From November 2016

“Legs Like Vines” work in progress by Bea Garth

Another update on my painting, “Legs Like Vines.” A bad headache the other day (from an egg  I hadn’t boiled quite enough–I have histamine sensitivity) slowed me down.

But late tonight I was back at it again.  There is more to do with it of course. But am sharing my  process. I am not one of those really quick painters. Am a perfectionist  more or less in this area of my life. Plus all those intricate patterns take time to get right! I use the principle of spontaneity and structure working together to create tensions and harmonies.

“Leaves Like Vines” acrylic painting in progress by Bea Garth copyright 2016

On yet another level, this painting is starting to make even more sense to me considering the fact I discovered very recently that I need to take a lot more silica than I thought I’d ever need in order to be OK. My legs etc. have truly in their way been like vines.

I laugh since what else can one do. There are both positives and negatives to being what is considered to be too flexible. The big problem for some of us is that we have a hard time making enough collagen. This eventually starts to become a real negative, especially as one gets older. And yes, more silica is needed to make the collagen.

Now even my eyes are improving, as well as my hair, teeth, nails, nerves, joints etc.  I am even having less jerking at night. And overall fewer headaches. I am now able to exercise more regularly without hurting myself.  Have less reflux etc. Amazing! Its only been two months since I started taking the food grade diatomaceous earth. Literally a dirt cheap source of silica!! and healing…

With everything improving, who knows where I will be at in a year. Though one thing is for sure, more than likely I’ll be painting up a storm!!

For more info on this condition, I suggest you look up Ehrlos Danlos Syndrome. If you think you might have it, please consider joining some of the EDS  support groups on Facebook. The Cusack Family Protocol is the best!

Legs Like Vines contd., painting by Bea Garth

Its been a rainy Thanksgiving so far. Plenty of chance for me to work on my painting! Though today I was able to go out for a walk before it started raining again. I wore my poncho just in case!

This painting is changing before my eyes. I am really uncertain what I will call it. How the pillow or rock/Mayan Calendar (!!) turns out will affect it quite a bit, of that I am certain.

Legs Like Vines, painting in progress by Bea Garth copyright 2016
Legs Like Vines, painting in progress by Bea Garth copyright 2016

I still have to work on the male figure quite a bit, it needs the definition shadows bring. I also need to finish the edging around the carpet.

And yes I do like the carpet. The rectangles and triangles are subtle but effective. They echo the Calendar symbology nicely.

This piece is kind of blowing my mind, such as it is. Not at all what I expected! But that is the fun of painting for me–I let my unconscious come through and have free reign.

I had a dream last night that suggested I put in roots around in the blue area, but today am uncertain that would be right for this painting. Maybe the next one? Might be too busy and unnecessary. However I will play around with it and see if it could work or not…


Legs Like Vines painting in progress by Bea Garth

I got some more work done this weekend on my new painting. Am thinking the name of the piece will change, as is often the case. For now still calling it Legs Like vines however… Maybe should include arms too, lol! Even more extended than usual even for me!

I was listening to the local Portland jazz/community radio station. A lot of pieces from the sixties. A good reminder of what all is going on now and likely will for the next four years. Both the ‘what the world needs now is love sweet love’, plus ‘whats going on’. Remember? It definitely is happening now…

Legs Like Vines in progress by Bea Garth acrylic on canvas in studio
Legs Like Vines in progress by Bea Garth acrylic on canvas in studio

This new work of mine meanwhile is an experiment in color and composition. So far the woman has definitely increased in importance…

Art/Slant 9th round 1st Place for Painting by Bea Garth

Ironically here I am just coming off a bad migraine and contemplating my new award from the international art magazine Art/Slant.  I won a First Place for Painting in the 9th 2016 round of their contest this year (a 9th 2016 ARTSLANT PRIZE SHOWCASE WINNER) and have a chance of winning a big prize at the end of the year and being part of their show in Florida next February. I honestly did not expect to win anything so this has come as a big surprise. You can find it listed here:

Its for my painting Empathy–you can see here. Just click on the picture to see a screen size shot of it. It seems to be a popular or at least semi controversial painting of mine.

"Empathy" by Bea Garth, copyright 2014 acrylic painting
“Empathy” by Bea Garth, copyright 2014 acrylic painting

Marianne Szlyck used it for the cover for her book of poems I DREAM OF EMPATHY last year which you can find on Amazon.

I also almost got into a group show this fall all about story and the imagination (A Magical Kingdom…) with this same painting here in Portland, but didn’t. I was told they loved the piece but felt  it didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the show. What can one say?

Thus to then win first prize for this 9th round at Art/Slant magazine based on this same painting was quite a nice kick in the pants!

Yes tonight (or to be more realistic, tomorrow) I paint, after attending to my other love — my art/poetry/commentary e-zine: Eos: The Creative Context (  And more fully recover from the after effects of my migraine… Ever wonder why my work is so “dream-like”??

