The Looking Tree: StoryStarters #1

The Looking Tree

Obviously, not an Everyday Saints portrait. I’m still doing portraits, but I got hit with an inspiration.

I’m calling these StoryStarters. These are 8″x10″ on watercolor paper, sold very inexpensively with a printed beginning of a story included. The idea being that a parent or grandparent reads the beginning of the story and takes it from there.

Improv storytelling.

Of course the kids can read it too and the story could go in a different direction every time. Plus, an inexpensive frame, put it up on the child’s wall, and you’re encouraging imagination, reading, and a love of art.

I’d love to hear any thoughts, feedback etc. I have several done, but I’m only going to post them one at a time. Enough talk. Here’s the first StoryStarter:

THE LOOKING TREE

Did you know that trees have eyes? Indeed they do. Did you think all those leaves were just for photosynthesis?

No, my friend, those leaves are eyes for looking. Oh, they may not see the same way we do, but see they do. They look. They pay attention. And they know.

They see things we cannot see. What things? Ah, well….

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Saint Ryleigh

Saint Ryleigh

I’ve been wanting to try the two different golds for a while, this is the first time it made sense. I used a Rich Gold for the background, and a Bright Gold inside the halo.

Here’s a quote from Sanaya which I think fits my portrait work:

“Sainthood.  Is that not what you joke about when someone acts in a way that approaches perfection, that includes sacrifices, and is so far above the norm of human behavior that it begs recognition?  Do you know such a person?  All of you contain the potential for such behavior, but do not press yourselves or stress yourselves to achieve such distinction.  You are doing fine just the way you are.  Nothing is expected of you.  You are here to try on different clothes, to experience different roles until you find just the right fit.  Should you stumble along the way and find some of your choices result in ill-fitting outcomes, try again.  If you do not achieve sainthood in this lifetime, all is well.  Shine your light.  That is why you are here.  If your light feels a bit dim, choose differently.  It is that simple.”

Saint Richard

saint richardWhat do you have to do to be a “Saint?”

What if you don’t have a spiritual bone in your body (or so you think)?

What if all you do is work, try to make a living, and have some fun along the way?

Or what if you’re just a selfish no-good bum who doesn’t care about anyone else and causes harm to others?

(Not suggesting that Richard is any of these things!)

You’re still part of the great thing called Life. Your life itself is a sacred thing and worthy of respect. Maybe your behavior isn’t, but your life itself is.

Life demands respect.

Period.

PS — If you’d like to join me in bringing some love to this broken world of ours, consider joining me here.

Saint Rook

Saint Rook

Rook is an artist I met at a powwow. I have no idea whether she is descended from royalty, but she has a tremendous queen-like strength and dignity.

Even if we don’t have Rook’s impressive and gentle presence, it’s good to remember that beneath (above? behind? within?) our physical earth suits we’re all magnificent beings inhabiting this planet, this body, this period of time in an endless journey beyond time and space.

Saint Maggie

Saint Maggie

18 x24″ Acrylic on canvas

The 13th century mystic Meister Eckhart wrote that “love can only be where there is equality.”

That’s how the Everyday Saints series presents people.

As we see the canvases, one after the other, all the same size, all with the stained glass iconography, we’re presented with images that affirm that equality. 

Not the same (any more than any two paintings are the same) but equal. Equally worthy of love. Equally worthy of respect. Equally worth of living and breathing.

It’s easy to agree when we see a precious child like Maggie, but of course the challenges begin as Maggie lives out her life with increasing choices and self determination: through adolescence, into adulthood and finally into old age.

Will she — can she (or you) — ever become less worthy? Or is that respect and worth and love something that follows us all from birth through death?

If you support my work, why not join my community to change the world one face at a time on patreon.com/SpyderWebb. That’s my paid platform where you can actually put bread on the table, paint and canvas in my studio, and help us all celebrate the incredible diversity that is the human family.

Matthew Fox wrote that it’s the job of the artist “to lead us in moving through perilous times of cynicism, boredom and despair.” When you join our Everyday Saints Patreon community, you become one of the leaders so necessary to guide humanity through these times into a more hopeful future.

Saint Bernie

Saint Bernie 8x10

It’s said that the eyes are windows to the soul.

But sometimes it’s wise to block what’s coming in while keeping a sharp awareness of what’s out there. Sometimes it’s wise to protect what we let into our eyes and our soul.

