Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My One Word Mantra for 2014 - Happiness

It's that time of year again! As 2013 begins to appear in the rear-view mirror it's time to choose a guiding word for 2014.  This is a real powerful way to set an intention for the whole year.  Setting a theme. A single word Mantra. Rather than New Years' resolutions, I find this to be an inspiring way to stay on purpose throughout the year ahead. 

The word you choose can be like having a North Star in view, a compass for navigating your way and you can check in with yourself to see how this word is coloring and shaping your experiences (and how you might be responding) and if you need to recalibrate or adjust course a little to stay on track.  


It's also quite interesting that sometimes the word can act in reversal, highlighting for us all too clearly where we might be resisting and blocking the flow of having that thing, that energy in our lives. Then we can heal that block and open up it instead.

So here it is! 2014 will be my year of exploring *happiness* - it just intuitively feels very right - very right now. 

To some that word may seem a little trite and perhaps over-simplistic... but this is me we are talking about here and I never undertake such things without much forethought and tuning in to what my heart wants and truly needs.

"I must be a Mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living" ~ Anais Nin

Just the other day I received a newsletter from one of my shamanic teachers and he was describing his recent visit to the Deer Park Buddhist Monastery in Southern California, and he observed that in front of the beautiful meditation hall there was no statue of the Buddha on the altar, only some fruit and the words written large enough that he could read them from the door : "this is it!"  

That really struck a chord with me. Yes indeed, this is it - Life! In this very moment, no rehearsals, the main event is underway right now. 

And in that vein I want to spend my year engaging in what brings me feelings of happiness (what we focus on increases after all!) and much less on the things that don't matter. And I'm starting with this book... 

It's a quirky, very honest and engaging personal exploration, written in the spirit of self-reflection and analysis, and reminds a bit of Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Eat Pray Love'.

Wishing you all a beautiful year ahead! Happy 2014!

Follow along on the 'Word for the Year Blog Hop' and read what other artists and creatives are setting as their intention over here : http://fly-tribe.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/word-hop-2014.html

• • •My journey through the senses• • •
taste:: My carrot, cucumber & ginger vege juice blend I drink in the morning has me bouncing with energy!
smell:: Rose and Violet incense from India
touch:: Pages of a real book - nothing can match it - down with Kindles.
see:: Winter breezes moving across water - perfectly hypnotic.
hear:: The Doors - Moonlight Drive
think:: Good thoughts
feel:: Pleasantly surprised.
read:: A blog post by Waylon Lewis at Elephant Journal on more ways to make us happy : http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/11/21-non-spiritual-things-that-make-us-happy/
intuit:: What the gypsy might say?

Monday, 23 December 2013

Yule Tide Sparkle - New Supplies!

A Wuthering Heights-worthy storm is blowing up outside and I'm snuggled indoors, watching the slate clouds through the window. They zoom across the stark tree-silhouetted sky, buffeted by high winds that pushes them onward... Rain pounds the windows. It's morbidly romantic weather and today, I just love it.

The holidays are over and it's back to work again through till my Birthday in early January. 

Taking a short break to celebrate Yule and the Solstice was wonderful. I relished the s l o w leisurely pace, lazy breakfasts, long walks, bookstores, movies and divine dinners with my man. 

The Postman brought new shiny things to play with in the studio. 
This Faber-Castell colored pencil set completely delights me... What can I say? New art in the works with this gorgeous rainbow of colors. Moments like this add a lot of of sparkle to an otherwise windy grey day! 
Cat xo



Friday, 20 December 2013

The Art Heist...and how I became Mark Rothko

It's a midwinter day, the longest night of the year is tomorrow, a good time for firelight, getting cosy warm and sharing stories and wonder tales. 

My word for 2013 has been 'Expressive', and this Ghost story (a ghost of a pastel painting past) and the telling of it, feels like a fitting way to lay an old ghost to rest before a New Year begins and a new word unfolds.  So come in close... I have a tale to tell......



"The bond that links your true family is not one of blood but of respect and joy in each other's lives. Rarely do members of the same family grow up under the same roof." ~ Richard Bach.

Once upon a time, in a faraway land called New Zealand, a twenty-something artist called Cat was busily working on a magical piece of art. It was a large oil pastel painting of a Crimson Phoenix, raising up from ashes and flames, set against a graduated dark royal purple and bright aqua-turquoise background. 

