Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Brigid Illuminated by DoAn

I apologize for the long silence here on the blog.  A family emergency has demanded the majority of my time in the last two months and will likely continue for some time to come.  Fortunately, the major emergency has eased and now it is a matter of managing a routine within a limited schedule as I act as full time care taker for an ailing relative. After the holidays have passed, I will begin sharing with you some observations of my creative process during this time of upheaval.

Until then, please enjoy the holidays.  Take some time to pause, reflect on the passing year, give thanks and prepare for the new!

Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement in the past year.  I think 2012 will prove to be an interesting year creatively and I look forward to sharing with you my new creations.
Happy Holidays!

DoAn
Help in the creation of art, please consider donating! Just click on the link below:
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Using Myth to Map the Way

October mist in Braintree, VT
 Over the last week and a half I have been taking some time for introspection as I have come, yet again, to a crossroads.  Before me lay several paths and choices for how to proceed with my creative life, career and day to day existence.  Some paths highlight one option more than another, others are a mixture, but each with a slightly difference emphasis.  These choices are not just metaphorical, as I recently have been bombarded with offers that will lead me down one of the paths before me.  Which offer should I consider? What if the path I want isn't one of the ones with a tantalizing offer? Should I be pragmatic or idealistic? How do I choose?

I agonized for a week over these options but all I ended up with was a tense stomach, headache, sleepless nights and more confusion.  Then I decided to seek a different way to examining my life and the road before me.  I turned to Joseph Campbell's model of the Hero's Journey.  Campbell expouses the theory of a monomyth that runs through every human culture, a sort of archetypal blue print for myth and mythic understanding.  While I personally think he tends to over simplify cultural myths, I do think that there is a validity to his assertion of the importance of a living mythic tradition in daily life...even the contemporary and supposed enlightened and informed life we are living now.

In the Hero's Journey Campbell describes the life journey in three primary chapters with subsections within each chapter.  So the outline would look something like the following:

I. Departure: a. the call; b. refusal; c. divine aid; f. the first threshold; g. the belly of the whale

II. Initiation; a. The road of trials; b. meeting the divine Feminine; c. temptations; d. atonement with the Masculine; e. apotheosis; f. the treasure

III. Return: a. refusal to return; b. magic flight; c. rescue; d. return threshold; e. master of two worlds; f. freedom

Each section and subsection of the Hero's Journey correlates to the notion of an archetypal pattern that each human goes through during the course of his or her life.  To fully understand each part of the journey, I recommend reading Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell or one of the many companion books that discuss the Hero's Journey.  There have also been explorations using the Tarot in a similar way, as well as other traditions, but the point of this blog entry is to share how I used the Hero's Journey to help me in my own life journey.

In the past, myth and rituals gave support and strength in life.  Today, without any solid living mythic stories informing us and the lack of sacred rituals to help guide us through the stages of life, we are left fending for ourselves (sometimes quite literally).  I don't believe contemporary religion, by and large, offers the sacredness of mythic traditions any longer. We live in a very un-sacred world, where the transcendent is despised and discouraged.  As a result, as individuals, we fumble around in the dark, bumping into things, with each other, and losing our way time and time again.  When we encounter an obstacle, we redirect our path, or wage war against the thing blocking us, not realizing that what we perceive as an obstacle to be avoided may actually be a stepping stone that prepares and propels us along the journey.  As a result we are often doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over, or become stuck in one one place.  We shake our fists in the air and shout "Why me?" Why this again?" "What did I do to deserve this?"

I have spent the last week resisting such fist shaking, only to find my thoughts going there anyway.  To avoid a complete about face or an all out personal war, I instead sat with this discomfort.  It has not been easy.  Not at all! The need to know where I am going is powerful.  The desire to be informed and to be reassured that I am making the "right" choices puts knots in my stomach.  Finally, at some point, I let go of knowing what is ahead.  Instead I wanted to just be where I was.  I realized it was doing no good for me to insist on looking ahead when I really wasn't clear on where I was at the moment.  Oh, I had IDEAS, but what did I really understand? So I asked, Where in this mythic structure do I find myself? 

