Tag Archives: AlyZen Moonshadow

Artist Inspiration : Rob Gonsalves

When I first saw Rob Gonsalves’ art on a friend’s Facebook Wall, my first thoughts were of Dali and Escher. There was a distinctly surreal look to the artwork, and being a fan of all things weird and surreal, my interest was piqued.

You can find Rob Gonsalves on Facebook here: https://m.facebook.com/RobGonsalves.Official

He even has a Wikipedia entry, how wonderful is that? Read it to understand his intriguing thought processes and techniques, and where he’s coming from with his paintings. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Gonsalves

Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry, which explaims the difference between Dali/Escher/Tanguy/Magritte’s Surrealism and Rob Gonsalves’ own unique brand:

Although Gonsalves’ work is often categorized as surrealistic, it differs because the images are deliberately planned and result from conscious thought. Ideas are largely generated by the external world and involve recognizable human activities, using carefully planned illusionist devices. Gonsalves injects a sense of magic into realistic scenes. As a result, the term “Magic Realism” describes his work accurately. His work is an attempt to represent human beings’ desire to believe the impossible, to be open to possibility.

For me, the best parts, of course, are the paintings themselves. (Images curated from Google Images). Enjoy!

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Artist Inspiration : Steven Spazuk

I’d never heard of the Art technique “Fumage”, or even thought there was such a thing, until I came across the work of Steven Spazuk.

W.O.W. Soots you, Sir! ;)

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Here is the link to Steven Spazuk’s website, where you can marvel at more of his wonderful creations:
http://www.spazuk.com/fr/home-spazuk.php

This is Steven’s Artist Statement, taken verbatim from his website above:

For the past 14 years, Spazuk has perfected a technique called fumage, that allows him to use the flame of a candle or the flame of a torch as a pencil to create his paintings with trails of soot. Using various tools, he intuitively sculpt the plumes of soot left behind in response to the shapes that appear on the canvas.

Spontaneity and chance are the heart and soul of his creative process. He does not censor. He does not direct. Spazuk opens himself to the experience. This in-the-moment creative practice coupled with the fluidity of the soot, creates a torrent of images, shadows and light. Fuelled by the quest of a perfect shape that has yet to materialize, he concentrate in a meditative act and surrender to capture the immediacy of the moment on canvas.

The human body fascinates him. Bodies in a perpetual metamorphosis are the language with which he express his thoughts on the human condition: emotions, opinions, stories that are born of his uncensored psyche. Spazuk often works piece by piece, collecting a multitude of unique elements that he assembles into mosaics. Entities that, once grouped together, afford a different meaning and provide a new perspective that is both novel and complementary. He sees fragments of things, events, people, as a powerful metaphor of modern life and, even more so, of the way we perceive things through our senses and our minds. His work expresses how every one of us is a constituent fragment of the human community.

Steven Spazuk isn’t shy about sharing his unique techniques with the rest of the world. He has a YouTube channel, where he demonstrates how he creates his images. Anyone can try their hand at Fumage, but for those at home, please be mindful of the dangers of fire, especially around drapes and paper. Whilst Steven Spazuk has taken his artform to a higher level in the modern world, we must also pause to reflect that in reality the art of Fumage goes back to the dawn of Mankind, to the original soot paintings on the walls of prehistoric caves. And thus, when we view any of Spazuk’s works with this in mind, we can then fully appreciate the beautiful folding of Time.

Here’s my favourite video of Steven Spazuk at work, titled “Fire Painter“.

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Artist Inspiration : Jacek Yerka

A picture tells a thousand words. The artist here is Jacek Yerka. He may be from Poland, but his imagination is out of this world. I’m a huge fan of Surrealism, and Jacek Yerka delivers in spades.

Here’s the link to Jacek’s website: Jacek Yerka. To read about his background and artist statement, click on this link.

Now relax, and feast your eyes, and let your wildest imagination run amok amongst Jacek’s mindblowing creations. (Some of these remind me of Hayao Miyazaki‘s Anime films, such as Laputa Castle In The Sky, My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle, with their strange creatures, weird trees and beast/machine hybrids).

