Temple Guardian

Here is a quick look into how one of my paintings came to life. This piece started with a prayer about helping me find the strength to 'hold center'. I had been feeling pulled about in many different directions and was having trouble tapping into what I needed.
 

I normally start by writing my requests or thoughts or feelings on the canvas or board itself. On this piece they are also noted on the back of the board. Using paint, charcoal, and ink I started laying down fast layers. Wet paint into wet. Smearing. I love working on wood for this reason...it can really hold up to a lot of layers, deconstructing and rebuilding. Things were getting really messy and ugly at this point, and I was feeling even more frustrated so I took a paint rag and started wiping off my paints. (Using this method means I have to be willing to 'waste' a lot of paint sometimes).  Here's what the painting looked like after the big scrub-down.

 What a mess! But can you see the eye that has started to emerge?

 What a mess! But can you see the eye that has started to emerge?

There she is!  You can see some of my ascemic writing and mark making as well as some of the blocks of color. Once I found that black eye and could feel the big cat energy of the piece making itself felt, I knew where to go. From here it became a process of sitting with the painting, blocking in color, starting to outline the shapes. It is so tempting at this stage to get too tight and it is something I have to tend to in almost every painting. I can get caught in perfectionism and trying to capture a 'realistic' looking image instead of focusing on the spirit and aliveness in the painting.
 

Coming to life!

Coming to life!

From here I might go look for images of the animal to find bits of detail that I want to include. (My Pinterest board for animals is here.)  Again, my work is to stay connected to what the painting wants to be and not get tied into too much realism.

In terms of the medicine of this piece, is there anything more 'centered' or strong than the energy of a tiger? I can feel such feminine strength radiating off this artmagic and I love having it hanging in my studio as a reminder about staying connected to my own sense of power and wildness.

This painting came together in about 3 days; most of these animal paintings work themselves out quickly. I always allow at least one day of hanging on the wall before I call something done. Often there is one last detail that really amps up the impact. You can see the finished painting in the "Sold Art" gallery.