The Kleshas

I recently finished this painting on the Kleshas.    In Christian philosophy, we have the seven deadly sins, that might keep you from finding a state of grace.  There are both yogic and Buddhist approaches to the Kleshas and the flavor is slightly different and they define them a little differently.

I came across the Kleshas during studies with my yoga teacher.   They are:  abhinivesha (fear), asmita (false identity), raga (attachment), dvesha (aversion) and avidya (ignorance).

There are many images for the Kleshas but of not in a Western cultural context.  I wanted to create something that those studying yoga in the West could use to understand and meditate on the Kleshas.   I did this painting as a gift for my yoga teacher.

The figure is standing on one foot to represent that if the Kleshas are not addressed she remains off balance.   I tried to make the figure a healthy looking woman, rather than a model or a magic goddess throwing off sparks, but the you encountered in the mirror every day.  The figure is not clothed, as you must take away the outside masks of costume and artifice to overcome these obstacles and know your inner self.

Each hand is in a mudra that is associated with the chakras of the kleshas.  The icons for each klesha  have the color of the chakra they are over.  From top to bottom, they are ignorance, avoidance, false-identity, attachment and fear.

 

 

Canvas Clones

I was talking with my husband over dinner last night.  I was lamenting that I had sold my second painting but I was finding it hard to let it go.   He said, “Well you can always do another like it.”

But really can you?  For instance, when I painted “A Jury of your Pyrs.”

A Jury of Your Pyrs: View from the Dock

I was watching an old British TV show called Silk, learning about the British Court system and inspired by the pun, “A Jury of Your Pyrs.”    Would I have the enthusiasm to do it all over with as much interest and attention to detail?  I don’t think so.

Another thing that moves on is abilities and techniques.

I love the image of a Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog happily rolling in the freshly fallen snow.  Such joy!   So I did paint one canvas to portray this about a year ago.

Spirit of the Snow Angel

Snow kept falling and I kept learning and painting.  I painted may other subjects and then returned to the same concept again.

I find that how you view a concept and how you attack it changes.  Below is this year’s take on the same concept.  I’ve refined my brush strokes.  I still have problems with perspective.   But it is a “finer” image.  Could I return and to the first over again, and if I could, would I want to?

Snow Angel of Joy

Perhaps I should paint a Pyr making a snow angel every year, just as a record of how my abilities and outlook change.

Part of what I love about painting is the exploration of different styles and topics.  I don’t think I made a post about my chaos paintings where you just paint as the spirit moves you and go back the next day and try to refine shapes you see into images?

Dance to the Music

These two images are done on canvas paper and are very free and spontaneous.  Interestingly enough, the Mermaids below were actually purchased from my Etsy shop, also called “My Muse Calls“.   So the first painting I sold was of mermaids and not a Pyr.  As usual, an unexpected turn!

I’ve recently discovered the visionary artwork of Alex Grey and much to my delight he has a center where he holds what he calls “Art Church” and workshops only 30 minutes from my home.   I’m going to take a workshop he and his staff offer on visionary painting this summer.

The road twists and turns and keeps taking me new and interesting places.  I don’t really want to do another painting exactly the same.  And I shouldn’t lament if I am able to sell a painting.  I can use the money to buy more art supplies.  And the person who buys it hopefully will be cheered on daily basis by having it around.   The more I travel down this road, the more doors seem to open and the more interesting the sights become.

Snow Angel of Joy

Dan took a wonderful picture of Tila making a snow angel.   Dogs have an amazing ability to live and enjoy the moment to it’s fullest.  It’s the sort of thing some people strive for with so much effort in meditation and more.   Snow!  Joy!  Roll!  Sniff!  Roll some more!  I must make a note to enjoy each moment as it comes.   Here is the painting that inspired.

Snow Angel of Joy

Return to the Flock

I was sitting and reading a book on modern art.  I don’t always “get” modern art.  I do try.  I was looking at a picture of a lamb in a tank of formaldehyde called “Away from the Flock” by Damien Hirst.  He also placed a 14 foot tiger- shark in a tank of formaldehyde called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.  Now if this sort of thing is up your alley but you don’t have room for a lamb or a shark in your living room, Carolina Biological offers some delightful preserved cats for only $42.95.  All you need then is a tank of formaldehyde to complete the exhibit.  The shark in the tank, on the other hand originally sold for 50,000 pounds and was 14 feet long.  But all that aside, let’s turn back to the picture of that lamb in formaldehyde.