After days of intense focus, this vast work was finally completed and she set about placing it under glass, inside a very clean-looking white wooden frame. This frame was a recycled one. It once contained an art print, quite a famous one actually, by an American artist called Mark Rothko entitled "Purple, White and Red".  [A rather lovely photo of it can be seen on The Art Institute of Chicago's site]

That framed print had been given as a gift to someone else upon leaving their accounting job in the City. They didn't really care for the Mark Rothko print, so that print was taken out and the frame left empty to be re-used. And so our Crimson Phoenix found it's way into that white frame, to be hung on the wall of Cat the artist's home for several happy years.

Some time later, Cat was leaving New Zealand to head out into the world to seek her fortune. She left the Crimson Phoenix in safe keeping at her Mother's house to be collected later. Her mother and sister didn't believe she would be gone for long, six months or so maybe at most, and then she'd come back home again after a "long holiday", so they didn't worry about going out to the airport to see her off and say goodbye. 

The artist travelled through Buenos Aires, and on again up to Rio de Janeiro, finally arriving in England where she settled in a tiny town in Somerset. Two years passed, and she decided it was time to pay a visit to her old homeland once more... So back to New Zealand she went one Christmas Eve. 

It felt like a good time on this visit, to collect the Crimson Phoenix and take it back with her to England. 

Only the oil pastel painting had gone! 

When she asked her Mother, it was finally revealed that the Crimson Phoenix had been sold! Oh dear. 
Never once had the Mother thought to check in and ask if this painting was still wanted, instead she had seen the sticker on the back-board of the painting saying 'Mark Rothko - Purple, White and Red' and proceeded to telephone around various Art Galleries in the City to enquire as to the value of this original Mark Rothko work of art. 

The Galleries were surprised indeed, that an original Mark Rothko painting, of a bird had been found in a sleepy (near to) seaside town in Auckland, New Zealand! They tried to explain to the Mother, to help her understand that this artist Mark Rothko didn't paint Phoenixes rising from the flames, and so it was rather unlikely that it could be a Rothko painting. But the Mother was adamant. After all there it was...right in front of her. She could see the artists strokes and marks of the pastels through the glass. It was definitely an original Mark Rothko!  

The Mother listed it for sale - a Mark Rothko original - in a City-wide newspaper... and a flamboyant gentleman who owned a hairdressing salon on Parnell Road (or perhaps Ponsonby Road) purchased the Crimson Phoenix to hang in his upmarket salon...

A case of mistaken identity!   

Unfortunately all questions as to the purchase price paid and presumed value of this Crimson Phoenix were brushed under a rather large magic carpet and it was never going to be openly discussed again. And so the artist Cat is still waiting to this day for any word of apology or financial recompense.  
And so it was it a faraway place called New Zealand... once upon a long time ago. 

The End. 

The moral of the story.... 
Well maybe it could be.... Things aren't always as they appear, even if there is a perfectly legit sticker attached.... or.... if you think you might know who the real artist is more likely to be, you can always flick them an email, or give them a quick call to ask them yourself, whether or not the name in their passport really is Mark Rothko! 


Have a beautiful Mid-Winter Solstice! 
Cat (the artist)  xo

Friday, 13 December 2013

The Raggle Taggle Gypsy Rover

Dear Readers,

It's been rather a long time since I've posted here... yet despite it, I see some of you wonderful folks have been checking in regularly and I thank you for that. I feel like I'm finally rousing from a long hibernation at the first stirrings of Spring (that's an internal metaphor by the way, as we are still a little way from Springtime here in England) Anyway, I've been very much off-grid but can at last feel a new day dawning.



Life has taken some interesting turns since August, with a big house move into a property that has unwittingly turned out to be most unsuitable. 
You need to watch out with houses numbered '7' - that includes all the numbers that in combination you can add down to the single digit, like 61 & 16, 52 & 25, 34 & 43, 115, 214 & 313 - you get the picture. These are houses for quiet reflection and solitude, ideal spaces for mystics and dreamers.  Ruled by the water element they are prone not only to leaks, plumbing issues and damp but also to illusions of not appearing at first glance what they truly are, often seeming bigger or smaller than they are in reality... and so it has been here for us on all of those counts!

This week the landlord has finally consented to release us early from this rather ill-fated tenancy so he can carry out the much needed work to bring the property up to standard and we can find somewhere new to go and move forward again. 

Two moves in two months is extreme even for me, and this next move will take me to 14 house moves in 12 years. So many things can happen with rental properties here in England, and I think I've pretty much seen it all! From landladies returning from a long sojourn in Spain and wanting their cottage back, the landlord and his wife ending their marriage and needing to sell and divide their assets, step-daughters wanting to go to University and step father consents to them living rent-free in the home you've been in for 3.3 years. It's interesting...anything can happen.

