I just recently started work on this new painting which I am now calling “Bringing Her Back To Life,” by Bea Garth, copyright 2018. Its for a show I will be participating in this September called “Stories We Could Tell” at The Cave here in Vancouver, WA.
Of course I have plenty of stories in my paintings, but this one is calling to me given my recent health crisis that became a crescendo the last couple of years. Fortunately my broken wrist is healing and is becoming stronger and more flexible with each passing month. Ditto with my knee. In addition, I have gotten clues studying genetic snps that have proven to be very helpful regarding dietary advice. That plus taking Maca and Ashwagandha is making a positive difference with counteracting some of the effects of underlying Lyme Disease that I have been struggling with the last few years.
Fortunately, I am in the process of bouncing back. I am nothing if not doggedly persistent looking for and finding remedies. That and, of course, the Painting Gods are healing me. I honestly often feel a direct connection with the healing powers of the Earth and Sky (represented here by a couple of their emissaries in this painting), especially when I am in my creative element.
I have more to do with the painting of course. Basically it is just blocked in with no shading or anything. However I really like the basic color scheme and feel like it could be very strong once completed. In many ways it reminds me of my ceramics. It has that playful yet structured character. The main thing for me is to stop before going too far! A lesson I keep needing to learn it seems in my life. Hopefully by this time I am getting better at it.
NOTE: Jordan Clark and I will be giving an Artists Talk Sat. night Feb. 24th, 2018 from 7 to 8 PM — with folks gathering at 6:30 — over at The Gallery at Cerulean, 1439 NW Marshall St., Portland OR, PH: 503 308-9137.
I have a bevy of paintings @ ‘The Gallery at Cerulean including my newest, “The Music Genie” you see below. I welcome those that can come hear us and see our work. The show is up through Feb. 26th. It is well presented with both my work and that of Jordan Clark harmonizing with each other by means of color and shapes–though his work is frankly boldly abstract and mine figurative.
The Cerulean is both a wine bar and art gallery on the edge of the Pearl district in Portland.
The Music Genie was inspired by my husband who was in one of his reverie’s composing music. The watery depths in the background and the ghost like Genie to his right show him exploring his musical imagination of harmony and inter connected feeling.
I finished this painting just in the nick of time with putting in final touches just moments before putting the painting in with the rest before my husband drove off with them to take them to the gallery the day before the exhibit. Fortunately acrylic dries quickly with the aid of using a hair dryer! I had pulled an all nighter and had to crawl into bed–satisfied but curious as to how it might be received.
This photo of me standing in front of my newest painting (The Music Genie) is from last night’s reception of my month long exhibit. It was a very fun night while we were entertained by the completely original music by my husband Chris Arcus’ band Climate Strange.
I also read poetry to an appreciative crowd. While reading (accompanied by Chris on his keyboard), I realized I often have repeating images of nature, the everyday, eros and relationship, the mythic and the subconscious in both my paintings and poetry that seem to echo each other.
I was very impressed by the beauty of the gallery and how the curator Hazel Miller arranged everything exquisitely. My art and that of Jordan Clark’s was grouped by color and shape for instance–which really works even though he is an abstract painter and I am a figurative one.
The Art Gallery At The Cerulean is at 1439 NW Marshall St., on the edge of the Pearl district in Portland, Oregon. The Cerulean is a great place to go to buy wine and a bite to eat, hang out and experience fine art.
And yes, you can see I am still sporting an arm brace. I fell while out for a walk and severely injured my left wrist in late December which then required surgery. It likely will take at least 2 more months to heal. I am determined not to let it stop me now that I am a bit better and remember to use ice quite frequently while painting. Am getting better each day–and at managing with one hand for now–with help from my dear husband and our room mate who both help me with food preparation etc.
I finally finished my new painting “Discovering Joy.”
My paintings are a lot like dreams where everything gets mixed together–thus the surrealist edge. For me what I am after is an exploration of the unconscious that helps me realize what it is I am feeling and thinking of underneath.
In this case it was and is the joy of experiencing summer after a difficult winter earlier this year. It got me to remember joyful times in the past such as swimming in Mexico when I was seventeen. I remember swimming in the warm waters off of Guaymas and being thrilled by all the fish! And yes I loved being on my own with my sister and enjoying the Latin culture.
I think my trip to Mexico as a teen reminded me of my early childhood when the boy I played with next door had parents who were from Spain. I was in love with their music and dancing and very different approach to life to that of my family. I was sorry when we had to move away.
This painting mixes experiences since quite obviously I am not a red head, nor did I even have a boyfriend at age seventeen except perhaps in my imagination.
I am thinking of visiting Mexico again sometime soon when I get the chance. I bet it will help foster a whole new series of paintings celebrating life!
