Category Archives: inspired by Nature

Seeking A Balance – Darkness and Light

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” – Theodore Roethke

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Golden-Bee-Light- painting-by-Judith-Shaw

Golden Bee Light, oil on canvas, 16X 20″

I began my latest post on the Feminism and Religion Blog with these two quotes.

King’s quote expresses how out of balance we were and still are.  Roethke expresses the truth the our world, when at it’s best, maintains a balance of the light and the dark.

In this post I explore my journey through darkness brought on by the recent increase in and acceptance of bigotry and hate to an attitude which embraces the light that shines in the darkness even more fiercely than before.  You can read it here. 

 

Gardens Create Community as Love Drives Out Hate – Day 23

Creating a community garden is a great way to bring neighbors together.  Not only can you get to know folks you might not know, you also connect with Mother Earth.  And the extra bonus – great, fresh veggies!

Check out this post on how to start one in your neighborhood.

start-a-community-gardenLove Drives Out Hate

Moon Light, Moon Bright – Love Drives Out Hate – Day 17

A new piece- Moon Light, Moon Bright –  Earth meets Sky in cosmic oneness.

moon-light-moon-bright-painting-by-judith-shawLove Drives Out Hate

Sex in the Sea – Love Drives Out Hate – Day 15

I heard a great interview on the radio this morning with the author of a recently published book called, Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep. by Marine Biologist, Marah J Hardt.  It is a fascinating look at the connection between the sex lives of marine animals and sustainable oceans.

So my image of the day honors the love between sea creatures.  After all life began in the sea.

seahorse love

Love Drives Out Hate

 

Love Trumps Hate – Day 6 – Trees Give Life

What could more emblematic of  love than the relationship between humans and trees.  Trees give life. Without trees the world we know would not exist.

A Medieval Forest, painting by Judith Shaw

A Medieval Forest, oil on canvas by Judith Shaw

Hug a tree when you feel let down by the current evil wind of hate blowing its way through out the world.

Here are a few articles on how trees support us in so many ways which you might enjoy reading. (Full disclosure – the second one is by me)

Follow Green Living

Trees Give Life

Loose Leaf

Trees – My Constant Enchantment

Life has taken me on a journey away from my studio the past few months due to the need to learn a new skill for earning money.   But I had the luxury of locking myself in my studio for the whole month of January in preparation for an art show I put up at the Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club.  I was working hard to finish the largest painting (7’x7′) I have ever done “Our Enchanted Bosque”.

Our Enchanted Bosque painting by Judith Shaw

The Bosque is an amazing wild spot in the heart of a mid-sized metropolitan city.  Almost every major city with a river running through it has turned that riverside property into a commercial zone. Shops and restaurants line the shores of rivers around the world. Whenever I go to the Bosque since moving here in 2000 I say a prayer of gratitude for this wild spot.  I bring my water bottle and a snack while I bike or walk; sit quietly or draw; and feel the power of nature.  My soul opens and the problems of modern every day life recede for a moment.  Almost every other activity in modern life requires consumption.  The Bosque has been consumption free but that might not last.

“Our Enchanted Bosque” took me on a two year journey of pleine air painting, discovery about myself and of what I wanted to express with this painting.  Read about that journey on my post from February for the Feminism and Religion blog- Click here.

Rose Windows for a Rose Garden?

Last fall the City of Albuquerque put out a call to artists to submit design proposals for a permanent public art installation in a new Rose Garden in the Albuquerque BioPark.  Loving roses, both for their beauty and their symbolic meaning, I decided to give it a try.  In addition, through my experience as lead artist for the International District Community Art Garden, I had learned that I do not have to know everything to bring a project to completion.  I had learned how to collaborate with others who have different areas of expertise from my own.

Rose Window ChartresThe call was for art which would reflect the importance of roses in the Southwest landscape.  Researching roses, I discovered that antique roses which precede the modern hybrid tea roses date back to the Roman days. These antique roses are hardy, tolerate cold, and flourish well in a dry environment.  Working off of the idea of the ancient, I gravitated to the use of the Gothic Rose Window as the form for the art.  These windows, found in Gothic Cathedrals across Europe, are called rose windows because the panes of stained glass radiate outward just like the petals of a rose.

In addition, the symbolism of the Gothic Rose Windows fits well with what one might hope to experience in a beautiful rose garden.  These rose windows are seen as mandalas, which are spiritual expressions of the desire for wholeness and harmony.   The rose window serves us on many levels – spiritual, mental, and emotional.

Rose Window design by Judith ShawThe call was for the art to be incorporated into a fence to be constructed on the west side of the garden.  The concept of a window type installation seemed appropriate for such a location.

My design called for three large Gothic type Rose Window shaped sculptural pieces.  The design would be realized with a combination of metal with appropriately colored patina, glass mosaic, and fused glass.  The North Rose Window in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Chartres, France (seen in the first photo here) was the inspiration for the central piece of my three proposed art pieces.  Of course the Rose Window built into the stone walls in the Chartres Cathedral is massive.  I used a segment of the Sacred Geometry of the Chartres Rose Window for the design, as my piece would be only 10 feet high.

Rose Window Tree design by Judith ShawThe two “Rose Windows” that go on each side of the center Rose, though placed in the same outward form of a Gothic window, depart from the geometry of the rose window designs. They display a stylized tree within each window form.  The tree,  a symbol of life throughout the world, unites heaven and earth, digging into the earth with its roots and reaching to the sky with its branches. Placed appropriately on either side of the “Rose Window” central piece, they create a frame for the Rose Window which lends a feeling of enduring strength and protection  to the more fleeting feelings of love, beauty and inner secretes associated with the rose.

Rose Garden art design by Judith Shaw

Finally, to bring New Mexico into the feeling of the design I planned the placement of these metal and mosaic pieces in a structure built to look like the skyline of the multi-storied residential complex you can find in places like Taos Pueblo.  This architectural element is repeated many places in New Mexico and has become an iconic symbol of New Mexico.

I worked very hard to meet the deadline, which was October 31, 2014, knowing full well that another artist team might win the commission.  The Rose Garden opened to the public last month but without any art. Unfortunately the City of Albuquerque decided in December, 2014 that they were not yet ready to move forward with art for the Rose Garden – sort of disappointing when you consider all the work that all the different artist teams put into their design proposals. Perhaps I can find another home for this concept?