Not all of these moves have been driven by circumstance however... some have been bold and deliberate moves, like relocating half way across the country to a town I just HAD to live in (led by an inner prompting and wishing to follow a deep call to growth and Soul evolution) then going away when the time felt right, 200 miles north to be with an incredible man up in the wilds of North Wales, then moving right back across the country (with him this time) back to that same town again and finding it was completely different the second time around - but hey, so was I!

And right now I'm feeling every inch the itinerant Raggle Taggle Gypsy Rover.




So there are still changes to come, we're not out of the woods yet!

And speaking of out in the woods, as the shortest day of the year swiftly arrives here to the Northern Hemisphere next week, that most powerful day will see me heading out to spend time with my three precious Mandrake plants hidden in the woods. 

I realise how they help me to feel strangely timeless and deeply rooted into Earth wisdoms.  I grew them from seed* in a ritual bound with moon cycles 5 years ago and planted them out at the new moon a couple of weeks back... It felt like a profound act of creativity having Mothered these truly remarkable little beings till they became strong independent root-people who flowered for the first this year.

I'm talking like the proud hippie green-fingered herb-mama I am.  

Blessings of beauty,
Cat xo

* Botanists will attest to how difficult it can be to get Mandragora Officinarum to germinate from seed. They can be the most pernickety, contrary plant imaginable. And if you CAN get them to germinate the young plants are prone to bouts of narcolepsy, with no clear pattern to it, suddenly dropping into deep hibernation... their humans will often think their plant has died, but if they can just wait it out, quite suddenly out of the blue one day when the Mandrake is good and ready, new leaves will suddenly sprout again! They really are a law unto themselves and completely fascinating to be around.  

• • •My journey through the senses• • •
taste:: Vegetarian pizza - so perfect when everything calls for a comfort food moment.
smell:: Fir trees and needle-scented footpaths while walking into town
touch:: Little root-people gently lowering into new ground
see:: Things from a completely new angle
hear:: A hawk calling overhead
think:: If I'm gonna be moving around like this, maybe it's time for a horse-drawn wagon!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Lilla Roger's Global Talent Search un-semifinalists

This is a terrific blog post by Ashley Lotecki featuring little interviews and artwork from some more of the un-semifinialists from the GTS... Once again, it's wonderful to see such diversity in the submissions for this assignment.

http://thesmashworks.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/global-talent-showcase/#more-320

Blessings,
Cat xo

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Results Are In - Grazia BlackBerry Fash Factor design

Dear Readers,

I want to say a very heartfelt thank you to all of you who voted for my phone design in the Grazia Magazine BlackBerry Fash Factor Competition...

My 'Free Spirit' phone cover design came in SECOND in the public votes (out of the 208 entries) with a magical 111 votes!



The winner was revealed in todays issue of Grazia magazine. Congratulations to Mairi for her 'Liberty Pop' design (below).  The judges apparently choose her image as it featured their own Liberty fabric designs.... A little bit deceptive in the entry instructions, as it said you could upload your own designs too, but there you go. 

The two that came in first and second in the public vote interestingly are both original artworks.


Anyway, you can see Mairi's design at 9th place (equal) with 13 votes, in the top image, second from the left, in the third column of covers.



Thanks again for all your kindness and support.
Blessings of beauty!

Cat xo 

Ps... For those who are familiar with Doreen Virtue's 'Angel Numbers' you will see where this little postscript is heading... 

Just after I posted this post above, a friend from Melbourne Australia 'changed my frequency' again! She sent me a message to say she had just voted, taking me up to magical 112 : ) I don't believe in coincidences... and I love all the signposts and way-markers being shown to us (if we have the eyes to see them)
C xo

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Phone Cover Design

Dear readers and visitors to my blog,

As you've probably seen over these past couple of months I've been busy learning about art licensing and creating a few designs for an assignment each week... I just submitted one of those designs for a little contest here in the UK... to design a case for a Blackberry Z10 mobile phone...

Here's where you guys come in... If you could spare me a second, I'd be really grateful if you could follow this link--->>     http://fashfactor.com/c/ao  and click on the heart 'like' on the phone screen to vote for my design. It would be so appreciated!   

My phone cover looks like this: 




BIG love and thanks in advance! 
I hope you are having a wonderful weekend...Blessings, Cat x


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Crazy-in-Love with Collage

I do a lot of watercolor and decided to mix it up this week and do something a little different for a change. Secretly, I've always been just a little bit *crazy-in-love* with collage. I adore the depth and layers it brings to art work... and the unique one-offness you get using clippings & items of found ephemera that are hard (next to impossible)  to duplicate.

I've been playing around this week, experimenting with torn papers and glue and then color as I add transparent layers of paint over the top. Here are a couple I've been working on...

