Monday, October 12, 2009

What's on the easel ?

One of the most often questions I get asked, as an artist, is
"What are you working on now"?
I now invite you into my studio to see what's on the easel.

Most artists are funny about showing work that is not completed. Looking at an unfinished piece you get to see the mistakes, the re-works and you have to remember that the painting may change before it is completed. It's like an author writing a story. The story may change several times before it is finished.

This painting is 30 x 40 on stretched canvas and depicts a trio of hunting wolves. I have been working on this painting for quite some time. My painting time has been greatly reduced due to the Parkinson's disease. When I have a day with no or just minor tremors I have to take advantage of it and work as long as I can.

These three wolves have picked up the scent of a rabbit. The rabbit is hiding in the hollow log in the foreground of the painting. Over to the left, two wolves are standing, watching for some movement.

What is interesting about these two wolves is that wherever you move in the room, not only do their eyes follow you, their entire heads turn and follow your movements. I hope you can move your head from side to side and see that ,indeed, their heads do turn.

I hope you don't get caught moving back and forth at your computer . . . your sanity might be questioned.

The larger wolf in the middle ground has picked up the scent of the rabbit but has been interrupted by the presence of YOU the viewer.

The eyes of this wolf follow you as you move about the room, although the head remains straight forward.

There is alot of work to complete on this painting and many problems to solve. Do you show the rabbit in the hollow log? or not and let it be part of the viewer's imagination? Do you add any more wolves? Many questions to be answered and many problems to be worked out.

This next painting is just about finished. On a stretched 24 x 36 canvas it shows seventeen pelicans and is appropriately titled; "Seventeen Pelicans". I need to finish the pelicans in the foreground and add a little more detail to some of the other pelicans.

Have you found yourself "counting" the pelicans ?
The viewer is automatically drawn into the painting by counting pelicans.


There are only 15 ?

I guess two flew away.

This 30 x 40 stretched gallery canvas shows
Iris . . . . . this was going to be my entry for the
ESMarts team September challenge.

Tremors kept me from getting it done in time.

Oh well, maybe next time.

This 30 x 40 painting of a frog diving below the water is a "toughie". It is painted from a view below the subject, looking up.

Above the frog will be seen the shadow of a Heron.

"The Great Escape" as a title will tell the story for the viewer in just a few words.

I don't know if it is that enjoy a tough challenge or that I am a glutton for punishment.

Besides all the visual problems in completing this painting . . . who wants a painting of an expensive frog hanging on their wall ?

I do have to admit I am enjoying working on this one. Doing all the little air bubbles under the water, caused by the splash of the frog, should really be fun.

The last painting I have on the easel is a 18x24
stretched canvas entitled

"Spirit of the Eagle Dancer "

I love doing pieces like this, it's just in my blood.
This will be posted on my Etsy store . . . .

Well, so much for what I have on the easel. When these will be completed, I have no idea.
At least you can see that I am not just sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I welcome your comments about what I have on the easel and any thoughts you have.
Be sure to take a look at my Etsy store . . .

Monday, January 5, 2009

Be A DreamCatcher

One of the most beautiful and popular stories in Native American legends is that of the DreamCatcher. It's been handed down from generation to generation by our Native storytellers. DreamCatchers are also the most abused, mis-used, and mis-understood of all Native American crafts on the market today.
You can go into a reservation gift shop or a national park gift shop and see a profuse supply of DreamCatchers. DreamCatchers are the most purchased of Native American crafts.
It is said that DreamCatchers came from the Ojibwa peoples (Chippewa). It has since been adopted by many Native American/First Peoples cultures. A true Dreamcatcher is made with a hoop or in a tear drop shape, if made from a willow branch. The thing that makes a DreamCatcher a dream catcher is the inticately woven web that resembles a spider's web. It has a hole in the middle and is most likely decorated with charms. A feather hangs from the bottom of it for the good dreams to slide down and reach the sleeper.

The Ojibwa believe that the night is filled with both good and bad dreams (don't we all know this). When a DreamCatcher is hung above your sleeping place it moves in the night air and catches the dreams as they float by. The good dreams, knowing their way, pass through the opening in the center of the webbing while the bad dreams, not knowing the way, are caught in the webbing and are destroyed at the first light of the morning sun. Although the designs and legends of DreamCatchers differ slightly, the underlying meaning and symbolism is universal and is carried across cultures and language barriers, after all, everybody dreams.

As I sit here listening to R. Carlos Nakai and his beautiful flute music I am wrapping suede deerskin around hoops for DreamCatchers. As I drift off into that empty space that comes into your mind with the monotony of repetition I think on what a DreamCatcher does. It lets the good in and captures the bad to later be destroyed. Shouldn't we be more like dream catchers. Shouldn't we let the good in and repell the bad. Shouldn't we let the good words of others into our life and let those bad words be captured and destroyed. Whereas the spider's web of a DreamCatcher allows the good to pass through (the good knows it's way through the spider's maze) the bad dreams are lost and captured until morning light (because they don't know their way through the maze). We have to become that spider's web and allow only good words from others to pass through to our heart and understanding. We have to capture and repell the bad words from others and keep them from entering our hearts and understanding.

This means we have to hold on to others words and judge if they are good or bad. This, as you well know, is not always an easy thing to do. We need to have the strength of an Oak tree to stand and judge words.

We need to be slow to speak. We need to keep a tight web. We need to learn to take the time to judge bad words and not allow them into our hearts and understanding. Patience and wisdom will judge the words and this all comes from your heart. You have to be the web. I have DreamCatchers for sale at http://KickingBear.Etsy.Com Stop by and take a look at them and please respect our ancestors and use your DreamCatchers for what they were intended for. Don't hang a dream catcher from the rear view mirror of your car, it's NOT a decoration.

By the way, if you are talented enough and know the Old Ways and want to make your own DreamCatcher, visit my friend at She has a huge assortment of beads and precious/semi-precious stones to attach to your DreamCatcher.

From The Studio

Morning Gossip

Morning Gossip
by Van Stewart Bevil
I painted this group of Maccaws after I joined an online internet chatroom (Artists Cafe). There's not much else I can say about the painting, the painting says it all.Rather than artists helping other artists I found nothing but gossip.

It's always nice to do a painting that says what you feel or saw without having to explain alot about the work. With a minimum amount of brush strokes and detail, the birds say it all. Morning Gossip!

This oil painting was done on a 24x36 inch stretched canvas. This painting is hanging in our livingroom and has added greatly to our tropical decor. Joyce says it's time to share it with someone else. LOL


Going Home

Going Home
by Van Stewart Bevil
I spotted this Wood Duck silently flying through the trees in Western Kentucky. The sun had just set and an evening mist was beginning to rise off the dense forest floor. Only his distinctive whistle alerted me to his presence.He was obviously on his way to the nest for the night.Wood Ducks are the only duck native to North America.