Solitude of the Forest

Space Clearing for Our Hearts 

West Fork Trail, Sedona 2017

West Fork Trail, Sedona, AZ ~ 2017, Acrylic on Canvas

Sometimes, if I can’t get to the forest, I paint a memory of one.  For this I rely on old photos of places I’ve been that have brought me serenity and joy, allowing a higher guidance to come through.  Nature gives us the opportunity to be quiet, to reconnect with the earth, ourselves and our relationship with each other.   Here we can listen to the voice of our soul.  Julia Cameron* expresses it so well when she says, “…we clear space in our lives in order to center and clear space in our hearts.  The soul’s voice, the voice of guidance, then ventures into the clearing we have created for it.”

When I paint a memory of a place and how I was feeling at the time, that energy goes into the painting.  If I am successful in that, the energy of the feeling goes back out to the viewer who is sensitive to the energy within the painting.

West Fork trail is in a magical forest – it takes you through meadows, wooded areas and streams deep within it.  The painting, West Fork Trail, captures a small part of my journey during my first exposure to Sedona’s energy back in 2004.  The memory of it and this particular spot was what I wanted to express in this painting.  It hangs in my living room and I can view it from my couch and fall into it’s peacefulness whenever I need to.

Going farther back in time, is this view of a piece of the Hudson River.

Meadow on the Hudson 2015

Meadow on the Hudson ~ 2015 (Acrylic on two 4×5 canvases)

Meadow on the Hudson  was an experiment in a continuous painting on two small canvases.  It depicts a little scene from when I lived in Massachusetts and took a trip in a vintage red Thunderbird convertible with a passionate artist friend who I was in love with at the time. For me it has a light hearted memory attached to it, with much joy in breathing in this scene in the moment we were there.   A painting can be small and still draw you in to a deeper place.

Finding Serenity captures a moment when the peace of nature with woods and river brings us back to center.  We can breath deeply and let go.   We can reconnect and ground ourselves, remembering the qualities of life that matter most.  One on one time with my daughter was a precious moment.

Finding Serenity 2016

Finding Serenity 2016 ~ Acrylic on canvas

Take time to nurture yourself.  Treat your creativity as a spiritual practice, drawing from your authentic self by tuning in and painting intuitively from the inspiration you find within yourself.  The joy of expression through painting is an endless process that keeps on giving. 

 

© Maria Doglio, July 4, 2017

* Excerpt from “The Artist’s way, Every Day” by Julia Cameron

Inspired Sparks

Journey of Inspired Thought

As 2015 drew to a close, I was in a whirl of crafting and baking for Christmas.  Creative painting, on the other hand, was neglected. An empty canvas, which sat on my easel staring out at me usually was enough to spark my imagination.  Yet, inspiration was giving me the silent treatment.  Then,  a photo taken on a whale watching trip in June came into clear focus as painting potential…but “can I do it?” still nagged me into inaction.

In Julia Cameron’s “The Artist Way Every Day”, she writes this excerpt for February 7th:  “Out of the notion “I Can” comes the next thought:  “I think I will.”  The impulse is playful.  It is an impulse born of pure faith.  The artist has a vision and that vision includes the successful completion of the art he has in mind.”

So I moved into the “I think I will” mode.  The photo was of my brother watching dolphins at a ship’s rail, which I playfully dubbed “Old Man and The Sea”.   On January 5, 2016, he turned 75 and the desire to honor this milestone was enough to finally turn an idea into action and restore the “I can” to my psyche.   I don’t really do portraits of people I know – if I do paint  any faces, they are mostly made up out of my imagination in other-worldly, fairy-like or visionary images.    I was due for a good challenge and rather pleased with the results–at least everyone knew it was him without a doubt!

Old Man & the Sea - Edmund Doglio 2016

“OLD MAN & THE SEA” – Acrylic on Canvas 12/2015

Slow Start Firing Up The Passion in 2016

Julia Cameron states:  “Growth is an erratic forward movement:  two steps forward, one step back.”  And…“A creative recovery is a healing process.”