Beach Hut ~ mixed media paper collage and acrylic on paper



Blue Dog Star ~ mixed media paper collage and acrylic on paper

Wishing you a week full of creative play! 
Cat xo

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Lilla Rogers Talent Search

A little sneak peak at some of the entries for the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search over on Julie Hamilton's Artistically Afflicted Blog today... So, so many ways one assignment can be interpreted! Pop over here and have a look ::
http://artisticallyafflicted.com/2013/07/25/inspired-by-the-global-search-for-talent/

Cat xo

Monday, 22 July 2013

"Seize The Day!" ~ Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search Entry

At last....It's time to show you my entry for the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search! 

I'm told submissions have been flooding in from 29 countries around the world. Competitions like this are certainly making the online world of Art very exciting these days! 

For this assignment, we were briefed to create a 'playground themed journal cover' and we could make a piece of art that had a commercial appeal to a broad market or something that was a good fit for a niche, boutique or indie market, either was fine... 

As you know I'm very much an indie girl at heart. I wanted to create something that would be outside the usual way this theme would be interpreted and approached. I wanted something unusual and well outside the norm, very indie and unisex and totally hooking into the cult following that the Mexican Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) iconography has for so many people right now... It is imagery that has always been for me so very captivating, primal and intriguing, colorful and deeply celebratory... marigold flowers, sugar skulls and guitar serenades.
"Seize the Day!" ~ Hand-painted Watercolor in miniature to fit the 5"x7" Journal Cover

Blessings of the Summertime Sun,
Cat xo




Sunday, 14 July 2013

It's All There

For those readers who have been following along on my art-making journey these past few weeks, you've probably seen the 5 assignments coming up here on my blog for the art licensing course I've been taking. 

It's so interesting to see all the pieces together at the end of a journey like this. It really can be quite insightful, as you get to see very clearly your 'energy' and style coming through. It's all there...

And it's not over just yet... These last couple of days have seen me working away merrily on the final piece in this rather rapid-paced 6 week adventure... I've been preparing my art work for the Global Talent Search contest...the winner will win 2 years representation by a top Art Licensing Agent.

If you'd like to see what this entails, please keep a look out on here...  a bit later on I'll be showing you what I came up with for that competition. 

Enjoy this beautiful Sunshine we are having! 
Cat xo

Monday, 8 July 2013

Free Spirit - Zipper Case Gift Design

This past week in school we had to create a Hyper-Lush Zipper Case, the kind you'd use as a giant pencil case or as a travel bag for toiletries. The imagery could be of anything at all, so I sought inspiration from the kinds of things I love...like I mention in the list you'll find at the very foot of my blog (when you scroll right down)...The list I call "La Bohème {a life style of those who live for and by their art}" 



Here you'll find some of the items from that list....my take on old typewriters, vintage bicycles, herbal chai tea, big hats, long tousled hair, silver hoop earrings, retro-styled digital cameras, amethyst crystal, postmarks, pocket watches, hearts-spades-clubs-diamonds, my fascination with locks and keys, turquoise turquoise turquoise! I'm just crazy for that color! Something free-spirited and fun for summer.

Cat xo







Sunday, 30 June 2013

Setting Sail...

I've been taking a class on Art Licensing with Lilla Rogers School and this past week was all about 'Wall Art'... Paint and Collage!


I decided to do a Children's Wall Art theme, with a Wolf and a Bear sailing away on a big adventure.
"Setting Sail... Catching the Trade Winds" 39"x39" Acrylic / Collage on canvas

It features collage pieces cut from Gelli Art prints I've made, hand painted paper-cut characters, and the background is primarily finger-painted.  
I let my inner child go wild on a HUGE canvas! (39"x 39")

It was an epic 3 day Paint-athon to pull this off with a tight deadline for completion and submission.

As an added *challenge* the piece we created had to be primarily in two main colors selected for us by Lilla to correspond to our Astrological Sun Sign... mine being Capricorn, so Red and Blue. We could also include neutrals ~ white, black, silver, taupe, grey, beige etc... and the artwork needed to include some 'florals', even if this was just a tiny detail.

I adore blue & red, and blended red and my neutral white for the pink clouds, and blue and red to make a tiny hint of purple.

Gelli Art prints make great collage elements. I used a complete one ~ almost A4 size (detail bottom left hand corner) to make watery reflections in blue-purple, prussian blue and red
 Turquoise clouds with silver linings!


Finger-painted background and collage boat

Gelli Art print makes the floral detail on the sail.

A close-up of my voyagers, Wolf and Bear

Once again, I had a lot of fun with this one, and the process is stretching me to grow in new ways! 