I will be participating in the Clark County Open Studios in Vancouver, Washington (just across the river from Portland, OR) this coming November 11th and 12th, 2017: here’s my page for the event featuring some of my art: http://www.ccopenstudios.org/portfolio/beatrice_garth/
You can find the general information of what Clark County Open Studios is about, the artists involved (including me) and an art map here: http://www.ccopenstudios.org
This info. includes instructions on how to get to my Open Studio just across the county line in Vancouver, near Minnehaha and 68th–not far from I-5. My studio is on a slight rise with fairly good parking.
Besides painting on paper and canvas I will also be including some of my ceramics:
This is my new canvas painting I am working on. It is inspired by an extremely small painting on watercolor paper I did back in San Jose (about the size of a large card).
The idea is that she will probably be wearing pink and black, and likely has dark skin. Though all this could change depending…
Obviously I am still working on the cat!! This time it won’t be brown. It will be a contrasting color… And yes I want the cat to feel alive with movement!
I often like to make an underpainting like this before I go ahead and paint the whole thing in color with all the shading, contrast etc. This way I make sure I get the composition worked out in a simpler state rather than have to remake the whole thing if I didn’t get it right.
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.
Marianne Szlyck used it for the cover for her book of poems I DREAM OF EMPATHY last year which you can find on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/I-Dream-Empathy-Marianne-Szlyk/dp/1517160677/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479330057&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=Marianne+Szlyck+Empathy
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 (http://eosthecreativecontext.com). And more fully recover from the after effects of my migraine… Ever wonder why my work is so “dream-like”??
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.
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.
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!
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!!
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 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.
So I didn’t get in as much painting today as I would have liked. Nevertheless, “The Fool” is coming along. I felt inspired late tonight!
I was actually feeling kind of depressed since I was convinced I had ruined the painting the other day. But I decided to let my imagination go and not worry about it since what was there to lose?? In actuality this attitude freed me. I think I was getting too tight about it.
I decided too to not worry any more about all the symbology. There is more than enough there without getting so carried away. So I simplified some of it and just let the artist in me take over.
It is a much more complicated piece in a narrow area than I am used to dealing with. The zig zags plus brightening the Fools clothing saved it, IMHO! That plus making the fish and mer/sky woman both more dramatic and in the shadows plus defining and highlighting the Fool’s face.
More to do but am hoping to have it all done sometime Monday at the latest!
Whether or not I choose to keep the carpet in front will be the next challenge.
Other question is, is this Visionary Surreal Art? I would guess it really is. With quite a bit of magic methinks. The gods and goddesses seem to be inspiring me despite my daily struggles…
Worked really late on this next stage of The Fool. Its different than my usual work though there are definite elements I am more familiar with like the stretched leg and the fish, and even the carpet if I keep it. Am loving the imaginative stretch!
I got rid of the huge sun since it was too busy and took away from the impact of the Fool. Its still there, but not overpowering everything else. Color always changes everything, IMHO. I have to be and am willing to simplify as compared to a line drawing.
I am definitely relating with the Fool given all my late hours recently… I plan to get started earlier this evening in hopes I can get this done in a day or two.
I worked on my tarot card (“The Fool”) late last night after the debates. Somehow this card seems very appropriate at this time of crazy politics from both sides, IMHO!
I had to enlarge the width of the painting a tiny bit so it will make the right size card when reduced down. Thankfully I could since its on watercolor paper…and I just use blue painters tape to hold the paper down.
I decided to go ahead and use acrylic paint. I have found that acrylic is much more durable than watercolor or gouache. For instance, I have a wonderful painting of the almost mythic Wild Ox that got ruined due to my studio being too damp, and that was in San Jose, CA!! (Yes sometime I need to make another one…).
Plus if I need to go in and change things, with acrylics I can do so without sweating it. I have found the acrylics stay cleaner and are easier to frame too.
So as you can see, last night I decided to work on the faces etc. first. And in a few, I will be working on it again. Maybe work on the Sun and background before the rest.. We will see! I let my subconscious guide me in these matters. Its always fun to see where it takes me!
I have been musing about what style is it I exactly have–at first I thought it should be called “Ancient/Modern/Surreal Art.” But now realize “Goddess/Surreal Art” is better. “Goddess” is inclusive of both the ancient pastand issues of ecologyas well as howwe feel and relate. In addition, often the women depicted in my art are powerful in subtle ways (though its not just the women!), thus incorporating both ancient and contemporary feminist values. And Surreal given how much I tend to add extra joints plus combine personal or mythic symbols and unusual environments and color.
