Thursday, October 28, 2010

Embracing the Spirit of Halloween



For most, Halloween is the day to dress up in crazy costumes, go to parties, lead children to stranger's houses to collect candy, and, for many adults, to act like children.  America is really good at degrading traditions to its most base of qualities.  I have long thought it strange that Americans have adopted an old pagan holiday, but then, the holiday hasn't really been adopted, as much as usurped and corrupted.
Celebrating Halloween doesn't have to be just frivolous and empty fun.  It also doesn't even have to be observed in conflict with non-pagan religious belief.  At the heart of Halloween is a celebration of the closing of the year and an honoring of the spirits of our ancestors.

We see the cycle of death around us, as the landscape transforms and goes into its dormant stage.  It makes sense that the Celts would see this as the end of the year, for endings are occurring all around us at this time.  This becomes  a wonderful time to reflect on all that came in the previous months and let go of the negative influences and burdens of the previous cycle, while celebrating the achievements and preparing for the new.  It is not certain where the idea of costumes came in, there are lots of speculation, but nothing conclusive.  I like to think of dressing up as a way of re-creating your new self for the coming year.  It is an opportunity to try on a new identity, see how it fits, before starting the new cycle.  We are not limited to mundane, well-defined roles.  We can become archetypes, heroes, spirits, fantasy creatures whose attributes of which we can connect to and carry through into the next year. 

There is a dark aspect to Halloween.  Many dress as monsters, attend haunted houses,  talk of the ghosts and ghouls that run rampant through the neighborhood. I think much of this stems from a very deep-rooted fear and misunderstanding of death and endings in general.  But, if we look at this dark aspect as something positive,  rather than frightening, what might we discover?

The painting posted here is of The Morrigan: The Dark Mother, the ancient goddess of death and fertility and the land, now most commonly associated with ancient Irish myth.   The Morrigan is a symbol representing the dark aspects that we all experience and possess within. Everything emerges from the dark, the child from the womb, the day from night, light from the void, and The Morrigan symbolizes the power that exists within this place of potentiality. She is the perfect symbol for Halloween as we celebrate the end of the cycle by returning to the dark and beginning the cycle again. We acknowledge that day gives way to night, that the trees and plants die around us, only to return again with the light of spring.

The dark aspect is not something to be feared, for to fear the dark, is to be afraid of our own nature and the action of creation itself. Darkness is to be understood as part of a natural cycle of rise and fall, expanding and contracting, reaching out and turning inward.  The symbol of The Morrigan offers us a way to understand and navigate the dark paths throughout our life, if only we overcome our fears and reach out to accept the “fruit” (or perhaps candy!) of knowledge she offers us.  I am not suggesting that we all worship and idolize the image of The Morrigan, instead, I am encouraging that you look upon her as a symbol and archetype, representing the energies and qualities that your particular belief system supports.  You can find your own symbol that represents the qualities of The Morrigan and use that to help you connect to the energies of the season.

Ultimately, Halloween can be a day of transformation and an evening of celebration, it doesn't have to be empty and meaningless.  We can use this time to honor what has passed before us, let go of that which burdens us, and remember our ancestors who sacrificed their lives to give us what we have today.

Have a safe and TRANSFORMATIVE Halloween! 

DoAn
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DoAn Art is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of DoAn Art may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
 
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Painting Rebirth and Renewal

I am happy to report my new working schedule is really working out well.  I am getting a lot of work completed and other work attended to without feeling like I am neglecting one thing for another.  I have completed recent custom sculpture orders.  I have written over forty pages of creating writing and completed tons of research for my novel.  This schedule affirms my dedication to a creative life, and I hope will help continue to guide me toward a full-time career in making art.

Lion and Lamb custom order by DoAn

I also made some wonderful progress on the Etain painting.  Something powerful happened recently as I worked on the piece.  I am not sure if it is the new working schedule, the return to painting, the changing season, or a combination of all these, but I really felt the energy of rebirth and renewal coursing through me as I painted.  I began with the leaves, painting, then scrubbing out the paint, going over them with a yellow wash.  Then I moved on to Etain's face. As I painted her, and her features emerged, I reflected on the many changes that I have gone through in the course of my life, and how many more I have to experience.  Each wash that revealed more and more of Etain's face, brought me deeper into my own experience of renewal and how it seems this experience always comes out of the darkest of places, often in a flash of light.  I have found myself wallowing in darkness, a slow, winding descent into despair, for what seems an eternity, and then, when the time for change comes, like the igniting spark of Brigid's fire, I am in a new place, inspired and shaking from the newness of my perspective.