Blessings of beauty! 
Cat xo




Sunday, 23 June 2013

Children's Book Illustration week

Another busy week has rolled by... And in school we had the BIG assignment I've been waiting for... the Children's Book illustration week!

Our teacher chose the rather sad tale by Hans Christian Andersen, 'The Snail and the Rose Tree' and we then had to create a book cover design (and lettering) ready for the submission deadline today.
Here's mine:
Handpainted (and hand lettered) in Watercolor 

I enjoyed the challenge very much.  It feels great to stretch myself, and work to tight deadlines.

I hope you all enjoy the 'Super Moon' tonight ~ Full Moon in Capricorn (my own sign)... It's a perfect evening for climbing up to the summit of a high hill to moon gaze and let the warm breeze carry our wishes up into the Universe. 
Blessings, 
Cat xo



Sunday, 16 June 2013

Autumn Fields ~ Home Decor Plate Design

This week in school...We created a Plate design to form part of a Home Decor range. 
Here is my design called 'Autumn Fields' .... I just love poppy fields at the end of the Summer, as the time of the Stag rut draws near and the sun hangs low as a golden orb in the sky.
'Autumn Fields' ~ Watercolor on paper

Wishing you a creative week ahead! 
Cat xo

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Vintage-Inspired Kitchenware Design

Last week in school we worked on an assignment to create a vintage-inspired kitchenware design that could be used on fabric... maybe for a tea towel or on an apron. 

Or in this case, perhaps it is a design that could also be used in another market such as home decor or gifts, a cover for a recipe book or as a piece of wall art to hang in a kitchen. Here is my design...

Inspired by the 1960's TV show 'Bewitched' ~ hand-painted in watercolor on paper.

I hope you enjoy looking at all the little details as much as I enjoyed making it! 

Cat xo



Monday, 10 June 2013

Red Riding Hood and her Wolf

In my Fairytale worlds, Red Riding Hood and the Wolf are friends and allies in the moonlit woods.


Watercolor & Oil pastel on paper 11.7" x 16.5"

Wishing you a day of wonder & enchantment! 
Cat xo

• • •My journey through the senses• • •
taste:: Trying out a new gluten-free Oat cereal ~ LOVE!
smell:: Jasmine incense billowing around the room
touch:: Nothing so perfect as lying down to sleep in bed after a full day painting!
see:: Watching series 1 of Mad Men ~ loving the New York vibe circa 1960
hear:: Lana Del Rey ~ Blue Denim (*to my inner ear* it is a hybrid of Chris Issak's 'Wicked Game' and a David Lynch movie score)
think:: A slower paced day today is just the ticket.
feel:: Happy after a weekend of hard work to meet a deadline, and making it on time.
read:: Q Magazine ~ love the new album reviews
intuit:: The next month is going to be a vast learning curve for me in school.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

East of the Sun and West of the Moon

My fascination with folklore, fables and Old Fairytales just grows and grows... I love reading them, and savouring the illustrations. They can be so evocative and atmospheric, really bringing new depth to the stories. 

I couldn't resist making one of my own. This is an interpretation of one of favourite stories form the cold North, "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" ~ a Norwegian Fairytale for a book of tales collected by Peter Christen Asbjornsen, and illustrated most famously by the Danish artist Kay Nielsen, in an art nouveau style (in 1914).    I have always adored the evocative imagery in this fable full of riddles, tests and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, as the Heroine encounters many set-backs in the path during her Quest...  
East of the Sun and West of the Moon 11.7" x 16.5" Watercolor / Mixed Media on paper

It's also a beautiful reminder for me (and everyone else on a mission) that with the right allies and helpers, you can get there in the end! 
Cat xo

Mariposa

Here's a new painting I've been working on... 'Mariposa' a whimsical Butterfly Woman. I know you will have heard me say this before, but I just love working in bright colors! ...with watercolor (of course) and including other mixed media or ephemera elements to create different effects. I added feathers into her wings to give some texture...and some iridescent watercolor to lend extra sparkle.
'Mariposa' Watercolor /Mixed Media on paper. 11.7" x 16.5"
Prints available here : http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/cat-athena-louise.html

Wishing you a beautiful weekend, full of whimsy and playful moments!
Cat xo

Saturday, 11 May 2013

I'm a Featured Artist with Creative Clearinghouse

Creative Clearinghouse-find your next Creative Class
Creative Clearinghouse, the popular site for online Art & Creativity courses have asked me to talk about my process and my favourite class, in their Spotlight 'Art Questions & Answers' interview this Saturday. 

You can read it here: http://www.creativeclearinghouse.com/Online-Class-Reviews/content/822/Cat-Athena-Louise-Art-Questions-and-Answers

Wherever this finds you, wishing you all a wonderful weekend. 