Yes it is true, I obsessively focus on feelings expressed in body language. To tell the truth, part of my obsession no doubt is influenced by the fact my mother simply could not read body language at all. I have thus had to learn what body language means on my own. It has not been a given like it is for most people. My art thus helps me figure out what this or that movement or expression means. In so doing I believe it is also helps the viewer since many of us may miss these nuances of expression otherwise.
Both of my parents worked as archaelogists when I was very young. Thus I have been influenced by ancient art from an early age–and certainly its influence shows up in my artwork. I was exposed to Native American art here along the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest as well asancient and indigenous art from around the world as a child. In addition I was very much influenced by my great Aunt Lottie’s amazing artwork and rugs she brought back from the Philippines.
Further I’m very much interested in imagery inspired by Carl Jung‘s notion of the Collective Unconscious as well as the New Age Arts such as Astrology and the Tarot.
I see the changes beginning everywhere: spontaneous expressions of Love rather than Hate, Renewables rather than robbing the Earth of its finite resources, values of Nurturing the Earth rather than killing off its plants, animals and oceans etc. The thing is that we are all connected.
I believe the Alienated isolated individualist is becoming anIcon of the Past. Of course, the old Paradigm is not going out without making a huge struggle to stay Top Dog. So this is not an easy time. But I believe we are winning on the side of making progressive change simply because we have to in order to survive.
It is my hope my art can make some small difference in helping create this paradigm change by expressing some of these new values while reconnecting with the ancient Goddess in a new and contemporary way, by having the Goddess and the patriarchal God finally begin to work together rather than be at odds.
It is my opinion we simply cannot forget what we have gained through science, technology etc. However we have to temper those gains with the realization we live in a finite world and must learn to take care of itandeach otheras stewards rather than continue to destroy our world out of greed.
Now finally back in the Northwest, I am focusing on being the full time artist I was meant to be, and was, many moons ago. Though now hopefully, both healthier and wiser.
To keep at it, I will need your support, whether just as a friendly “like ” or note, or a purchaseofsome of my sinuously expressive Goddess/Surrealart.
If you get a chance, please check out the blog pages as well as the artpages too of course! And feel free to contact me at email@example.com in case you would like to purchase (or show) some of my artwork.
I had some excitement today–finally got most of my studio together! Am looking for just a couple more things (my paint pallets and some of my paints etc.) and I should be back at it likely sometime tomorrow. Tonight sitting there, I was feeling a rush of bliss! Fortunately my friend Graeme was able to capture this wonderful moment with my phone camera.
This after having had a very painful couple of days. I made myself a new table and then tried to move my heavy studio furniture around by myself the other day. Moving the furniture was a big mistake for me. I was in intense pain the last two days. I just am not strong enough to move things like that likely due to my old injury to my L-5 vertebrae and sacrum as a kid. Plus EDS (Ehrlos Danlos Syndrome) as it turns out. It makes me super flexible, but not as strong as I might otherwise be due to having weak joints.
After joining a couple of EDS groups on FB, I have just been learning however how to increase my collagen, which should gradually help strengthen my joints a lot. And some of it is working already, since normally my neck would have been out too, but it wasn’t!! Taking diatomaceous earth and d-ribose appear to be godsends for me.
The other good news here is that I went to see a new chiropractor today who was able to adjust me better than any other chiro I have seen. Turns out she has 5 other EDS patients. So she knows gentle is the way to go.
The fact I am still very flexible at age 67 is why I am usually able to adjust myself using yoga, or my sacro-wedgy, or get Chris to pull on my leg. But it does not always work since sometimes something gets stuck, mainly I think due to that pesky childhood injury.
My plan is to slowly get stronger again. I go for walks almost daily. And do yoga at least every other day. Next I need to use my modified pilates chair again to create more strength. The nice thing is that these days I can do modified push ups and crunches too, when I haven’t gone and hurt myself over again, that is! To be an artist, I have learned, its important to be strong. It just won’t do to have joints etc. that don’t work. Thankfully through persistence and figuring out that I need more silica, plus of course, avoid things like gluten and, in my case, also high histamine, it has really paid off, and will likely just keep getting better.
My artwork, as you might be able to tell, has a style that exaggerates but really expresses this EDS condition. I think of how we are often like mermaids and mermen, lol!! It is kind of amazing that I created this style without knowing I had EDS. It just came out of my being. Although of course I discovered my body was super flexible since I can’t remember when.
Now finally after a year of getting our house ready to move, selling it, finding another and moving into it in another state, I can express that flexible sensitivity I have again in my new art studio. I believe I have earned it!!
I am very much looking forward to completing my painting of the “Music Genie”–inspired by my husband (Chris) playing music. Its the painting you can see me sitting next to in the pix above. More on that and lots of other art projects as I go along, eh?