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Showing posts from 2017

Cygnus at Vashon's Holiday Art Studio Tour

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"Cygnus"  Monotype Print Cygnus is among the most recognizable and brightest constellations in the Northern sky from June to December.   Look up. Of course those are heavenly wings spread; a beak and tail!   Yes, I see a swan! According to Ovid, Cygnus was a close friend, maybe lover, of Phaethon.   Phaethon died (by his grandfather Zeus’s lightening bolt) when he recklessly scorched the earth while driving the family’s (Sun) chariot. Poor Cygnus’s grief for his beloved transformed him into a swan fearful of fire from heaven and so he chose to live in damp marshes, lakes and rivers. “As he mourned, his voice became thin and shrill, and white feathers hid his hair. His neck grew long, stretching out from his breast, his fingers reddened and a membrane joined them together. Wings clothed his sides, and a blunt beak fastened on his mouth. Cygnus became a new kind of bird: but he put no trust in the skies, or in Zeus, for he remembered how that god had unjustly hurled

Masters in Miniature

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 VCA's Koch Gallery presents: The 11th Annual Masters in Miniature Exhibition   Small works of art encourage us to get up close and personal with the piece. Once we are drawn in we are often surprised by the unexpected. That's one of the inspirations behind the Vashon Center for the Arts Koch Gallery 11th Annual Miniature Exhibition.    Below is "Morning" (6x6 in.)  One of several images I have in this show Show. The exhibition showcase works by over 30 Island artists. On view December 1-22, 2017 

Sacred Circles

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  "Isfahan" Ltd Edition Giclee Print 6.5 x 6.5 in. Sacred Circles The circle is said to represent wholeness, softness, completion, inclusion, the life cycle, heaven-hell and eternity. That’s a lot to embody for a seemingly simple shape! Circles are sacred symbols for a reason.  Circles are a natural, physical phenomena that best describe our round planet circling the light of a round, life-giving sun.  Earth’s cycle, as circle, occurs over, over and again in the myriad planet, star, relationships of our expanding universe.  Scientists who look at the spiral building blocks of nature, our DNA, find stacked interlocking circles. From the whorls of our fingertips, the irises of our eyes, to our cells and the egg that gave each of us life, we are manifestations of the circle. My images about circle reflect the symbolic nature of circle.  Their names reference the sacred sites, temples, cathedrals that more often than not were built and built again upon already sacre

Hades and Persephone "Hades Takes a Wife"

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"Hades Takes A Wife"  Rust print on vintage linen over panel, 36 x 28 in. "Hades Takes A Wife" depicts the abduction of Persephone by Hades; the first act in the Greek foundation myth explaining the cycles of nature and symbolizing the cycle of life and rebirth. Hades ruled the Underworld alone and desired a Queen to rule with him.  He fell in love with Persephone but knew Persephone’s mother Demeter, goddess of harvest and fertility, would never consent to his proposal.  So, Hades appealed to a higher power, his brother Zeus (Persephone’s Father) who agreed to the union but foresaw Demeter’s objections. Together they decided Hades would steal Persephone from her mother. One day while Persephone picked meadow flowers a cavern opened at her feet and Hades took her down, down to his Underworld Kingdom.  Demeter frantically searched the world for her lost daughter but of course she was no longer of the world.  Eventually she discovered what had really happened but

The Temple of Forgetting

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"The Temple of Forgetting" Rust Print on linen over panel, 41 x 33 in. Lethe’s Temple, "The Temple of Forgetting", has its foundations in a river.  In early Greek myth, Lethe was one of five rivers that flowed through the subterranean Kingdom of Hades.  Souls who passed into Hades had need to forget the suffering they had endured, or perhaps, the torment they had inflicted.  So, if a soul were ever to achieve peace, the dead would drink from its water in order to forget their earthly life and the river Lethe would wash away the memory of physical reality. Myths evolve and Lethe the river was eventually personified as Goddess.  Lethe the Goddess became synonymous with forgetting.  Lethe is the root word of lethargy meaning weariness, lassitude, and fatigue. Please view “The Temple of Lethe”, a Rust Print Assemblage, at my studio, stop #5, on the  2017 Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour , December 2-3 & 9-10 (Saturdays and Sundays) 10am to 4pm.