Once I identified where I was, the need to know what to do next did not seem to matter so much.  Interestingly, I discovered the journey doesn't move until I actually stopped at each point along the way.  Trying to skip ahead or accelerate the journey seemed only to stall or set the journey back.  When I allowed myself to accept where I was in this Hero's Journey, I felt the anxiety and worry diminish.  I realized that what was motivating me was the fear associated with the stage I had come to.  Fear can be a powerful resistant force for many of us.  But often we learn that Fear is like the shadow of a bunny--much bigger and darker than the truth.  Fear can always be a hurdle to get over, no matter how big or little the truth it is masking actually is.  However, I have learned that fear is often nourished my by own anxieties. When I reduce the anxiety, the fear seems to become more manageable. Funny how that works.

Do I know now what is to come now?  Not specifically.  But for the moment it doesn't matter.  What matters is I am addressing the issues at hand, which has little to do with the many choices facing me at this particular crossroads.  Once I move through the particular stage of the journey I find myself at now, I suspect the choices before me will be irrelevant.  I may even have moved on from the crossroads without even realizing, the choice being made simply by addressing the current task.   This is the fascinating thing about using myth as guiding tool.  When you open up to the lessons myth can offer, signs and symbols appear all around, to help you along the way.

I highly recommend exploring one's personal path through a mythic lens. It doesn't matter if you use Campbell's outline as he describes it,  mix it up somewhat or if you use Jungian psychology, the tarot, or some other tradition.  What matters is having a tool that offers deeper insight into the active role that myth can play in your life.  When, at times like we are experiencing now, where there is so much confusion and uncertainty, where fear fuels blind action and reflection and insight are obscured by anxiety, it is comforting to have a guiding light.  This is not easy work, but well worth the effort.  Having insight into your journey certainly beats wandering around blindly in the dark.

DoAn
Help in the creation of art, please consider donating! 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 for the purposes of DoAn Art must 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 2005-2011 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.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Necessary Retreat

Sunrise in Braintree, VT
I am now sitting amidst the fog-draped mountains of Braintree, Vermont.  The sun is rising fast, Thayer Brook runs rapidly over rocks recently deposited from the deluge caused by tropical storm Irene.  The leaves are changing colors, almost right before my eyes.  It is a lovely setting to be in.

This weekend I will be attending the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival in Tunbridge, VT where I will be taking a spinning class and immersing myself in all things fiber.

With the arrival of the New Moon, I have decided to spend the week before the festival to do some much needed inner work and contemplation on the direction of my creative career.  It seems I have come to a crossroads and before I just blindly move on, I believe it's necessary to take a moment and access the various options. I may end up choosing the path intuitively, but I want to be sure I am clear and centered when the time to choose comes.

Thayer Brook Road, Braintree, VT

One thing I will be doing this week is exploring the role of myth in this creative journey.  How might mythic stories (ancient and personal) play a role in guiding me forward?  What stage of the journey am I at now? What might be ahead and how should I prepare? How might I help invite ritual into my life and what role can ritual and sacredness play at a time like this?

Questions like these are crucial to my development both personally and creatively. Lately, I feel as though I have not allowed much room to ask these questions.  Sometimes I believe that society has been designed so that we don't ask them, as though, knowing one's self or one's path is something to be avoided.  But I am not fond of fumbling in the dark (for too long), and I most certainly not in favor of treading upon someone else's path.  We are each given unique skills and talents that give our life purpose, and I believe, when we live in accordance to our soul's purpose, we live a successful life.  Once in a while, a slight course correction is needed, and that is where I am now.
September in Braintree, VT


So, I hope in another week or so I will be able to share with you some insights on what comes next for me. Afterall, even though we may be walking our paths on our own feet, we all share the experiences and insights with each other.  Despite how we might feel, I don't believe that we are each an island all to ourselves, but more like facets of one big complex jewel. Each face appears separate, but really cannot exist with the support and structure of all the others.  It is my hope that learning about my journey will help with yours.

More to follow...

DoAn
Help in the creation of art, please consider donating! Just click on the link below:
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Autumn!

Black-Capped Chickadee Needle Felted Wool Sculpture
Happy Autumn to all!

