Tag Archives: AlyZen Moonshadow

Workflow : ONENESS

Today I’ll be sharing my workflow or process of how I created one of my Oracle Cards, “Oneness”. This is an ongoing Project.

I used the Live Wallpaper App “Elements of Design” to randomly generate a dynamic wallpaper, which I took several screenshots of, as the app did its job. And then I chose at random one of the screenshots and loaded it into PicsArt.

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In PicsArt, I then cropped the top and bottom of the screenshot. I also flipped and rotated the image.

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I layered another image over this in PicsArt, that of a colourfield background. Then I played around with various blending modes and opacities until I found a result that I liked. I really like the smoky, smudged effect here.
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Now the image needs some motif or object. I searched through the vast catalogue of clipart that PicsArt has, trying out one thing after another (it’s obvious that I don’t have a Master Plan!) Until I found one that just clicked. This was a red bird from the Geometric clipart range in PicsArt.

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Three birds later…here I’ve altered the angles, direction and sizes of the bird clipart so they wouldn’t all look identical. I love how they seem to pick up the vibrant reds and orange colours of the background, and yet somehow retain their own presence.

I wanted the overall image to be more cohesive. I added some sprigs to the beaks of the birds. I wanted the viewer to be able to look at the image and intuitively guess what the meanings could be. Here’s a possible explanation:


This Card signifies the idea of Working together harmoniously towards a common goal and for the greater good. The Three Birds belong to the same Family and are united in their mission. In their beak each Bird carries a sprig of Holly Leaves with Holly Berries. These are sacred symbols and the Birds are bringing them to some far off destination to be used as building blocks for the future. The Birds are in commune with their surroundings, their colours blend in with Mother Nature’s glorious sunset. The number 3 signifies the Holy Trinity, a concept prevalent in humanity’s many religions. The Birds symbolise Oneness, they work together as One. Note there is only one set of concentric rings in the picture, at the bottom right corner. This reinforces the idea of Oneness.

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Next, I brought the image into the App Repix. And added a sprinkling of stars. I also tweaked the colours of the background, to create a little more depth to the overall image. I decided to tone down the vibrance a little, to make the image look more painterly and old, like a vintage Christmas card, perhaps.

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Then it was back to PicsArt to put in the text for “Oneness”.
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And finally, for my own reference, I added my digital signature. Very subtly, of course ;). And so here I present “ONENESS” by AlyZen Moonshadow:

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Elements of Design

Have you got 5 minutes free time and don’t know what to do? Why not be creative and make yourself a pictorial quote? I’m not sure what the real term is for these things, but you know the ones I mean…those cute and quirky quotes that go along with equally cute and quirky backgrounds. Memes?? It’s very popular on Facebook at the moment. Instead of commenting in boring old plain text, why not find some quotable quotes online and share them instead? Okay I may have started that trend, shame on me LOL.

Anyway, today I’d like to share a quick and fun tutorial with you. See, with just 2 simple Apps you can create your own pictorial quotes and amaze your friends. Don’t worry if you, like me, can’t draw, it’s all done for you.

Yes, just 2 Apps:
InstaQuote for iOS
InstaQuote for Android

Elements of Design for Android

Note: Elements of Design is a Live Wallpaper. When you load it, it doesn’t show up as an App on your smartphone, but rather in a folder called “Live Wallpaper”. The beauty of this App is that you can set numerous parameters and tweak various elements and then to save, simply take screenshots of the action. (Sorry, iOS Apple users, I don’t think the Live Wallpaper option is available on your device, neither will you find Elements of Design on iTunes. But I’m sure you can find tonnes of other similar Apps on the iTunes store for this purpose).

Here’s the blurb on Elements of Design, taken from the Google Playstore:

Turn your background into a beautiful abstract work of art with this fully customizable, animated live wallpaper! Combine some of the most popular elements of contemporary graphic design into animated eye candy with the touch of a finger! Overwhelmed by the number of options? Choose from one of 16 preset themes!

Watch flowering vines weave across the screen, add an animated honeycomb background, or make elements appear with a single touch. This full version has plenty of beautiful options to keep your phone fresh and your eyes entertained!

Right, so today I came up with a funny quote that I wanted to share with my friends. And, being lazy, I wanted to create something original but which I could do in less than 5 minutes.

To do this, I opened up InstaQuote on my trusty Samsung Galaxy S4. I left the background blank (or defaulting to whatever) while I worked my quote into the text field.

Then, I simply set up Elements of Design, played with the parameters, then took some screen snapshots. I then loaded the screenshot I liked that I thought would work best, and placed it into the background. I didn’t even have to crop my background image, InstaQuote did that for me.

