Friday Art Post

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A Painting Commission Ready to Fly

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This is a commission that I worked on last season in Mazatlan – It’s ready to hang!

“Two in Flight”, A triptych, oil on canvas, 20″ x 60″.

A commission is always a challenge – with certain parameters such as size, colors and imagery – which of course I wouldn’t take on if it didn’t fit into my already established style.  I enjoyed this one, and expect it to look fantastic in the intended home. Gracias, amiga for the opportunity! See you back in Mazatlan when we will hang your new work of art.

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Uxmal – Visiting a Mayan Treasure in the Yucatan

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Uxmal pyramd

Pyramid of the Magician

I had the good fortune to visit the the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal last February.  Excaping the craziness of Mazatlan’s Carnaval was a prime motivation, but landing in the Yucatan wasn’t a bad choice.  Uxmal is located outside the city of Merida, Mexico and doesn’t get near the number of visitors that Chichen Itza receives each day, 2000 vs 20,000 I was told. (I had visited Chichen Itza many years before.)  Plus, the day we visited it was overcast and rainy which also kept the numbers down and so a very pleasant experience.

Walking the site was a visual delight. My eyes filled with this ancient architecture, my feet following in the footsteps of the ancestors. I crept inside a hidden space and sat for a moment, alone, soaking up the silence, overcome by the spirit of place. I was particularly drawn to the stone carvings, the circles, spirals, etc., the same universal symbols found in ancient sites around the world. Looking through an artist’s eyes, I relish the forms and shapes, the details.  This is what makes an ancient civilization come alive for me.

Some say Uxmal dates to around 6th century AD, others claim it is much older. I’m not much for retaining the history, remembering the names of kings, who ruled when, etc. so if you would like to learn more, you can visit this site: ancient-origins.net

Back in my Mazatlan studio, I play around with the shapes, creating a series of small 7″ x 5″ monotypes (one of a kind prints) – Uxmal I, II, & III. I layer texture and color to achieve the look of an aged document. As an artist, I am open to letting things happen on the plate, synchronicity in the studio, stacking the glyphs, letting them order themselves, and in this case, pairing them with a vertical column.

Notes from Uxmal I smNotes from Uxmal II sm

Notes from Uxmal III sm

Contact me if you are interested in my work or process. www.glenrogersart.com

10 Guidelines for Visiting a Sacred Site

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Ollantaytambo Ruins, Sacred Valley, Peru

  1. Ask permission to enter from the Ancestors, Mother Earth, Spirit of Place and give gratitude for the opportunity.
  2. Enter quietly, with reverence and respect.
  3. Allow yourself to be in the moment and feel the essence of this sacred site.
  4. Be aware of the organization of space and its connection to nature.
  5. Try to imagine the daily lives and rituals of the people who inhabited this ancient place and picture yourself among them. Let your imagination flow….
  6. Connect with the mystery and spirit hidden within these walls. “If these stones could speak…”
  7. Remember the sounds, colors, textures, structures, and feelings you experienced.
  8. Choose a comfortable place off the beaten path and sit quietly.
  9. Do a silent meditation, some yoga or tai chi.
  10. Write down your observations in a journal, or sketch with pencil or watercolor.
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Glen at Ollantaytambo Ruins

Inspired by Travel: Peru

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Machu Picchu

As an artist, I have been traveling for over 25 years to gather inspiration for my art. (Thus my book, Art & Sacred Sites: Connecting with Spirit of Place). And now I realize – I am also inspired as a person, as a human on this planet. To go out in the world and meet people from other cultures, to see how they dress, how they live, how they make their money, how they spend their creative and leisure time – that is inspiring! Language is not always relevant – it is what we take in with our eyes and with our heart. To record the differences and the similarities – to acknowledge that we are all one.

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The group at Saqsayhuaman

 

On my recent trip to Peru I took a group of mainly artists on my first Peru Art Vacation.  We visited sites in the Sacred Valley where we walked in the footsteps of the ancients – sites such as Saqsayhuaman, Moray, Ollantaytambo, and ofcourse – the jewel in the crown – Machu Picchu. Each day we were awed with a new site.

