As you may have noticed over the past couple of years, I use more and more symbols in my art, some more subtle than others. They are particularly obvious in my Abstract and EMPOWERED collections of paintings and drawings. I want to share with you many of the symbols that you will see repeatedly used throughout my art as well as their meanings. Some of the symbols are well know and others are one's that I've created myself that provide a particular mood and feeling to the artwork that lends to the positive, uplifting and inspiring message I hope my artwork always invokes.
You will also notice that some of the traditional symbols have been slightly modified to fit in with my own personal style :) Like arrows added onto the end of straight lines, flip flopping the symbols, adding additional lines and outlines, etc. I've also taken symbols from numerous different religions, mythologies, and more...because I like to use that which fits in with the theme and mood of each painting.
Some of the different sources and definitions from where I gather symbolic inspirations.
Means "listen within" from the zibu angelic language of symbols. Zibu angelic symbols were created by Debbie Zylstra Almstedt during a Reiki session in 2002. She claimed to have experienced a communication from a group of Angelic Guides. Each Zibu Angelic Symbol is an interpretation of a message from Angelic Guides. A seemingly sub category of Celtic symbolism.
For centuries, Celtic symbols and signs held incredible power for the ancient Celts in every way of life.
The word "Celtic" refers to people who lived in Britain and Western Europe from 500 BC and 400 AD. Celts were of the Iron Age and lived in small villages which were led by warrior chiefs.
The written records remaining from the Celts of Europe are scant, therefore signs and symbols can be hard to determine and trace. Many facts come by way of the Romans, who conquered the Celtic lands during the rise of the Roman Empire.
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
I will be working on creating some of the symbols associated with Chakra soon!
Many of these different teachings and ways of life overlap one another as they have throughout the centuries. You will see these, and others as I find, and create, new inspirational symbols throughout my artwork. I hope you enjoy looking for them and feeling inspired by the energy and life that they provide through my art. I will add to this blog post as new symbols are introduced into my art.
I'm very excited to announce my newest gallery partnership with the Ocean Art Gallery in Flagler Beach, Fl! I've been following Ocean Art on social media and have been impressed with their display of diverse artists who compliment each other and the gallery itself. I knew I had to meet with the owner Frank and discuss representation and I'm excited to say I will be joining their amazing roster of artists! Nothing can compare to seeing artwork up close and in person and I believe Ocean Art Gallery is the perfect place in Flagler County, and the surrounding area, for collectors and new fans to see my original PoP Art Style paintings, including "Ocean Fury" shown here.
So if you are in the North East Coast Area of Florida (Flagler Beach, Daytona Beach, St Augustine, etc.) or planning a visit, be sure to stop by and see my art in person, the staff is super friendly and amazingly helpful!
Ocean Art Gallery: 206 Moody Blvd.(SR 100), Flagler Beach, FL 32136
Today isn't just about being a feminist and fighting for our rights and freedoms, it's about empowering all women to believe in themselves and the choices they make. We can't know every womans situation, what struggles she goes through each and every day, but we can support all women and be a support system for one another.
As women we do have unique issues and struggles that men will never experience, whether it is physical, emotional or put upon us by society. In order to overcome or be able to safely and unapologetically deal with these issues we need to be there for each other, open our eyes and hearts to understand the challenges other women face, even if not what we are personally dealing with. Women in Arab countries have different struggles than women in Asian countries, and women in America have different issues that are important to them than women in Africa, we all are different, but at the same time we are all Women and need to be there for one another.
Most importantly we need to raise our young women to be strong, independent, and kind hearted, to not allow others to determine the course of their future or to force them into slavery or abuse at the hands of someone physically stronger than them, we can overcome that with education and empathy. We each can stand up for ourselves and for other women at the same time. Each and every time we speak out against misogyny and the oppression of women in any situation we are standing up for someone who may not be able to, we are empowering women to believe in themselves and fight for what is important to them. Even if their goals as a woman and their fight is different than yours, it is no less important and we all deserve to have a voice.
Today is a day to honor ALL women, not just the women we agree with politically, but all women across the world. Let's be a support system that we can turn to at any time of need, no matter what that need is, I encourage you to open your heart and your mind to women voicing their concerns, to really listen to what they are saying and why they feel the need to speak out. Let today be the start of a new era where women truly support one another as women, not as a political talking point; let us be here for one another and every day hereafter ~ We are Strong, We are United and We are Women!!
In honor of Susan Butcher day in Alaska, the first Saturday of March, I wanted to share my painting "The Pioneer" featuring Susan and her infamous musher dog Granite. "The day coincides with the traditional start of the Iditarod each year. Observing the special day, the bill noted, provides opportunity for people to “remember the life of Susan Butcher, an inspiration to Alaskans and to millions around the world.” (Wikipedia)
As a fellow Alaskan, having grown up in one of the most remote places on the planet, totally living off the grid with my four siblings and parents, and 30+ dogs, I can relate to the challenges and lifestyle of Susan and wanted her to be one of the first paintings in my "Women Warriors" series from my EMPOWERED collection. My sister Tara, who still lives in this same remote part of Alaska, has an Alaskan blog called "Alaska for Real" and writes columns for Capital City Weekly. Her most recent blog post, and column, were all about my childhood and my new "Women Warriors" series of art and of course Susan Butcher.