2016 – My desire was to start this new year off in a whirl of inspiration, but instead I seemed to have muddled through all of January, not producing much or finding that the ideas sifting themselves in my brain fizzled before they had a chance to blossom.  Then seemingly out of the blue, I plunged into producing three challenging paintings in a clump of creativity  that just burst out of the inner me.  I love it when that happens! In the process I am inspired back to this blog, which I have woefully neglected.  (I still have plans to revamp this website.  I hope to make that a reality in the next few months.)

Recently I had picked up “Cezanne, His Life and Works in 500 Images” at the library, absorbing the feeling of his work.  I am drawn to how he portrays serenity and strength.  I often look to masters of his era to inspire me and teach when I feel stuck.  All artists have dry periods.  Try to see it not as a detriment, but a fertile void filled with potential.  Many times, journal writing jump starts the process.  When I feel a restlessness within the void, I know some creative potential is about to be born – that intuitive spark that fires us up again.

Three of the paintings that grew out of my January void reflect what pulled me at the moment in February.  The first of these is an adaption of a photo of Cali & Co dance team called “Emergence into HERE”, inspired by their  production of “Be Here Now”.  My intent is to portray the surprise of emerging from the cosmos into consciousness of HERE.

Emergence into HERE 2016

This meditative scene from a walk along the Russian River with my daughter, is inspired by two photos strung together to show a bucolic stretch of river.  My personal challenge was to portray the feeling of serenity in nature we both experienced.

Finding Serenity 2016

“Finding Serenity”  ~ acrylic on canvas, 2/2016

Sometimes even a fashion magazine inspires a theme for a painting, especially if you don’t have access to a live model.  The inspiration for “Study in Blue” came from an ad for artistic tile.   A few months back, I took a 3-day workshop on fashion drawing to help improve my skills in figures.  This painting was a fun challenge for me to capture a pose, muscles and skeletal structure of the model.   The blue skin makes her unique and I love the drama of it.

Study in Blue 2016

“Study in Blue” ~ acrylic on canvas, 2/2016

I have given myself enough successful challenges to keep wanting to push for more.  Each painting allows growth into more.  Painting in joy and a sense of playfulness brings the best results.  If I find myself struggling with a painting, I leave it until I find that inner flow again.

May your creative path for 2016 lead you on an exciting path of self-discovery and expression.  Take the road less traveled and see what it reveals to you.

© Maria Doglio, February 2016

References and thanks to the authors and artists:

  • The Artist’s Way Every Day,  by Julia Cameron
  • Cezanne, by Susie Hodge
  • Cali & CO dance/Matt EL, collaborative modern dance and music; www.calidance.info

 

 

SUNSET ~ ENDING THE YEAR 2014 to BEGIN AGAIN 2015

THREE NEW PAINTINGS

My inspiration for two of my three new paintings came from my nostalgic wanderings through old photos of people and places.

Many years ago, I walked along this beautiful stretch of Rhode Island coast whose beach sands stretched as far as the eye could see.  The sunsets were spectacular and I had captured many a photo of them.

Misquamicut Beach, Rhode Island

rhd. island coast sunset_2014

Rhode Island Sunset, Misquamicut State Beach ~Acrylic on Canvas – 16 x 20

Battenkill Fog.  Vermont days ~ I had ventured out early with my camera especially to capture fog rising along the river, thistles in bloom in a mauve haze.  The fog lends a aura of mystery that I love and pushes my imagination to mystical places.

Battenkill Fog Acrylic on Canvas 8 x 8

Battenkill Fog
Acrylic on Canvas
8 x 8

China Beach Fishing   April 2014 – Walked the coast trail to China Beach, San Francisco. Misting and gray.   One of my photos taken along the way inspired the painting –

china beach fishing, sf 2014

China Beach Fishing ~ Acrylic on Canvas 8 x 8

More strolls down memory lane on the agenda for 2015 – On the Easel now – sketch of Mykonos harbor in the evening light from a 1981 photo.   Through these paintings, I am appreciating where I’ve been, as well as my connections to people and places that have enriched my life.

