I’ve finally finished all of the paintings on live edge slabs for the Williams Plaza project! I’ve been working on these for the past several months, and I’m so excited to share these.
These 8 paintings are the smaller of the slabs. Each one will hang right outside the elevator on a different floor of the housing development they are going in.
“Whimsical Lotus With Dragonfly”
This painting is definitely whimsical. There were two interesting knots in the wood that I chose not to paint over, and these two details inherent in the slab ended up determining the whole rest of the design! I made some of the bubbles/orbs, or whatever you want to call them, to match the natural knots in the wood, so that they blend in. You’ll notice them only when looking more closely at the details.
Some of my past work in my Lotus series includes similar bubble-like imagery. I think it’s playful and brings a child-like feeling to the image. I imagine the lotus flower rising up out of the water and opening into a glorious bloom.
The circles filling the space around it contribute to that rising feeling, like a celebration, or a bubbling-up of life. The dragonfly on its swirling flight path contributes to this feeling of movement.
Here is “Lotus With Rain.”
With the calming teal and blue colors, the gracefully formed lotus flower, and the imagery of cool water streaming down, it’s a grounding and peaceful image, contrasted against the jagged edges of the wood slab.
When I originally started painting lotus flowers, I learned about their use as a Buddhist symbol of our choice to be our best selves. The lotus flower grows out of the dark watery muck of a muddy pond. It pulls its nutrients out of that smelly dark muck, transforming it into something elevated and beautiful, with its huge dramatic flower petals opened up towards the sky.
The idea is that through something as simple as mindfulness, just by paying attention to our breathing and trying to focus the mind on the present moment, we can calm the chaos in our minds and transform “the muck.” I think we need to set this intention more than ever when the world outside us is chaotic too.
We can center ourselves, calm our anger and pain, and then try to be a force for good in the world by loving and helping others. We’re more equipped to do good when we take care of ourselves in this way. At its root, it’s about taking personal responsibility and living with intention.
Here is “Sunlit Tulips.”
Aaahhh, the sun!!! This may be my favorite of the paintings on live edge slabs, or certainly one of them. I’ve always been enamored with the way the sun shines through the petals of tulips, lighting them up and making them glow a pure white.
And in spots where the petals overlap and the light doesn’t shine through as much, you can see the deeper jewel tones in the flowers.
I think that wanting to capture the many qualities of sunlight is a huge motivation for many painters!
This painting just makes me happy.
It reminds me a lot of a similar painting I created way back in 2005, which I called “Tulips in the Morning.”
This one is called “Poppies in Blue Sky.”
I love this image of the poppies reaching and growing with their little faces turned up towards the sunshine and the open sky.
Here’s a little excerpt from my recent article, “Why the Artists are Okay:”
Artists have a growth mindset.
Learning new things is woven into the process of making stuff. Artists think of ourselves as perpetual students, and we tend to respond to any challenge by asking a lot of questions.
Even after you’ve achieved ostensible expert status, with the requisite 10,000 hours under your belt, you still know that there is always, always, room for improvement. We have high standards in our quest for quality. For artists, growth is the default state.
An image of colorful poppies growing towards a bright sky illustrates the feeling of growth!
This painting is called “Above the Mountains.”
This slab was one of the most challenging ones to design, and it ended up being one of my favorites in the end! If you look closely, you’ll notice these details: on the right is a huge mass of tree knots, patterns in the wood grain, holes and cracks, creating an irregular-shaped edge to the right side of the slab that is full of interesting shapes.
What to do with all this? I turned it into a tall mountain!
Then, there’s a split in the wood, forming a deep crack that goes completely from top to bottom down the center of the piece. I worked this crack into the design so you don’t even notice it on first glance, but you’ll see it when you look closely. At the top, it runs along the edge of one of the clouds in the sky, all the way down to the bottom through the center of the tree in the foreground.
A bird of prey with a massive wingspan soars above this landscape of mountains, sky, river and trees!
I love this view of flowers seen from below, from an ant’s eye view.
I think it feels natural to me because I’ve painted so many trees from this angle!
“Perched in Sunlight.”
The design of this painting is a new rendition of my previous painting called “King of the Clearing.”
The vertical format of the live edge slab along with the addition of the bright teal color gives this rendition of the same theme an entirely different feeling.
In this painting, I’ve also added the row of rounded stones across the bottom, as a way of incorporating the natural knot of the wood into the design!
The Williams Plaza building will now be full of nature and sunshine!