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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Art

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Art Shows and Goddesses for Our Times

It is a great pleasure in the life of an artist to be able to share one's vision with the world. The internet and online libraries are a lot of fun, but being able to showcase one's work in a place where people can come and view it in person is so much better. This September has kept me super busy as I have had three shows, all opening in the same week. 

The image that heads this blog is my "wall" of art from Cheyney University's faculty art exhibition. I had created a number of canvases this summer for a solo exhibition, ranging in size from 11" x 14" to 30" x 40," and all of those were headed to a show in Wilmington, Delaware (more on these shortly). one of my colleagues was dumbfounded when I told her I wasn't sure I'd have work for the faculty show. "What about those hundreds of Goddess drawings you've been doing," she asked. I was a little stuck. I did indeed have hundreds of drawings as part of my "Goddess a Day" project, however, they were small, on paper, and would have to be framed.

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Heathen Visibility Project: part 1 Why Heathen Visibility?

Last month I had to search for public domain or creative commons license images of heathen or Asatru related rituals, gods, altars, etc. to fill up the upcoming Heathen Calendar 2018 because I didn't manage to get 12 images from living artists for various reasons. (Some artists didn't finish on time, some didn't want to sign the tax form, whatever.) I had searched for public domain classical art last year for this year's calendar, and I had previously searched for some public domain heathen related images to illustrate my blog, but this was the first time I had searched for contemporary images that might be photos of actual people. I did not find much. Artists have uploaded tons of various images to sites where people can license their images, either for money or for free as the artist prefers, using a creative commons license or another type of license. So there are places to put such images where the artists could possibly get something back for their work, if they wish. I don't know yet whether I will do another Heathen Calendar next year; it depends on how many people want one. But if I do, it would be great to have some good stock photos of heathens doing heathenry to choose from. 

Just before I did those image searches for the Calendar, I had been doing image, text, and guide searches for guides to how to tell heathen symbols from hate symbols, to create the Trollslayers' Guide, which is a guide for the group moderators of the American Asatru group on Facebook to use to do background checks on people applying for membership. (We have a strict no-Nazis rule.) The publicly available guides all have various flaws and none of them were written by heathens. I'm actually thinking of trying to expand the Trollslayers' Guide into a full blown public guide to how to tell heathen symbols from hate symbols, written by heathens for heathens. The terrible thing that I discovered while looking at all that is that some of our actual religious symbols that are not inherently hate symbols are being used by haters, publicly, where they are being photographed as news and the images propagated at the speed of news. I'm tired of the loudest voices using our symbols being the hate groups. I want to drown them out in a sea of louder voices. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Art is Temporary, As Are We

"And they painted on cardboard, because it was new, cheap, and affordable. But they didn't know it wasn't archival, so very little of that work remains intact."  -The words of one of my art history professors, talking about a group of abstract expressionists or similar genre of artists from the 40's-50's. 

It sounded like some sort of moral failing - that these artists had abandoned expensive, time-tested techniques of canvas or wood panels to try something they could afford and was plentiful.  

Having been in art school for a good chunk of my life, as well as a professional high-end picture framer, I have come to see how much museum-culture of the last 300 hundred years has had an effect on the modern art-making process.  That we must work with archival materials, watch out for UV light and dampness, preserve, preserve, preserve.  Think about the future of your work.

The other week while finishing up my book tour, we stopped at Mt. Rushmore, as well as watched the 15-minute film about the making of it. I believe it was in part of a speech from FDR where he talked about the world 10,000 years from now, and what future generations of Americans may think when they see the monument, worn by the weather and time.  In that moment I was thinking two things: if there are even human beings on this planet then - and the condition of the giant sphinx in Egypt.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Well said and thought provoking! Thanks for posting. I have forwaded this to a few artist friends. Namaste, Tasha
The Struggle of Sacred, Sensual, Sexual

In 5th grade, we had an assignment to make art depicting "innocence and the light and grace of God" (or something similar). I chose to draw a young boy and girl standing bathed in the light of the Holy Spirit (in dove form), their backs to the viewer, their bodies lightly covered in transparent shifts.  To me that showed the purity of creation, a clear symbol of innocence. I thought it was a beautiful drawing. 

My classmates called me a pervert and were horrified. My teacher told me they needed more clothes.  I didn't see anything wrong or shameful in what I had drawn.  

I grew up with big books of museum art full of nudes, wallpaper with naked women bathing in my parents' bathroom - which was no different than the metallic lions and tigers in the jungle on the walls of the bathroom my brothers and I shared. Bodies are used in art because they are amazing things.  I inherently understood that being naked didn't automatically mean being sexual. 

