Sunday, 30 December 2012

Gato Mexico

I'm having a Watercolor renaissance. It really is my most natural medium to work in. I am completely self-taught and I think that has really contributed to me finding my own style of painting. 

I smiled with delight when I read the latest art course listings come through from Creative Clearinghouse with Monica Lee (of Smart Creative Women) saying... 

"Waterolor is a beautiful fun medium and it is trending HOT right now!"    - it certainly is in my world anyway!  

Here is my latest painting . . .I'm enjoying painting child-like and playfully.  (Please click on image below to see the painting larger) 

                                Gato Mexico.  Watercolor & collage on paper    
Catherine Athena xo  

• • •My journey through the senses• • •

taste:: Sundried Tomato Pesto and spaghetti - sublime!
smell:: Palo Santo wood smouldering in an Abalone seashell - a coconut-woody-scented offering that is both purifying and attracts helpful benevolent Spirits into the home.
touch:: My soft-soled suede slippers on a cold floor. I'm snug on the inside!
see:: The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey : better than I even dared to hope it would be.
hear:: Savage Garden (self-titled first album)  - a totally retro moment
think:: I'm about ready for this New 2013 Year to begin!
feel:: Very determined and on-purpose. Lots of goals. And a plan to make them happen.
read:: Artists & Illustrators Magazine.
intuit:: The dawning of a new World Age is underway. Love more, relax more, 'be' more... you are exactly where you need to be at this moment in time.

Friday, 28 December 2012

What a difference a {week} makes

One week ago today was the Mid-Winter Solstice and the long awaited, much anticipated 21 December 2012, the 'end of days', regarded as the end-date of a 5,125 year long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count. The start of a new time and a new way of being in the World. 
I had been listening with interest to the words of Ac Tah, a direct descendant of the Maya, who had been selected as a messenger of the knowledge and information encoded in the Mayan glyphs and at sites that are sacred temples to his people throughout Mexico. He spoke of the planetary alignment that would be taking place over the three days of 21st, 22nd and 23rd December, and suggested that the best way for people to capitalise fully on the transformative energies coming in to the planet during this time of awakening would be to have a pen and paper ready, because he said "Many ideas will occur to you - so write them all down, so you can later figure out which ones are useful and use them. And we need to act on these to make them happen".  

This Solstice felt rather important and meaningful, so my partner and I scheduled three days of Holiday from work to coincide with this time. Three days of introspection and dreaming awake and simply 'being'. And gently celebrating the dawning of this new World Age.  

On Friday 21st after a luxurious lie-in, we headed into the City of Bath and hung out in a cafe for a leisurely brunch.  I had my camera with me and my Turquoise Filofax on hand - like a journal with binder pages - to map-make my year/s ahead. To record down any insights as they came. I found myself taking note of many impressions and thoughts that came in over those three wonderfully super relaxed days. 
I also found myself doing a mind-map of associations around my 'one little word' for 2013 (more on that very soon in an upcoming blog post!) 

I was surprised to find answers to some questions I've had on where I am going with my art.  Having re-visited my very early paintings again over the holidays I suddenly realised there is a common theme of a narrative or story happening within my images, they are all story-telling imagery, open to interpretation by the viewer. I'm actually more of an illustrator! I had somehow forgotten all of that. 

And I'm strongly compelled to go back to my natural medium - watercolor. Only this time, I've learnt anything goes and I can make it a 'mixed media' with paper elements and acrylic if I want. 

It's taken me a long time to be able to see what was there all along. It's amazing what messages from our wise-Self come to the surface when we give ourselves downtime and space to think and dream clearly!   

Catherine Athena xo

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Living a Hand-made Life

I've been wanting a new Painting Apron for ages. I had a really clear idea of what I was after but just hadn't been able to find anything even remotely close to it.  I'm not much of a seamstress...what to do?

Well, y'know I got to thinking, 'if you can't get it on Etsy, maybe the best thing to do is make it yourself' that's exactly what I did.