2015 ~  May you fill it up with joy in living, loving, inspiration, passion and creative expression!  Peace and Blessings to all who visit here.

Star Graphic

 

FAIRY IRIS DEVA EMERGES

NATURE DEVA SERIES – Number Two of Four

Recharging Myself and the Studio:

Taking a side path for a bit of time to concentrate on craft items for an outdoor show, my Deva painting series got put on hold for a bit.   The Fairy Iris Deva sat patiently on my easel for weeks, just starting to emerge on the canvas.

Meanwhile, the aftermath of serious crafting production, left my studio in utter chaos.  I closed the door for a while, with the need to take a break.  I took up a library book – Claude and Camille by Stephanie Cowell –  a historical novel of Monet.  The story is of a young Monet, his first years in Paris along with his companions at the beginning of the Impressionist movement–Renoir, Pissarro, Bazille, Manet and Cezanne.   As I got caught up with the novel, I felt that it began to fire up the artist within me.  From my own studio came the call of the unfinished canvas.

Digging in first to clear the energy of chaos in the studio, I set to work cleaning up and organizing.  I brought in my drum to change the vibration to a higher state and clear out the old stale (and rather stuck) energy.  The window was flung open to let in sunshine and fresh air.  Laying out my paints and brushes, I was ready to go.

The more I worked, the more I got lost in the painting.  The fever pitch set in, causing me to lose all sense of time until my cell phone twitched with a text message.  I realized it was 6:00 pm already and I was very hungry!   I actually love it when this happens, being consumed by a painting.  Ultimately you realize that you are over tired and better stop to avoid any big mistakes.  It was close to mid-night.

She sits now – at rest, having fully emerged.  It’s at the stage where I “live with” a painting for a while – essentially finished, but sitting observed on the easel in case a need for tweaking becomes evident.

Two more Devas waiting in the wings will complete the series.  There is energy in these paintings that I can not explain.  It is a journey, not only in the painting, but also, I believe, in connecting with the energy that comes from the force of nature personified.  The authors of Findhorn and Parelandra books talk of their cooperative work in the gardens with the over-lighting Devas and Nature Spirits.  As the Deva emerges in each painting, I will continue to share my personal journey in painting them with you until all are complete.

Be inspired to step out of the box with your art – what shows up may surprise you!

 

Fairy Iris Deva

Fairy Iris Deva – Maria Doglio, 2014 – Acrylic on Canvas Board,  16 x 20

Ref:  Bird of Paradise Deva July 13, 2014 Blog for first painting in this series.

© Maria C. Doglio, August 24, 2014

 

 

LATE SUNDAY MORNING MUSING

Art and Expression In Life is All Around

I left the house askew, needing dusting, the floors unswept, sewing and art projects scattered in almost every room unfinished or poised with ideas waiting to blossom into form from my imagination.

The sky outside was threatening, but I wanted to walk.  I took the umbrella, just in case, setting off for the local coffee shop, dropping letters into a mail box along the way.  I headed past the now famous and controversial “Listener”, a giant naked green lady, her gaze serenely intent on the heavens.  She is oblivious to her nakedness and all that find her “distasteful” – she is herself, a unique expression of life’s essence and the artist who created her.

I decide to sit at a table outside under a red umbrella.  It occurs to me that the color red is showing up a lot  in my life lately.  The boldness of red.  Courage.  Fearlessly moving forward.  All of these is the subtle message being given to me within the color red.  Just what I need now on my journey to embody more fully, the integration of art in my life!

I sit sipping latte from a yellow cup and saucer, observing colors all around me.

photo 2 

Latte Sunday, at Plank, Cloverdale, CA

The gray tones of early morning are now gone.  The artfulness of this little bit of town is now set against a sky that has gone fluffy with giant clouds, with patches of brilliant blue sky emerging from behind them.

We take our inspiration for art from life all around us.  The outward vision fuels the inner vision and from there springs our interpretation of the worlds that we find. Colors in nature play in our vision to spill upon the canvas.   Like the “Listener” who asks us to stop and really hear beyond ourselves, colors present themselves, both subtle and bold, so that we may see and feel more clearly the riches around us.

