I have a fabulous, long time collector...Larry, who I've also become friends with over the years. He is an amazing stained glass artist, and I'm beyond honored to have one of his pieces of art recreated from one of my paintings that he purchased. He consistently collects new art and recently purchased the painting "Land of Wonder" when I was having my moving sale. Well, he had also seen my coloring pages, and thought how cool it would be to have a mural sized coloring page with hints of color handpainted by me...I was down for the challenge! I actually started my professional artist career painting murals in the Orlando, FL area, so I was looking forward to revisiting mural size painting.
Larry ended up choosing the coloring page (above) that the original painting "Land of Wonder", was created from, and I also gave him the original drawing itself, so he has a triad of original coordinating art that no one else has.
Larry and I worked together with one of my licensing partners Murals Your Way - you can purchase some of my art as murals from them, link here - to create the perfect black and white reproduction of the original drawing on three canvas panels totaling 9'x8'. The challenge for me was that I didn't have any table space this large, so I had to lay it out on my studio floor, which required moving everything out of the way and practicing my contortionist skills, haha!!
And the final results as shown in Larry's home! This was such a fun and different project for me; I love when my collectors come up with new ideas to challenge me as an artist, and this was one! Larry is the only person on the planet who has a mural like this. So proud to continue to have him as one of my best collector's and inspiring me to always step outside of my comfort zone with my art, thank you Larry!
Larry's description of the art in his home ~ "This canvas art piece draws the viewer into an eclectic mix of whimsy among a wood & glass framework at this, The MoonShadow House. Gotta Love It !!!!"
Every now and then someone will contact me about a painting they saw online and ask if it is still available, and more often than not the painting has already sold. This is true of one of my most popular paintings from 2008, "Aqua Burn", it sold in 2008, but prints are available of it. A recent, new collector, reached out to see if it was possible to similarly recreate it. I was more than happy to do so, since I haven't painted anything from my Circle of Life painting in months! I always enjoy revisiting certain styles and colors, and this is one of my favorite color combinations for any style or painting.
The original "Aqua Burn" was created on an 18"x24" canvas, but the new collector wanted a much larger size and we settled on a 60"x48" Genie Canvas. I always love to paint oversized, it's challenging and the effect of larger paintings is so impressive once hung. Here is a compilation video of the painting in process and finished hanging up in it's new home.
Below are pics of the painting hanging in it's new home in the mountains of Montana ( I lived in Montana for the first 5 years of my life :). The beautiful mountain scene is what the painting sees looking out the window, how magnificent and beautiful is that?!
It's amazing how well such a colorful, contemporary painting can fit in with the wild rustic beauty of the collectors home they describe as "Mountain refined with log accents". It's as though they were made for each other! It is always such a thrill to see my art hanging in it's new home, it's as if a part of me gets to travel around the world through my art.
Life is a never ending cycle of change and growth, and I'm currently going through a lot of that right now! But, it's all for the good of my health and soul and working on living My Best Life.
I have a new, beautiful studio in Miami Beach to enjoy for a little while, who knows when I might move next :) And I finally broke it in with a big, beautiful commissioned recreation of my painting "Aqua Burn". Nothing better than putting paint on canvas...myself and the floor, it means the studio is officially broken in! The painting was created on a fabulous 60"x48" stretched Genie Canvas, the ONLY canvas I paint my oversized paintings on.
Here are some work in progress pics and a quick little time lapse video of the painting process, after almost 3 months of minimal creativity it feels so good to get back to doing what I love!
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.
As part of my EMPOWERED Collection I'm going to be doing a series of "Women Warriors" featuring 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/mysogyny 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.
I was going to do Frida Kahlo as my first in the series because she is one of the most inspirational artists for women, a woman who endured so much in her life and yet willingly shared her pain and how she overcame and dealt with the struggles through her art and life. But, just a couple of days ago we lost an amazing iconic woman who was one of the first movie heroines to really show that a woman can be just as much an action star and strong character as any man, perhaps even more so than any of her costars, and she did it with such an air of comfort and ease, she had nothing to prove, it was the role and Carrie Fisher played it to a T, she WAS and always will be a Rebel and our Princess (Leia). And so sad to note that her mother, and fellow actress, Debbie Reynolds passed away yesterday, just one day after her beloved Carrie, may they both rest in peace and be angels among the stars...we will forever be inspired to be strong and resilient women because of them.