This is always a busy time for me (probably for many creative people).  I find my energy rising, the urge to create grows stronger, after the slow creative sapping drain of summer.  Then, there are the shows!  Last year, I was doing a show a month for over half the year. This year, I decided to take a break. Moving and resettling takes a lot out of me and I'm just starting to feel like I know where I am when I wake. 

I am currently between shows, having just finished showing my work at the Madison County Historical Society's Craft Days in Oneida, NY.  Now I am preparing work for FaeryCon in Hunt Valley, Maryland in early November.   I will be helping out visionary watercolor artist and jewelry maker Helena Nelson Reed in her booth. She has so kindly invited me to bring some of my sculpture to show.  I will be bringing some new pieces that explore the fantasy side of myth, so expect some sparkle in the sculptures!

Since I came back from New York, I have been working on updating my website and adding original paintings and needle felted sculptures that are available for purchase. I will continue to add sculptures throughout the week, and some more after I return from FaerieCon.  I hope that some (if not all) of these pieces find their way to a new home during the holidays.  They are eager to lighten someone's heart or inspire a person to ignite their own passions!  Like teenagers stuck in their homes, the last place my work wants to be is sitting here with me!  You can view the sculpture galleries here: http://www.doanart.com/Sculpture.html

There is also time to order Pet Portrait Sculptures in time for the holidays.  The earlier one places an order the more likely it will be able to fit into my schedule for the crunch of holiday time.  For information on Custom Pet Portrait Sculptures please visit this link: http://doanart.com/Pet_Portraits.html

I have added two more original paintings to my gallery, which are now available for sale, both possessing winter themes:

Winter Deer (watercolor)
Winter Deer, is a quiet study of a stag amidst tall grasses in a heavy snow fall.  I am always impressed with how such a large creature as a deer can exist among the crowded properties of the suburbs, often without being seen.  When I was in central New York, I often wondered how many deer may be standing among the cornstalks, completely silent and undetectable.  This is where the painting Winter Deer came from.

Birch Spirit (watercolor)
Birch Spirit, is a painting I completed while at OAC in Belle, MO.  While there I was impressed with the spirit energy trees possess and I imagined trees having attendant beings that watch over and protect them.  Similar to, I suppose, the dryads of legend.  Each tree species has a particular guardian spirit.  In this case, a luminous white stag with an impressive rack of antlers, was the spirit I imagined walked among a stand of swaying and curious observant birch trees. 

Both paintings are available as originals as well as as prints.  They can be even be custom made into greeting cards, perfect for the holidays!

Perhaps I will see some of you at FaerieCon, but regardless, I'll start being more vigilant about posting more regularly when less energy is directed toward preparing for shows and traveling.  Next week I am off to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival for some inspiration, however,  I am looking forward to getting back to my chakra paintings and working on commissions!  I will have a lot more to share then!

Thank you all for your continued support!
DoAn
Help in the creation of art, please consider donating! 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 for the purposes of DoAn Art must 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 2005-2011 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, August 24, 2011

Exploring the past to know the present

horses on Chauvet Cave wall

I have been keeping myself busy in my studio making needle felted sculptures for the Madison County Historical Society Craft Days in September and for FaerieCon in November, so the blog has been quieter than I like.  However, last night, during a bought of insomnia, I used my time to consider the role myth plays in my art and decided to share some preliminary thoughts on the subject here.  I believe, as I explore this subject further, that I'll have much more to share.  Here's the start...

On my birthday I saw the film Cave of Forgotten dreams, a documentary by Werner Herzog. The director was where he was granted limited access to Chauvet Cave in France that holds in it the oldest cave art ever found, some work dating back 30,000 years! The film was absolutely amazing and really got my mind spinning and creative juices flowing.

Much of my art is inspired by ancient myth, as well as nature. The artwork in the caves were spectacular examples of nature mythified. There was great power in the representations of charging horses and cave lions circling a chamber where a bison-woman drawn on a stalactite suspended in the center of the space. Even in the medium of film, I could sense the intense sacredness and power of such a place.  The artwork was created over thousands of years, early man used the cave and it was used several thousand years later by later humans.  The span of time involved is dizzying to comprehend.  In the midst of the artwork was evidence of the cave being used by cave bear, wolves and other animals, which, to me, united the connection of the artwork to the natural world.

pride of lions on Chauvet Cave wall
When I explore myth through my art, I am always searching for where it intersects with nature. I ask, how can I explore ancient myths in a way that makes them relevant to us now? I could follow the stories as they have been told and retold over centuries, but this doesn't interest me. It has been done and I doubt we truly can know the truths that gave rise to the myths.  Most everything is speculation now, because our lives are so vastly different to those who lived with the myths. Our world has changed since then, our relationships to nature has changed. While the psychological processes may still be relevant, how we can tap into those processes may be different now.

