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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reinita in the Garden (Sacred Garden)

Pencil on Rives BFK paper.
7.5" x 9.75"

As a child, I loved reinitas. These little birds always flew around my house, and I used to love their yellow chests. I had not seen them for a long time, until today.

Today, this reinita seems to have penetrated the veil between my imaginary garden and El Yunque, the rain forest in Puerto Rico. Now I am inviting other animals into the garden: the Puerto Rican boa, the múcaro, the parrots, the bat, the iguana who is coming from La Mona to visit, the hummingbird, the guaraguao, and of course, the Coquí. They are bringing some Yuca into the garden, so we can grow it. The goddesses of el Yunque have agreed to visit as well.

Just Born (Sacred Garden)

Pencil on Rives BFK paper.
7.5" x 9.75"

Just Born is part of the series Sacred Garden. This drawing of a mother holding her newborn baby —surrounded by leaves and vines and life— is inspired by the sacred moment of birth. Not all of us are able to have a natural birth, so I drew this for all moms who wish to re-imagine the moment they hold their newborn baby surrounded by all the bounty of nature, which holds mother and child, sustaining them, and protecting them as they are both born into their new life.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A poem for girls, A poem about freedom

I created this poem for the P.S. 57 bathroom murals, and now finally got to give it a new shape as a digitally illustrated image. It is a poem that I hope speaks to girls with thoughts about freedom, a word and an idea that has been essential to me as a person and as an artist.

I believe freedom is about being able to visualize yourself as the best possible version of who you can be, and acting upon that vision. And it is also about embracing your dreams, and refusing to let them go once grown-up life begins. I wish I had been invited to seriously think about freedom as a young girl, and this is why I dedicated this poem to the girls!

I am currently working on transforming the boy's poem into one of these poetry prints. And this one is now available in my etsy shop in both Spanish and English! ($12, Free shipping!)

Monday, December 06, 2010

My Guadalupe

"I don't believe in anything, but I believe in the Guadalupe..."
A phrase for thought by a writer and friend.

A writer said this to me, but I'm tempted to say that I have heard this same phrase from at least two other people this year. It is a phrase with which I fully identify, and a guiding principle in painting this Virgin of Guadalupe for Reverend Winnie and St. Mark's in the Bowery in gratitude for her support of Song of the Magdalene. And in gratitude to Guadalupe Tonantzin. It was at St. Marks where a few years ago I attended a dedication of an Aztec dance group to the Virgin of Guadalupe. I had never paid much attention to her, but that day she was there as the invocation for the Elements began and continued with the ancestral dancing that the group would perform in her honor. That night I brought her flowers.

I think we are all willing to bring her flowers because we can also call her Tonantzin, which in Aztec mythology and among present day Nahuas,means 'Our Revered Mother'. The faith and reverence so many people place on her is transmitted even to those of us who have a hard time believing in anything concrete.

And even when we don't believe in anything (or when we believe in everything, which is more or less the same thing...) mythologies and the truths they contain, whether they come in the context of organized religion or of personal realization, are as valid as any other belief system when they provide hope and comfort, sight and wisdom. Tonantzin is revered for her wisdom in knowing the hearts of her children.

I painted her with the colors I associate with wisdom and with the Earth: yellow, brown, terracotta, and gold, and a bluish green for hope. She is the Mother (Earth), and she is meeting the Father (Sky, White Light) without taking her gaze away from those who look up to her. Whether we dance or paint, play music or write, whether we believe or don't believe, we know that with her loving smile she will accept our gifts of joy.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Exotic Ladies

Musa (Muse)

Reina de la espuma (Queen of Sea Foam)

Ninfa (Nymph)

Mantilla azul (Blue Mantilla)

Jazmines (Jasmines)

Earlier this year, I began using tile pain for the poetry murals at P.S. 57 and found it to be a fun medium, bright and textural. You also kind of have to let go of perfectionism... it is very difficult but the effects can be interesting. I had to erase the entire background of Queen of Sea Foam, but in the end, I loved the effect. I got the idea from the process of erasing, which reminded me that paint thinner can be a medium to create a marbleized effect. My favorite part of this kind of painting is using the outliners, which define and also give texture to the final piece.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Mary Magdalene of Peace

As a strong character of Christian mythology, Mary Magdalene brings balance to the idea of what a woman is, should be or could be. When the world has respect for all human beings, and learns to consider women as equals all over the world, we will be closer to true peace. In essence, this is what attracts me to the Magdalene: she represents the potential of changing the the world through love and peace by achieving true humanity. Peace is like a baby in her arms, ready to take flight at any moment.
This Magdalene is available in my ***new Etsy Shop*** as a print. Use the coupon code "GRANDOPENING" for a super special 50% discount on all items until Dec. 20!