Jacek even merits his own Wikipedia entry:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacek_Yerka

These are just some of my favourites, the artist is very prolific, and an Image search on Google will show you many, many more amazing and astonishing works by Jacek Yerka. For those on a stretched budget, you can buy his calenders on Amazon; now That would be an affordable way to own some of his Art.

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The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

I’d seen these inspirational cards at my local bookstore, but they were selling for $24.95, which I felt was a little steep. But I did wonder about them, and I also contemplated getting the full-length book of the same name.

A couple of days afterwards, out of the blue at my local thrift store, the manageress winked and smiled at me, and drew out from behind the counter the very deck of cards I’d been thinking about. Their price? $6.50. Snap!

For information about Don Miguel Ruiz’s book and philosophy, and where you can buy the cards and/or book, read here.

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The deck is also available as an App for Apple iOS here. Sadly, it’s not available yet on Android.

The “4 Agreements” are based on ancient Toltec wisdom, and are encapsulated in this card below (from the book):

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The cards and deck are by Hay House publishers, here is the link to their website if you’re interested in this title, and many other inspirational titles published by Hay House.

Here are some of the cards, some showing their fronts or backs only, others showing both fronts and backs. I’ve used Google Images today, (because it’s too bloody hot today and I’m too lazy to work up steam for a home photo shoot).

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The First Twelve

A short while ago I wrote about a Project to create Good Fortune Cards, see link here.

In the latter part of 2014 I created several Lenormand card decks (of which more in a later blog), utilising my skills as a digital mobile photography artist.

One day, The Kid and I were at our local thrift stores and I hit upon the idea of buying up some inspirational books, wrapping them up in plain brown paper, sticking on an Art Abandonment sticker, and of us both doing our 2nd Art Abandonment exercise, this time along the Rockingham foreshore close to home. I’m hoping that these little gifts will find their way into the right hands, to people who may need a spiritual boost or some positivity in their lives. We did this on the Australia Day long weekend just gone; you can read about the exercise here.

During one of our thrift store forays, The Kid (he never ceases to amaze me with his bright ideas) said “Mum, why don’t you abandon some of your Lenormand cards too?” I thought about that, and decided that as Lenormand cartomancy isn’t straightforward and needs a degree of research and study to understand, it would not carry as much meaning to someone, as would cards with clear, written text on them.

That off-the-cuff remark by my 12-year-old has since kickstarted me on my “Inspiration Deck” Project. I already know that the 2 printers that I use for printing my Lenormand decks would be able to print me extra large cards, suitable for my purpose.

Here are the websites of the 2 Print On Demand printers I’ve used for my Lenormand fortune telling card projects:

PrinterStudio

MakePlayingCards

Since then, my project has now grown to 12 artworks created using only my Samsung Galaxy Note 4, with more in the pipeline. My intention now is to do a test run, by ordering a deck with multiple image repeats (to fit their 54 card template and save money). Then, for our 3rd Art Abandonment caper, The Kid and I can put a card in an envelope with the Art Abandonment tag on it, and perhaps this time cycle around our surrounding neighbourhood and pop one in random letterboxes. Hopefully they make someone’s day. We’d do 12 cards at one time.

Anyway, here are The First Twelve.

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My 2015 Fortune Cards Project

Last year I spent several months learning about the Lenormand system of cartomancy. I studied the archetypal images and their meanings, 2- and 3-card combinations, 9 card readings, and the Grand Tableau which utilises all 36 Lenormand cards. I bought a couple of excellent books on the subject:

1) The Essential Lenormand: Your Guide to Precise & Practical Fortunetelling https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0738736627/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_pI7Pub1PD29CG by Rana George

2) The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1620553252/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_.J7Pub087721E by Caitlin Matthews

I also bought several Lenormand decks, self-published and licensed, modern and vintage, to study their artwork and design.

