes on why we make Art, and why Art is important to us all. So today I thought to myself, why waste a good opportunity to share those quotes here with yourself.

(The following images are curated from Google Images):

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Why We Need Art

I’ve a Pinterest Board dedicated to artwork that inspires me. I’m in awe of the creativity of artists, their talent for drawing, illustration, sculpting, etching, printing etc etc. So many different types of Art, so many different mediums and formats. It boggles the mind just how creative we human beings can be. What’s even more mindboggling is how artists keep struggling to survive in a world corrupted by consumerism, materialism and capitalism.

Why do artists still do what they do? The time for “big” artists is long gone…these days everybody’s well on the bandwagon, hoping to be “discovered” as the next Michaelangelo, the next Turner, the next Bacon, the next Hirst. Everyone wants to make it big, but only a few chosen ones ever do.

And yet we persevere. Perhaps it’s because something in us tells us to keep creating art, just keep pouring our heart and soul into our creations, do it for the sake of expressing our innermost thoughts, sharing our innermost secrets, crafting our innermost dreams. Honing them patiently, fine-tuning each flourish, loving each moment, until the day comes when we are no longer struggling and starving but rich and famous.

Hah! Dream on! ūüėĄ

It’s akin to playing the Lottery. We know our chances of winning are extremely slim, but yet we keep buying those tickets and hoping our numbers turn up. It’s Hope that keeps us buoyed and afloat. And when we Don’t strike the Lottery, we simply shrug and carry on buying the next ticket, and the next.

Or…maybe artists are just compelled to create Art, no matter if they never get any profit from it. Like Vincent Van Gogh, who was so driven to paint that it drove Him mad. And he still only ever sold 1 painting in his lifetime, and still died penniless.

I suppose we should be grateful that there are still artists in the world, and that they are so driven that they simply cannot stop doing what they do – creating beautiful Art and saturating our world bit by glorious bit. Art makes the world a brighter, more colourful and vivid place…and we could all do with some of that in this grey and dreary world of ours, filled with worker drones and the constant fluttering of millions of bills.

God help us all if one day there was no more Art. I don’t intend to stick around if that ever happens.

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Dogservations : Dog Meet

As a vollie (volunteer) at the dog Refuge, I’ve so far not been privy to the process of how potential adopters meet their prospective new furry four-legged friends. True, I’ve watched such “dog meets” from afar, but only in passing. Usually while I’m out walking a Refuge dog and going past the Adoption (or Dog Meet) Yard, and the fact I have a dog on the other end of the lead means I have to move along quickly, before the dog inside the Yard notices and becomes reactive and thus spoils the Meet.

The Refuge has a couple of such Adoption Yards, for the purpose of adopters meeting dogs, as well as for dogs meeting new doggy friends. Anyone wanting to adopt from the Refuge is required to bring their existing pets to the Refuge for a Meet first, to gauge the compatibility of their animals with the Refuge dog.

Smaller animals, such as cats, rabbits, guinea pigs etc meet the Refuge dogs in a cage/crate in a room. In my 5 months at the Refuge I’ve witnessed a few cat meets, a rabbit meet and even a chicken meet(!) But dog meets are held in the large Adoption Yards, which are essentially fenced off areas about 30 x 10 m.

Just the other day, I was very fortunate to witness a Dog Meet happening. I was waiting for the bus across the road from the Adoption Yard, and the bus was very, very late. I noticed a family and their Kelpie dog walking towards the Adoption Yard with a member of Staff, then entering the Yard and shutting the gate behind them, and I knew a Dog Meet was about to happen. Just before I left the Refuge earlier, I’d spoken to the young lad leading the dog, and found out that his family were looking for a new playmate for their dog Chaz (dog names have been changed here to protect the family’s and the Refuge’s privacy). I also knew the dog they were interested in, Delia.

So, when Delia (also a Kelpie) appeared a minute later, led by another member of Staff, and my bus was still nowhere to be seen, I got excited because I was about to witness a Dog Meet in progress. Granted, my vantage point was perhaps 20m away, (apologies for the fuzziness of the photos below), but at least I was able to make these dogservations, noted down as they happened.

1. Family with Kelpie Chaz on lead enter Yard with member of Staff A. Staff A shuts Yard gate and takes Chaz’s lead.

2. Staff B leads Refuge dog Delia on lead to Yard. Staff A, on the inside, leads Chaz to fence. Staff B, still outside, leads Delia to fence. Both dogs are allowed to see each other through the fence separating them.

3. Chaz and Delia both have gently wagging tails and appear amenable towards an introduction.

4. Staff A leads Chaz away from fence towards middle of Yard.

5. Staff B opens Yard gate and leads Delia into Yard. Walks Delia towards Staff B and Chaz.

6. Chaz and Delia cautiously meet each other sideways, still on leads. Their “Sniff and Greet” ritual is brief, but apparently amicable.

7. Staff A unclips Chaz’s lead and allows him to run free in the Yard. Chaz does a quick “pee mail” against a tree, then returns to Delia. He does a play bow towards Delia.