We finished up with 5 days in Lima, a wonderful metropolitan city bustling with art and culture.  We funneled our new inspiration into creating monotype prints at Taller TRESS, one of a kind images painted with ink on an acrylic plate and transferred to paper with the use of the etching press. Thank you Lara, Sue, Lorraine, Sissel, Synnøve, Dan, Veronica, Carol and Judy for your love of adventure and great spirits!

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At Taller TRESS, Lima

What a fabulous trip! Truly life changing! I loved the places that we stayed and Second Home Peru (in Lima) was so special. Christina and Rueben of Taller Tress were very welcoming and the studio well equipped.  Thank you for a great experience.  And thanks to everyone in the group for being such wonderful traveling companions. I can highly recommend this trip.                                               Sue Gilchrist, Santa Cruz, CA

It was a pleasure and thank you so much for let me be a part of this adventure<3
Feeling happy and inspired back in my routine life:-) My head is full of ideas, and all I want is to print! 
Synnøve Krokstad, Norway

What an amazing trip! Thank you Glen Rogers for making this trip happen, for the printmaking at wonderful Cristina’s studio, for Machu Picchu, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, Pisaq, and all the lovely people who came together to make this such a great experience. Lara Speyer, San Francisco Bay Area

I will be organizing another Peru Art Vacation for May 2017. Contact me if you are interested. Space is limited to 10 people.  glen@glenrogersart.com

 

Inspired by Music and Letters

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A passage in scripture, a piece of music –a phrase or melody held in the moment to savor.

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Scritture I, monotype w chine colle over letters, 7″ x 5″

Beautiful hand-written letters I found in a flea market in Lecce, Italy, a lost artform, personal, now public for all to see. Leaving an essence of the person who wrote them – heartfelt intentions – inspired the series, “Scrittures”.

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Musical notes dance on the page, a visual feast for the artist – black and white ovals, dots and lines break up the space. For the aficionado, the abstract shapes coalesce into a meaningful tune. Music triggers childhood memories and others through each chapter of my life, marking the passage of time.

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Cadenza I, Monotype w Chine colle over sheet music, 22″ x 17″

Chine-collé is a technique in printmaking in which an image is printed on a thinner paper and glued to the base paper at the same time. In this case, I have printed over old letters and sheet music which is bonded to the base paper, Rives BFK. These are unique, one of a kind prints. This work was begun at Scuola Internationale de Grafica, Venice, Italy during my artist in residence  September 2015 and completed in my Mazatlan studio.

 

The Lotus – timeless image of the Spirit

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Floating Lotus III

Floating Lotus III, Oil on Canvas w gold leaf, 27″ x 27″

The lotus, a metaphor for the unfolding of life and spirit, a timeless passage. As in all forms of nature, I begin as a seed and emerge gradually seeking light, my spirit rejoicing upon glimpsing something greater than myself – God, Goddess, All That Is – The Source. In my daily life, with heart, hand and spirit in alignment, I am at my best. Through creativity, meditation, and communing with nature, I seek divine clarity, and with luck, tap into the Collective Unconscious – source of inspiration.

I have used the Lotus as image for many years, and keep returning to it again and again. This timeless symbol finds its way into my prints, paintings and drawings creating a spiritual space for meditation.This simple floral shape associated with Buddha nature transcends its earthly role.

 

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Lotus, 36″ x 27″, Monotype on Handmade Paper

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Lotus, 42″ x 42″, monotype

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Lotus, 42″ x 53″, monotype

Mitla, A Place of Ritual and Ceremony

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Mitla, an archelogical site in the Oaxaca Valley, inspired me with its running spirals, zig-zags and chevrons created with stone mosaics throughout the site. These intricate, geometrically designed patterns are what sets it apart from other pyramids in Mexico. Walking among these temples was a spiritual journey in itself, visioning what rites and rituals occurred within these ancient walls. One named, House of the Vital Force, really piqued my imagination. Mitla was a major Zapotec religious center that reached its zenith between 750 and 1521 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Here are a few artworks created in the studio after visiting this site. I’m always trying to capture the mystery, the essence of a sacred space, rather than illustrate the site.

