Art with Cause

Copyright notice: All original photographs, images, designs and text appearing in Art with Cause Blog are the property of J.Murray and are protected under United States and international copyright laws. The images may not be reproduced, copied, stored, or manipulated without the written permission from the Artist: Jessica J. Murray. No images are within Public Domain. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Día de los Muertos

Day of the Dead.

It is Mexico's equivalent to the American Memorial Day.
Except American's put out cheap plastic flowers in a plastic cone or arranged like a flag in the cemeteries of their loved ones - then post sweet and seemingly deep sentiments on facebook about remembering - then picnic, party, and generally celebrate a day off of work - leaving out the deep soulful connection to their ancestor. (Speaking of the mass populous and not the few who actually pull out pics of their dearly departed and have a moment.)

The Mexican celebration is much more focused on ancestors, remembering and honoring their dearly departed, and celebrating the life that they have now because of their roots.  This deeper connection to remembering is misunderstood and even a bit frightening to people who spend their whole lives self absorbed and once removed from anything uncomfortable and dead.

I have a few acquaintances who do not seem to understand that Día de los Muertos is memorial day for another culture and can be celebrated without compromise to a set of "values" they hold onto. Yet on Sunday morning they celebrate the dead with rather gruesome symbols of broken body and blood which they consume.  I wonder what  the difference is between remembering the death of Christ and remembering the death of a loved one - except that we would not remember our loved ones by consuming a symbol of them.  But painting their dead body/skull or decorating a sugar skull in their honor is somehow misunderstood. Maybe it is because it falls so close to Halloween?
(But don't get me started on that one!!! Halloween, aka All Hollows Eve, actually came out of Christianity. Yet it is the Christians who no longer want to acknowledge it. Wishing to separate them selves and by extension also separating themselves from All Hollows Day, aka All Holy Day - which is sort of celebrated in Mexico as Día de los Muertos - a holy day to remember.)

Regardless of undue controversy, it is this deeper remembering that I am longing for.

Like without realizing it was the 11th year anniversary of my Grandmother's passing, that I created a portrait of her. I just had to paint her - not sure why. Creativity can be a slave driver when an idea comes into my head. So I made it in a patchwork quilt style because she quilted. I gave it a cheesy lace trim, because she put that trim around many of her quilts. Then I showed my aunt, who then told me - "It was this week, 11 years ago..."
"Grandma's Quilt" 36x43 Mixed Media
Although I may have Americanized the process, since I painted her with her flesh still in place as if she was still alive and not yet past. But the soulful memory was there; like the memory of her wrapping me in one of her quilts - the quilts she stitched together  in love... not as much "in love" (although there was as much love in her creative works as there is in any artist's creative works) ...but they were, more so, stitched together because of that very same compelling force that makes me create. I do not know if she gave it any thought: why she was so compelled to create - but everyday she did something creative. Such a heroic inspiration! And such an amazing story of love, sacrifice, duty, loyalty, care-giving and creativity! A story too personal to tell in words on the internet. (I know, I share so much, yet this is something I want to hold close to me.)

This is the deeper remembering - the connection with your ancestors - the soul food that sparks creativity...

This is my longing!

And taking a moment to think of her... I am inspired to dig deep and spill the creative flow inside me... you will find me at my canvas.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I love teaching painting classes!!!

Painting class examples - not great quality photos but you get an idea of what the paintings look like.

Floral painting class was a two hour class working from a silk Lily.

Still life class was a two hour class working from a pumpkin, apple, grapes, berries, fall leaves and a chair (Although I didn't seem to incorporate the chair into mine).

The second and third Wednesday of every month is a class! Come join the fun - learn to paint, fine tune your painting skills and/or socialize while painting! Always a wonderfully inspirational night!

Next month's classes are 'frozen sea-scape/water scene' and 'fall still life'.  Hope to see you there!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Images of me

In search of my visual voice...
I have been looking around at the objects and images I keep around me...
things that inspire me and ground me...
and I wonder if those images and objects have symbolic meaning that could help me find my voice?

CROWS/RAVENS – well we have already discussed this as a symbol (Click Here)

BEADS – this symbol can indicate a tendency to please others and put their needs in front of your own. They can also symbolize pleasure, calmness and joy.

WIND-CHIMES – symbolize harmony and tranquility.

WINGS - suggest new found freedom, an escape from a difficult situation, or a desire for a freer way of life. Wings can also symbolize a need for protection.

FEATHERS - signifies a life of ease, comfort, warmth and of financial gains. It may describe lightheartedness and enjoyment for life. It is a symbol of expressing a tender side and a desire to be close to someone.

BALLERINA – as a symbol a ballerina suggests moving through the obstacles of life effortlessly and unrestricted. It is also a symbol of innocence, frailty, and vulnerability.

ANGELS - symbolize goodness, purity, protection, comfort and consolation.

CLOWNS - symbolizes absurdity, light-heartedness, a childish side to your own character, and/or signifies uninhibited nature.

DOLLS – usually symbolize childhood innocence and light-hearted fun.

TREES - symbolize new hopes, growth, desires, knowledge, and life. It also implies strength, protection and stability.

SKULLS AND BONES - a skull represents the intellect or secrets of the mind, keeping certain things hidden. Bones as a symbol represent the discovery of personal, family, or cultural secrets and symbolic of underlying strengths.

FISH - signifies insights from your subconscious mind.

ROCKS - symbolizes strength, permanence, stability, integrity and stubbornness, as conveyed in the common phrase "as solid as a rock". Rocks can be a symbol of commitment to a relationship or a person who is very dedicated or committed.

SEASHELLS - signifies an inner desire to be sheltered, nourished and protected. It also indicates someone who is closing themselves off emotionally, keeping their feelings inside.

EYES - represent enlightenment, knowledge, comprehension, understanding, and intellectual awareness. The left eye is symbolic of the moon, while the right eye represents the sun.

GUITAR - represents passion and emotion. It also relates to sexual connotations and may signal an erotic or sensual desire.

BLACK BEAR - represents independence, strength, death and renewal, and/or resurrection. Bears are symbolic of the cycle of life, introspection and thinking. However, the symbol can be a pun on "bare", therefore representing nakedness and vulnerability.

TIGER - represents power and ability to exert it in various situations. Also, the tiger represents female sexuality, aggression, and seduction.

WOLF - symbolizes survival, beauty, solitude, mystery, self-confidence and pride.

OLIVE GREEN - the color symbolizes natural wisdom and Zen, and the color green signifies a positive change, good health, growth, fertility, healing, hope, vigor, vitality, peace, and serenity.

BROWN - denotes worldliness, practicality, physical comfort, and it also represents the ground and earth.

GRAY – denotes a desire to feel emotionally distant, isolated, or detached; a fear of being hurt. Alternatively, the color gray symbolizes your individualism.

PINK - represents love, joy, sweetness, happiness, affection and kindness.

WATER - symbolic of spirituality, knowledge, healing and refreshment

CAMERA – as a symbol it may indicate a need to focus on a particular situation or a visual person who likes to look at everything or a voyeur.

BOOKS - symbolize knowledge, intellect, information and wisdom.

At first look at the list, things seem pretty random and unconnected. But once I added a description of each of them as a symbol, I think I have surrounded myself with images/objects that seem to describe me well. Possibly. What do you think?

Now to figure out how this turns into my visual voice. 

I took the photos - it is a sculpture I created... Speaking of wings and shells... :)

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