Art Studio with work in progress Bea Garth

A friend of mine asked to see what my art studio looks like these days. So tonight after I was done painting for the day I decided why not?

You can see the painting I am working on now on the easel, and my other painting I still need to finish sitting on the floor on the right.

Bea Garth Art Studio photo by Bea Garth copyright 2016
Art Studio photo by Bea Garth copyright 2016

Yes I am one of those messy artists. Nothing to be done about it! Though I want to build some more storage so I will have room to work on some clay too.

Legs Like Vines by Bea Garth work in progress

I just got started putting the color in. Thought I’d do something a little different, more like what I sometimes did working on clay. Let design have it’s say more and keep it playful.

As you can see, I am not done!

Legs Like Leaves in progress by Bea Garth copyright 2016 acrylic on canvas
Legs Like Leaves in progress by Bea Garth copyright 2016 acrylic on canvas

I have not worked on the bodies or pillow (except for the sketched in underpainting) or even finished the background. I like the bold design and colors so far however.

I may or may not put any actual leaves into the painting. I’ll  be playing around with that concept in my head whether or not I try it.

As you likely can see, the painting is in my studio in the unheated garage next to my kilns. I was working there late tonight all bundled up. The  weather is starting to get chillier.  Nevertheless, the act of painting seems to keep me warm!! I even took off my coat and hat! Though this time my second sweater stayed on…

Discombobulations and Spirit etc., Goddess CE plaque by Bea Garth


Goddess with Star by Bea Garth, ceramic plaque copyright 2007
Goddess with Star by Bea Garth, ceramic plaque copyright 2007

I think the events of this week have me more than a little discombobulated and disheartened. I just hope every one remembers to love and speak their truth with compassion rather than fall victim to fear or hate and other polarizations.

Just been honing my artist statement. Writing about the sources of my artwork reminds me of my years of making ceramic plaques and sculpture. I want to make some more, maybe in the spring… Once I get my kilns going again.

Life does go on. We meanwhile need to learn to access spirit and learn to work together while nurturing the Earth and respecting our differences.

Copper Red Blue River by Bea Garth

Well some say the unthinkable just happened. It did catch many of us by surprise I have to admit. But I think The DNC and media here in the USA were playing with fire when they did not  give Bernie Sanders a fair shake and actually seemed to give Donald Trump a lot more news coverage than was his due. I think they figured who in their right mind would ever vote for The Fool?? And thus they believed Hillary Clinton would be a shoe in despite the fact she wasn’t that popular…

It was obvious that the public really wanted a change. I know I did and do. So in that sense I am not surprised Trump won in the end despite his blundering blustering  ego. Better him than politics as usual was/is the likely reason he got elected. At least as a human being he seems real and occasionally gets something right, despite his extremely inappropriate views on social and environmental issues. Plus it really does seem like he is less likely to go to war than Clinton who was often seen rattling her sabers.

Copper Red Blue River photo by Bea Garth copyright 2016
Copper Red Blue River photo by Bea Garth copyright 2016

No matter what happens I believe we have to take the future into our hands by centering ourselves in a grounded way and then take positive action within each of our abilities. The earth is here for us to appreciate and take care of. We cannot just sit by the sidelines. We must do what we can to make a positive difference and build towards making a better future.

Maybe one positive of a Trump presidency is that he will be so bad he will force many of us to take action and get involved for once.  Who knows, maybe an effective third party will grow out of this.

Black Triangle Silver River Sunset photo by Bea Garth copyright 2016
Black Triangle Silver River Sunset photo by Bea Garth copyright 2016

I believe this election really showed that the body politic will not be ramrodded over, especially in this day of the Internet where manipulations of the public are becoming much more obvious.

Tangled Black Trees in Front of Sunset photo by Bea Garth copyright 2016
Tangled Black Trees in Front of Sunset photo by Bea Garth copyright 2016

Thing is, we have got to learn how to work together despite whatever polarizations. And yes, its likely polarizations may grow despite the soothing words Trump espoused during his speech saying how he wants to work at healing America. I hope he is speaking the truth, but of course don’t really trust it given what he has espoused along the campaign trail.

Meanwhile, late this afternoon just before the sun went down Chris and I went for a walk along the Columbia River. It simply amazed both of us. These things are important. Preserving the healing beauty of Nature is no joke.

Trump still thinks climate change isn’t real. This attitude cannot stand unopposed.

No matter what happens with this new presidency, it is time  for the rest of us to breathe and make new connections and alliances. I believe it can be done. And perhaps it will finally be possible since what other alternative do we have??  We just have to give it enough consistent effort and time to grow. Certainly for once it truly seems possible.

Legs and Feet Like Vines underpainting by Bea Garth

Here it is on the eve of a very significant presidential election  in the USA. I have been feeling the energy and used it by starting the rough for a new painting today. For some reason I am feeling whimsy out of it all!! Count me as crazy or what given the issues at stake.