Gemini

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Many Greek and Roman myths tell of the twin brothers Castor and Pollux. They are known as the Dioscuri in Greek and as Gemini or Castores in Latin. The brothers shared Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece in the Argonautica and they’re the familial heroes when Theseus and Pirithous abducted their sister Helen. Though their mother was Leda, Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, King of Sparta, and Pollux was the divine son of Zeus who had seduced Leda in the guise of a swan. They are sometimes said to have been born from an egg or eggs, along with their twin sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra. Castor was killed in a family feud after he and Pollux fell in love with and abducted Phoebe and Hilaeira, consorts of their cousins Lynceus and Idas.  Pollux asked his father Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini.  Sharing also meant they had to spend equal time in the underworld.  This divisio

Eve Modeling Ready to Wear, "The Garden Collection"

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  "Every myth has a mother, some more stylish than others...  Hebraic myth doth suggest that Eve dressed better than the rest." Welcome to the runway!  The first two weekends in December, 2-3 & 9-10, Goddess Eve will be modeling Ready to Wear, "The Garden Collection"! Step Out, Step Up, YOU CAN SEE THE SHOW!  Stop #5, Brian Fisher Studio, when Vashon Island Artists throw open doors, windows, yards and yardarms in welcome during the Vashon Island Art Holiday Studio Tour!!

Dryad

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This is "Dryad", a collograph print depicting my vision of a wood spirit or nymph.   In Greek drys signifies "oak". Thus, dryads are the nymphs of oak trees, though the term has come to be used for all tree nymphs in general.   Traditionally dryads are female and in myth are often pursued by another woodland creature, the Satyr.  But I thought why should they have all the fun, or unwanted attention, so my dryad is male and experiencing a seasonal change.  "Dryad" is currently showing at Roby King Gallery on Bainbridge Island Washington, November 3-27, 2017.

The Willow Men

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"The Willow Men," another of my Green Man myth interpretations is currently showing at Roby King Gallery on Bainbridge Island, November 3-27-2017.    The Green Man myth represents a union of humanity and the vegetative world.  He is the sacrificial human connection to the plant cycle of birth, reproduction, revitalization and resurrection. Known by many names through time and a spectrum of cultures, including but not limited to: Osiris, Dionysus, Orpheus, Adonis, Cernnunos, Khidir etc… He is the god born to sacrifice and through his union with the goddess to be born again.  I think that this myth is particularly appealing because the Green Man's seasonal life mirrors our own limited mortality. "The Willow Men" image is a Collograph. The plate from which it was printed was made by using acrylic medium to attach paper that I had previously embossed to a plexiglass plate.  Any texture thin en

Roby King Exhibition

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Artist Denise Kester and I shared a wonderful opening at Roby King Gallery on Bainbridge Island Saturday evening.  We are each inspired by myth and pursue our own personal take on that seen and imagined world in monotype and in paint.  Thank you Andrea and Wes, gallery curators and owners, for thinking to pair the two of us and for the opportunity to show with Roby King again!   Check us out!  Our work will exhibit from November 3-25-2017.  You may preview my contribution to our show here: Brian Fisher Prints and Paintings

Guardian

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"Guardian" oil on canvas, 28 x 24 in. Guardian is one of two paintings among many prints in my exhibit at Roby King Gallery on Bainbridge Island, November 3-27.  I was inspired to reinterpret my monotype print "Guardian" in paint when I read these words from one of my favorite poets, Billy Collins. "It is hard to speak of these things how the voices of light enter the body and begin to recite their stories how the earth holds us painfully against its breast made of humus and brambles how we who will soon be gone regard the entities that continue to return greener than ever, spring water flowing through a meadow and the shadows of clouds passing over the hills and the ground where we stand in the tremble of thought taking the vast outside into ourselves." from the poem “Directions” by Billy Collins "The entities that continue to return," are symbolized in the Nyads, Kodama, and Green Men.