However, after watching this documentary, I suspect the change has not been too tremendous. I can look at the cave art and feel an inner transformation struggling to take place. This art wants to take you somewhere, it wants to help the viewer transcend. The question might be to what? The early humans might have wanted one to transform to a hunter, or unite with nature in some way.  Or, maybe it is a completely different kind of transformation that we have yet to consider.  It may seem like some kind of hocus pocus, fantasy thinking, but in the film, it is clear that even the scientists who studied the cave felt this. One scientist found his whole life change as a result of this time in the cave, redirecting his life to one that incorporated more stillness and involvement with nature.  That is quite a transformation!

Joseph Campbell has said that modern living myth can only be created by the artists and writers of today. We are living in a very soulless time, for we have no living myths to build our lives around. We, as a society, have no sacred rituals that guide us through life's transitions. We are just thrust unto the world and with a pat on the back (if we're lucky), we are left to fend for ourselves. "May the best man or woman win!" seems to be the prevailing attitude.  It may seem that some fare better than others, but I think we all suffer together as a result of the lack of the sacred and of ritual.

How does one make modern myth? I am not sure, honestly.  Our world is changing so fast now that having any kind of perspective is nearly impossible. Campbell looked to outer space as our new frontier, the new dark forest that hides our fears and our potential. However, access to space seems ever more difficult to reach with the ending of the shuttle program. We are left to stare upward through lenses and computers and speculate ever more.

For me, looking back to ancient myth is a starting point. Ancient Irish myths have always fascinated me with their Neolithic structures and symbols. They too looked to space for guidance, what they gleaned from their observations is unclear, but what is clear is that they were very aware of the patterns and cycles of the heavens. So few of us even pay attention to the stars above, and those that do, must gaze through a haze of pollution that blocks out most of what the ancients saw.

Now, the paleolithic is calling to me, pulling me further back in time, where even less is known. What truths can I discover that might inform our lives today and into tomorrow? The stories are lost to us, yet somehow the energy remains. Might I find a way to channel truths this way? Or will what I "discover" just be my own stories superimposed. Can truth be channeled through energy patterns, like digital information is sent over the wireless airwaves?

This is what I am exploring through my art now.  Ancient truths, explored in a modern context.  Perhaps it is good that I cannot really know the actual stories from the ancient myths, perhaps it will allow me to be open to what the universe can teach (whether that universe is the cosmos or the inner worlds).  Will my art contribute to the future of a living mythic tradition?  I am not sure I have the hubris to allow myself to think so, but perhaps it will become part of the fabric, a thread, of a much larger and greater mythic structure that is yet to evolve.  Time will tell...

DoAn
Help in the creation of art, please consider donating! 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 for the purposes of DoAn Art must 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 2005-2011 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.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Entering the Fear

Another set of hot and humid days has sapped my energy and forced me down into the basement to work. I started the day doing quarterly sales tax filing, preparing paperwork for my DBA (Doing Business As) license, and updating my website some more.  This was all rather uncreative work, which started to frustrate me somewhat because despite my low energy due to the weather, I am feeling deeply motivated by the creative work that I am doing now.  However, much of this work requires a large amount of energy and focus, which just isn't possible for me this time of year.

So, I decided instead of getting myself frustrated and waste my limited energy, I spent some time contemplating the nature of work that I am doing.   Rather than talk about the pieces themselves, which are not ready to be shown just yet, I thought it might be interesting to share the process and why I am doing what I am doing. In particular, Why am I exploring the chakras?

After I finished the painting Etain, the fourth in the series of Ancient Irish Goddess-inspired paintings, which explored the elements and energies associated with the different Goddesses.  I realized it was important to balance these paintings with God-inspired paintings and came up with the idea of exploring the masculine energies associated with the elements in paintings that corresponded to the Goddess paintings.

