Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth

Saturday, May 15, 2010

update: blue dragon!

OK! It's been a while and in some ways a lot has happened! I finally got some of my recovery cards approved and more are on the way! Check out my store here. As you may know this is the place to see what I'm working on before it appears in the store. Just to catch you up to speed; I had trouble getting my first batch of recovery cards approved because I wasn't clear in my inner text message. I also was unclear what was expected of me. I finally figured out that the category is simply "12 step programs" so that could include people recovering from drug addiction, overeating, sex addiction, gambling, and a whole host of things other than alcoholism, which is the focus of my cards.
The procedure is that they send me an email saying "see notes for resubmission" and on the site where I manage my store are notes saying, "Please be more specific with 12 step language in your message." I wasn't sure what they meant, so I turned to the forum that's available to artists with "storefronts" at gcu. They pointed out to me that I could reply to the email gcu had sent me. This didn't occur to me because the notes were in a separate place and also I am a dufus.
I wrote a note explaining that I was being as specific as I could (I had added sobriety specific language to my greetings) and wasn't sure what else they wanted. Well, they approved my cards without further comment.
I suppose that was too much info, but it was the focus of my being for about a week.
Now I have taken to submitting photographs. Some of them were taken at Sea World of the polar bears, and some were taken at local parks and nature trails. I have noticed the the people at gcu who are successful and respected have hundreds of cards in their stores, so I am going to create as many as I can. My new images are of animals and flowers. Usually I create the image first and then try to figure out what category card I can fit it into. Of course this is backwards, but until I get the hang of this, I am going to try everything I can to build a store that has a wide selection of products that will attract a wide variety of people.
As I have stated previously, I am focusing mainly on recovery cards, and that continues to be the case, but that will not stop me from creating cards that fit into a variety of subjects.
I also submitted a painting of the blue dragon that this site and my store are named after. This is significant because of the text within the card:
I am the Blue Dragon. I serve the Blue Light; whose physical manifestation is the Universe: the One Voice, the Eternal Word, the Infinite Sound. All things are revealed by the Light. All shadows are created by the Light. Love is the Way of the Light. Either one serves Love or one opposes Love. One cannot claim to serve Love through hate. Anger and fear are the absence of Love. Love is omnipresent. There is nowhere it is not. It does not shirk; it does not hide. To be unable to feel its presence is delusion. It is we who turn away from the Light. It is constant and never abandons us. It is The Energy; The Force; The Power. The Source of all. Love is indiscriminate. Love is not concerned with what name it is called, or what rituals it is worshiped by. Love does not favor one over another. Love does not punish. Love wants you to be happy and healthy. For this to happen you must conform to Love. Love cannot be ruled by you. You are a manifestation of Love. There is no intermediary.

This is something I want to have reproduced everywhere I can, and be reminded of as often as possible. It has real significance for me. regardless of any mythology of blue dragons which derive from blue being the color of heaven and dragons being the apex of Chinese mythology, coupled with the fact that I was born in the year of the dragon: The creative force of the universe is Love, and my ability to align myself with this force is the determining factor in my life regarding my usefulness to myself and my fellows.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

St Anthony

Today I finished my portrait of St. Anthony, and submitted it for approval. (I also had to resubmit my recovery cards because I had put "A.A." & "ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS" in the keywords and they are copyrighted. They also asked my to be more specific about recovery in the text of the cards but I didn't know what they meant on most of them so I left them all but one.)
To paint the card for St. Anthony, I googled images of him. It became immediately clear that he is always pictured with baby Jesus, so I also googled "father & son" images. The key in finding images to use as reference is that I don't want to copy another painting or photo; I want to create an original image of my own. To that end, I studied one painting, on stained glass window and one photo of a father and a new born. I melded them into a single image that became my painting.
I painted the monk's garment first and started with a blue that I wanted to be the shadow color. I had way too much color on my brush and ended up painting the entire robe blue. Then I painted over it with orange which is the color opposite of blue. In theory this will turn the blue into a neutral grayish color, but I knew it would more likely turn it brown because in order for it to be actually neutralized, the exact color opposite would have to be added; not just any blue plus any orange. My orange was too yellow and turned the robe a funky green. Now at any point, I could have panicked and given up, but I just added a red (the opposite of green). I added burnt sienna because that is close to the actual color of the Franciscan robe color of Anthony's garment. (grey would have made him look benedictine) This worked pretty well. This technique; by the way, is similar to the way the old masters handled color and this lends an old world feeling to the painting.
Next I painted the faces. (actually, I painted the faces in between painting various layers of the garment, as I waited for that layer to dry.) Finally I painted the halos. I knew that I would have to give baby Jesus the halo of superiority, so I made his gold and St. Anthony's silver. I tried a variety of methods to simulate gold leaf. I ended up using sumi silver watercolor for St. Anthony, and cadmium yellow mixed with iridescent medium for baby Jesus. I knew that actual gold color doesn't scan very well, and metallic surfaces also don't always come across in a photo reproduction.
I added a prayer I found for St. Anthony:
O gentle and loving St. Anthony,
whose heart was ever full of human sympathy,
whisper my petition into the ears of
the Sweet Infant Jesus,
who loved to be folded in your arms, and
the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I Only Have to Change 1 Thing: Everything!

This is something I frequently heard when I first got sober. However, One of the things I have to be careful about is my desire to change everything all the time. (just look at how many irons I have in the fire on my links!) So, it should come as no surprise that no sooner had I decided to concentrate on recovery greeting cards, then I decided I also wanted to concentrate on Catholic Saints greeting cards.
It's simple: Every day is a feast day for some saint or another; why not do one for each? I can provide recovery greeting cards and Catholic ones, right? Right. except, now there's a new problem: I have a book of Saint's days and it doesn't correspond to the Saint's days online.
I'm excited about this project because it meets the suggestion that I find something that no one else is doing, and I haven't had the opportunity to do a lot of portraits in a while. Plus concentrating my efforts on promoting saints and creating replicas of their images has got to be good karma (or whatever the Catholic word for karma is.)
It seemed like a good idea to give myself a month's leeway to submit and post cards of the saints. Since it was May 1st, I was all set to do a portrait of St. Angela Merici whose feast day in the book is June 1st, when I decided to double check the online date; which turned out to be in January! At this point, I should try to clarify how I came to suspect the book of... well being suspect. To be honest, this is actually the second book of saints I purchased. The first one has St. Rose of Lima as having her feast day on August 30th. This offended my girlfriend, Rose; who is name for Ms. Of Lima because her birthday (my girlfriend's) is August 23rd; the day of the feast of St. Rose. Well, I got a different book of saint's days, but it turns out the problem is that these books (which I got used) are outdated. So, no portrait of St. Angela.
Now it's the 2nd of May, and one month from today will be St. Peter's feast. Of course, it will take more than a day to paint and I don't want to rush the paintings, so maybe I should plan on doing one a week instead of one a day. That's 365 weeks people! Plus, most days have more than one saint. This should keep me busy for a while.

Meanwhile, I posted a new illustration for approval. (I'm still waiting for the recovery cards to be approved too!) It's a sea serpent. I think it would be good for a little boy's birthday.