Spirit of the Woods

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"Spirit of the Woods" monoprint with gold leaf,  8 3/4 x 25 in. My Monoprint “Spirit of the Woods” shows at Roby King Gallery , November 3-27, 2017, when Denise Kester and I exhibit our personal interpretations of myth in print and paint.  My work is about the myths I’ve been exploring: vegetative deities like Europe's “Green Man”, Japan’s “Kodama” and the Greek myths about Goddesses Demeter and Persephone. I grew up on the high plains of northwestern Kansas.  Demeter would be at home there where grain (wheat and corn) rules, but unless they are planted and nurtured, trees there are rare.  Perhaps that is why I've always recognized what is special and sacred in trees and why I am drawn to these ancient vegetative stories that exist across cultures. "The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it afford

BARN Monotype Workshop

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Ilse Reimnitz and I shared Monotype Print techniques with an incredible group of print curious artists at BARN , (Bainbridge, Artisan Resource Network) last weekend.  I came away inspired by what we made together, by those who organized our wonderful weekend and the creative space that so beautifully supports artists pursuing many paths and print medium and workshops like ours in particular.  Thank you!

Midsummer's Day Dream

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“Midsummer’s Day Dream”, Monotype Print with gold leaf I live in a forest, a wood, a copse, or something like that.  Maybe it’s a wield?  It’s not quite "Forest Primeval."  The Cedar and Douglas Fir that surround my home/studio are only a century plus old but they are magnificent.  I admire their green, their grey, their loft and all year long I listen to their voices.   They are vocal!  They are often even musical, though I fear those voices in Fall and Winter when the seasons bend and break them.  In Spring when the wind is constant, so are their soothing voices.  In verdant Summer, they are heavy, still, can sigh and sometimes they snore.  I imagine they dream. My Monotype, “Midsummer’s Day Dream”, will show at Roby King Galleries, November 3-27, 2017, when Denise Kester and I exhibit our personal interpretations of myth in print and paint.

Kodama

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Brian Fisher, "Kodama"  Monotype print with gold leaf, 12 x 12 in. Indigenous cultures around the world revered special trees or rocks or unique aspects of their homelands.  Japanese myth speaks of Kodama, deities who dwell within or among the trees and groves they protect.  One of the oldest references to the Kodama is the book Wamuryorui Jyusho or Japanese Names for Things; written 931 – 938 CE.  In this dictionary Kodama are defined as spirits of the trees . Early Japanese lore described the Kodama as either invisible or indistinguishable from trees but over time Kodama took on human aspect.  There are stories of Kodama falling in love with humans and assuming human shape to be with their beloved much like the Greek myths of Dryads, humans and gods. My monotype "Kodama" was made for exhibition at Roby King Galleries November 3-27, 2017 where Denise Kester and I will display our individual interpretations of myth in print and paint.

Coyotes, Cougars and Bears, Oh My! The Animal Parade

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My Monotype Print "Animal Parade" with several other animal themed rust prints and collographs  are currently part of the Vashon Heron's Nest exhibit "Coyotes, Cougars and Bears, Oh My!" You may love or fear the wild but you have to deal with it when you have chosen to live on Vashon.   This mercurial subject is explored this September by Margaret Tylczak, Paula Allegrina and Brian Fisher at the Heron's Nest Gallery, 17600 Vashon Hwy SW Vashon Island, WA.

Monster at Northwind Arts Center

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I’m a bit obsessed with all things Labyrinth.  The Minotaur and the Labyrinths' physical geometry have been elements of personal curiosity and visual exploration for many years.  I am not sure why this particular Hero's Journey appeals to me but I return to it over and again.  Jorge Luis Borges’s short story “La casa de Asterión” is a compelling contemporary and sympathetic take on this ancient story.  The tittle of my Rust Monotype “Monster” references Asterion, the Minotaur,  as  Borges describes him, “a prisoner of his own loneliness, his otherness, his condition of monster”. “Monster” will be exhibited in the 2017 Expressions Northwest at Northwind Arts Center, 701 Water Street, Port Townsend, Wa.  The exhibit opens 11:30 August 3rd and closes at 5:30 on August 27.  The Exhibition’s junior, Susan Warner will speak on August 5 during Port Townsend's Art Walk Evening.