The idea was there, but accessing the masculine has never been a strong skill for me.  Childhood experiences, long forgotten memories began to rise, and with them fears that I thought I had let go of long ago.  I wasn't debilitated by these fears, but I was not certain how to approach the masculine paintings in a way that was not skewed by my past experiences.  I wanted something balanced and also something that was fresh and not just a rehashing of old concepts.  The harder I tried, the further away I got from the concept. I began to feel, oddly enough, disconnected from my own body. 

So the idea to do a series of paintings based on the chakras as a way of balancing my energies and reconnect me to my body again, while I did more research and exploration of the masculine archetypes.  What I didn't expect was how much energy these paintings would demand.  Drafting the knotwork that would comprise a major part of the painting was technically difficult, but the actual energy that went into painting the first piece has been surprisingly intense.

Work on the root chakra has me starting at the base, tapping into the primal energy and, as a result, stirring up the very things that started arising when I approached the masculine archetypes.  It seems that no matter what I work on, I am at a place where these memories, fears, and feelings must be addressed.  So that is where I am.  How will I do it?

Right now, I don't know.  For the time being I am learning to sit with these feelings and just be with them.  It isn't easy.  The adventure begins...

DoAn
Help in the creation of art, please consider donating! 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 for the purposes of DoAn Art must 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 2005-2011 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, July 13, 2011

Summer Inspiration

Recent sketches in my notebooks....


I have been keeping busy despite the heat and humidity that has descended upon the Champlain Valley (and far and wide across the land).  Just before the humidity set in I began to varnish several small pieces and once the humidity passes I will add the final coats of varnish and have some new pieces to post on my website.

On the hottest and most humid days, I have retreated to my room downstairs and began sketching out some ideas for some new pieces.  The Root Chakra painting is progressing well, though, I find I must take frequent breaks to gather my energy, as this painting is asking for a lot of attention and focus.  Taking a break to sketch and draw has been a good balance to the kind of intense focus that the painting has been demanding.  It also allows me to process some of the internal stuff that has been rising while working with Root Chakra energies.

At my most drained moments, I have turned to reading books by Patricia McKillip.  McKillip is an artist's author.  Her writing is so rich with imagery that nearly every page offers inspiration for a piece of artwork.  I have been savoring each of her books one by one, reading them slowly and letting the imagery live in my head.  I have also been enjoying listening to the summer nights.  There is something quitelovely about listening to the sounds of the night in the summer time.  I tend to become a bit of a night owl at this time of year, which is hard for an early bird, who still struggles to get up and moving in the morning.

Unlike many summers past, I am not struggling creatively.  Ideas are flowing and there is a lot to explore.  Now if only my energy level would match the creative urge!

I hope you all are enjoying your summer!

DoAn
Help in the creation of art, please consider donating! 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 for the purposes of DoAn Art must 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 2005-2011 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.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Original Artwork Now Available on DoAnArt.Com

Newly re-designed DoAn Art website
 Over the last month or so I have been revising my website. First I updated the overall look.  I wanted to incorporate a subtle nature theme to the site. It is much closer to what I imagined, however, I am still tweaking the color themes a bit.

After the major redesign, I started to revise each page and adding some new ones. One of these new pages is for original artwork that is available for sale.  Finally, due to some new software available, and thanks also to Paypal, I am able to post work and sell it directly from my site!  You can view the page here: Original Artwork Available. The painting "Sedna" and my "Fox Box" painted box have been listed and are ready for adoption.

Over the next few weeks I will be adding some smaller pieces that are ready to find a new home and in the coming months some larger pieces that are in the works will be posted.  I will post on this blog when new pieces are added to the web page.  Of course, all new work will first be posted on my private blog DoAnArtStudio.blogspot.com.  For a monthly donation (you set the amount) you get access to the private blog where more detailed information about the art I am working on is posted.  Works in progress and completed works are shared on this blog before going public.  Donations can be made through my fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas, just click on the "Donate Online at Fractured Atlas" link below.

I hope you enjoy exploring!

