Arduinna, Celtic Goddess of the Ardennes Forest

I have been absent from my blog for a couple of months due to an extreme work overload.  But that has eased now and I’m back.   During this time I’ve only been able to keep up with my committed publishing dates for the Feminism and Religion blog.   So, I’m backing up a bit here to keep you guys up to date with my work on the Celtic Goddess series.   In February I published my painting and story on Arduinna.Arduinna, Celtic Goddess art by Judith Shaw

Arduinna, Gaulish Goddess of Forests and Hunting is one of the many Celtic Goddesses who is associated with a particular region or body of water.  She was worshipped in the heavily forested regions of the Ardennes, located in what is current day Belgium and Luxembourg with small portions found in France and Germany. She was also associated with the Forest of Arden in England. Her name has its roots in the Gaulish word “arduo” meaning “height”.

Arduinna as a Woodland Goddess represents our wild nature.  With no tame, domesticated castle or demesne to call her own, she ran free in the forests of the Ardennes.  She is the untamed spirit in us all, never tied down by the commitments of love or motherhood.  But being Celtic, she was not chaste.  As a free spirit, she would have enjoyed amorous liaisons when and where she chose.

Read more about Arduinna on my post at FAR.

Color and Its Many Characteristics

“Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.” – Claude Monet.

tree art by judith shaw

Bosque Lights, oil on canvas, 11″x14″, by Judith Shaw

I love that quote by Monet, one of my art heroes. I feel its truth strongly.  I am addicted to color and cannot get enough of it.  Color keeps me returning to my studio to explore its intricacies day in and day out.

So it’s not surprising that I’d want to explore color theory on my website in which I offer folks free projects and advice for exploring their own creativity.

In my first of the series on color theory we look at one of the three dimensions of color, hue.  After exploring the properties of hue, and the primary and secondary colors, I lead a step-by-step creation of a color wheel.

If you have ever wondered about color and its characteristics – hue, value and intensity just head on over to my site and read the whole article.

We Are Parts of a Whole

To be aware of oneself as a unique individual while at the same time being aware of the unity of oneness – the interconnectedness of all life – that is the challenge of our times.

beach, seashells and sky - painting by Judith Shaw

Parts of a Whole, gouache on paper, 11″ x15″

That is the underlying intent of all of my paintings.

Seeds Emerging from the Sacred Pond by Judith Shaw

Seeds Emerge, oil on canvas,34″x36″



Mor, Goddess of the Setting Sun

As I near the end of my self-assigned project to create a deck of Celtic Goddess cards I find that my retelling of their stories is changing.  Now I am seeing a way to reclaim the power these Goddess had long ago, before the world turned and the age of Patriarchy took hold.

The Celts did not have a written language so all of their stories were passed down orally.  Many of their stories and myths were first written down between the 10th – 12th century, well after Christianity and a patriarchal world view had taken hold.  But the original power of many of these Goddesses and Gods can be gleamed from the written stories.   celtic goddess art by judith shaw

And now with only five goddesses to go to complete a deck of 30 cards, I find that I am de-patriarchalizing (a cool new term coined by Nancy Vedder-Shults, FAR member) their stories, changing up some details and giving them back their agency and power.   So looks like I’ve still got a lot of work left – editing and re-writing some of the first ones I wrote.

My most recent painting and story is of Mor, Goddess of Sun and Sea.  Though She is a Sun Goddess, She is mainly associated with the setting sun, thus reigning over death and rebirth also. Mor, was known to some as Queen of the Island of Women, one of the Celtic Otherworlds, characterized as a place of eternal youth, and abundance.

Read the 10th century version of Mor and my retelling of her place as an ancient and powerful Goddess on the Feminism and Religion Blog. Click here

Is Art Erotic?

gustav klimt the kiss

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

“All art is erotic,” is one of the few quotes we have from Austrian painter Gustav Klimt.  Gustav Klimt is most well know for his erotic golden paintings of women.  The Kiss is one of his most famous but there are others that are more erotic, such as Danae.  So, is art erotic?

mark rothko painting

Yellow and Orange by Mark Rothko

That statement “All art is erotic” might be a bit extreme.  After all where are the erotic elements found in the abstract expressionism of Jackson Pollack or the mystical color field paintings of Mark Rothko or for that matter the work of the Impressionists or even the masters of the Renaissance?