I joined a vibrant Tarot & Oracle Card Collectors Group on Facebook, and engaged in interesting conversations about various different decks. I also joined a Lenormand Cards Study Group and one on Lenormand Cartomancy. I made new friends and learnt loads. These days, when you see me logged in on Facebook, I’m more often than not hanging out with my groupies.

Last year I created 10 Lenormand card decks. These can be found for sale on eBay and Etsy under the name AlyZen Moonshadow. It was an intriguing learning curve which covered several subjects at once – Lenormand, print-on-demand, a little bit of Photoshop (using templates), and the pros and cons of being a self-published cartomancy deck seller.

This year I’m also going to research how to get my creations licensed by established publishers.

I did start creating some Oracle cards last year, and wrote about them on my blog, but then I got involved in studying the Lenormand cards and went away with the fairies in that direction.

Now I’m ready to resume my Oracle Cards Project. Only it has evolved somewhat since last year. I’ve decided that, instead of one-word texts on each image, I’m going to write a short, clear phrase. Project No.1 for 2015 will be called “The Inspiration Deck”. Not so much Fortune Telling cards, more like cards containing affirmations and positive living philosophies. Something you can perhaps draw on a daily basis to give you a morale boost, or make you pause and ponder.

While creating my Lenormand cards last year, I built up quite an archive of public domain images and clip art. I can put these to good use in my “Inspiration Deck”. I’ll also be using in-App clip art and graphics, as well as my own photography.

Here is the first card I created. Bear in mind it’s still at an experimental stage and I have not finalised every aspect of it. It might even be that these end up as posters, postcards or even t-shirts instead of just divination cards.

I hope you like it and will continue to follow me on my mad armchair adventures.

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Australia Day On The Beach

Today, 26th January 2015, is Australia Day. For those who don’t know much about this historic and controversial day, read Wikipedia’a entry about it here.

For most Australians, this day means taking the family on a picnic, or firing up the BBQ by the pool at home and inviting friends and family over. It’s perhaps a little unfortunate that this day always falls during the school holidays, so there are no school excursions to historical monuments or patriotic events to commemorate the event.

Today also sees the making of thousands of new Australian citizens, at ceremonies in state capitals across the country. You can of course become a citizen at other times during the year, but many new citizens like the idea of becoming Australians on Australia Day itself.

While it’s all and good that most Aussies are taking advantage of the day (especially this year, when it falls on a Monday, and therefore makes a long weekend) by revelry, drinking and general merrymaking, we need to remember also that today is also considered by many to be a Day of Mourning.

The Indigenous People of Australia call this day “Invasion Day”, as, give or take a few weeks’ discrepancy in dates, this is the day in 1788 that the British first landed on their Aboriginal homeland and, without so much as a “Do you mind?”, invaded and took over their country in the name of the King.

Much has been written about the English invasion of Australia, which bears great similarities to what they did to the Native Americans of America. Today, some Australians are acutely aware of the injustice dealt to the original inhabitants of Australia, and the Government even has a specific term for their policy to make amends. It’s called “The Reconciliation”. You can read more about it here.

Today, The Kid and I cycled down to the Rockingham foreshore to see how the Australia Day revelry was going. The Kid wanted to go on the bumper cars ride, and I needed doughnuts ahem! photos for this blog.

So, here are said photos.

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image(Troll’d pony LOL)

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image (It was so warm, even the seagulls were out swimming)

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imageET was an Australian for the day.

Art Abandonment : Rockingham Part II

So, yesterday The Kid and I went to the Rockingham foreshore and surreptitiously left some book and card packages around for people to find.

What we hadn’t counted on was that this was the long weekend of Australia Day (26th January), and, it being Summer, the foreshore would be FULL of people. It’s a popular destination for families, there are free BBQ stations dotted around the grassy park, and toilet facilities, caf├ęs, bistros, fast food outlets, ice cream parlours, souvenir shops etc.

It was hard trying to blend into the crowd and not call attention to ourselves, pushing our bicycles through the park and leaving packages in the crooks of trees, on park benches and under public sculptures. But we did it, and celebrated afterwards with an ice cream (a Coke float or “Spider” for me) at Baskin Robbins.