DoAn
Interested in seeing work in progress and newly completed work before everyone else? Please consider donating monthly! Just click on the link below:
Donate now!  
DoAn Art is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of DoAn Art must 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 2005-2011 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.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Custom Pet Portrait Sculptures

"Sassy" with Sassy
During the last two years I have been perfecting my needle-felting skills and now, in addition to making paintings, I create custom ordered pet portraits.  These are one-of-a-kind, hand-made sculptures crafted from wool roving (and sometimes other fibers) which is poked several thousand times with a special barbed needle. When the wool is poked with the needle, it fuses the fibers together (felting) and allows the wool to be shaped in anyway I can image. The process is extremely time-consuming, each sculpture taking between 20 - 30 hours to complete.  The sculptures are amazingly life-like and become wonderful and affordable works of art that can last a life-time. 

The flexibility of the wool allows me to make any breed of dog or cat or any species of animal, such as a pet goldfish or bird.  I try my best to make the sculpture appear as close as possible to the actual animal. Having as many photographs as possible and a good description of the animal is a big help! In some cases I can even felt clippings of your pet's fur to become part of the sculpture.  If the fur is too short or fine for felting, I can enclose the clippings inside the sculpture.  It is an excellent way to memorialize your beloved pet! 

I enjoy creating these little portraits very much.  The bond we have with our pets is, for many of us, one of the strongest in our lives.  Having the opportunity to celebrate that bond between animal and human companion is an honor!  For more information you can visit my website Pet Portrait Sculptures or to order your Custom Pet Portrait Sculpture, please click here: Order Pet Portrait Sculpture

Here are a couple of testimonials from current Pet Portrait owners and customers:
"Henry"
"I wanted something really special to give my friend for her milestone birthday and a felted portrait sculpture of her beloved Basset Hound couldn't have been more perfect.  I sent Antony a couple of photos and he masterfully captured not only the likeness but the soul of her pet.  Antony is not only a gifted artist; he is an intuitive one as well. " P.H.






"Mia"

 "Really amazing work by Antony - several people who knew Mia personally thought the pics of the sculpture were photos of Mia at first glance. I'm truly pleased with the finished piece, so much spirit." P.S.



DoAn
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 for the purposes of DoAn Art must 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 2005-2011 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, June 01, 2011

Climbing the Tree with the Serpent

Beginning the drafting of the World Tree painting
It has been quiet on my part here in the blogosphere, but rest assured I have been keeping very busy.  Now that I am past unpacking and mostly settled in, I have been focusing on integrating into my work and living space.  I am at that stage where I am figuring out the layout, rearranging things when I find that a particular object should be on my right hand side instead of the left, those kind of things. 

In the midst of that I have been working on a painting commission, a pet portrait sculpture and my big project for the year: a series of paintings based on the chakras and the World Tree.

I have drawings for the chakras up through the throat chakra and I am starting work on the brow chakra now.  Sometime during drafting the heart chakra I had a dream that was telling me to connect the world tree with the chakra system.  I woke up puzzled because up until then I had believed them to be totally separate systems. I did some research and found nothing connecting the two.  Then, when I was about to give up I saw a picture of the sephiroth from the Kabbalistic tradition.  This brought to mind some other geometric systems related to the World Tree that I had explored at an earlier time.  And suddenly, without explanation, in a flash of an image in my head, I conceived the relationship between the two systems.  I went back to the studio and pulled out the drawing I had made a year ago.  This drawing was based on a series of meditations I conducted on each point of the world tree. I spent some time meditating in front of it allow the two systems to integrate.  Since then, I have been also working on revising the original drawing and adapting it to this new discovery.

chakra drawings
So now I am working on both the chakras and the World Tree as a whole series which I hope to have completed by the end of the year.  Each of the chakra paintings will require intensive meditative work on the specific chakra energies and I will expand my meditations as I begin painting the World Tree piece.  All the paintings will have some basis in the traditional systems, but I will allow my meditations to expand on them and I will let the final painting be evidence of where the journey finally takes me.

I will periodically share the process as I develop the series. Now that I am getting back into a regular working schedule, I intend to get back to my regular weekly posts.  I appreciate your patience during this time of transition, I hope the series of posts to come will be a welcome reward for hanging in there!