Art for Sale at Waldron Design Studio

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"Art for Sale" Donna Romero and I share a venue during the Vashon 1st Friday Art Walk, August 4th, 6PM-9PM courtesy of Rachel Waldron at Waldron Design Studio (17530 Vashon HWY SW).  You will find us a short flight up the stairs in the former law offices of Bergman and Pageler.  So, if you want to buy our wares, follow us and climb the stairs, "Art for Sale"

Spring 2017, Vashon Island Art Studio Tour

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I'm matting and framing today in preparation for the second weekend of the Vashon Island Art Studio Tour.  The first weekend was well attended with good sales!

Sacred Circle

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Brian Fisher, Sacred Circles- Mallorica, Pazzi, York, digital collage The circle is said to represent wholeness, softness, completion, inclusion, the life cycle, heaven-hell and eternity. That’s a lot to embody for a seemingly simple shape! Circles are sacred symbols for a reason.  Circles are a natural, physical phenomena that best describe our round planet circling the light of a round, life-giving sun.  Earth’s cycle, as circle, occurs over, over and again in the myriad planet, star, relationships of our expanding universe.  Scientists who look at the spiral building blocks of nature, our DNA, find stacked interlocking circles. From the whorls of our fingertips, the irises of our eyes, to our cells and the egg that gave each of us life, we are manifestations of the circle. My images about circle reflect the symbolic nature of the shape.  Their names reference the sacred sites, temples, cathedrals that more often than not were built and built again upon already sacred sites.

The Green Man

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Brian Fisher, "The Green Man", Monotype Print with Gold Leaf, 10 x 29 in. The Greenman by XTC   Please to bend down for the one called the Greenman He wants to make you his bride Please to bend down for the one called the Greenman Forever to him you're tied And you know for a million years he has been your lover He'll be a million more And you know for a million years he has been your lover Down through the skin to the core Heed the Greenman Heed the Greenman Please to dance round for the one called the Greenman He wants to make you his child Please to dance round for the one called the Greenman Dressed in the fruits of the wild And you know for a million years he has been your father He'll be a million more And you know for a million years he has been your father Run to his arms at the door Lay your head, lay your head, lay your head, lay your head on the Greenman Lay your head, lay your head with mine Lay your head, lay y

The Pull of the Earth

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Brian Fisher, "The Pull of the Earth" 84x60 in.  oil on canvas, 1985 Haikus on Gravity by Philip Hart For the weakest force, A simple poem form, for the Least understood force. The sun does not set, Leaving the world in darkness - The world turns away. To move forward, you Must lift yourself from the ground And let yourself fall.   Only the weakest Of the four forces directs The paths of the stars.   The moon falls earthward, The earth falls into the sun, And both keep missing.   Puffy, lazy clouds - Daring gravity to do Something about it.   Her body bends light, Pulls on the planets and stars - How should I resist?  I've been making images of Green Men and tree people for as long as I can remember, at least since I first read J. R. Tolkien's descriptions of Fangorn forest and it's tree shepherds.  This painting, The Pull of the Earth is from a series that explored relationship, desire and the mysterious force that is physical attraction.  If every o

Albus Darach, The Green Man

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My Green Man Albus Darach is a more traditional representation of the Green Man, or "foliate head” of the British Isles.  You may find Albus Darach in my Studio, no.16 with his Green Man collograph print siblings, during the Vashon Island Art Studio Tour, May 6-7 & 13-14, 2017. Darach is Gaelic for "Oak tree.” Around him you can see the leaves and acorns of the tree and rectangular portals representing passage, change or transformation.  The Oak is almost synonymous with strength, steadfastness and historically is associated with the sacred groves and forests of of the Druids. The Roman Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus lived in Gaul during the 1st century CE and wrote that Druid priests performed all their religious rites in Oak groves, where they gathered mistletoe from the trees with a golden sickle.  Dense forests of Oak covered most of Northern Europe at that time and the tree's human-like attributes of trunk/body, branches/arms, twigs/fingers, and sap/bloo

