Fine Art Prints ~ Shamanic Art

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Paint a beautiful picture of nature

Here is a beautiful picture of nature.  Autumn leaves amid birch trees in Nova Scotia. Something about this image compelled me to paint it, but how?

 I use acrylic like watercolour on paper and so I anchored a large sheet of Arches watercolour paper to a board and began painting leaves.  How disappointing and frustrating!  My attempts looked amateurish and so I cut off the top several inches of the paper and began again.  Again with the disappointment and frustration.  More cutting.

On my third attempt I  asked myself, "What am I really seeing?"  What a discovery--I am not seeing a leaf at all but a brown shape with this slightly darker area near the lower edge. And so I painted that. No attempt to name the shape, or render what my mind was saying this was--just paint the brown shape.

And suddenly the leaves appeared in all their usual magic.

The lichen on the tree trunks came alive with shadow and shine.

A complexity emerged without my emotional engagement.  Indeed, it emerged because I was't emotionally entangled in "getting it right."  I was just painting what I saw.

This painting is titled "The day I learned to read."   I remember that day more than 60 years ago.  I was sitting in bed on a Sunday morning with my Mom and Dad, insisting  that I could read the funnies by myself.  And as a little kid I was quite insistent.  I think to humour me Dad propped the paper in front of me...and I could do it!  The black squiggles in the balloons made words.  I didn't get every word right, but suddenly something clicked and I was reading.

This ability has extended  into all my art.  My paintings on the frame drums I make emerge from the patterns in the skin, and not from my imposition.  The oracle cards images I painted for my Journey Oracle deck were seen in fossil shells, dried rawhide, and slices of agate.

Perhaps in this way everything seen is given the respect of being able to name itself.

I have fine art prints available of many of my realist paintings of nature.  Contact Kristen at to receive an annotated list of works, or visit my Etsy webstore.