DoAn
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All artwork, photos and text © Copyright 2005-2011 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.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The New Studio

New Studio Space

The move is finally complete. The boxes unpacked.  The walls painted and most everything is in its place. Now I am working on getting back into a routine, which
also means creating again!  Settling in is a lengthy process and I am not quite back up to speed, but this week I feel closer to where I used to be in months.

One of the best aspects of moving is having a separate space devoted to my creative work once again.  It was challenging moving out of a 400 sq. ft. space devoted soley to creating my art, to working in my bedroom.  I managed, but it was difficult.  When I wanted to paint, I would have to pack up my sculpture supplies so I had space to work. When I wanted to work on sculpture, I had to pack up the painting materials. Not to mention the cramped flow of energy when working and sleeping in the same place. Now, I have a table devoted to each.  I feel like I can breathe again.  I am so grateful to some of my dedicated patrons for donating this space for me to work in.  There are not adequate words to express how much this means to me.  I hope in the coming months, the art I produce will help show my sincere thanks for having this space to work in.  Thank you both for your support!  If there really are angels in human form, I think they may be such.

Lian, studio assistant
As you can see in the image, I have my computer table for writing, maintaining my website and blogs, scanning images and editing, etc.  Beside that is my bookshelf holding reference materials, books on art business, and drawing paper. Beside the window is my taboret and drawers containing art supplies. Before the window, my painting table and beside it more drawers and my always full pot of tea.  (Today I brewed a pot of peach rooibos tea...thanks to my Sister for picking it for me!) The next table is my sculpture table, with containers of wool stored below.  Nearby, just off the image is my studio assistant, morale supporter, muse and fellow artist: Lian.  Who is doing very well, after a long adjustment period.  She has healed completely from her surgery and is happy to be snoozing away while I work!  (Thank to all of you who came together to help us through her recent emergency.  Your support, at such a stressful time, was invaluable.  We are so happy to have such great supporters!)

And thank you all for your patience as I make it through this transition time.  Such changes, as good as it is, is draining on the creative energy.  I have many projects and commissions lined up ahead and more ideas are flowing, but the energy required to work on them is slow in coming.  Little by little, it will be replenished, and I am certain with it will come many long (and joyous) hours spent in this beautiful space creating.

DoAn
Help in the creation of art, please consider donating! 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 for the purposes of DoAn Art must 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 2005-2011 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.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Getting Settled

Lian, teaching me how to "get settled"

No matter how good it might be, moving is extraordinarily difficult.

I think I am kind of like a plant. Transplanting must be done carefully, and it cannot be rushed.  It takes me some time to settle into my new space, to let my roots grow and get used to the new environment and attune to its energies.  So now that I have unpacked, I am learning how to navigate within my new living space, how to find my way around the neighborhood, and establish a new routine.  All this is very draining...at least for me it is.

I have been doing a lot of walking.  Walking is a great way to plug into the energy of a space.  I do a lot of sitting and observing. This is hard for a person who likes to be working all the time.  There is a rising anxiety that occasionally wakes me up in the middle of the night.  I panic: where am I? Why aren't I getting more done?  I need to be working!  Then, I get my breathing back to normal and settle back to a fit-full sleep. 

I keep reminding myself that each person has a process, and taking time to connect to a space, to a location, is part of mine.  Today I will be painting the my studio space walls.  This will help with connecting. The plants outside are sprouting and soon it will be time to plant herbs and vegetables, this will help as well.  Gradually, I will find myself aligned with the energies here and making art will be part of the daily routine again. 

DoAn
Help in the creation of art, please consider donating! 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 for the purposes of DoAn Art must 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 2005-2011 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.

Monday, April 04, 2011

A hitch and a plea

Lian, the sad patient awaiting surgery
The boxes are mostly packed and I am getting myself prepared for the next step in my creative life.  I have been reading some mythology books and jotting down ideas and looking forward to getting back to work on my art. I was looking forward to a quieter week where I could tie up some loose ends and collect energy for the move on April 11th.