Tila was reading over my shoulder.  “Humph”, he said, as Pyrs often do, having a complex language of huffs and snorts and whines and more types of barks than you can count.

“We must do something about this, free this sheep, return it to the flock.” he stated matter-of-factly.  After all he is a guardian dog.  And that is what they do, guard flock animals from dangerous and sometimes unusual predators.

“That might be a problem.” I told him.   “Someone did try to mess with it at one point, in fact a man called Mark Bridger poured ink into the tank and was convicted of an art crime.   He tried to say he was contributing to the art, and renamed the work ‘black sheep’. ” 

“Snort!” said Tila. “I wouldn’t call this art, supper maybe, but not art.”

“You know, this is funny, ” I said, ” Someone stole pencils out of a Damien Hirst installation and they may be charged 10 million pounds in damage to the artwork.  You think that someone would just buy a few more pencils.  And look at this, some other folks claim that Damien Hirst stole some of his ideas from other artists.  But really can you own a bunch of dots or a skull if you paint or use the image once? But it isn’t nice to speak ill of the dead as he died this year.  Oops, maybe they were wrong, he didn’t die in January 2012.  Maybe that is just the ultimate angry art critic.   The author did seem a bit wound up stating Hirst  “died last Thursday, January 12, in New York following complications from acute diverticulitis brought on by a swinishly speculative, grossly cynical, intellectually constipated effort to pinch out 11 concurrent exhibitions of rehashed expensive crap.”

This July he  offered a statue of a pregnant woman wielding a sword to a town in Devon England.   He appears to be alive and well. 

Tila sighed.

“This is why I find the modern art world so confusing.” I said.

“You know, this would make a great subject for a painting.”, nudged Tila the muse.

 And here without further ado is “Return to the Flock”, with apologies to  Damien Hirst and the modern art world.

 

A Jury of Your Pyrs: The View from the Dock

I could not resist the word play.   I have the greatest respect for the courts of Great Britain and no slur is meant.  I don’t think they are going to the dogs.   If you’d like to read about my background research you can read the post Inspiration from the English Courts

 

News update:   My Muse Calls and A Jury of Your Pyrs has been blogged about on Law Actually!

Inspiration from the English Courts

Inspiration can come from many sources.  Lately we have been watching two rather old British shows about the legal profession, Rumpole of the Bailey and Kavanagh Q.C.  The occupation of Barrister dates back to the fifteen century in the Commonwealth Countries of England.  I love the wigs they wear and the language they use. For instance the judge is always addressed formally as “My Lord”.    As I watched them in their floppy white wigs I could not but think they looked a bit Pyr like.  And my muse started nudging.   Here are a couple of pictures so you can tell me what you think.  I found the one for Rumpole of the Bailey on google pictures and the one of Kavanagh is from the website http://presentinenglish.com/what-we-can-learn-from-barristers  and it has an excellent article there as well.  If anyone wants me to acknowledge their pictures or take them down just make a comment and I will comply.  The shows are very old so I am having a problem tracking down whether they have been freely released into the public domain or not.

So without further ado, here is Rumpole.

And here is Kavanagh QC

 

 You can see the accused sitting in the dock with the metal spikes sticking up behind him.

 

 

 

 

The English courtroom is also set up very differently than the American one.  The judge sits at the front and faces across the room toward the back a raised “dock” where the accused sits.  This is in contrast to how the accused sits next to his counsel in an American courtroom.  There are separate benches or boxes with tables to one side where the counsel will sit.   And of course a jury box and a witness box.  Different courtrooms have slightly different set ups.  Some English cases are only argued in front of a judge or judges.  

The other unique thing is that your lawyer or counsel does not directly argue your case in front of the judge.  A specialist called a Barrister does that.  And the best of the best Barristers are known as taking the “silk”, as they wear special silk robes and the title of Queen’s Counsel or Q.C.  Hence the Q.C. in Kavanagh, Q.C.