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Very interesting and well put. I too grew up with an artist mother and parents who didn't hide their bodies. My mom used to invite

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What's Talking to You?

Just got done watching a powerful video featuring Jim Carrey and his painting process (yes, that Jim Carrey).

One of the things he said struck a chord with me:

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Goddesses Come Knocking

I don't have what many would call a devotional relationship with many of the deities I paint, but that doesn't mean there isn't a divine connection or other kind of relationship.  Often I tap into other people's devotions for those deities, or have an interesting conversation with those gods for a short time. 

Over the weekend, I just finished a series of 5 small goddess paintings, and wanted to share with you all a little behind the process of making them.

First a little background:
Friday (June 16th) is the opening for the Goddess show at Gargoyles Statuary in Seattle. I think it may be the 4th year I've participated in this show, and this one's a little extra special as I'll also be doing an author talk and signing for my new book, The Witch's Cauldron. However, I'm leaving the very next day for a 6 week long book/workshop/performance tour, so I was concerned about getting art done in time.  I had planned to get one new painting done for it - which I managed to finish last week.  But it's a large and highly detailed painting with a very high price point (if I make it available at all for sale at this time.)

Waste Not, Want Not
I was contemplated how to create a few more pieces at a friendly price-point when I spied the small stack of pine pieces I had cut off a recent batch of panels for shrine prints. Under 5"x8" and lightweight, they were a great size.  Even though I was going to be at an event all weekend, I knew from past experiences that this event tends to have slow periods.  So I painted gesso on 5 pieces, sanded them, then did some color washes on each from the leftover paint sitting in my palette from the big painting I just finished. (It's acrylic, so it would have gone to waste.) 

Once dry, I tucked the panels, a couple bottles of paint, some brushes, and pens - to take with me to the event. 

Calling All Goddesses
The next step was figuring out who to paint.  So I put a call out on my Facebook page, asking folks for suggestions on deities that I haven't painted yet, or haven't done in a long while.  From that list, I wrote down about a dozen of the suggestions that stood out for me.  I did some light research on the backgrounds of the goddesses and historical art made for them. 

Once I was situated in my booth, I pulled out the panels.  Because I had done random color washes on them before I left, each one had a different "mood" to it.  I looked at the list, and the panel in my hand, and one name jumped off: Anahita.  And so she was the first painting, emerging out of a wash of deep Prussian blue and navy pen work. 

The next panel I picked up was a mixture of greens and browns, and Pachamama's name leaped off the page.  In the wash, I could see her peeking out at the viewer with a full pregnant body of earth and greens. 

As I was working on that piece, a third panel nudged its way out - the wash looking like a powerful swirl of deep waters.  Yemaya leaped off the list and on to the panel. 

Two panels left.  A warm purple/earthy panel was chosen by Pele. I started work on her before I had to finish for the day - 3.5 paintings is pretty good for one day's work while tending to a booth!

Next Day
In the morning, I finished up Pele, adding a little bronze paint into her skin, and trails of flowers.  I thought 4 was good enough - in fact, I would have been happy with finishing 3.  But then the 5th panel fell to the floor from where it was sitting under the table.  Well, I still had a few hours....

The panel was mainly a light blue wash and didn't speak yet to any of the names on the list, but I still had purples, yellows, and rust left over from Pele. So I did another layer of color washes.  Suddenly, Ereshkigal leaped off the list - I could see her body in a lamia-esque form swirling out of the colors.  

So in the end, I got 5 of these little paintings done, and made contact with 5 very different deities from all over the world. 





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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Hanging Joan Prentice

They took down the gallows in the park today.

In some ways, that's too bad.

Sculptor Sam Durant's 2012 wood and steel installation Scaffold had been acquired by the Walker Museum for its newly-renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Intended as a commentary on racial inequities in capital punishment throughout American history, it sparked protests among traditional Dakota, who found it offensive.

So they took it down.

The entire mishandled situation has been, frankly, a tragedy of errors from beginning to end, starting with the fact that the sculpture garden has long been known locally for—how shall I put this charitably—its “content-free” nature. What the Walker was thinking by plunking down something with actual serious content into the midst of its half-acre of vacuity, like some farmhouse crashing down out of the clear blue into Muchkinland, I honestly don't know.

But controversy aside, I've been thinking about the piece itself.

You could say that it's put me in touch.

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