Then on Friday, Lian and I sat down to clean her teeth, a weekly ritual that she bears quite bravely and offers no resistance.   That's when I noticed that her upper right molar was half gone.  A piece of it was split right past her gum line.  I took her to the vet and after a careful examination the vet gave me a grave look and said Lian would have to have surgery. 
Spring Flowers 2
This is no minor surgery.  Not inherently life-threatening, but potentially problematic. The tooth she broke (and we have yet to figure out how she broke this tooth so badly) is one of her largest teeth with three deep roots.  Several nerves are in the vicinity of this tooth and extracting this large tooth is difficult in such a tiny jaw. Needless to say, I am concerned about lasting effects of this procedure.  But, leaving the tooth in opens her up to dangerous abscesses and infections. Her surgery is scheduled for this Wednesday.

Lian is not only a companion, but a soul-friend, an emotional support and creative inspiration. She has been with me through my efforts to shift my life toward one the fully embraces my creativity.  She has weathered several moves with no complaint. When discouraged, she offers a paw or an enthusiastic lick to lift my spirits. When feeling apprehensive about my creative work, I watched her play with paint and canvas and learned that fear need not interfere with the creative process.  She has taught me that sometimes art can just be plain old fun!

Primrose by Lian Xin
Yes, Lian paints!  While in Cincinnati she was very busy with a whole studio to run around and play in.  After leaving Ohio, her access to paint and canvas was restricted to warm sunny days outdoors. I think she hasn't minded letting me focus more fully on my creative work for a while, as she has been equally content with keeping my lap warm as I work.

When Lian suffers, I suffer.  She is a muse, of sorts, for me.  Like a familiar in ancient traditions, she is a source of power and inspiration.  And this accident comes at a terrible time.  As we make this transition to Vermont, I very much want my loyal friend healthy and happy.  Surgery is a major expense for one who lives on a limited income.  It is my hope that you might consider purchasing some of Lian's paintings or greeting cards, you can help us offset some of these unexpected vet bills.

You can view her artwork on her newly created website: www.faeriedog.com  Links to prints and greeting cards can be found there.  You can also watch a video of her painting.  If I sell each of the paintings listed on the site we will cover the cost of the surgery and medications.  But even one sale will be a big help.  Please share this with anyone you think might enjoy her colorful work.  We really appreciate your consideration to help.

DoAn
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 for the purposes of DoAn Art must 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 2005-2011 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.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spirit of Place

Red Fox Totem by DoAn
As I prepare to move from Central NY to Vermont, I cannot help but reflect on the importance of place in relation to my art.  I have enjoyed my time in Central NY, it has allowed me to discover a love for fiber, a talent for needle-felting and interest in spinning. Living in Central NY has confirmed that living a quieter, less urban life, one with fewer distractions and easier access to nature and living more simply is right for me.  So now, for the third time in my life, I find myself heading to Vermont.  It seems I cannot stay away...maybe the third time is a charm?  Who knows? The only thing I know is not to count on any certainty!

A few weeks ago, before I packed up my paints and paper and canvas, I completed a painting of a fox.  I had been exploring my relationship to animal totems, not based on any particular tradition, but solely through my own experiences in meditation and vision work.  The Fox is a prominent animal in my life, it often appears to me at times of great change, usually in relation to a change in location.  This time has been no exception.  During the time I was considering to move to Vermont I frequently saw a fox running in the fields behind my house or along the road as I drove.   The Fox, serves as a guide for Spirit of Place.  I know, when I see a fox, it means I am in the right place, at the right time, or, as in this case, as I contemplated moving, it reassured me that my decision was the right one.

So to honor the Fox and deepen my connection, I worked on some sketches. I explored the Fox in a less representational way, something more symbolic. The image here was the end result.  When I worked on the painting, I used paint made from the gemstone Serpentine.  I chose the paint as a way to further my meditation as I painted. Serpentine is used to help ground one's energy, clearing away blocks from chakras.  It helps in meditation and draws healing energy to problematic areas, often easing mental or emotional imbalances.   It seemed the right kind of stone to work with at the time. And working on the painting helped give me a sense of control over my situation once more.

I will connect with the Fox again after I arrive in Vermont...as a way of settling into my new space and to honor my good friend, the Fox, who has stayed with me through these many many many moves.

DoAn

Prints and Greeting Cards of Red Fox Totem are available by visiting my Gallery page.

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 for the purposes of DoAn Art must 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 2005-2011 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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