8. Staff B unclips Delia’s lead. She’s off like a shot, and both dogs do an energetic parallel run in the Yard. Then suddenly both stop and greet each other again, side to side, tails wagging. Then off they trot, to explore various nooks and crannies together.

9. Chaz’s family recall Chaz to their side. Delia comes along too. Delia puts her head over Chaz’s shoulder, showing dominance. Chaz seems fine with that. Delia then places her paw over Chaz’s head, and he’s fine with that too. Surprisingly, it’s Delia that is the more dominant dog. As if to confirm this fact, Delia puts her head over Chaz’s other shoulder. Again, Chaz submits happily. Family and Staff appear delighted that this is going so well.

10. The body language of both dogs is relaxed. I observed no sign of aggression, no tension, just 2 dogs making friends and having a little play together.

11. Staff A clips Chaz’s lead back on. Staff B clips Delia’s lead back on. Staff A leads Chaz out of the Yard, and shuts the gate, leaving Delia and her prospective family in the Yard.

12. Staff B unclips Delia’s lead again and lets her run freely about the Yard. This part of the Meet is so the Family can assess Delia’s suitability as a family pet, whether she would fit into their personal lifestyles. Delia seems relaxed and unconcerned, and willingly goes and takes treats from the Family. She sits on cue and submits to being petted. She even comes when called.

13. The Meet is now concluded. Delia back on lead, everyone leaves the Yard, to continue the adoption process back in the Refuge’s Office.

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Season’s Greetings & Happy New Year 2016

Just wishing everyone All The Best for 2016. It’s a whole brand new year ahead of us all, so let’s go make Change happen!

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Oh, and if you like the image, save it, print it out, give it to your friends. Happy New Year 2016! You’re welcome.

Yes, I did “go to the dogs” today, on New Year’s Day 2016. The trains and buses were eerily empty. I hope everyone had a good New Year’s Eve celebrations and remembered to keep their pets safe and sound from fireworks and loud partying noises. Sleep away your hangovers, my dears, and don’t forget your New Year Resolutions!

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(Normal services will resume on the 2nd of January 2016…ūüėĄ)

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A Most Unexpected Delivery

A few months ago, my friend Colleen and I agreed on an Art exchange. I’d expressed admiration for a beautiful Native American drum that Colleen had painted and posted about on Facebook. She agreed to post it to me. In return I would send her 12 of my Lenormand divination card decks, that I’d designed using my Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The deal was struck, and the packages were duly sent.

Colleen received my package in early November, and posted up reviews of my Lenormand decks. But where was my drum?

Weeks passed, and still there was no sign of the drum. I knew Australian Customs could be very strict, particularly as the drum was made of natural materials, including wood, cow/buffalo hide and sinew. If Customs decided to open the package up for inspection, it would have been subjected to fumigation or, worse, confiscation.

I’d just about put the thought from my mind, and accepted the idea of my drum floating somewhere out there in the Magical Land of Lost Parcels, when on one of the very last postal delivery days before Christmas, I heard a beeping horn at my gate…

Could it be?

Yes, it was! By some miracle, Colleen’s drum arrived! Yay, Happy Days!

Thank you, Colleen! It’s even more beautiful than I imagined! It’s MAGICAL! That Raven may not gave flown the straightest of paths to get to me, but perhaps it took the scenic route so it could appreciate other lands and cultures, and bring with it a wealth of experience and stories to tell. I can’t wait for it to tell me about its adventures! ‚̧‚̧‚̧

image So very well packaged!

image Beautiful, or what? I love Ravens! The Moon behind it, just perfect!

image Close up showing feather details.

image Back of the drum. Note how the natural hide is held together in the middle by sinews.

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image Colleen’s signature on the front of the drum.

image Colleen’s signature on the wooden rim of the drum, at the back.

image My Raven, come home to roost.

Artist Inspiration : Ellen Jewett

Love animals? Like Nature? A fan of the phantasmagorical? Love it when Science meets Art? Then you will absolutely fall for Ellen Jewett‘s sculptures.

When I saw Ellen’s work on my Pinterest stream and checked out her website, I knew I just had to share with you all. You’re going to want to own her exquisite sculptures, and you won’t be able to stop at just one, either. For those armchair curators like myself, who have empty pockets, be patient, I read that there are books showcasing Ellen’s work in the pipeline.

Here’s Ellen’s web page, and here’s her Artist Statement that I’ve simply copied and pasted in its entirety, for your ease of reference:

Statement

Plants and animals have always been the surface on which humans have etched the foundations of culture, sustenance, and identity. For myself, natural forms are a continual source of fascination and deep aesthetic pleasure. At first glance my work explores the more modern prosaic concept of nature:¬†a source of serene nostalgia balanced with the more visceral experience of ‘wildness’ as remarkably alien and indifferent. ¬†Upon closer inspection of each ‘creature’¬†the viewer may discover a frieze on which themes as familiar as domestication and as abrasive as domination fall into sharp relief.¬†¬† These qualities are not only present in the final work but are fleshed out in the process of building. Each sculpture is constructed using an additive technique, layered from inside to out by an accumulation of innumerable tiny components. ¬†Many of these components are microcosmic representations of plants, animals and objects.¬† Some are beautiful, some are grotesque and,¬†some are fantastical. ¬†The singularity of each sculpture is the sum total of its small narrative structures.