Katsura, The Green Man

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Katsura is my Green Man collograph named for the beautiful Katsura tree, native to China and  Japan.  Please visit Brian Fisher Studio and Katsura during the Vashon Island Art Studio Tour May 6,7-13-14. This Green Man is inspired by the mythic Japanese Kodama, spirit guardians and animated souls of the mountain forests of Japan.  Kodama spirits are revered by Japanese as gods and protectors  of trees. The Kodama bless the land around their forest with fertility.  The villagers who find Kodama inhabited trees designate them with sacred rope known as a Shimenawa.   Japan honors nature and these sacred Kodoma spirit trees are often found within the grounds of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.

Baobab, The Green Man

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Baobab is Africa's tree and also what I have named my Green Man collograph. Baobab trees are  indigenous to 31 African countries.  Because the Baobab has a fibrous bark  and has no tree rings, it’s not clear how long the tree lives, though experts say a Baobab may live for 500 years, others estimate as many as 2000! By any standard the Baobab is the living elder of plants on a continent which reveres elders. Many myths and legends are associated with the Baobab.  Stories of the mischievous spirits that reside within them were collected by  explorers of East and West Africa in the early twentieth century.  In the Northern Cape Province of South Africa some people still believe wood spirits inhabit the flowers of the Baobab and it's said that those who pick them will be eaten by lions! In many African communities the tree is recognized as a deity who has decided to live among humans. Village life and it's rituals are celebrated beneath it.  In Burkina Faso, a mournin

Banyani, The Green Man

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This is my Green Man collograph, Bayani.  Visit him during the Vashon Island Art Studio Tour, the first two weekends in May 6-7 & 13-14, 2017. Banyani was inspired by a Philippine creation, vegetation/resurrection myth.  This story is interesting because it involves a combination of three gods to bring mankind into this world. One, Bathala, (caretaker of the earth), battles, kills and burns the second, his challenger, Ululant Kaluluwa, (sky serpent, orphaned spirit), befriends and loves the third, Galang Kaluluwa, (winged, wandering spirit).  Upon the peaceful death of and request by Galang Kaluluwa, Bathala buried Galang’s body where the serpent god Ululant Kaluluwa had once been killed and burned. From their common grave grew a tall tree with a large round nut, the coconut palm.  Its’ leaves looked like the wings of Galang Kaluluwa, but the trunk was sinuous like the the serpent Ulilang Kaluluwa. When Bathala husked the nut he found what looked like two eyes, a nose,

Atticus, The Green Man of Attica

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The mythic Green Man represents a union of humanity and the vegetative world.  He is the sacrificial human conduit and connection to the plant cycle of birth, reproduction, revitalization and resurrection. Known by many names, through time and a spectrum of cultures, including but not limited to: Dionysos, Orpheus, Osiris, Adonis, Cernnunos, Khidir etc… he is the god born to sacrifice and through his union with the goddess to be born again.   Historically, his seasonal incarnation was worshiped locally.   My print Atticus (man of Attica) celebrates the area of Greece that includes the region centered on the Attic peninsula that projects into the Agean Sea , encompass ing the city of Athens, capital of Greece.  Atticus is the first of many Collograph images I have made to celebrate The Green Man.

Collagraph, Collograph!

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Artist Valerie Willson shared her approach to collograph in a couple wonderful workshops at Vashon's Quartermaster Press.  We attached thin materials like paper and cloth to plexiglass plates with gloss acrylic medium and created texture with modeling paste.  The result was a very sturdy collograph plate. Inspired by what I learned, I've been exploring the process in a series of prints about myth in nature.  Here is a drawing and collograph plate of "Atticus," from my Green Man series. Collagraph, collograph, no matter how you spell it, refers to a collage of materials glued to a substrate to create a printable plate.  Ink may be applied to the high surfaces of the plate with a brayer, like a relief print, or ink may be applied to the entire plate and then removed by wiping from the upper surfaces leaving ink between and around collage elements, resulting in an intaglio print.  I now employ both methods when making my own collographs.  Below is a detail that

