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Avatara was originally painted in acrylic on a 9"x12" canvas board with no digital or airbrush enhancements.
MY CREATIVE PROCESS:
I began the sketch for this piece while watching one of the most beautiful middle eastern music performances I've ever seen, at Lark Music Camp in Mendocino. I had done work trade so I could attend the myriad of incredible music courses available that week such as Tuvan throat singing, Irish folk song, Hang drum, and Balkan chorus. This one particular evening, though, I was especially transported by the live music in the middle eastern music camp area, listening to Kafana; and, feeling inspired by the magic so palpably thick in the air: the singing, the regalia, the rhythms, all the mother of pearl inlay designs on the drums in the room... I pulled out my journal to do a little sketch. This is what came out:
A few months later, I was looking through my sketch book, and came across the "Kafana Spirit", as I had nicknamed it from that night at music camp. From what I've gathered since I first heard the word "Kafana" is that it's a style of music played specifically in Kafana, a place where people would gather to drink coffee and alcohol in the Balkans. These Kafanas are still in existence today, but not nearly as common as they were in the 1800's. Kafana music was traditionally folk music filled with longing and stories of a broken heart. I didn't really know any of this at the time I heard it though. What I mainly remember from that nighte was that I felt carried away to a completely different world by the music and the people there, and yet it all felt soothingly familiar. I felt revived, wistful, and grateful for the feeling of celebration around the struggles of everyday life.
Anyway, after seeing this sketch I did again, I felt really compelled to paint it, checked my stock of canvases, and found a little panel I had forgotten about from over a year ago, upon which I had drawn a bunch of overlapping circles (a Flower of Life pattern). I decided to use this geometric grid as the underlying organizational structure for the piece, and based much of the organic forms on the curves and intersection points of the circles. This was such a delightful process that to this day, I continue to use and teach this same method.
Since discovering this creative process intuitively, I've noticed how it plays out in art and design the world over. The extremely intricate patterns found in Islamic art and architecture, for instance, have many hidden underlying grids of circles and polygons that were used to construct the final outcome. I was told once that these elements of construction were intentionally kept secret because they were symbolic of the very complex and invisible workings of Allah (i.e. the mysterious underlying force of the universe from which all is created and held together), and it was not for people to understand, but to be awed by.
On the day this piece was all done, I stared at it for a very long time in a candle lit room. Something about the combination of low light and the underlying geometry made the painting really come alive, as if it were breathing and changing in shape. It looked like a visual representation of vibration somehow, like time coming into form. And that's when the name Avatara came to me. The primary definition of the word avatar is "the descent of a deity to the earth in an incarnate form or some manifest shape; the incarnation of a god." Whenever I gaze at this little painting for any extended length of time, especially in low natural light, I feel as if I'm watching a spirit become manifest.
Avatara is perhaps many beings, encapsulated in a flash of two dimensions on canvas. She is feline, fractaline, the formless form of third eye sight, filled with clarity of vision and courage. She peers at you with the intensity and depth of an old silvery grandmother, smiling with the subtle smile of a medicine woman who uncovers your soul with just one look. She is pure energy, pure beauty. She dives into all that is with winged eyes, her many ways of wise, knowing that no matter what she finds, all is as it is meant to be.
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All giclée prints are made with archival inks on fine art papers using a high-resolution large format inkjet printer at a certified green business facility. All original paintings are created using only professional grade Golden Acrylics. All other art products are created with the highest quality in mind, as well as keeping production as local and green friendly as possible.
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