I purchased a piece of cotton canvas fabric and begun by hand-painting my first Surface Pattern Design on a piece of heavy canvas that would become the pocket.

I love how organic this is as a process. I didn't feel the design needed to be absolutely perfectly mirrored and measured, I preferred it to be a bit rustic and obviously hand-designed & painted.

Then I got to work measuring up the fabric, cutting and sewing the full apron shape, the straps and sewing the seams. Firstly the pocket...

Then sewing the pocket to the Apron...

Voila! It's done! 

                                                                    I love it!
Catherine Athena xo

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Retro Inspired...

I recently did a Mixed Media Art workshop with a well-known Mexican artist, and the thing I got out of the course that has impacted me the most, was actually the process of going back to the things I have always been attracted to, and implementing aspects and features of those things into my own artwork.

I've come to be reminded that the mid to late 1960's and very early 1970's (before the psychedelic flower bolted away to seed) really is my favourite era ever when it comes to culture, style, fashion and music!

Recently Grazia magazine (UK) had a feature on the Fashion looks that changed the 50's, 60's & 70's and I found myself clipping some photos out to put in my inspiration journal to remind me of that eclectic bohemian vibe ... Marianne Faithfull, Anita Pallenburg, Edie Sedgwick, Jean Shrimpton, Catherine Deneuve, Talitha Getty, Penelope Tree, Mary Quant, Sharon Tate... 

I totally adore the whole vibe that was going on in London at that time, and also in New York... and Laurel Canyon and on the beaches of California.

I love the retro look and so I've done this first painting, including just a little touch of that energy.  

I heard the name of the painting in my head, as soon as I begun it ~ I'm calling it "The Magician's Daughter". 

Mixed Media ~ Watercolor paint, paper collage, acrylic paint, stabilo pencil, white wax & glitter, 
on Watercolor paper

Catherine Athena xo

• • •My journey through the senses• • •

taste:: Vanilla Chai tea, sweet and fragrant like a fine delicate incense with Cinnamon and Cardamon, Liquorice and Vanilla.
smell:: Raindrops on fresh green leaves as an afternoon storm blows in
touch:: Holed stones, worn by the ocean's tide, from a beach on the south coast of England
see:: Jackie Brown - A Tarantino film with a super cool soundtrack
hear:: The Rolling Stones' - 'Black and Blue' ~ their 1976 classic album
think:: I'm as ready for this coming Winter as I'm going to be!
feel:: The most contented in my life I have for ages!
read:: Art suppliers catalogues
intuit:: When one particular color is going to look just perfect in combination with another.... 

Things have come full circle...

"To paint is to love again" ~Henry Miller

It feels like I have come full circle with my art over the past year... I started with Watercolor, and have traveled far, far out of my comfort zone, learning new techniques, totally different materials, all kinds of things I perhaps wouldn't normally think to use. 

It's been incredible to experiment and play, and now I'm back where I began... to Watercolors again. But this time, I find myself combining other things I've seen and learnt along the way, to allow a real mixed-media feel and a new way of creating. 

I'm having fun, trying out different things I've never done before...just real simple things like using the edge of a white tea-lite candle to draw stars on the paper (as wax resists) before the watercolour paint goes on.  

And also using art masking fluid, applying it with a thing called a 'ruling pen' (which is a little stick, with a calliper end and a turning dial on the side, that can be used to adjust the width of the line it makes) - you feed the masking fluid into the gap between the callipers and then draw on the paper. I've been able to make some cute plants in intricate shapes.

Catherine Athena x

Friday, 5 October 2012

Studio Tidy Time...

Last weekend I had a big tidy up and re-sort of my studio space... A big clean up like that feels really good! To get some energy moving around, shake things up... 

I found myself putting away some supplies I've been using for the last few months and now not currently feeling called to use at this time. 

I packed down my big easel and put it away (for now) and pulled up my painting dust sheets, shook them out the window, folded them up, and stored them away (for now)... And wiped down the table top and laid out me big drawing board. 