And sometimes it’s good to keep our private sanctuary private, and not let every passer by look in our windows.

But every filter, every wall, every defense works two ways. It keeps out, but it also alters what and how we see.

Just as sunglasses protect the eyes, but alter colors and the full spectrum of our vision.

Or maybe Bernie just has cool shades.

If you support my work, please use patreon.com/SpyderWebb, my paid platform where you can actually put bread on the table, paint and canvas in my studio, and help me make new work.

P.S. I love to transform people into saints using their photos — wouldn’t it be fun to commission a portrait of yourself or a loved one in this style… or maybe even a pet… Hmmm — animal saints, why not?

Saint Keith

Saint Keith 8x10I met Keith on the boardwalk at a beach last year. 

I suppose given recent events some folks might object to a police saint, especially a white male.

But people are people, some closer to one end of the spectrum of exhibiting traits that we admire than others. Some are selfless, thoughtful, dedicated and true heroes. Some aren’t.

Like everybody else. Human, y’know?

If you support my work, please use patreon.com/SpyderWebb, my paid platform where you can actually put bread on the table, paint and canvas in my studio, and help me make new work.

P.S. I love to transform people into saints using their photos — wouldn’t it be fun to commission a portrait of yourself or a loved one in this style… or maybe even a pet… Hmmm — animal saints, why not?

Gwenn Seemel, Artist

GwennImage result for gwenn seemel self portrait

I haven’t met Gwenn, we haven’t spoken on the phone or exchanged emails, and as far as I know, she is not even aware of my existence. And yet she has been a source of inspiration, encouragement to be my own quirky self, and the cause of some wonderful deep thinking.

As an artist, she has a completely unique style, one that reminds me of my dot paintings from many years ago, without being anything like them.

Well, let me explain. The inspiration behind my multi layered dot paintings was that we and all that surrounds us, and in fact everything in the universe, is all made up of these tiny vibrating, dancing packets of energy.

Gwenn’s style is made up of many layers, little marks, broad strokes, all woven into a lively colorful piece that fairly dances with energy, and more than that, with joy. Every part of the surface is filled with this glorious frenzy of life and mutually entwined with every other part of the artwork.

It’s magnificent.

But more than that, she is brutally honest about her life, her struggles, and absolutely ready to share what she thinks about everything from copyright (she’s against it) to sex (she’s for it).

So I want to encourage you to go to her website, gwennseemel.com and spend some time with her art and her vlogs (in English and French — I don’t know how she finds the time to do them and paint as much as she does!).

Lastly, I want to encourage you to jump over to her Patreon page (patreon.com/gwenn) and become a patron/supporter. Someone like Gwenn doesn’t come along very often, and supporting her in a tangible way would just be a good thing for the world.

That’s how we can become patrons of the arts like modern day Medicis and make a difference in today’s world.

And if you support my work, please use patreon.com/SpyderWebb, my own paid platform where you can actually put bread on the table, paint and canvas in my studio, and help me make new work.

P.S. I love to transform people into saints using their photos — wouldn’t it be fun to commission a portrait of yourself or a loved one in this style… or maybe even a pet… Hmmm — animal saints, why not?

Saint Chrissie

Saint Chrissie

“Do you look in the mirror and cringe?  What a disservice you do to God.  You are created in the image of the Creator.  By this we do not mean the physical likeness—we mean the very essence of The One, which is love, caring, compassion, intelligence, self-awareness.  The human form takes many shapes, sizes, and expressions, as do flowers, as do puppies, giraffes, and all of God’s creatures.  It is the human way to judge.  It is God’s way to love.  Is it any wonder you have discord and disease when so many judge instead of valuing and recognizing your innate divinity?  The mirror is a tool—an opportunity for you to see that which lies on the surface is equally as valued as what lies in the depths.”

— From Sanaya (www.SanayaSays.com)

We’re so often told to ignore what lies on the surface, but Sanaya turns it completely around. It is precisely our variety, the richness of our diverse physical forms that should be appreciated, and celebrated as an expression of the divine.

That’s what Everyday Saints is all about. Celebrating life.

If you support my work, please use patreon.com/SpyderWebb, my paid platform where you can actually put bread on the table, paint and canvas in my studio, and help me make new work. That’s what will really help.

P.S.

I love to transform people into saints using their photos — wouldn’t it be fun to commission a portrait of yourself or a loved one in this style!