Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Norse Fairytale

Norse Fairytale 
Watercolor on paper 16"x 12"

I had fun painting this Nordic Winter scene, and trying out some different textural techniques with the watercolor on the crow.  I'm still following along the thread of my fascination for petroglyphs and actual rock-carvings from different places, particularly those with shamanic cultures and stories attached to them. 

I love how rock carvings (like the two boats above) can be symbols that seem to spark a sort of deep remembering, a kind of primal response when you are seeing something that looks strangely familiar - even when you know you've never seen it before. Like waking up old memories we hold deep in our blood and bones, genetic re-memberings coming back from our collective ancestry as indigenous beings to this Earth. 

The Spring is slow to break through this year. The trees are bursting with buds and bright green new leaves, while the winds blows an icy chill and snow continues to fall. It really is the perfect weather for Old Tales from the cold North. 

Have a beautiful week. Catherine Athena xo

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Petroglyph; The Desert is Calling Me

"Petroglyph; The Desert is Calling Me"
Watercolor on Yupo 11.7" x 16.5" 

What a lot of people don't know about me is that I am a shamanic practitioner and have a huge affinity for the desert regions of North America.  This mysterious being (above) was just waiting to be brought to life in a painting.  

My husband immediately said "The desert is calling you" when he first saw me working on this new piece. It felt like a fitting name.

Blessings of beauty and mystery, 
Catherine Athena xo

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Enchantment

March has just flown by and I feel as if I have been under a strange Enchantment for most part of it.

I was talking to a friend last night about the difference between what I term 'results driven works of art' and those that are 'process pieces'. You know, the difference between a piece you've been working on that is all about the final result and that really is it (the destination being the main focus)...  and a creative work that somehow ends up taking you on an inner (and outer) journey of discovery as you go through a distinct process during your time together, the time you end up spending with it where you somehow magically become midwife to both it and to new aspects of yourself.

Well this painting has been all about the latter one for me. Something got activated during the creation of this painting and I found myself tumbling down the rabbit hole so to speak.

I have always loved folklore, myths, legends and fairytales...the setting of the scene, the elements within, the characters who appear on the way to teach, help or challenge.  So I guess I really should have seen it coming when I found myself painting a magical windswept Thorn tree by moonlight, atop a hollow hill that holds buried treasure within, with two moongazy Hares curiously witnessing the arrival of a herd of otherworldly Deer.
Watercolor & Mixed Media on paper 16" x 12"

Right from the start of this painting, it appeared I was on some kind of strange archaeological dig deep down into my very psyche. Long-forgotten memories and emotions returned completely unbidden, flooding to the surface, totally unexpected and taking me completely by surprise. I found myself *dreaming awake* while I painted, shifting through old treasures I had hidden and forgotten all about - things I had buried under my own magic hill in my inner world.

You just never know what you might call up or unleash when you begin a new painting, and what hidden gifts you may find as you take the journey (of process) within.  It felt good to finally complete this one, like I have healed and laid something to rest. I wonder what revelations and gifts it may bestow on other viewers who take the time to gaze within this magic mirror of mine.
I often find the masked up image has a unique charm of its own,  easily as fascinating and compelling as the final painting.

Note: Originally I was inspired by one of the luminous sacred paintings by artist Meg Falconer from Caitlín & John Matthews' book "King Arthur's Raid on the Underworld; The Oldest Grail Quest" (Gothic Image Publications 2008) …Then it seemed to take on a life all its own… with the deer herd from the primal cave paintings at Los Caballos in Spain, the helmet is my representation of the Sutton Hoo helmet found at the Anglo-Saxon Royal burial site near Woodbridge in Suffolk, England.

Catherine Athena xo