I got the drawing board last year in a sale, having wanted one for YEARS...and I stashed it away at the time, knowing full well I would be wanting it later. It's one of those one that rises up on a slat base, so you can have it slanted at varies degrees.

Then I began sorting some paints into clip seal bags...and put my Lino cutting blades safely into a secure little box. Then the rather enjoyable part ~ pouring out some brightly-colored new watercolor paints from tubes into empty half pans, letting them dry so I'm ready to begin. 

I stretched some watercolor paper. That was the first time I've ever done that. I had no idea how it would work out. But these things have to be attempted, right? 

Catherine Athena x

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Giving Flight... Giving Back

It's August ! And that beautiful time of year in the Northern Hemisphere when the fields are gold with stalks of grain and lush fruit is ripe on the branch... Time for bringing in the harvest, looking back on what has been achieved in the past year, appreciating our good fortune and sharing. Nature doesn't hold back on the abundance!

It feels such an appropriate season to be celebrating, and that is exactly what a group of artists I know are doing this 20th August! It is one year ago that a group of us met online, while taking part in an art business course run by Kelly Rae Roberts called "Flying Lessons" and it seriously clued us in on what it takes to develop a creative art business.

There really was a lot that I didn't know, I didn't know!

I've since taken the courage to try things I never imagined - from technical things (that would have been unheard of for me a year ago) like blogging, and learning the ins and outs of how to use an Apple Mac computer, to wrestling the 'virtual Anaconda' I call Photoshop (Oh the thrill and accomplishment I feel when I succeed even with the smallest project!)

I've grown in confidence as an artist, and begun to write my own rules as I've realised when it comes to mixed media art, it truly is a case of absolutely anything goes!

I've come to realise that my art is an extension of me, who I am, what I am about, my emotions, all comes through in what I draw and paint...

Art is deeply autobiographical, there are also never any mistakes, just deeper insights and explorations, and of course new materials to try!

One year on, there has been a wealth of information shared, blogs started, marketplace stores opened to sell creative wares, many, many photographs taken, and even more online classes enjoyed, as we've networked and honed our craft.

It's been an incredible year for me. For us all. And in gratitude for the connection and community we've built, we are celebrating with a Giving Flight Blog Hop and paying it forward too, giving others who dream of working the creative life a chance for a place on this next course starting 17 September 2012.

The 2011 Alumni class has gotten together and donated 8 places and Kelly Rae has matched there are 16 places waiting for the right students on this potentially life-changing course.

If you would like to be considered for a place on this class, please visit from the 20th August 2012 for details of how to enter the giveaway.
And now please join in the fun with our Blog hop... These artists generously contributed to the giveaway... come visit our pages and read their stories ::

Catherine Athena Louise -if you are reading this you are here already! :)

Stacey Bockness Curry

Cindy Jones Lantier

Live Laugh Love Retreats

• • •My journey through the senses• • •

smell:: The scent of newly mown hay blowing on the breeze as I ride my bike along lanes beside golden fields.
touch:: stencils and stamps hitting the surface of a canvas
see:: Seraphine ~This biographical depiction of Seraphine Louis (1864–1942) the self-taught French painter whose naïve style works were inspired by nature and her spiritual life.

Watch and be prepared to feel thoroughly spoilt (and truly grateful) by the ease of which we can easily obtain and use art supplies in these modern times. This remarkable woman had an undeniable urge to paint, she HAD to answer the call she felt, and in rural France she had to make her own paint mixtures from whatever she could get hold of; fresh mud from the river bed, crushed flower heads she gathered from the fields, animal blood (from the meat purchase at the Butchers store), candle wax carefully (and covertly) gathered into a stoppered bottle from the altar in her local church... Wait till you see her enormous canvases coming to life through the night by candlelight.

hear:: Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill Acoustic So perfect to paint to in the evenings and totally loving the 'hidden track' at the end.
think:: It must be time for a nice cup of Camomile tea!
feel:: Truly blessed to be alive - following a Lightning Strike that hit me via the telephone line during a big electrical storm on the weekend of 12 August. Not every one who experiences that lives to tell the tale!
taste:: The perfection of grilled salmon with a green leaf salad.
read:: Brett Bevell - Reiki for Spiritual Healing This is how Reiki was meant to be!
intuit:: The powerful vibes surging in this past week with the New Moon in Leo.