Each time I work on these goddess-energy paintings, I think, this is the one that speaks the most strongly to me.  First, I thought it was Boann, who dragged me through an emotional hell, then The Morrigan, who made me face some of the darker aspects of myself, to Brigid who lifted me with the inspiration of a life fueled by creativity and self-empowerment, and now with Etain, I think, this, yes, THIS is who I am! The one who is constantly being reborn, reawakened, alive to the newness all around me.  I am realizing that each painting is the most powerful piece at the moment that I am painting them, because I am experiencing the energy they represent as I create them. Once I complete Etain, I know the next painting will be THE painting best representing my life and where I am.

This is precisely why I paint and why it is so difficult and necessary for me to do it.  This is why whatever it was that spoke to me at OAC in Missouri telling me to explore painting as a spiritual path and look to the sculpture as a way to support myself while remaining creative. I have no idea where these paintings and the future paintings will take me, but as I experience this transformative energy, I know it is something I must do.  Each time I sit down to paint, and then step away and observe as a witness and not a painter, I know I have connected to something much bigger than myself.

I am thrilled to continue and see where all this takes me.  I am even more thrilled to be sharing this journey with you. 

DoAn
If you are interested in following my painting progress and supporting the work I am doing, please consider becomeing a Patron. Just click on the link below:
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DoAn Art is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of DoAn Art may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.  
 
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All artwork, photos and text © Copyright 2005-2010 DoAn Art (Antony Galbraith) unless indicated otherwise. All Rights Reserved. Any downloading, copying or use of images on this website is strictly prohibited without express written consent by Antony Galbraith.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Dedication to a Life in Making Art

As my supporting Patrons know, I have been trying out a new working schedule. Starting out Monday and Tuesdays were devoted to sculpture work.  Wednesdays were for art-career business and marketing work, which includes writing on my blogs, updating my website, doing miscellaneous paperwork.  Thursday and Friday were for painting.  Left Saturdays and Sundays for whatever I felt like working on or whatever might need more attention, such as commission work.  Just this week I switched painting to the start of the week, because I needed to spend a little more time on sculptures due to some upcoming shows.
 I start working on my art at 8am and work through to about 4pm, with a short break for lunch.  Late afternoons and evenings are devoted to freelance work and correcting student papers.

Custom Pet Portrait Sculpture by DoAn

I am also devoting time to write a novel that I have been picking up and putting down for over ten or more years.  Currently, I wake up at 6 am, eat some breakfast, make some tea and and write until 8 am, have some breakfast and then get to work on the art.  When Daylight savings goes into effect,  I plan to get up at 5 am, so I can have a good hour and a half to two hours a day to work on my writing.

It is my goal, that with this working schedule, I will be able to address each part of my creative work with more focus and structure.  I also need room to be able to work on those paintings that stir me and open my soul, so this schedule should help give me time for that.  In addition to commission work lined up, I have several paintings waiting to be started.  I have drawings of Sedna, Datura, the Soul Tree and many sketches and notes on Chakra paintings, as well as more goddess and god paintings to be explored.  It is going to be a busy winter!

I believe that by devoting my time to serious creative work, and holding this time as a sacred activity, that it will continue to lead me on the path to a sustainable career in art.  I have no idea how I will end up . I have found, however, that when I put my trust in the process of making art, opportunities open up and reveal themselves to me.  Most of this year has been focused on showing my sculptures, a way of getting more regular income to support me while I work on creating these very challenging and soul-searching paintings.  My inner voice tells me "just work on the art!"  So that is what I am doing.

It seems appropriate to me, to be making this intention known to my patrons, right as summer becomes fall. Autumn is the time of beginnings (according to the Celtic calendar) and at the turning of the the season, I state my career goals and confirm my intentions to a future in art before you all
  
DoAn

Note: the image here is from one of my recent commissioned Custom Pet Portraits, for more information on how to order a likeness of your favorite pet or animal please visit my webpage: http://doanart.com/Pet%20Portrait%20Sculptures.html

Help in the creation of art, please consider donating! Just click on the link below:
Donate now!  
DoAn Art is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of DoAn Art may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
 
 
Subscribe in a reader
All artwork, photos and text © Copyright 2005-2010 DoAn Art (Antony Galbraith) unless indicated otherwise. All Rights Reserved. Any downloading, copying or use of images on this website is strictly prohibited without express written consent by Antony Galbraith.

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