 

 

 

 

A Symbol of Renewal for the New Year

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strip of spirals

The Spiral been carved on cave walls, rocks faces and used as decoration on pottery for milennia. It is a universal symbol found around the world from the Americas, to Old Europe, Australia to Africa dating back to atleast 6000 BC.  No doubt this ancient symbol was observed in nature by early humans in plant life, water flow, the wind, the heavens, and more. It signifies the universal life force and implies the underlying energy in all of life. According to Marija Gimbutas, the spiral speaks of renewal as it mimics the snake in its coiled form, eventually shedding its skin and regenerating.

The spiral is an image that continues to find its way into my work and continues to inspire me. It is an uplifting image that implies flow and change – a reminder that nothing stays the same, but continues to rejuvenate. A good message for the New Year!

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Glen Rogers, Double Spiral, 52″ x 52″, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection

Reference: The Language of the Goddess, Marija Gimbutas, Harper & Row, 1989

http://www.ancient-wisdom.com/spirals.htm

Las Labradas, Mexico- Voices of an Ancient People

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I paid a visit to Las Labradas yesterday – a sacred site north of Mazatlán, Mexico. I’ve been there countless times since my first visit in 1999, each one as breathtakingly beautiful as the last.  The expansive, pristine beach and ocean view alone are beautiful, but it’s the rich array of petroglyphs carved into the volcanic stone that really speak to me.  Moving from boulder to boulder, light and shadow play on the surfaces, revealing spirals, figures and other mysterious glyphs.  These visions and myths, voices of an ancient people, were created in ritual by The Toltecs thousands of years ago. I can’t help but be inspired by its symbols, the merging of stone and water, and the spirit of place.

In the last 15 years, Las Labradas has become a protected site and a tourist destination – a blessing and a curse. One now sees huge tour buses in the parking lot. On my first visit there was no parking lot much less a barely navigable road.  On previous trips, we would have the place to ourselves, rarely seeing another human being. This time, a “guide” silently shadowed me my entire walk, yet (blessedly) allowed me space to do my own thing.  The rocks still hold their magic and will continue to call me back.

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Clearly a pubic triangle. First time I’ve seen this one.

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Some of my monotype prints inspired by Las Labradas:

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A - Three Spirals

A - Four Way Path

There is a chapter in my book, Art & Sacred Sites: Connecting with Spirit of Place, on Las Labradas. Contact me for orders: glen@glenrogersart.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Language of the Goddess

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In the early 90’s, Marija Gimbutas’ book, The Language of the Goddess, (Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1989) had a huge impact on my work. In this book, Gimbutas, a revisionist anthropologist, provided a fresh look at the Neolithic Goddess Culture, cataloguing the artifacts and symbols found on cave walls, rocks, sculpture and pottery from Old Europe. These matrilineal societies, peaceful and agrarian, existed long before our current patriarchal system. (The Chalice & The Blade, Riane Eisler)

At the time I discovered Gimbutas’ book, my artwork focused on the female figure in a feminist vein.  But while an artist in residence at KALA Institute, I began creating large-scale monotype prints that reflected many of the symbols I’d found in her book. The spiral, the pubic triangle, the chevron and concentric circles began appearing in these 42” x 55” monotypes. It was at that point, my art shifted direction to focus on archetypal symbols with a decidedly feminine nature, inspired by the ancient goddess cultures around the world. My work today still carries the influence from this pivotal point in my career.  Here are some of these early prints, some of which are still available. Contact me if you are interested is seeing more.

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Vortex

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The Power of Three – Comb

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Chevron

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Circular Passage