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These Maori guys found the one we left on the bench behind where they were picnicking. It’s great to see people’s faces lighting up when they find out they’ve just found a free gift. Makes MY day! Actually, I think this is one with a deck of Lenormand cards attached, so they’d have had 2 pressies for their wife/girlfriend for Australia Day.

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Here’s one we left under a dolphin sculpture at the entrance of the foreshore.

I didn’t get to photograph all the drop-offs. Although most people were oblivious to our activities, there were others who looked at us curiously. (It’s very hard to be inconspicuous when you’re pushing 2 bicycles through a park and trying to avoid running over people on the grass!). The Kid said to me a couple of times “Just Drop and Run, Mum!” And so we did. Can’t help being shy!

I was glad I was able to tweak those Lenormand cards with the uneven borders. There was no way I could’ve sold them the way they were, or even after my “borderectomy” on them. So, by giving them away instead, I hope someone else gets to enjoy them for free. Hmmm…I think I’ll get some large sized cards printed next, with inspirational sayings on them, and maybe do an Easter Art Abandonment on the Rockingham Foreshore. Yes!

Art Abandonment : Rockingham Part I

Okay, this is not strictly the abandonment of Art. My 2 printers are currently in hibernation…oh alright, they’re both being perfectly beastly and won’t print true colours but rather just reds and blues. And there’s nothing wrong with the ink cartridges or nozzles, I’ve checked. I was going to print off some of my artwork, to abandon on our foreshore, but I can’t now, as I really don’t specialise in just reds and blues.

So, instead, I’ve decided to recycle some inspirational books that I’d previously bought from our local thrift stores. Someone else can benefit from reading them now. And who knows, it just might brighten up someone’s day, to find a nice little gift on a park bench.

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I just decided to wrap each book up in brown paper, stick on an Art Abandonment label, tie it up with some twine, and Bob’s your uncle. Yes, alright, I ran out of twine halfway. ;)

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I posted about this on Facebook’s Art Abandonment page. Got quite a lot of interest and encouraging comments too. Then, as is usually the case, someone, a Mod from the Group, I think, pointed out that if I wasn’t Abandoning Art but rather books, my post would have to be removed from their wall.

I didn’t reply to that comment, as it was past midnight by then and I needed my beauty sleep. But just before I drifted off, it occurred to me that I could add some of my Lenormand cards to the packages, and that would count as Art, for the sake of conforming to the group’s requirements. I have a couple of decks where the printer’s cutter did not align properly and left uneven borders. I would perform a “borderectomy” on those cards first thing in the morning, and include them with the books.

That would then be Art Abandonment AND Random Acts of Kindness.

However, when I woke up this morning, my post had already been removed by the Mod of the group. Without even waiting for my response grrr. Maybe they’re in America and didn’t realise the vast time difference between Australia and their country?

No worries, I’ll just do the borderectomy, include the cards with my packages, take more photos, then re-post to the Art Abandonment group page.

Commencing Borderectomy…

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Ready to rock-n-roll! Tomorrow The Kid and I will cycle down to the Rockingham foreshore and leave these babies here and there, for people to find.

A new creative project: Steampunk Art

This just came in the post today, yippee!

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It’s Dover’s Steampunk Sourcebook, which I bought from The Book Depository (a great online bookseller, especially if you live in far flung places, as all their items come with Free Delivery as standard). This book comes with a CD-ROM, so I can load all the images therein onto my computer, for future reference. I’m already a fan of Dover Pictura, the division of Dover that specialises in selling royalty-free images for online download.

I’ve already amassed a collection of copyright free Steampunk images from the British Library’s archives. Add this to my arsenal, and a few other images from my collection of scrapbooking papers, and I should have the makings of a Steampunk Lenormand cards deck. Or even a Steampunk Oracle cards deck. Hmmm, I might even create some t-shirt designs or canvas art using these images. How exciting!

Here are a few photos showing the contents of the book, to whet your appetite.

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