Light and Bubbly

Started some new paintings recently and had the inescapable craving to splash on a light and bubbly colorful palette for a change.

 

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Maybe it was inspired by my recent art hangout with friends when we made some cute Year of the Dog paintings, or my recent trip to the Museum of Ice Cream, or maybe it’s the recent surge of friends who are on the path to parenthood at the moment (this does not include me lol). OR Maybe it was ALL of it. I am currently inspired and touched by the amazing journey ahead into this weird life phase we now are in. Straight up adulting, guys! From all this happening around me, I wanted to help welcome such new and exciting times by creating new babes of my own (yet still an art reference!). 😛

Check out this time-lapse vid of me getting my mindful art on!

 

Here I am using my calligraphy brush to whisk on some beautiful light strokes of Windsor & Newton and M. Graham watercolor paints on the good ol’ trustworthy Arches watercolor paper. Super fun! What you didn’t see was my new art-making ritual process of doing a brief but grounding mindfulness practice right beforehand, and then an ease towards making the painting.

My goal is to make each into a triptych set. I don’t really make triptych paintings often, but I think this idea lends well to it. Something about the fleeting movement of the puffy, cotton-candy colors that make me want to keep creating and re-creating it, to evoke the feeling of breathing in and out deeply, resembling when I engage in deep breathing during mindfulness meditation.

Inhale,

and breathe in

a big colorful bubble of light.

Exhale,

and breathe out

an airy,

fluffy cloud

that bobs slowly

up,

up,

and away.

Themes of playfulness, sweet, and carefree. Distant memories of childhood not yet tarnished by the realities of adult life. Curiosity and cheerful giggles that radiate a whole room.

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Still a work in progress, I must say. Stay tuned for updates!

Oh HEY! Have you grabbed your copy of my latest FREE art calendar? Get it here and share /print it as much as you want!

An elegant flower lily of delicate hues and a white leaf bumigi for writing lies on a light pink background.

-Danessa

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My (Anti) Valentine

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Dénouement (2015), 24″x30″, Acrylic on canvas

 

The (ANTI) Valentine art show featured one of my old artworks circa 2015. Friends who came by for the artist reception show were sure in for a rare treat and witnessed a different side of me that I usually don’t show.

Here are some photos from the event:

 

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They were interested in hearing about my work and its meaning. I was hesitant to open up about all the things I never told anyone. This painting has been one of those that has haunted me after I painted it. It was one of those that after I made it, I didn’t ever want to look at it again. But I couldn’t get rid of it. It was a part of me that I didn’t want to know, to accept, or acknowledge.

There’s an undeniable mood of heaviness, a feeling of sadness, and despair when you first take it all in. This painting was made back in the day when I particularly found it artistically fitting and physically soothing to use palette knives when painting. (Yeah, I know how that sounds. Still.) I found numerous ways to utilize the palette knife and my marks were very intentional with each hit, smear, slice, and drag application on the canvas.

This is one of the paintings that I have cried in front of, not really knowing why, but the rush of the art-making process suddenly brought me to it.

 

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Tears of scarlet red and black are dominant in this painting. The fiery red consumes a big part of this image and has the effect of a roaring flame brewing inside. There’s an incessant energy in the black marks that depict a heavy object falling again and again, in different ways, and shattering to no end.

I hated this painting.

I hated it so much I kept it hidden away in the deepest end of my pile of old paintings. Not only that, I had to have it turned around whenever it was stored anywhere. This was a painting I made into existence but never acknowledged until I had to no choice but to face it.

You leave in wonder, “How does it end?”

I would tell you, but that’s not the point of the artwork.

Not past or future, all that it was about was the present moment when I made it. And when I made it, this was what it felt like inside my heart.

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The thing I love best about this painting?

You don’t get to see all that I’ve described unless you’re thisclose to it in person. You don’t get to feel all that I’ve just mentioned unless this is all you see in front of you. You don’t get to appreciate the unity in the marks, the colors and how they come together, the overall choreography of the lines, shapes, and details. And that’s ok. Because this is a part of me that is not for all to see and know.

Just the really special ones.

-Danessa

 

 

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Photo: Henry Chen

 

 

Buddha Nature

Join me for the Mindfulness and Meditation Summit online! It is a FREE global 10-day event beginning 1/22 until 1/31. Looking forward to hearing from all the amazing list of keynote speakers for the event. If there ever was a mindfulness retreat equivalent to Coachella or Burning Man, this is probably what it would look like for me! 😛 I’m particularly keen on hearing Thich Nhat Hanh speak. I’ve grown fond of all his videos, writings, and audio teachings on mindfulness and meditation, and I’m aware that he’s been battling some health problems over the past few years. Leo Babauta was also someone I came across early in my early days of learning about mindfulness and zen living with his ZenHabits online guide to living a more simple and carefree life. One closer step to Buddha nature.

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See, that’s what I love about the teachings of mindfulness and meditation. Like the Buddha, we are taught that we can access this level of enlightenment or growth. The Dalai Lama once said,

” Every sentient being—even insects—have Buddha nature. The seed of Buddha means consciousness, the cognitive power—the seed of enlightenment. That’s from Buddha’s viewpoint. All these destructive things can be removed from the mind, so therefore there’s no reason to believe some sentient beings cannot become Buddha. So every sentient being has that seed.”

