The Ace of Swords card is one of the Four Tarot Aces. Like a standard deck of playing cards has four suits, so does a tarot deck. The Suit of Swords corresponds to the suit of Spades. The Aces are the origin cards, the first card of the suit, the beginnings. In this card, the theme of the suit is summed up.
The sword represents thoughts. In the Elements of Abundance, thoughts are the first stage of manifestation. The Sahasrara chakra is the crown chakra, the home of your thoughts, and radiating from the point of the sword, representing the focus of your thoughts creating and radiating a vibration into the world around you.
The alchemical symbol for air appears at the hilt of the sword, and the handle of the sword is shaped like a feather, another familiar symbol of air and thoughts.
The colors of purple and gold in the clouds represent richness in thought, as the clouds could be any size, from cumulus clouds in the sky, to galactic nebulas in the universe. The sword rises above the confusion caused by these clouds. Thousands of sparkling stars represent the many wonderful thoughts available to you, and this Ace Tarot card represents the importance of choosing your thoughts for your journey.
I’ve been doing a lot of painting lately. Much of it has been plein air, painting outside because I happen to be staying at somewhere beautiful, close to nature where it’s peaceful outside. And some of it has been more imaginative, using elements of what I’ve been painting from real life.
My husband, his daughter, her mom, some friends and I went to Washington Renaissance Faire last weekend (happy little family outing special occasion) and I will soon be posting photos and links to some of my favorite merchants from the fair. The wonderful costumes as were so inspiring, and I wanted to create characters from so many of the outfits and people that I saw. I also got to meet fairy artist Amy Brown.
While I was unable to purchase any of her artwork to have signed, which was disappointing, she did sign for me a little card with a beautiful illustration she created. I also got to ask her,”What is it like to be a famous artist?”
“well,” she said, “it’s not so different from being a normal person, except I get to work at home in my pajamas.”
It was really the best answer, because I already know how to work at home in my pajamas. So I can continue to do what I do and perhaps one day I can be as awesome as Amy Brown. So in light of that inspiring conversation, one of the paintings I did this week was of a fairy and the full moon.
My stepdaughter is the model for the fairy in this painting and her mother’s rosebushes are the inspiration for the flowers she sits upon. I have done a lot of Monarch butterfly paintings so I painted the wings directly from my imagination as well as the full moon. The background of the constellations and stars had been painted sometime ago when I first started painting constellations and the night sky.
The moon is outlined in silver enamel, and silver paint pen was used to create the constellations and tree of life in the sky. It was the fairy’s mama who suggested adding the real rhinestones to the dewdrops on the Rose, the staff and circlet on the fairy’s head.
Another new painting which has already been sold, was created by sitting outside one morning in my pajamas, looking at the lake and the beautiful trees. You can see more of it at this portfolio page. I love how I was able to photograph it in context, so it looks like a painted window of the senior looking at.
And here is the first version of the same painting.
Here is a photograph of my Muses, the lovely rose bush. I hear that there used to be seven more rosebushes, and I wish I could have seen them. However I think I would be overwhelmed with painting subjects if those bushes were still alive.
I created two paintings of rosebushes. The first one with the blue background, was created by painting the negative space over textured dark colors, then adding in the saturated read and brighter lights. I liked this painting so much I began a second.
My fingernails here are inspired by one of my favorite ModCloth summer resses, Everything’s Crystal Clear dress. I love the water pattern with the white lines as trim, which remind me of the lines in a pool.
The basecoat is a royal blue. When it dried, I sponged on an icy mint color, and smudged it with another icy tinted topcoat. Then I used a white liner brush to paint narrow white lines across the nail bed. Finally, a solid topcoat brought it all together!
I grew up reading American artist and The Artist’s magazine, and my mom has almost as many of those two magazines as she has of National Geographic. Between those two magazines, I learned a lot about seeing. My mom has always asked me to crit her paintings when she has been looking at it for too long, and I love talking about art with her. So I really enjoy reading the Procreate forums. Procreate is the art app I use on my ipad to create my illustrations. The Procreate forums inspire me with other artist’s work, crits, and custom brushes.
So when I was reading about art and found this skin tutorial today I decided to share it because it is the best resource I have found about skin tones all in one place. While most portrait painters will freely share their palette, seeing faces in tones from light to dark in different undertones really hammers home the variety of colors. There is no one ‘flesh’ or ‘Nude’ color even on a single person!