Monotype Workshop

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Prints by Lynn McClain and Janice Campbell Ilse Reimnitz and I teach a monotype workshop one or two times a year.  It is always fun to share this print process with others and spend creative time with Ilse.  Above and below are a few examples from our April 2017 workshop.   Each was made using oil base etching inks over a smooth plexiglass plate and printed in layers with a Takach etching press. Prints by John Riley and Lou McBride

Byzantium

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"Byzantium"  Oil on canvas,  15 3/4 x 39 3/4 in. My painting takes it’s name f ro m the ancient city of Byzantium, at the confluence of trade between the Aegean and Black Sea, founded in 667 by Byzas of Megara, Greece.  It would in the course of history become Constantinople, (324 AD), the Eastern capitol of the Christian, Roman Empire and eventually the seat of the Muslim, Ottoman Caliphate, (1453 AD). Today it is called Istanbul and a remarkable city that is representative of what is past, passing and to come. This painting is inspired by Yeats vision of a layered but fixed world that is artificial, unchanging, where ornament or object are perhaps the ideal incarnation of the soul.  These lines from his poem “Sailing to Byzantium”, in particular, are a reference for my painting “Byzantium”. Once out of nature I shall never take My bodily form from any natural thing, But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make Of hammered gold and gold enameling To keep a dr

The Persephone Cycle, Part 1

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Above is my Collograph about the myth of Persephone and Demeter, named “The Persephone Cycle.” Image size, 18x18 in.  It’s on display at Hinge Gallery  in March, April  during the Quartermaster Press Print Show:  Life-Cycle  and during the "Vashon Island Art Studio Tour" at Brian Fisher Studio, map #16. Part 1: The Myth of Persephone and Demeter    Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, Goddess of fertility, harvests, and perhaps the earliest version of a Great Earth Goddess except for Rhea, her own mother.  Beautiful, virginal, Persephone was Demeter’s daughter by Zeus and the maternal focus of her life. Hades, Persephone’s uncle, fell in love with his young niece and decided that he would have Persephone for his bride but knew that Demeter would never approve of such an arrangement.  So, Hades colluded with Zeus, her father, his brother, who agreed to a secret “union” and to his plans for Persephone’s abduction. One day Persephone w

The Persephone Cycle, Part 2

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Left: Plate for Persephone cycle series of prints  Right: "Persephone Cycle II" Part 2: The Myth of Persephone and Demeter When Zeus could no longer ignore the suffering of mankind.  He sent Hermes as emissary to negotiate Persephone’s return to her mother.  Hades reluctantly agreed to her release and in parting gave Persephone, who had eaten nothing since her abduction, a pomegranate.  This apparent act of kindness was instead a deception and curse.  Anyone who eats the food of Hades must remain in his realm.  Persephone ate only a few seeds but that was enough for Hades to make the legitimate claim that she must remain with him. Finally, Rhea, the mother of Zeus, Demeter and Hades, proposed a compromise. Persephone would have to stay with Hades in the Underworld for six months each year. The rest of the year, she would be allowed to ascend to Earth and live with her mother.  Hades would have Persephone as a consort and Demeter

Daphne, Want the Change at CVG Show

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Want the Change Want the change . Be inspired by the flame where everything shines as it disappears. The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much as the curve of the body as it turns away. What locks itself in sameness has congealed. Is it safer to be gray and numb? What turns hard becomes rigid and is easily shattered. Pour yourself out like a fountain. Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins. Every happiness is the child of a separation it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel, dares you to become the wind. Rainer Maria Rilke My "Daphne," an oil on canvas over panel, who runs towards change and away from someone or something that she  perceives as inescapable (without change,) is on exhibit in:  The 2017 Wahington State Juried Art Competition (The CVG Show). Jan. 21- Feb. 25, Wed.  11 AM-5 PM, Sat & Sun. 12-4 PM.,  Co