Friday, 17 August 2012

The Mountain

I've been enjoying doing some experimental pieces (using a lots of different mediums) that might yet end up being used for backgrounds with other images collaged in on top or added to later.

Here are some detail photos of this one piece I have tentatively called 'finished' - leaving the room of course for me to change my mind completely in a rush of spontaneity ... this might re-incarnate into something else entirely if the mood strikes!

It feels so nice to allow myself the freedom to make loose marks and scribbles - child-like, playful, unabashed, absolutely anything goes!

Etching over the top of paint, dry brush, metallics, water soluble crayons.
Bursts of ink.

Mixed media in ink, water soluble oil pastel, and acrylic
12" x 16.5" on foam board

Catherine Athena xo

• • •My journey through the senses• • •
taste:: Simple clean and light foods ; jasmine basmati rice is an all-time favourite.
smell:: The intoxicating heady aroma of purple Buddleia flowers
touch:: Coyote fur on my altar - beautiful and magical & incredibly soft too
see:: I adore gazing at the inky black-blue sky at nightfall.
hear:: The river chattering as it runs downstream over rocks.
think:: I'm feeling stronger after just over 4 months of being completely sugar-free in my diet!
feel:: Inspired
intuit:: New trends coming to the fore in alternative healing modalities

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

SumMEr of {Nurturing} Me

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski

I'm delighted to have been invited by Renee over at HappilyEverAfter by Renee Burke to participate in her 13 week SumMEr of ME - a calling forth of self-care project over on her blog. This is an exploration in self-care and self communication, a looking at what we each implement into our lives as part of our self-care and nurture regime.

I know from past experience that a sure fire way for me to feel calm, balanced and totally fantastic inside and out, is Yoga.

Back in 2000, Yoga was something that seemed quite an enigma, very mysterious and in truth just a little bit intimidating. So to overcome that, as is often my way, I decided to break through my fear barrier that was keeping me on the outside looking in, and signed up for a 6 month Yoga Teacher Training course!

It turned out to be incredibly transformative, and this particular style of integrated Hathya Yoga had us leaning some incredibly simple movements to begin with, so simple in fact, I remember myself and others asking "How can THIS be Yoga?" but it worked. And it worked to clear toxins and emotions that had become locked in the body, and all of this happened before we even got to beginning the asanas.

Anyway of late, I have been doing some asanas as part of a home practice, very gentle, using a few favourite DVD's to keep me inspired. But I've also become aware that some grief and disappointment (from some experiences in my life over the last couple of years, things that didn't work out quite as I would have liked) have become locked in my body, and I was finding it hard to 'access' into them, so I could release them and heal them fully. Then I woke up the other morning with the sudden realisation that going right back to basics and doing the very simple first routine I learnt all those years ago, can help me to break through these emotions that have gotten trapped in my cells and joints! It was a bit of a light bulb moment!

That is what I know I need and will be doing this SumMEr. Nurturing myself one day at a time, with a lot more time spent on the mat.

So Yoga Yoga on!

Catherine Athena xo

• • •My journey through the senses• • •
taste:: Simple pleasures - hot butternut squash soup and garlic toast on a cold, rainy evening
smell:: The heady honey-ed aroma of flowers in the hedgerow
touch:: Rough bark of a silver birch tree
see:: Picasso - Matisse on DVD
hear:: windchimes playing on the breeze
think:: where is the Sun hiding {at this time of year}?
feel:: relaxed and drama-free
read:: The Four Agreements ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
intuit:: topsy turvy global weather patterns making folks edgy