Celestial Beings Collection

Celestial Beings

Several years ago I collaborated with the non-profit Turning the Wheel to create a wonderfully whimsy deck of inspirational cards called “The Good Box.” The project was focused on reclaiming the word good as a positive meditation word and resulted in the creation of 30 affirmation cards all with a phrase about the innate goodness in all of us. My art is featured on the cards, and I played an important hand in the final design. After the completion of the deck of cards I felt activated to create more paintings inspired by the goodness all around us. The “Celestial Beings” Series grew organically from this starting point. The full series was on view at Fresh Thymes Eatery on 30th Street in Boulder this past summer.

Celestial Beings

Each multimedia painting was an exploration into the innate goodness around all of us. The mood created by the soft blues and purples adds a sense of ease and flow to spaces and my hope was that each would be a place of solace for the eye to rest. The name celestial beings came from a meditative journey focused on the stars, and from that meditation I felt a deep sense of the longevity of goodness that emanates from the great beyond.

Celestial Beings

Need More Good In Your Life? All of the “Celestial Beings” pieces are still available for purchase so if you feel called by their sense of goodness please send me an email at arts@khirilee.com.

My favorite piece from the collection was voted the winner of local jewelers “Canvas to Cuff” contest. “Celestial Being 6” is now a part of their EVOCATEUR cuff artist series. Feel free to swing over there and take a look at this special piece of wearable art. Walters and Hogsett, 2425 CANYON BOULEVARD, BOULDER, CO 80302.

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Seeking Bliss

I have been on quite the journey since the last time I posted. I packed up and left Chicago, was planning to move to San Francisco, then through a convoluted series of events I found myself in Sunny Los Angeles. I like LA. Its always warm and sunny, the people are neat, and there is a ton of art.

All that aside, I’ve felt impatient with the transition. Impatient about making new friends. Impatient to “be” where ever it is I envision myself in the future. Impatient to make art. Time is simultaneously way too fast, and way too slow.

In hopes of finding some wisdom from the beyond I spent the afternoon exploring different concepts of patience. I researched the meaning of the word. Read through various philosophical and religious perspectives. After a while I decided to meditate and draw a card from the Triple Goddess Tarot. I drew “Infinite Bliss” today, a card I don’t often pull, which transcends the traditional 21 cards of the Tarot. I was immediately drawn to the description of the goddess archetype for the card: the Great Bliss Queen of Tibet.

Naked and red in color, She stands, one foot slightly in front of the other, on a radiant Sun-disk. In Her right hand, She holds a small drum of skulls, which is played raised to her ear. In Her left hand, She holds the handle of a curved blade that rests at Her side. Beyond are a series of luminous, rainbowlike bands of color arranged in a semicircle. Finally, a band of flames encircles the entire image.

While meditating I had pondered an artistic endeavor centered around bringing consciousness to patience. To be patient, according to Google search, means to have the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. With this in mind, I imagined a project with a tedious task, such as creating an image through a series of seemingly redundant steps. After reading the description of the Goddess I knew I had found the subject for this idea.

Here is the final result of my Patience Project:

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To create this final piece I sorted through piles of magazine images to find the various symbols described above. As I sorted I kept coming back to the mantra of patience. More than once I noticed myself speeding up, becoming less diligent in looking for what I needed, or feeling anxiety about finding the right images to create what I saw in my minds eye. When I noticed these impatient thoughts, I would pause and recommit to my experience.

Once I found all the images I wanted, I cut them out with great care. I often rush and fudge cutting images out because I am so excited to get to the final result. Once the images were cut out I traced them onto the page. I decided at the beginning that I didn’t want to merely create collage of the Great Bliss Queen. I wanted to deepen into the practice of patience through repetition. Tracing the images took time, and I had to stop and reset at several points. After I had traced all the images I began embellishing the lines with Paint Pens, and allowed myself some creative license. Finally, I cut the final composition out and mounted it.

The whole process, from when I finished reading the description of the Great Bliss Queen to taking the picture above, took about two hours. I had created quite the mess, and even though I had other things to attend to I felt that cleaning everything back up was an important part of the process. Normally I would simply leave everything out, as tidying up my materials before starting often gets me in a good headspace for creating art. That being said, it felt good to leave my studio space tidy and spacious.