C xo

Friday, 10 May 2013

New Moon and a New Store!



This has been a long while coming. I have been waiting for the timing to be right, to move ahead in this direction and at last the energies are just perfect!

Those who know me well, know that I always work with the tides and currents, the way the Moon is flowing and ebbing, never against her, and that way things develop easily in harmony and with least resistance.

Today we had the New Moon and solar eclipse in Taurus ~ the auspices in the horoscope felt so aligned;  "10 May 2013 ~ A time of growth and stability, looking at working with your personal assets and tending to your talents.  Create beautiful, practical plans for the future..."

And so, as the New Moon came into her full power at 1:28am this morning (it was still the 9th May over in America - being 6+ hours behind us) there was a little celebration party going on here with friends and family as I pushed the button and activated my online store.

I am delighted to announce that I have partnered with "Fine Art America" and prints of my paintings are now available for the very first time.  Fine Art America lets you choose the size, style and frame etc, so you can now get my artwork as art prints, canvases, acrylics, framed prints, and even metal prints! ...And they ship out all over the World!

You can find them over here:  
http://cat-athena-louise.fineartamerica.com

Please come visit and have a look!

Wishing you all a bright new Moon day!

C xo

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Dolmen Gateway

Dolmen Gateway ~ Watercolor on paper

Dolmens are fascinating gateways between the realms. Portals to the lands of our ancestors.  They were entranceways to the barrow mounds, burial hills and earth chambers ~ like can still be seen today at Wayland's Smithy in Oxfordshire, England and Newgrange in Co. Meath Ireland. 

Other times they are the great monoliths ~ the most famous being Stonehenge, on Salisbury Plain in England.  Archaeologists believe that in some cases, the earth may have eroded away from the mounds and then the supporting stone structure below would be revealed. Perhaps this was the case with Chun Quoit and the others like it, on the bleak open moors up on the headland near Penzance, Cornwall. 

So within this watercolor painting (above), a Dolmen Gateway frames an inner world. The two pillars and the capstone across them, opening through to another Land, where an ancestor mound can be seen, water gushing forth through its mouth from deep below the earth. 

I am preparing to move forward through a new gateway of my own (on my art journey) and I'll be sharing that news later on next week. Please call back and visit here again soon to hear about my new chapter beginning... 

Blessings on the beauty way, Cat xo

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Chocolate One Year anniversary

I gave up Chocolate (and all sugar) one year ago this month, for health reasons. I've surprised myself at my sheer willpower, tenacity and determination... once I started, it was like a snowball going down a steep hill... gaining in power and strength.

I'm now a thoroughly reformed sweet-tooth, but I also know that like some others who have different addictive dispositions, just one slip-up and I'm sure I'd be off the wagon. So I just don't go there....

These days I get my indulgent pleasures elsewhere... Like here....

Schmincke Horadam Aquarell 52 half pans in metal tin with fold out palette for mixing.  I've wanted this set for absolutely AGES! It's the most money I've ever spent on a single art supply, and unwrapping them from their little foil wrappers reminded me very much of my once-upon-a-time-ago love of a nice box of chocolates.  Clicking them in place felt like such a divinely decadent (and guilt-free) pleasure... and an investment into my artistic future work as a watercolorist.  

What's your secret indulgent pleasure? Tell me in the comments below.

Have a wonderful weekend...
C xo

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Amethyst

Amethyst ~ Watercolor on Paper 16" x 12"
*click on image to see it larger*

This painting is still very mysterious to me. Some of my favourite things are contained within the imagery... I love doorways ~ to other places and dimensions, and messengers, and those that guard gateways, anthropomorphic characters and animal helpers...and of course crystals.

It feels like the perfect kind of image to celebrate this Full Moon in Scorpio day, taking us onward into the mystic.
Cat xo

• • •My journey through the senses• • •
taste:: Butternut squash and tofu risotto - perfectly delicious.
smell:: Honey and Sage - the room is beautifully fragrant from my Hopi ear-candles!
touch:: Braiding my hair into side plaits feels a nice way to wear my hair and show off my turquoise and coyote tooth earrings at the same time.
see:: Searching For Sugar Man - loved this film about retro musician Rodriguez
hear:: Larkin Poe came on Tour to Somerset! It was amazing to see them play Live.
think:: Self awareness and deep self reflection is never to be underestimated.
feel:: Very lucky indeed
intuit:: This Full Moon in Scorpio today with partial eclipse is uncovering secrets.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Norse Fairytale

Norse Fairytale 
Watercolor on paper 16"x 12"

I had fun painting this Nordic Winter scene, and trying out some different textural techniques with the watercolor on the crow.  I'm still following along the thread of my fascination for petroglyphs and actual rock-carvings from different places, particularly those with shamanic cultures and stories attached to them. 