As part of the EMPOWERED Collection my "Women Warriors" series will feature strong women from history, whether the past or present, and also female characters that epitomize strength, grace and inspiration. Women who don't take no for an answer and offer society inspirational goals and a "can do" attitude, not letting anything hold them back. They are "warriors" who have fought the battle of feminism/misogyny and forged an easier path for all of us to continue to make headway towards equality. Whether that was their goal or not, they are still a part of our history towards gender equality and I want to celebrate their spirit through my art. The symbols you see throughout the painting have meanings of strength, power, true love, embracing life and so much more that epitomize these inspiring women and how they empower others.
Susan Butcher fits perfectly as a Woman Warrior, her indomitable spirit and "can do anything" attitude is an inspiration to many women. "...Butcher won the [Iditarod race] in 1986, and then proceeded to win again in 1987, 1988, and 1990. She held the Iditarod speed record from 1986 until 1992, breaking her own records in 1987 and 1990. Her other speed records included the Norton Sound 250, Kobuk 220, Kuskokwim 300, and the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. She retired from competition in 1995. Her accomplishments gained her substantial media attention in the late 1980s and earned her many awards, including the "National Women's Sports Foundation Amateur Athlete of The Year Award" and the "Tanqueray Athlete of the Year." She also won the "U.S. Victor Award" for "Female Athlete of the Year" two years in a row. In 2007 Susan was inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame as one of the five charter members in the inaugural class." (Source: Wikipedia)
I was fortunate enough to have met Susan while attending Kayhi (Ketchikan High School) in Alaska in the 80's; she gave an after school greet and meet and I wasn't about to miss out! I remember thinking how amazing she was to dominate such a hard core sport that is considered the toughest race on earth, whether it's a man or a woman at the helm. I left her speech that day feeling inspired and empowered as a woman, something that is so important for young women to feel...to know that we can do and be anything we want, that gender shouldn't be a qualifier for any sport that men and women can equally do well. This was one of the first times I felt empowered to be a woman, and it has stuck with me to this day.
What I love about Susan is that she is also from Alaska and dominated a male sport, and really in such a way that it wasn’t even about her being a woman, she just loved mushing and wanted to race. She didn’t come across as someone who had something to prove, that she was better than any of the men, just that she WAS the best, and she had a passion for what she did. So many of the women warriors I’m painting are similar in this way.
What makes Susan really stand out, is that she never labeled herself as a feminist, but still inspired and empowered many women just by being herself, including me, to go after our dreams and fight for what we want...no matter what. Susan just loved what she did and was going to do it regardless, and continued to do it year after year, and win. You can tell just by looking at some of her pictures that she loved what she did and loved her life, always smiling and free-spirited, while being strong and independent, she was a total bad-ass without even trying!! As with all of my women warriors, Susan Butcher was unapologetic for being who she was. That’s what makes her and so many of these women strong and inspirational. They know who they are and aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves and do whatever it is they have a passion for. She always encouraged other women to be independent and strong, and I'm living proof that her strength and passion for what she did has inspired me to go after my dreams.
I named this painting "The Pioneer" because Susan truly was a pioneer in the sport of Iditarod racing for women, and men. She inspired the women who came after her to not let anything get in the way of excelling at a sport that has always traditionally been male dominated, and she set many speed records for other racers to strive for. She was also very influential in the training and treatment of dogs in the sport, evidenced by her love and kindness shown towards her infamous lead sled dog Granite, who was sick and injured on numerous times and she nursed him back to health and encouraged him to continue to be the most amazing sled dog race in history.
The first of my "Women Warriors" from the EMPOWERED Collection are finished! I think today is the perfect day to finally share them as March is National Women's History Month. I chose to do Frida, Princess Leia and Susan Butcher to start off the series. I will be doing more in depth blog posts on each of these women and the impact they have had on society and the furthering of women's rights and equality.
Susan Butcher is one of the most famous Alaskan women who was the dominant force in Iditarod Dog Sled Racing for many years. My talented author sister of the Alaskan blog "Alaska for Real" is doing a column and blog post on my Alaskan childhood and my most recent "Women Warriors" painting of famed Alaskan dog musher Susan Butcher. Read all about it on Tara's blog and in her column for the Capital City Weekly and The Juneau Empire Magazine in Alaska (coming soon).
(Wikipedia) - "The first Saturday of every March [is] Susan Butcher Day. The day coincides with the traditional start of the Iditarod each year. Observing the special day, the bill noted, provides opportunity for people to “remember the life of Susan Butcher, an inspiration to Alaskans and to millions around the world.” I will be posting a lengthier blog and work in progress photos of my painting this Saturday to honor the amazing and inspirational Ms Butcher.