The judges also look wonderful in a variety of robes and wigs.  Here is Lord Alverstone from a 1913 Vanity Fair in full regala.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a here is Sir James Eyre 1734-1799, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas.  The painting is by Lemuel Francis Abbot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Bailey, London’s central criminal court, dates back to 1673 and has been renovated a number of times.  Here is an artistic rendering of one of it’s court rooms in 1809 rendered by Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson. The nickname old Bailey was derived from the street it is located on, which was conveniently next to Newgate Street which housed Newgate Central Prison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t believe the English Courts allow photographs during it’s sessions.  That is why I turned to art. 

So you can see how I was inspired.  So coming soon, a picture of Pyrs in an English Courtroom.   Pyrs and Peers, how may plays on those words can you make?  One of them is the title of my painting.

Special thanks to Wikipedia and Creative Commons for aiding the dissemination of information and images.

Factoid:  English Court:  Where the Queen is, English Courts: Where the Lawyers are.

If you are sad this post ended and want to go on reading here are a few fun links.

Charon QC ” He awarded himself the title QC when the Lord Chancellor suspended the award for real lawyers. Now, as no-one can instruct him in any matter, or would wish to, he is free to comment as he wishes on matters which catch his attention. He is, of course, a figment of a febrile imagination ”    He gets into a number of current and interesting topics in English law.

The Magistrate’s Blog Musings and Snippets from an English Magistrate

The Anonymous Assistant A real lawyer writes a fictionalized account of the happenings in a City Law Firm.    

Law Actually “He’s been described, on occasions, as a typically deranged law graduate, with a poor taste in blogging and too much spare time on his hands.”   It’s actually pretty good.

OK people….still here?…..http://www.google.com/.  G’nite.

 

Garden Play

I have always been an avid gardener.   In the spring I love to start by filling colorful pots on my deck with fresh plants from our local garden centers.  When Tila was a puppy, I was happily potting away, turned my back for a moment and found my puppy in a whirl of lavender plants.   In reality, there was only one plant de-potting puppy, but in this painting I thought it was more fun to have two.

Artist without an Adjective

Yesterday I posted another of my paintings on Facebook for my friends to see.   I was actually called “an artist”!  I can embrace that.    I have been reading about art and artists.  Most artists have an adjective associated with their name.  There are “great” painters such as Titian and Rembrandt, there are “pop” painters such as Warhol, there are impressionist, modern, folk, deconstructionist, reconstructionist, and some just bad or crazy painters.  The list obviously goes on and on.

I haven’t earned any adjective yet.   And I think that can be a good thing. 

 

The Pyr in the Moon

In my imagination, Pyrs have a secret life at night we don’t know about.  They hear the conversation of owls and mice, smell the scent of moonbeams, and more.   This painting came out of that part of my imagination. 

A little Pyr puppy wakes in the dark of night and is frightened by the shadows and the sounds.  His mother comforts him with “Don’t be afraid of the dark, the Pyr in the moon will watch over us.  

 And look very carefully at the moonlight that comes in the window!   It lights part of the wood floor and lights the Pyrs up in its beam subtlety changing the colors of the rug as well.  I worked very hard on that!

The Mayor of Malta

Dan and I honeymooned in Malta.  It’s a wonderful island country in the Mediterranean with a rich history that my history buff husband loved.  It also had a neolithic cult where they had many statues and temples to ..I have to say..fat women…hugely obese richly voluptuous women. Goddesses of fertility it is proposed.  It’s no secret that I’ve never been twiggy and don’t want to be.  So being on an island where they once worshiped women of my proportion and larger (I say bring back the cult) was really up my alley too.  That women could be worshiped for all they were mentally, physically, spiritually appeals to me, rather than how advertising approves women on a basis of lack of bodily mass.  Both various sites and the Maltese museum have images of this goddess.  Some believe it was part of a cult of those who worshipped Astarte.  Of all of the images, my favorite is the sleeping goddess seen below.

The light in Malta is wonderful and many companies go there to film.  There is a blue that I call “Maltese blue” that inhabits their ocean coves that I have seen no where else. 

 

 

 

As we toured Malta we passed this cat, more than once.

  He sat in front of a store that had a wonderful entrance including a sparkly piece of granite embedded into the sidewalk.  The cat sat on this granite basking in the sun.  It was clear from his demeanor that we tourists were only allowed on the island because he granted his most gracious permission.  This cat had cattitude!    I nicknamed him the Mayor of Malta,  I tried to capture his cattitude in this oil painting.