Looking beneath the subject matter and style of any piece of art one might find truth in Klimt’s statement.  Perhaps it is the act of creating itself which stimulates the erotic in the artist.

What do you think about Klimt’s statement?   Is there truth there?

Click here to read my recent post on Klimt’s life and art on my new website Creativity Beat.

You might also enjoy my post on the work and life of Monet.

Our Response to Terror – Compassion or Hate?

It’s been a hard week, a hard year, a hard decade as violence and fear get more and more amped up.

Terror in Paris, terror in Beruit, terror in Mali, bombs taking down airplanes, drones targeting terrorists but killing civilians and on and on and on.

me and my sis

My sister and I in front of the Louvre, 2012. Paris- beautiful City of Lights where beauty and love are cherished.

My hope is with the youth.

Today I worked with my 8th grade students on an art project which looks at the importance of trees to our world.  They worked in groups to create a large painting expressing the concept of the Tree of Life, looking at the scientific, cultural and religious significance of trees.  One group of three girls decided to have a large Christmas tree as the central image and use the ornaments to show images about that concept.   I was so proud of them as they developed it, finding symbols for all the world’s religions to go in the ornaments and other symbols of peace and harmony.  They told me that the world needs to learn how to live together as one and to stop hating each other for our differences.

After school I stopped at a local store to pick up some food.  I had wandered over to the wine section where a little tasting was occurring of two French wines.  A man, somewhere in his 60’s was selecting a French wine and commented to me that French wines are the best.

“You can never go wrong with a French wine,” I responded.

“Yes and now they are taking their country back” he said.  He spoke with an accent so he was obviously not a native born American.

I was confused and asked for clarification as I did not realize that the French have lost anything in regards to their wine production.

His response was that France is 45% Muslim (true fact – 5 -10% of French citizens are Muslim) Next he claimed that the French will now get rid of all the Muslims as Islam is a religion of hate and war.

I responded with the thought that terrorists are created by poverty, lack of opportunity and mistreatment.

He spoke more words of hate.

I said I did not agree and walked away.

I was dumbfounded to hear him spouting his hateful and ignorant rhetoric., especially after my 8th grade students had expressed such compassion earlier in the day.

May the children keep their hearts open and lead us older folks to a better world.  We are certainly giving them a very troubled one.

Gift Giving Season – Tree Art Images

The gift giving season is here again.   In the spirit of the season I have a few things to give away – Let’s start with some tree art images and then move on to some cool DIY gifts

My “Tree of Life” painting is one of my most popular paintings.  So I’d like to tree of life painting by judith shawoffer a free print of this image (printed on matte photo paper, 8.5″x11″)  Here’s how you can enter and perhaps receive this gift.

Just head over to my “sign up for email updates” button (top right of this page) and sign up to receive my newsletter.  Once you’ve done that I’ll put your name in the hat with all the others who have signed up, pull one out, and voila – a winner will be born!  Deadline for getting in on the raffle is November 30.   (Another raffle for a different tree art image to be held in December)

If you already receive my newsletter just let me know that you’d like to be in the raffle and I’ll put your name in also.

My new website, judithsartprojects, is a gift to everyone – offering free art projects, info on art materials, articles on art and more.   And now you can find projects for making your own gifts this year.

I just put up a new project  – Cool DIY Gifts – Keepsake Boxes.  This is the first in cool diy giftsa series of projects I plan to post over the next few weeks with step-by-step instructions for each one.   Be sure to leave a comment if my instructions are not clear, letting me know what’s hard to follow so that I can improve these projects.

Try it out!   Show your love with personal, hand-made gifts.