I love how rock carvings (like the two boats above) can be symbols that seem to spark a sort of deep remembering, a kind of primal response when you are seeing something that looks strangely familiar - even when you know you've never seen it before. Like waking up old memories we hold deep in our blood and bones, genetic re-memberings coming back from our collective ancestry as indigenous beings to this Earth. 

The Spring is slow to break through this year. The trees are bursting with buds and bright green new leaves, while the winds blows an icy chill and snow continues to fall. It really is the perfect weather for Old Tales from the cold North. 

Have a beautiful week. Cat xo


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Petroglyph; The Desert is Calling Me


"Petroglyph; The Desert is Calling Me"
Watercolor on Yupo 11.7" x 16.5" 

What a lot of people don't know about me is that I am a shamanic practitioner and have a huge affinity for the desert regions of North America.  This mysterious being (above) was just waiting to be brought to life in a painting.  

My husband immediately said "The desert is calling you" when he first saw me working on this new piece. It felt like a fitting name.

Blessings of beauty and mystery, 
Cat xo

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Enchantment

March has just flown by and I feel as if I have been under a strange Enchantment for most part of it.

I was talking to a friend last night about the difference between what I term 'results driven works of art' and those that are 'process pieces'. You know, the difference between a piece you've been working on that is all about the final result and that really is it (the destination being the main focus)...  and a creative work that somehow ends up taking you on an inner (and outer) journey of discovery as you go through a distinct process during your time together, the time you end up spending with it where you somehow magically become midwife to both it and to new aspects of yourself.

Well this painting has been all about the latter one for me. Something got activated during the creation of this painting and I found myself tumbling down the rabbit hole so to speak.

I have always loved folklore, myths, legends and fairytales...the setting of the scene, the elements within, the characters who appear on the way to teach, help or challenge.  So I guess I really should have seen it coming when I found myself painting a magical windswept Thorn tree by moonlight, atop a hollow hill that holds buried treasure within, with two moongazy Hares curiously witnessing the arrival of a herd of otherworldly Deer.
                        
Watercolor & Mixed Media on paper 16" x 12"

                                         
Right from the start of this painting, it appeared I was on some kind of strange archaeological dig deep down into my very psyche. Long-forgotten memories and emotions returned completely unbidden, flooding to the surface, totally unexpected and taking me completely by surprise. I found myself *dreaming awake* while I painted, shifting through old treasures I had hidden and forgotten all about - things I had buried under my own magic hill in my inner world.

You just never know what you might call up or unleash when you begin a new painting, and what hidden gifts you may find as you take the journey (of process) within.  It felt good to finally complete this one, like I have healed and laid something to rest. I wonder what revelations and gifts it may bestow on other viewers who take the time to gaze within this magic mirror of mine.
I often find the masked up image has a unique charm of its own,  easily as fascinating and compelling as the final painting.

Note: Originally I was inspired by one of the luminous sacred paintings by artist Meg Falconer from Caitlín & John Matthews' book "King Arthur's Raid on the Underworld; The Oldest Grail Quest" (Gothic Image Publications 2008) …Then it seemed to take on a life all its own… with the deer herd from the primal cave paintings at Los Caballos in Spain, the helmet is my representation of the Sutton Hoo helmet found at the Anglo-Saxon Royal burial site near Woodbridge in Suffolk, England.

Cat xo

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Hummingbird :: the return of the Watercolor Rebel


                         Hummingbird ~ Watercolor on paper 16"x12"
*click on image to see it larger*

I'm still in the throes of a full-flight love affair with my watercolor paints... And it has also started to dawn on me that I might just be a little bit of a Watercolor Renegade!  A rebel.   
This painting above is the proof.

Let me explain...When it comes to all the rules surrounding what is deemed the standard practice with watercolor, I happily find my way of painting is very non-traditional and non-conformist!

This was brought into sharp focus in the library yesterday while looking through some books on the subject. To a lot of people, clearly watercolor painting is seen (and used) in a rather conservative way, resulting in delicate washed-out landscapes, often a little flat, maybe even.... stuffy? dull? Can be so bold as to suggest such a thing?   
Anyway, that's what I've seen so far... there are of course exceptions to every rule...and I intend to be one of them! 

Viva de l'aquarelle Revolucion!