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Et voila! An Instant Quote (well, more or less).

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😄😇😆

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Australian Aboriginal Artist : Paddy Nyunkuny Bedford

Paddy Bedford (1922-2007), like Eastern Anmatjerre artist Emily Kngwarryee, produced paintings for no more than a decade at the end of his life. However unlike Kngwarreye, who produced in excess of 4000 paintings before her death in 1996, Bedford painted only sparingly for most of his late-blooming, artistic career. At their best, his minimal abstracted ochre works have an equal power and strength to those of Rover Thomas, the founder of the East Kimberley style. However Bedford was physically capable of producing major paintings for only a limited period of his life. (Source: http://www.aboriginalartresource.com/aboriginal-artists/paddy-nyunkuny-bedford/)

Paddy Bedford was known by his nickname Goowoomji and also by his Gija name Nyunkuny. As a senior law man Paddy Bedford was involved in painting as a part of ceremony throughout his life. However, he only began painting on canvas for exhibition after the establishment of Jirrawun Aboriginal Art in 1997. In a remarkable career as a painter, that spanned less than ten years, Bedford achieved great critical acclaim in Australia and internationally.

Bedford’s paintings reveal a deep love of his country: the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. Many of his works depict features of this distinctive landscape such as the rivers, stock-yards and roads that were integral to Paddy’s traditional life and that as a well regarded stockman. Much of the subject matter of his paintings are inspired by important events in his life, such as the Bedford Downs Massacre as well as his family dreamings of emu, turkey and cockatoo. Towards the end of his career Paddy declared that he had painted all of his father’s country and his mother’s country and that he was just painting.

A major retrospective of Bedford’s work was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in 2006.
(Source: http://www.moragalleries.com.au/pbedford-estate.html)

I love the wonderfully abstract nature of Paddy’s paintings. They have the ability to look traditional and modern at the same time. They look deceptively simple, yet speak volumes to me. By keeping his colour palette simple and restricting it to black, white and the rich reds, ochres, browns and yellows of the Australian outback, Paddy manages to evoke a sense of history, to paint a frozen snapshot of his beloved land.

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Selfish People

Our local McDonald’s sometimes has free newspapers for customers to read while they’re having their meal. I sometimes go there just for a hash brown and a coffee and a good read. The newspaper belongs to the establishment and does not leave the premises with the customer, unless McDonald’s is offering a free paper to take away with their breakfasts, which sometimes happens. After you’ve read the newspaper, the unspoken agreement is that you either pass it onto someone else who may want to read it, or you place it back on the countertop for anyone else coming in later.

I was at McDonald’s on Saturday with my son, for breakfast before going to the cinema to watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. As we sat down, I noticed a woman in her 60s at a nearby table with the weekend papers. Now, the Weekend West, as our newspaper is called, is a veritable tome, comprising a main news section, and various other pull-out supplementaries such as Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel, Sports, Entertainment, Gardening and Children’s.

The woman was reading one of the pull-out supplementaries, so I approached her and asked if she was done with the main news section of the paper. She looked up at me and immediately placed a proprietal hand over the newspaper, while shaking her head and saying no, she was still reading it.

Fair enough. I could wait a while til she finished. My son and I ate our meal and I kept my eye on the woman, so I could ask her again for the newspaper once she’d finished.

She finished the supplement she was reading. Then she dug into her handbag and brought out a piece of tissue paper. She delved into her bag again…and brought out a bottle of, wait for it…nail polish remover! She then placed her elbows right on top of the pile of newspapers on her table and proceeded to meticulously clean her fingernails. One by one. Slowly and patiently. While the unread papers lay there.

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I couldn’t believe my eyes.

What this woman did next was even more selfish than I’d already observed. A little boy, presumably her grandson, ran in from the playground outside and climbed onto the chair next to her. She immediately put away her nail polish remover and started to play with him. Did she put aside the newspapers so someone else could read them? Of course not. She let the little monster rifle his grubby hands through the papers instead, and laughed delightedly when pamphlets, brochures and mini magazine supplements went scattering onto the floor. Did she pick them up? Of course not.

The little boy was joined by his father, mother and 3 siblings of a similar age. The kids ran off back to the playground soon after, but their parents sat talking to the woman. All that time the newspapers lay on the table between them, unread.

We were at McDonald’s 30 minutes. And in that time, that selfish woman cleaned her nails, played with her grandson and had a conversation with her son and daughter-in-law. Time spent actually reading that newspaper?

Zero.