Right now, as I look at this underpainting, I like the pillow. It feels very Toltec or Mayan to me. Hey, is that “pillow” actually symbolic for the Mayan Calendar??  The woman in back is looking down at her partner with a quizzical look. She seems to be in a quandary expressed by one of her hands on her head. She almost seems to be  saying with her free hand and the right box like angles of her arms: “Careful! Go no further!” Whereas the man is looking confident–as if saying “I am the Man!” while he is about to tumble playfully onto the pillow. Uh, well, maybe this is about the election after all??!! And maybe the Mayan 5th Sun??

This painting may become  one of my more playful pieces. I kind of think of human appendages sometimes as being like vines and flowers, and really see that in this piece with the wave like cross hatched assemblage of legs and feet.

Legs and Feet Like Vines, underpainting by Bea Garth, copyright 2016, acrylic painting in progress
Legs and Feet Like Vines, underpainting by Bea Garth, copyright 2016, acrylic painting in progress

This is just the rough underpainting. I decided to paint the “drawing” with a brush directly on the canvas, rather than draw it in with a pencil on paper (or even on the canvas). I like the spontaneity of working like this. This is how I worked with my ceramic sculpture for years –directly on the piece.

You may not realize it, but I often try to get the body shapes and expression just right even though everything is distorted and elongated. I thus shifted the legs and feet around a few times, and  also worked similarly on the torsos and faces til I felt I got it right. I used a wet brush to erase lines when I could, and overpainted dried lines with a mixture of white and reddish brown when necessary.

I like to get the underpainting more or less right before I proceed with the rest.  Its important to me since I don’t have anything else to refer to but my imagination and the canvas I am working on when I am painting. Getting the basic composition right helps create an understructure for my imagination to work with, even if I end up changing a few more things in the end.

Question is, what kind of understructure will we have as a result of this election? No one knows right now, but all that will change in just one more day. Just be sure to participate and vote. It will make a difference in how you feel, as well as in the issues of this all important election.


My Perspective on Voting

Just voted using a paper ballot up here in Vancouver, WA. Will put it in the ballot box downtown tomorrow. Things are done differently here, but it makes sense. It was easier to figure out who and what to vote for with the voter pamphlet at my side.

These are important times to vote, hope you get to it too. Very historic election. The future of the Earth is in balance!

Perspective by Bea Garth, copyright 2014 acrylic painting on canvas
Perspective by Bea Garth, copyright 2014 acrylic painting on canvas

Here’s a painting I did almost exactly 2 years ago called “Perspective” about holding the future well-being of the planet in our hands. This work actually inspired a group show I helped curate at Studio Bongiorno in Santa Clara, CA. It was called “Healing The Earth/Healing Ourselves.”

Its what we need to do now. So, Yes, take the time to Vote!! It Counts!!


“The Fool” by Bea Garth completed at last

I finally finished “The Fool” the other night.  I worked late into the wee hours the night before Halloween and got it done just in time  for me to enter it into a local art competition   with two  of my other paintings (at Ultimum Verum Gallery in Portland), all about story and creating a world based on imagination, of which I think this piece qualifies. I’ll know by the end of the week whether I got in or not, and will let you know more when I know more.

I didn’t think finishing this painting was going to take so long, but the complexity demanded more and more attention to detail and working out the exact colors.

"The Fool" by Bea Garth, copyright 2016 acrylic painting on paper
“The Fool” by Bea Garth, copyright 2016 acrylic painting on paper

The Fool walking towards the hills in the distance for instance was buried by all that green despite having a red shirt initially. First I tried white, which worked but was not vibrant enough for a Fool.  Finally at the last minute I chose yellow. You can still see the red poking through, which I ended up liking.

I spent a lot of time just looking.

I also added blue green to the green of the hills, and put in a lot of shadow I hadn’t had  at first — including shadow on the fish.  I felt the sheer number of fish was just too busy otherwise.

I  go between really liking this piece and thinking I should do another one that is a lot more simplified.

Part of it is that I am not used to  putting so much into one painting that is as small as it is ( 11 1/2 inches by 17 inches tall) and has narrow borders like this.  So it has been a challenge.

I am considering making more of the  art for the Tarot cards using pen and ink  rather than paint. The only way I can tell if that is best is to try it. However I talked with someone who has a degree in illustration, and he was telling me that there are new papers and ink out there that expand the boundaries of what one can do in that arena. I want to try since I love the direct feel of having a nib rather than a brush in  hand.

Not to get me wrong since I love to paint too. Its just a slightly different process. Pen and inks are quicker for me, and perhaps more automatic. So that is something I want to explore a bit more especially with the challenge of doing the art for 72 cards…

Meanwhile I am likely going to do more paintings of some of these too simply because I like to paint. But such future paintings will need to be larger next time… whereas I think this is a good size for the pen and inks.