Cat xo


• • •My journey through the senses• • •
taste:: A hearty vegetable soup ; pumpkin, parsnip, pearl barley, potatoes, carrots, cubed green beans, onion, garlic, coriander, marjoram & stock. Perfect on a chilly Spring day
smell:: The rich damp fragrance of Earth as the Hedgerows begin to explode into new foliage.
touch:: Seedpods and Leaves; inspiration everywhere when I walk in nature!
see:: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett - I love this film, it seems to be able to tap me right into the premise of living in the present moment, and the bitter sweetness that nothing ever lasts forever.
hear:: Destiny's Child ~ 'Survivor' - a wonderful punchy soundtrack in the background of my life, as I get my paint on, reminding me to keep my eye on the goal ahead.
think:: I'm really looking forward to my one day off a week tomorrow (from my day job)
feel:: So delighted with my new painting (Hummingbird) above - pleasantly unexpected results (that exceed expectations) from moments of wild abandon and play!
read:: "The Ladies of Grace Adieu" ~ Susanna Clarke; dark fairy tales described as 'Angela Carter meets Jane Austen' - the story 'Mr Simonelli or the Fairy Widower' (my favourite in the book) was plugging right back into the magic the author created with 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell'.
intuit:: A hopi dance rattle could transport me into whole new worlds! 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Sunrise over the Cauldron of Inspiration

Happy Valentine's Day to you, wherever this may find you...

Sharing a wet-on-wet Watercolor painting I've been working on over the past couple of days. with a little bit of a Celtic flavour to remind me of the bracing ice winds of Springtime as I walk in the English countryside at this time of year. The deep crimson light of daybreak is incredibly evocative through the morning chill.

Sunrise over the Cauldron of Inspiration ~ Watercolor on paper 16"x12"
*click on image to see it larger*

My daily walks out in nature continue to inspire and enliven my senses. Witnessing, observing closely and enjoying the daily signs of growth and change as the plants and trees begin to rouse from their winter slumber. Tiny buds and shoots appearing on branches, still stark against the skyline.

Wishing you all an inspired and blessed February!
C xo

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Feathers


A new painting just finished today. It's a coffee stain watercolor painting...so it smells rather lovely on the paper. 

The marbled pattern reminds me quite a lot of the single-sided shamanic frame drums I've seen that are stained with black walnut and have the same marbled ink effect on the drum skins.  

Today marks the Chinese New Year of the Snake, in its water element and the new moon in Aquarius. It feels like a good day to celebrate and launch my art FaceBook page. Please stop by and visit! You can find me here :: https://www.facebook.com/catathenalouisestudio

Wishing you a bright and prosperous Chinese New Year!

Blessings of beauty! Cat xo

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Signs of Spring

Imbolc, the old Celtic fire festival of the returning light is on February 1st,  just 6 days away now. . . It heartens me that even though the coldest month is still to come, February heralds the start of Springtime.


My new painting ~ Signs of Spring 
Watercolor on Aquafine Aquarelle paper 16 x 12"



Cat xo 



Monday, 21 January 2013

Moonlight Daisies


"Mine alone is the country of my Soul" ~ Marc Chagall

Here's my new painting.  Just finished today... Mixed Media, collage, acrylic on stretched canvas (50 x 70cm)

I find it's so hard to match the luminosity & radiance of the colors in a photograph... In reality, the colors glow as if by candlelight.

Cat x

Sunday, 6 January 2013

One Little Word 2013 - Expressive

It's that time of year again! Time to choose a guiding word for 2013.  This is a real powerful way to set an intention for the whole year.  Setting a theme.  Rather than New Years' resolutions, I find this to be an inspiring and heartening way to stay on purpose throughout the days, weeks and months ahead. It's my birthday today too...the start of my own personal 'New Year' round the wheel of the Sun, so it's a good time to start!

The word you choose can be like having a North Star in view, a compass for navigating your way and you can check in with yourself to see how this word is coloring and shaping your experiences (and how you might be responding) and if you need to recalibrate or adjust course a little to stay on track.  


I like to choose a word for my year that intuitively feels right and also one that somehow makes me feel a little scared too, scared in a good way, the kind of *respectfully nervous* I feel when I am taking on something that I sense will stretch my comfort zone and help me grow to a new level.  

My 2013 word :: Expressive :: feels like the kind of word that might just change my life if it let it! 



ex·pres·sive  

/ikˈspresiv/
Adjective Effectively conveying thought or feeling  
Conveying (the specific quality or idea)  
Synonyms  significant - eloquent - meaningful - telling

I began to sit with this word as the energy of it started coming in around me at the Mid-Winter Solstice. I found myself mind-mapping associations around what this word might also mean to me on many different levels. 

And because a picture (or few) is worth a thousand words....


                     Expressive 

Wishing you a beautiful 2013! Cat xo