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Okay, rant over. But I don’t get it. How can some people be so selfish, self-centred and inconsiderate? Maybe she was just ignorant? Because I sure wouldn’t like the other plausible explanation…which is that she had deliberately made up her mind NOT to let anyone have the papers, as a show of power, because it made her feel good about herself.

One thing’s for sure. Selfish people like that woman are part of the reason why this world of ours is so riddled by malaise, apathy and ignorance. Kindness is free and costs nothing, we should spread that around at every opportunity. Practice random acts of kindness wherever you are, and whenever you can. The seeds of happiness lie within acts of mindful kindness.

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INCANDESCENCE

She had a way about her
That lit up the room
When she entered it
She did not even have to try

Incandescent
That’s the word for it
She had an Incandescence
About her Being

Pure and simple
Effortless joy
A presence that filled
The heart with pleasure

Not an earthly pleasure
But a higher one
That of lighting the mind
Like a light bulb glowing

She was a being evolved
Like no other human
Therefore, when the time came
She simply shook off her physical form

And so she is Now
Truly Incandescent
And Nascent Everywhere
Now her real work begins

She is the First Light of Dawn
The Last Rays at Sunset
And All that’s in between
Incandescent

image (Google Image : Scarlett Johansson from the film “Lucy”, 2014)

By:
AlyZen Moonshadow

Note:
I was inspired to write this poem after watching the superb movie “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. In the film, the main character, Lucy’s body gets infused with a synthetic drug called CH4, and her brain starts developing at an exponential rate, from a normal human’s 10% to ultimately, 100%. At that point Lucy has no further need for corporeal form, and transcends humanity into the very fabric of her environment…i.e she becomes Incandescent. She is Everywhere. If humans could ever utilise 100% of our brains, we would all be Gods.

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Australian Aboriginal Artist : Mitjili Napurrula

I’m a big fan of Mitjili Napurrula’s work. When I first saw them at an art gallery in Fremantle, Western Australia, I immediately thought they reminded me of a famous Western artist. At that time I couldn’t put my finger on it, but now I know it was Henri Matisse. And here’s why the main motif that Mitjili Napurrula is so well-known for reminded me so much of Matisse:

Matisse “Oak Leaves” motif:

GRSEG00Z black leaf on green background matisse

Mitjili Napurrula “Bush Medicine Leaves” motif:

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But, while Matisse only used his Oak Leaves motif sometimes, Mitjili Napurrula has taken the simple form of her Bush Medicine Leaves and developed it to the nth degree, coming up with seemingly endless variations of it, from the very simple to huge, complex structures.

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Aboriginal Mitjili Napurrula3

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Here is a video showing Mitjili’s creative process. What an amazing artist! I love the beauty in the deceptive simplicity of her paintings. (Note: this is only one of many videos of Mitjili at work, courtesy of DesertArtCentre, who support and sponsor many Australian Aboriginal Artists. If you wish to watch more Aboriginal artists at work, click on the link to go to their YouTube channel).

 

 

Stop and smell the flowers.

Time was, I used to rush around like a headless chicken, day in, day out. I had places to go, things to do, people to see, targets to meet. Rush, rush, rush.

Nowadays, it’s a completely different story. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m tired, I sleep. And in between those events I fill my day with whatever I happen to be doing. Which could be jumping on my bicycle and going for a long ride. Or staying at home writing this blog. Or at the table trying out new crafts. Uploading more artwork online for my Licensors. Creating more art. Updating my Society 6 shop (oops, I admit I really must get back to doing that!). Practising my tarot and oracle card readings. Playing the piano. Hugging my hens. Playing with my dogs. Shopping.

My point is, at some stage you just got to remember to stop and smell the flowers. Okay, the saying is about roses. But you know what I mean. Make the time to slow down from the mad everyday mayhem, take a deep breath, close your eyes. And just be. Enjoy being in the present. There’s no hurry. There’s nothing more than just yourself being mindful, being in the Now.

Today was one of my long bike rides…to get to Bunnings to buy replacement mouse traps and rat poison. Ummm…not very Zenlike in my thinking, you’re thinking. True. But when you lift up the roof of the Japanese Quails’ shaded area and find not 1 but 8 quivering mice staring back at you with their little paws held to their shocked faces, (all except for the one who’s holding onto a stolen quail’s egg), and when Mr Rat in the ceiling above your bedroom keeps you up at night with his rolling bowling games and tequila slamming parties, then something has to be done.

Anyway, moving swiftly on. Along my adventures today I took time to enjoy some flowers. One was a surprise Dutch Iris growing in a pot where “Stick” my Frangipani was. I thought last year’s bloom had died, but obviously the plant had other ideas. It even had fresh morning dew still on its petals when I took my photos of it. Such a tart! 😄

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While in Bunnings (my local mega hardware/garden centre), I saw some pretty cherry and almond blossoms.

