March Madness! 2014

The following works were made in the month of March 2014. They are arranged in chronological order so the viewer can track the progression of introspection, from the curious studies of an outsider to a profound exploration of the self's deep core.

 Self Portrait 3/01/2014
Watercolor and Gouache on Paper
5-7/8" x 4-2/8"

 Self Portrait 3/02/2014
Watercolor, Oil Pastel and Gouache on Paper
5-7/8" x 4-2/8"

 Self Portrait 3/03/2014
Watercolor and Gouache on Paper
5-7/8" x 4-2/8"

Self Portrait 3/04/2014
Watercolor and Gouache on Paper
5-7/8" x 4-2/8"

 Self Portrait 3/05/2014
Watercolor and Gouache on Paper
5-7/8" x 4-2/8"

Self Portrait 3/06/2014
Watercolor and Gouache on Paper
5-7/8" x 4-2/8"

Self Portrait 3/07/2014
Watercolor and Gouache on Paper
5-7/8" x 4-2/8"

Self Portrait 3/08/2014
Watercolor and Gouache on Paper
5-7/8" x 4-2/8"

Self Portraits 3/01-3/08 2014

Self Portrait as Oracle
Watercolor and gouache on paper
20" x 14" March 8, 2014

For this self portrait (apparently the running theme of this month), I cut back a dried up lavender plant and burnt the clippings in a small bowl. As the dense smoke curled upwards, I recalled a Joseph Campbell video, Sukhavati, where he describes the Greek oracles who lived in caves. People would travel for miles to see them. Inhaling the smoke, which resembles sage, brought me back to the Guston Kitchen Studio, where I spent my final MFA year at the New York Studio School. For the duration of the year, I burnt sage continuously, often preventing certain people from entering who detested the smell. But it comforted me. Later, I learned that sage repels ghosts as well, which made sense because the studio was rumored to be haunted. Had I instinctively known which herb to burn to keep myself safe? And why were the studios next to mine so creepy and dark, while mine was bright and full of sunshine, music and twisty bamboo? No ghost ever haunted me, although the night I learned of the preventative powers of sage, I came back to the studio to burn some more. Frightened, I fumbled with the lighter, only to discover that the sage wouldn't light. It was mysteriously wet. I dropped the herb bundle and fled.

 Self Portrait with Prema Agni
Colored pencil on paper, 10" x 8"
March 9, 2014

This self portrait with the Prema Agni symbol is up for auction to support the SQ Worldwide charity which sponsors (among many other projects), schools in Ethiopia. The Prema Agni is a channeled symbol that means "Fire of Divine Love" and can be a powerful tool for healing and opening up the heart center. In addition to the symbol, this drawing incorporates a stained glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany and an Art Nouveau painting (which I need to get the name of!).

 Body/Energy Systems
Colored pencil and collage on paper, 13.5" x 10.5"
March 9, 2014

This piece is a self portrait depicting the different energy systems of the body. The veins in the body sync with the landscape and sky. The circles around the body are auric or energy fields. The triangle formed by the hands at the torso base represent the feminine or nurturing and receptive qualities of the self.

All This and Whatever Else is Going On
 Colored pencil on paper, 20" x 32"
March 11-20, 2014

After working on the colored pencil transcription of my grandmother's weaving, I delved into the material and see what came up. The daily self-portraits were enjoyable but my interest ran out at the same rate as the watercolor pad. So, a large sustained colored pencil drawing it is! This piece is inspired by a session with Manex Ibar and other events in my life. Details and their descriptions follow. Click on any image to enlarge.

All This and Whatever Else is Going On (Detail 1)

This was the first segment of the piece, began and finished on March 11th, 2014. Here I am processing information from the session with Manex, seeing both the dark and light sides of my personality and their origins. I choose to cut off the influences and habits which no longer serve while cultivating the nurturing, creative, successful, sexual and grounded aspects of myself. The lion is my namesake (Ariel means "Lion of God" in Hebrew; in Isaiah 29, it stands for the city of Jerusalem; Ariel is also an archangel and the sprite in William Shakespeare's The Tempest), and the dark figure symbolizes the destruction of the self and rebirth as a plant, rooted to the ground.

 All This and Whatever Else is Going On (Detail 2)

This is the second segment, that I completed on March 14th, 2014. It is a person with a disease that starts at her core and spreads throughout her body. The person's eyes are closed in pain and surrender as the blood cells stem into a beautiful tree. Next to the figure are her protective animals: a cat and dog. The dog is modeled after our childhood companion, Luke, an Alaskan Malamute. Fresh sprouts rise from his back. Inside his belly is the universe.

  All This and Whatever Else is Going On (Detail 3)

This is a portrait of my late grandmother, Katherine Kilgore, based on a photo that my aunt recently sent me. In this drawing, I wanted to pay tribute to her while exploring the physical similarities between her and myself (I had forgotten what she looked like!). In this drawing, I like how the seams and folds in her shirt resemble the veins of a plant leaf. She is surrounded by a dome of peace.

   All This and Whatever Else is Going On (Detail 4)

The crying figure to the left of my grandmother symbolizes loss. The pregnant figure is mourning the loss of a child or spouse. An indigo shape surrounds her in a halo of grief. However, the colorful star above her reminds us that there is a higher power in control of everything, and that even in profound mourning there is promise of love and redemption. After drawing this figure, I noticed that her open mouth could also be read as sighing or releasing.

   All This and Whatever Else is Going On (Detail 5)

The final piece of the drawing, worked on over several days until March 19th, 2014. These images came to me while working at the Met this past Sunday. The skeleton at the base of the tree represents the discarded bones of the old self. A purple and green tree grows from the wreckage, wise and strong. The tree is the new incarnation of the old human body. The tree's branches shelter a touching scene, a woman saying goodbye to the twins she will never have, as her mate forbade them from being born. She speaks to them in Italian, apologizing, saying that this was not her wish. The babies are blue and dead. Surrounding the tree are twinkling stars and swirling galaxies.

Colored pencil and collage on paper
18.5" x 19" March 28, 2014

This piece came from a meditation series I have been practicing, which consists of staring into your own eyes for a set period of time over the course of three weeks. The first head drawn is in the center, showing my original state of sadness and pensiveness. The blue and green face covered with plants is the second incarnation, celebrating my future working with plants. The third is the head grows a tree from its crown, depicting my aspiration to remain grounded at all times.The eyes on the above-left are my grandmother's, always looking out for me. The little couples tell stories of love and relationships and the colorful shapes represent different energies and vibrations.


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