We are camping near the Galena Trail and rode our bikes up to Alamo siding. New Denver used to be a mining town and now it’s very quiet! This is my first bike ride on a trail and it was challenging and exhilarating, although for anyone who is more than a beginner will find it fairly easy! The stones and roots rattled my arms and I did quite well.
Here are some photos of my grandparents’ cabin, where we are camping for the week. It smells amazing, lush and green, with all the cedars. Such a relief from California drought, and the fresh mountain water tastes amazing. So grateful for water!
Even though it’s July, there is still snow up Idaho Peak. Later this year, tourists will be able to drive up to the ridge we hiked to, park in the parking lot, and hike along the ridge to the old fire lookout house. But for now, you will have to leave your car at the 8km mile marker and hike up the alpine bowl to get to the good views!
It was going to be either a brilliant family vacation or a comedy of disaster- my husband and I were flying into Saskatchewan from California, than packing into my parents Bluebird bus and driving to the Slocan in British Columbia inside of 48 hours. It went well, though my dad’s driving was a bit scary (I only sat shotgun once). My moms dog, a Puli, was the most adorable, though she is spoiled rotten. She is the black mop in the photos, they have natural dreadlocks!
I was recently chatting about my art, and I mentioned I occasionally took commissions and showed my work.
Most of the time when I tell someone I am an artist the response is “My friend or relative is an artist too.”
I usually request to be put in touch to see their work and do some networking with other artists.
But an even happier response is, “Can you make some art for me? I will give you money” and that is usually how I land happy commission like this one of Lou and Julie.
These two versions I will present to my client and hear if they capture the spirits of her animal friends. If so, I will collect the remaining fee [a deposit was paid before I started] and if not, I will collect feedback and do another version so that I know it is just right.
These two dogs are best friends and Lou is the elder. I really enjoyed the feel of charcoal on vellum and when I finished I sprayed them with Krylon clear coat as a fixative.
When I was in art school, the best way to clean paintbrushes was to wipe the excess paint off the brush (and into a jar of grey paint reminiscent of Torrit Grey) and then take the brush to the brush cleaning station.
Cleaning Paintbrushes with Microbes
ECUAD describes it thus, “Each Painting Studio is equipped with a Smartwasher, providing a more sustainable studio environment for students to clean their paint brushes, preventing solvents from being introduced into the waste stream.” It uses little microbes to break downs solvents and grease, very handy and wonderful. By far, this is the best way to clean a brush, especially for oil painters.
But haven’t all we artists had a paintbrush slip underneath the canvas, hiding its dirty bristles until they hardened? At that point, it is often to late to save the brush, which is why I prefer cheap nylon brushes!
As I paint, I do my best to keep the brush wet- sitting in a glass of water, until a lull in creative motion occurs, which is when I take them all to a sink to wipe off and rinse out. This is when the greatest trouble occurs- paint embedded deep in the ferrule does not just rinse out so easily. Sometimes I end up scrubbing my brush which I know is not good for it!
Forgive yourself for those ruined paintbrushes: You can choose to care for your brushes better in the future! Here’s how:
We do not all have access to a Smartwasher. So here are the best ways I could find for you to clean your paintbrushes at home!
Mineral spirits and solvents are for oil painters, but the other tips are applicable to painters in all mediums.
Always, definitely, wipe the paint off the brush before washing it. Its lovely if you can save the excess paint, and just like my mom, I like to wipe excess paint onto a pair of painters’ jeans. Artist’s regalia.
You can get brush cleaning tools which comb out excess paint. Don’t pull the bristles out!
James Gurney recommends brush washing soaps and conditioner. Basically, mineral spirits strip the brush, and conditioner restores it.
Bob Ross recommends a combination of odorless mineral spirits followed by cheerfully beating the devil (and your frustrations) out of the brush!
Brian Santos recommends fabric softener! This is my favorite tip of the lot!
Mix up several gallons of this magic potion in a 5-gallon bucket: For every gallon of warm water, add 1/2 cup of fabric softener. The fabric softener is a surfactant — it actually makes the water wetter, so it can more easily dissolve paint.
Dip your brush into the mixture, swish briskly through the water, and count to 10. The paint will release from the bristles and settle to the bottom of the bucket.
Anna Mosely suggests boiling regular white vinegar, than simmering your paintbrushes for five minutes. But since heat can loosen the ferrule and cause the brushes hairs to come out, this is a last ditch effort, best saved for ruined brushes.
Lori McNee of Fine Art Tips crowdsourced a variety of tips including soaking brushes in Murphy Oil Soap or Baby Oil before cleaning them. She does use dish soap, which others advise against.