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And then on my way home, I noticed this purple flowering bush outside a house, so I stopped to take some photos. If anyone knows what plant this is, please do let me know! It’s gorgeous. I also managed to photograph a few bees doing their thing. I love bees.

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(All images here are straight out of my Samsung Galaxy S4’s native camera, and unedited. Great mobile phone, the S4!)

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MY ORACLE CARDS PROJECT: THE JOURNEY SO FAR

A short while ago I hatched a grand plan to create my own deck of Oracle Cards. I blogged about it here.

Now I’ve created about 20 such virtual cards, so I’ll share them with you. You can see how some work better than others, I’m constantly learning as I go along. Creating the imagery is only part of the whole process. I still haven’t gotten round to writing the explanation or meaning of the imagery. That will come. Also, I have to research the practical logistics of getting my cards into print.

So, here are some of my “Practice” Oracle Cards. They may or may not be the end product…I might add a black border all around each image, or more key words at the bottom.

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We Are All Born Of Stars

Inspired by a phrase I read in Eckhart Tolle’s brilliant book “A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose“:

THE ATOMS THAT MAKE UP YOUR BODY WERE ONCE FORGED INSIDE STARS, AND THE CAUSES OF EVEN THE SMALLEST EVENTS ARE VIRTUALLY INFINITE AND CONNECTED WITH THE WHOLE IN INCOMPREHENSIBLE WAYS

For some reason, I’m very taken by the first part of the phrase, so much so that I’ve been inspired to write a poem about it.

We are all born of stars

Not one, not many, but Infinite

We all glitter, we all shine

In our infinitesimal way

Reaching out to each other

Across the vast space that separates us

It is because we are so small in ourselves

That the Universe appears big

And the distance between us appears insurmountable

But the reality is this:

Because the atoms that make up your body

Were once forged inside stars

We Are the Stars

We Are the Universe

We Are One with each other

And our Life’s Purpose thus is to find each other

To connect, link and strengthen each other

There are no Problems, only Situations

And Solutions

Just Imagine how wonderful our world will be

If we all acknowledge this Universal Truth

That We Are All Born of Stars

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I also drew a card from the Tarot Illuminati on my mobile phone, that echoes the sentiments of Eckhart Tolle and my own poem. Here are the screenshots of the card and accompanying explanation:

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Echinopsis

Echinopsis is the scientific name for a large genus of cacti. I have one small plant in a pot by my swimming pool, which I hardly ever paid attention to until a few months ago, when suddenly I noticed that it had sprouted some rather pretty little flowers. Sadly, the flowers didn’t last very long. But my curiosity was piqued enough for me to search on Google for more information about my little cactus and its relations.

Cactus flowers are really beautiful, is my conclusion. Here are some of my favourites, from Google Images.

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I also found someone online who is obsessed by Echinopsis, to the extent that he calls himself “Echinopsisfreak”.  His name is Greg Krehel and you can read all about his obsession with Echinopsis on his blog here. Be sure to click on his time-lapse videos there showing his Echinopsis plants blooming.  They are truly spectacular!

I feel a new addiction beginning…

Greg Krehel is also the man behind the site dedicated to Echinopsis, http://www.echinopsis.com. Below is an excerpt from that site:

What’s an Echinopsis? A type of cactus originally from South America that features amazing flowers … amazing in at least four ways:

– The flowers of most Echinopsis varieties are incredibly colorful … often featuring two or more hues working in harmony.

– The flowers are often giant … 5″-6″ in diameter … and frequently dwarf the cactus that grows them.

– They frequently appear in flushes of multiple flowers opening at the same time.

– Most types of cacti produce just one flush of flowers each year. But Echinopsis can produce flush after flush of flower for as long as the daytime temperatures remain above 70F/21C.

Echinopsis is pronounced Ech … in … op … sis. But where does the name come from? Once you understand the its Latin roots, you’ll discover the name makes great sense.

“Echin” comes from the Latin word “Ekihnos,” which meant both sea urchin and hedgehog.  (Yes, it does seem like Latin speakers way back when might have come up with distinct words for these two pretty different creatures, but apparently they did not).

The “opsis” at the end of Echinopsis is another Latin word, one which means “resembling” or “appearance.”

So Echinopsis means hedgehog resembling or sea urchin appearance. A very accurate description for this genus of cacti that are often ball shaped growing to about 6” in diameter and, yep, covered with hedgehog-like and sea urchin-esq thorns.

 

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