Whatever art form I am drawn to, whatever colors are calling me, the feeling of the colors in the portrayal is just as important as the image itself.  On the walk home, I found beauty of colors in a tangle of weeds and at an old gate to an abandoned house.  After I paint them onto canvases waiting in the wings, these images will continue to tell their story, long after the blossoms have faded.

Take your inner artist for a walk, keeping an open mind for the unexpected beauty and simplicity in the vignette’s of nature.  See what colors you come home with to inspire you.

photo 3 photo 1

© Maria Doglio, April 27, 2014

 

Recovering from a Painting Block

“Every time we say Let there be! in any form, something happens” – Stella Terrill Mann

The day I decided to try to paint without judgement, without comparisons to other artists, silencing the harsh ridicule of the inner critic, was the day I crawled out from under a painting block that lasted 24 years.  I was living in Sedona, AZ, in 2006, surrounded by the most amazingly creative art that I had ever seen, and happened one day, to notice the date of my last painting–one of our dogs– Logan, 1982.

Logan's favorite spot on our Vermont porch

Logan 1982

I did other creative things during that time period – stencil design, craft work, and photography, but the canvas continued to allude me.

In Sedona, I began to frequent the many galleries.  The energy and creativity of other artists began to penetrate and crack the shell I had built up surrounding painting.  Inspired, I began to think I might start painting again.  At the urging of a friend, I experimented with a small painting of apples.

Little Green Apples

Little Green Apples – 2006

What followed was a surprising surge of creativity.   I started painting, reinstating my passion, discovering new areas of creativity and haven’t stopped since.   I began to understand that my art was my creative expression unique to me – not everyone has to like it.  If I achieve in my art what my inner vision wants to express, my art piece is successful.  It is a piece of me that I am sharing with the world.  That is enough, no judgement necessary.  The inner critic is always there, lurking for an opportunity to be heard the moment you get a little bit discouraged.  Sometimes I have to do the work to subdue it again.  That is when I walk away from a painting and let it rest on the easel in contemplation.  I can then intuitively plug into the painting–it tells me when I am ready to return to it, then it reveals how it would like to emerge into completion.  Go within and listen to your muse.

“When you start a painting, it is somewhat outside you.  At the conclusion, you seem to move inside the painting.”  – Fernando Botero

Unblocking Tools:  One of the biggest influences  in recovering my sense of identity as an artist, was Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.  Her course ignited a journey that is on-going and I return to it for inspiration during periods of artistic down time.  Her course helped me think outside the box and to just let go.   The exercise of “morning pages” – a brain drain, stream of consciousness – is the most amazing and surprising tool to unlock blocks.  Julia describes the morning pages  as “the primary tool of creative recovery”.  Writing allows you to get all the negativity out, facilitating the letting go process.  It may seem like an erratic process at first.  Keep at it and trust. The Artist’s Way helps you to uncover your real self, restore confidence and free your intuitive creativity.

“All you need to do to receive guidance is to ask for it and then listen”  – Sanaya Roman

My current leap in creativity is developing this website and in writing this blog –ten years ago I wouldn’t have had the courage.  It reflects back to me where I have been and where I might be going,  By sharing my journey, I hope all who read this are inspired within their own journeys.  Over time, I have recovered my sense of strength, connection to my inner muse and most of all, my sense of possibility.  My artistic journey continues to grow in new ways- taking me on unexpected curves in the path.  My creative blocks, if they happen, don’t last very long.   The nature of life is, in itself,  creative and  never a straight line.  We flow on waves of connected quantum energy.  How you utilize that energy is a choice.  How you let that energy affect you is a choice.  Each day gives us the opportunity to create anew, to express our authentic self, be inspired, and keep growing.   Keep an open mind to creativity and it will lead you to higher goals; once reached, set new ones.  You will soon discover that creative imagination is limitless.

“The universe will reward you for taking risks on it’s behalf” – Shakti Gawain 

Maria Doglio © 2014         (Thank you to Julia Cameron – juliacameronlive.com)