To accompany you on this glorious event, here are some of my all-time favorite and highly recommended books on mindfulness and meditation:

  1. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  2. The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living by The Dalai Lama
  3. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
  4. NO MUD, NO LOTUS: The Art of Transforming Suffering by Thich Nhat Hanh

Check them out on Amazon and get your own copy to fill your 2018 Goodreads bookshelf!

If you prefer the audiobook versions, be sure to check out Audible for the best!

❤️

-Danessa

Brand NEW

Happy new year, everyone! 2018 is off to a nice, easy start for me, and I hope that it is the same for you, too.

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I am in awe of how incredibly eventful the past year has been for me. It’s been a wild hayride getting to start my own art business and straight up getting to the finish line with my licensure for clinical psychology. I am ready for what is due to me, from all the years of hard work, troubles, tears, and growth. I’ve got lots of mini side projects to come, so be sure to subscribe to my blog and my mailing list for the latest updates.

I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today if it weren’t for the unwavering support of some outstanding human beings. If you have ever supported an artist and bought their work, you are a rock star.

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To celebrate these individuals, I decided to send my art patrons some holiday goodies in the mail. The response has been a giant wave of hugs! I am so full of love from you guys! Thank you, thank you! I just want to create more for all of you and make this world a brighter place filled with mindful art.

If you haven’t already gotten yours, head on over to my website and subscribe to get a FREE art calendar each month. That’s right, EACH MONTH! Print it big, small, as many times as you please. I think the best things in life are free, why not create more to love?

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Artists Supporting New Artists!

Enjoyed this post or my art? Click below to support me and my art-making adventure.

If you are an an artist or an artist-in-the-making, it truly helps me when you use any of my links to buy your art materials and other goodies. I’ve personally selected my favorite places to shop for the best quality & affordable art materials and want to share them with you. That’s why I always shop at Blick Art Materials and Amazon for my art supply needs.


Get 20% off Blick orders of $79 or more, plus $35 free shipping! Use code CELM. Offer expires midnight (CST), Saturday, January 6th, 2018. Exclusions apply.

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Art Commissions Explained

The holidays are just around the corner! What are you getting your loved ones? Are you all maxed out on new ideas and things to get someone who already seems to have everything and anything their heart desires? If only we can give the people we love aspirational hopes and wishes, such as peace, unity, and hope. Well, I’m not saying that I can actually deliver on those things…(I’m not Santa, last time I checked? And does Santa even fulfill these sorts of wishes??) but I’ve got something close to it!

Instead of buying nifty sale goods that will be used maybe once, or purchasing the next great mobile phone and only to be replaced by another the following season, why not give your loved ones something that is unique, from the heart, and something they will cherish for years to come?

And that’s where I can help! Art commissions are by far my favorite part of being a creative artist! 🙂 It gives me the wonderful opportunity to work alongside YOU and help you create a one-of-a-kind artwork that is timeless and meaningful that will NEVER go out of style. As an abstract painter and a licensed clinical psychologist, I specialize in painting about feelings, fond memories, and personal life experiences–things that are difficult to express in words alone or any ready-made object. The good, the bad, the ugly–I’ve seen and heard it all! I’m here to listen and ready to put your vision on canvas.

Interested in an art commission but too shy to ask? To shed some light on my process, this is what I need from you:

  1. Price range for art commission
  2. Proposed size
  3. Material (e.g., acrylic on canvas; watercolor on paper; etc.)
  4. Theme or idea for painting
And that’s basically it! I’d love to collaborate with you on your ideal artwork.  Get in touch with me and reserve a spot on my waitlist! Looking forward to working with you soon!

Design with Mindful Intention

When most people look at paintings, the immediate thing that usually happens is that they try to figure it out and make sense of it.

What is it?

What am I looking at?

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This is especially true for abstract art. In my observations and growing understanding of this very human characteristic, I’ve taken this notion and incorporated it into my art-making process.

When I paint, I begin from a place of mindful intention and awareness. I paint what speaks to me from within and go on an adventure with my paint and brush.

And then it hit me.

What if my paintings embraced this phenomenon of making people stop, think, and observe?

In itself, this is a practice of mindfulness. This is meditation. Mindful art is a great way to infuse your busy, daily life with a conscious reminder to stop, think, and observe.

Mindful art is a wonderful way to beautify your surroundings in an intentional and purposeful manner. Mindful art is key to helping our minds reconnect with our surroundings and come back to the present moment.

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With that, I’m thinking of new ways to create a movement of mindful art. If you’ve got any great ideas, I’d love to hear from you! Send me your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂

 

 

Back to basics

I’ve put away my palette knives after two whole years of using them primarily to make lines, cuts, and texture on my paintings. I never knew I’d love using knives (of all things!) to express myself on canvas. It was pretty fun until I just got tired of the angst and grime in my work. But now, I’ve figured out a way to use it in moderation and as a complement to my methodology. While my paintings will hopefully never have to be as dark as it used to be, I’m able to employ what I’ve learned to my advantage and add layers of depth to my work.

Here’s some early research and trial for a new art commission I am working on.

This week, I was so excited to finally spend a whole day painting at my new art studio at The Compound Gallery in Oakland!

Not quite done yet but will be tackling it further this coming week. Looking to add more shades of brown and tone down the oranges. Thoughts?