  Over time I find my sculptures are evolving to be of greater emotional presence by using less physical substance: I subtract more and more to increase the negative space.  The element of weight, which has always seemed so fundamentally tied to the medium of sculpture, is stripped away and the laws of gravity are no longer in full effect.  In reading the stories contained in each piece we are forced to acknowledge their emotional gravity cloaked as it is in the light, the feminine, the fragile, and the unknowable.  

  Counter intuitively, while there is an appearance of complexity in design, there is a simplicity in execution. Each detail, down to the finest filigree, is free-modeled by hand.  Within each piece precision is balanced by chaos. The overarching aesthetic knocks on the door of realism, yet the hand of the artist is never intentionally erased; brush strokes and fingerprints abound.  Even the narratives themselves harbor a degree of anarchy as they are rarely formally structured.  Rather, I seek to achieve flow states while working to create a fluid progression of unconscious imagery.  That imagery, as manifest in tiny ephemeral shapes and beings, forms relationships and dialogues organically.  In the spirit of surrealism, this psychological approach to artistic expression creates a rich network of personal archetypes and motifs that appear to occupy their own otherworldly space. Within this ethereal menagerie, anthrozoology meets psychoanalysis as themes of natural beauty, curiosity, colonialism, domestication, death, growth, visibility and wildness are explored. 

Studio Practice

   While I seek to free my mind to the imaginative process, I am always simultaneously striving to refine my working environment.  I abstain from all materials; clay, paints, glazes, finishes and mediums, that have known toxic properties.  This, unavoidably, excludes most of what is commonly commercially available, and has sent me on a journey of unique material combination and invention. This exploration is a large part of the unconventional look and feel of my work.  Where possible I source the natural, the local, the low impact and, always, the authentic.  

Background

¬† Ellen was born in Markham Ontario and raised among newts and snails. She took to shaping three dimensional forms naturally at a young age.¬†¬†In 2007 Ellen completed her post secondary honours degree in Anthropology and Fine Art at McMaster University.¬† While finishing her undergraduate degrees Ellen worked in medical illustration, exotic animal care and was teaching a childrens class on stop motion animation. By the time she presented her thesis, Ellen’s academic and artistic interests in the biological where intrinsically interwoven.

  Considered by those who know her as a natural entrepreneur, Ellen set out on her own path as a career artist while still in high school, spending long summer weekends travelling to exhibitions.  Ever the curious soul, while working as an artist Ellen has continued to study art and science respectively, most recently, through Haliburton School of the Arts and University of Guelph.  She has also accumulated certifications in other areas of personal intrigue, including applied animal behavior modification and crisis counseling. According to Ellen, it all informs her art; enriching the content of the unconscious narrative flow.

¬† Today Ellen’s work is achieving a vibrant internet presence making notable appearances on popular websites including Colossal, Reddit, Bored Panda, Ecology Global Network, American Crafters and many others. ¬†Her sculptures are being featured in public and private collections worldwide. Ellen is enthusiastically expanding her studio practice, forever experimenting and meeting the demand of her time and art. ¬†In her spare seconds Ellen enjoys hiking with her friends and dogs, kayaking, climbing, hunting wild plants and mushrooms, organic gardening, ‘upcycling’ salvaged items, drinking coffee and feeding tiny birds. ¬†As her practice gains more international audience she looks forward to the opportunity to travel as much as her work does.

Below are just some of my favourite Ellen Jewett pieces, curated from Google Images. Ellen is really prolific, and it’s very hard to just select a few of her pieces, so think of these as “tasters”, and check out her work yourself! ūüėä

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Christmas Art Abandonment 2015 – Rockingham

Jack and I took the dogs to Rockingham foreshore this morning for a walk. Yesterday I’d decided it was high time we did another Art Abandonment exercise, it being the Christmas season and all that jazz. That, and the fact a nice lady named Rachel actually recognised and remembered me from months ago when I abandoned some Gelli¬ģ-printed handmade bookmarks at the same foreshore. I was chuffed that someone should actually be touched by my Art Abandonment, that my humble little gift had made an impact on someone’s life.

So this morning, we abandoned 4 of my handmade “Juicy Journals”, books that I’d created by hand using pieces of art paper that I’d printed on using Gelli¬ģ Arts‘ “Gelli¬ģ Plate”.

I had my hands full holding onto Shelagh with 2 leads (one attached to her collar to control her head, the other to her harness), so Jack was tasked with not only leaving the “Juicy Journals” on benches and tables in the public park, but also with taking photos of the deed afterwards.

I hope whoever finds and keeps the Abandoned Art appreciates it, and that it makes their day.

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