The Mess

The Mess

After completing my piece I was curious to see how the Great Bliss Queen of Tibet is normally represented. I couldn’t recall ever seeing a picture of the Goddess. I was surprised by how close my drawing was to traditional representations of her. I was especially tickled that the image for the body I chose closely mirrored the body position chosen for her in other works.

Great Bliss Queen of Tibet

I was inspired by this artistic meditation. I am curious what other images of the Goddess I might feel compelled to create, especially as I continue exploring this theme of patience. Rumi said “Patience is the key to Joy,” and if that is true then I am determined to find the Key to Patience.

Sketchbook Saturday: Squiggle Art!

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Some of you may have seen my squiggle drawing from my Crayons post the other day. I don’t know what inspired me to start making these full page doodles, but I do them fairly often when I can’t think of something more artistic to do in my sketchbook. All of these are from my High School sketchbook and range in creation from 2005 – 2009. I’ve created them in a lot of different media, from crayon to marker to sharpie.

To make one of these I simple start by creating a few random shapes on a page, and then slowly trace those shapes over and over until the whole page is filled. When lines start intersecting I created larger paths. Before adding colors they look a bit like really bizarre topographical maps. Once drawn sometimes I will go back over the lines with a pen to make them sharper, and other times I will simple color in the lines. As you can see in some of the pictures sometimes I will use an image from a magazine for the shape instead of just drawing something random. The whole process is easy, fun, meditative, and relaxing. Its a good way to keep doing something artistic when you don’t have the brain for something more complicated.

Ikebana Flower Party

Yesterday was my mother-in-law’s birthday party, and as a surprise for her guests we were all invited to make a Ikebana flower arrangement. I knew very little about Ikebana before I started, but I enjoyed the free environment set up by the party to dive in for the first time.  Here is what I ended up with.

Having played around a little with the form I wanted to know more about it. The only info we got from the florist, the same one who did the flowers for my wedding, was to work in thirds, that the form is normally done in silence, and that movement and form are key. My friend at the party, who had been a practicing buddhist for many years, said that the flowers should capture the idea of “as above; so below” or something along those lines. She also said that Ikebana always incorporates something that is about to die to signify the cyclical nature of the world.

With this little start in mind I did a little more digging. Classical Ikebana was established in Japan by the middle of the 15th century. There are a number of different schools of thought surrounding the art form. “Ikebana translates as ‘living flowers’, meaning to appreciate the life that is, was, or will be in any plant, or part of a plant, from a seed to a whole tree. Another name for this practice is kado, ‘the way of flowers’.” – Osho Leela Meditation Center, Boulder

I would like to try this form again now that I know more. I would like to also try the form in silence, in hopes of falling more into the meditation and appreciation of nature. I think a lot about play, space, transience, depth, and color could be learned from the excercise. Thankfully my mother-in-law has lots of flowers left over from the event.

To learn a lot more Check Out Ikebana International

For lots more picture: http://www.flickr.com/groups/ikebana/

Collage from Summer Camp: Inner Landscape

I had the opportunity to go to the Turning the Wheel Summer Workshop again this year. I wasn’t able to attend last year because I was in Paris, and the last time I went was back in 2008. It was nice a cyclical to go back right after graduating from college when the last time I went was right after high school. Everyday there was a chunk of time dedicated to creative playing. The options were Yoga, Drumming, and Collage. I chose to do collage and it turned out to be an adventure into my own creative spirit.

We started the time with a small guided meditation exploring our “inner landscape.” Then, once the meditation was complete, we had access to over 5000 laminated images that had been collected over many years to create a collage of what our journey had revealed to us. We were not allowed to keep the images once our collage was complete, but the facilitators kinkoed the finished creations, and a good friend of mine took a pic with his nice camera.

It was really exciting and refreshing to collage with images that had already been found for us. There were no distracting ads in magazines to mull over and no time was eaten up by cutting and glueing the images down. Instead we simply had to let our eyes wander over the tables overflowing with images, find the ones we liked, and tape them down. Once we chose the images we desired we also had access to a number of words which could be woven into the collage to create poem or infuse meaning. I didn’t end up making a poem, but instead chose words that were meaningful at the time to help me remember what I was thinking when I chose certain images.

Here is my final creation: