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Day of the Dead-2019 Painting

 

Madonna Rising—Dia de los Muertos Street Art

 The Madonna is often displayed on Dia de los Muertos alters.  It is believed she will assist in communication with dead loved ones.  In my painting I’ve featured her as graffiti, placed on an old brick wall. She is clothed in purple, symbolizing mourning. A raven flying past the wall delivers marigolds to her.  The marigolds will then guide the dead’s spirit to their loved ones through both their aromatic scent, and vibrant golden color—a color featured on the Madonna’s halo and carried throughout the painting.

My Southern Louisiana roots are steeped in the many forms of “speaking to our dead”.  Thus, Dia de los Muertos was easily tucked in to my ritual of celebrating my deceased loved ones.  I knew I wanted to incorporate the Madonna in a Dia de los Muertos painting, but it wasn’t until I had the privilege of visiting Italy for the first time that the vision of this painting began to take form.  While I was surrounded by ancient, and amazing works of arts, it was the street art that most inspired me.  When I came upon a graffiti piece in Venice and discovered it was created by Banksy, the vision for this painting was complete.

Screen Shot 2018-09-09 at 17.37.58It has become tradition that I dress to match my painting.  Here are some of the photos from past exhibits.

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Featured post

Inspiration for the Page

Books by Cheryl Owen-Wilson

The writing bug first snagged Cheryl through her penning of a personal essay, for which she received an award and publication. However, today fiction is what drives her writing, with an emphasis on Southern Gothic. Since her roots are buried deep in the bayous of Southern Louisiana, it is a natural fit. 

Though she now calls Oregon home, she visits her Southern family often. The theme of family and all it entails are prominent in her fiction. She remarks, “They say write what you know. 

I’m the mother of six girls and one boy. That fact combined with the steeped in mystical beliefs culture in which i was raised have given me an abundance of stories to draw from. My grandmama was a believer in voodoo and practiced the every day forms such as creating love gri-gri’s (charm pouches). My great -grandmama cured me of a reoccurring bout of warts on my hand by using a throw away aluminum pie tin, a candle and holy water; the warts never returned. Writing gothic tales, featuring the dead, is quite natural to me because in the South we live with our dead. They walk beside us and talk to us daily.” When not visiting the mysteries of her childhood home she also writes fantasy and science fiction.

When she is not writing, you will find her at an easel covered in oil paint. “When I write I usually have a picture in my mind of a painting to go with the story. The same holds true when the picture of a painting forms in my mind. It’s usually followed closely with an idea for a story or poem. I am one of the contributors to the ShadowSpinners blog post and was greatly honored when asked to provide my vision for the site in the from of an oil painting. You can view it along with my blogs at https://shadowspinners.wordpress.com.”

If you’re looking to get a little lost in the Bayou’s dark tales

Veya Marie St. James has vowed to never again set foot on the Island of her birth—a strip of land buried deep in the swamps of southern Louisiana. Her childhood memories are rampant with ancient superstitions and the bizarre rituals of her estranged mother. Veya long ago rejected that life and those beliefs, but when a mysterious illness threatens her daughter’s life, it all leads to the Island. Veya swore she would never go back, but the Island calls to her, and now it’s calling with her daughter’s voice.

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This collection of short stories is brought to you by the writers of ShadowSpinners, a collective blog dedicated to exploring the darker side of fiction. Join us for a journey through the shadows. Wherever you end up, it is sure to be fascinating. Within these pages you’ll discover a wide range of genres, from literary to fantasy to horror and beyond. Humorous, terrifying, thought provoking and strange, but never predictable, these twelve stories explore the hidden corners of human experience.

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Writers are wordless in very few instances. But in the case of a friend gone too soon, a writer who will never be replaced, it’s hard to find words. Yet there is much to write. And for Stephen T. Vessels, a man who defied categorization, we all of us, had a story to write for him, printed here with one of Stephen’s last and best stories, now published for the first time, The Ki Trees. So what exactly is The Fifth Fedora? In its simplest terms, it is an anthology of stories inspired by the work and persona of Stephen. He was a man known for many things, the least significant but most iconic of which may be the fedoras he liked to wear, if not his abiding love of Scotch or the fifth dimension he appeared to inhabit, defying all attempts to induct him into the time stream of mundane mortals. His own stories, likewise, defied generalization. Some fantasy, some sci-fi, some noir, a delightful mélange of tentacles and detectives and albino alligators lurking in post-apocalyptic sewers. And so here we’re happy to represent stories that Stephen himself might’ve liked to read, such as “A Million Lost Souls Plus One” by Christina Lay, co-founder of ShadowSpinners Press. “Fallen Angels” by Max Devoe Talley, author of Santa Fe Psychosis.“ From the Journal of Dr. Eduard Charivari” by Monte Schulz, author of Metropolis. “It’s Up to You” by John R. Reed, author of The Mole Train. “Unrequited Loss” by Elizabeth Engstrom, author of When Darkness Loves Us. and contributions by Stacy Allen, Zane Andrea, Jack Eidt, Avery Faeth, Maryanne Knight, Chris Casey Logsdon, Cynthia Ray, Rick Shaw, Silver Webb, Frederick Williams, Cheryl Owen-Wilson, and Eric Witchey.

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Portal Home

Portal HomePortal Home, is a combination of surreal and nebulas painting genre.

Night Dreams

Night Dreams .jpgThis is one of my newest paintings.  It is an oil on canvas print.  If my muse had a world, this is where she would live.

Day of the Dead–Newest Painting!

My most recent Day of the Dead inspired art, Dia de los Muertos–Fortune Telling, was juried in to Maude Kern Art Center’s Dia de los Muertos annual show in Eugene, Oregon.  Opening Reception is October 12th, 2018 from 6 – 9pm. The show runs from from October 12th – November 2nd.  Below is the website to Maude Kerns website so you can check out their many amazing events.

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It has become tradition that I dress to match my painting.  Here are some of the photos from past exhibits.

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Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) Art Show

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I’ll have my newest piece of Day of the Dead inspired art shown at Maude Kerns Art Center on October 14th, 2016 in Eugene, OR.  Below is the website to Maude Kerns website so you can check out their many amazing events.

http://www.mkartcenter.org/exhibits.html

 

Book Illustrations

I’m proud to have two illustrations in Stephen Vessels collection of Science Fiction/Dark Fantasy Tales. The book title is “The Mountain & The Vortex and other Tales”. I will share the link regarding the book. Below are photos of my paintings both on canvas and in the book. It was most fun creating a visual illustration for Stephen’s dark stories. I’ve now read all the tales and author Elizabeth Engstrom was quite right when she said, “Stephen skates gracefully on the thin ice of genius in this superb collection.”

 

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The Accidental Blog

By Cheryl Owen-Wilson Following is how this blog was born, even though I tried to blow it off. I really did try. I’m on vacation, I reasoned. I deserve an entire day of no obligations. I’ll do it tomorrow, what difference will one day make? You get the idea.

So there I sat mid-day today reading my friend, Lisa Alber’s newest book, “Whispers in the Mist”. I was quite content in the fact that I could just let the blog go for the day. I’d intentionally kept this book unread until I had time to spend an entire day immersed in the misty fogs of Lisfenora, Ireland, where the book takes place. And I was there, happily reading away, when the atmosphere in her novel caught me, spun me around, and said, the weather in this book is as much a character as the actual humans are. So I blame you Lisa, for giving me a perfectly good idea for a blog, that I now have to write so I can get back to finishing your amazing new book.

“The storm starts, when the drops start dropping
When the drops stop dropping then the storm starts stopping.”
― Dr. Seuss

Here are just a few of the many ways weather can enhance your fiction:

Atmosphere or Mood: My writing contains many references to the Deep South of Louisiana. From heat that flows around you like cane syrup, sticky and sweet, to rain that hits so hard you have welts on your skin for days. My characters are steeped in the slow pace caused by my home state’s oppressive heat. Lisa used the fog and mist instantly associated with Ireland to draw readers into her evolving mystery. Many horror writers use storms under the cloak of night to create the appropriate atmosphere. What type of weather could you use to draw your readers in?

“Summer in the Deep South is not only a season, a climate, it’s a dimension. Floating in it, one must be either proud or submerged.”
― Eugene F. Walter, The Untidy Pilgrim

“The rain thundered down so heavily that Pritam could imagine that space itself was made of water and was pouring through rents in the sky’s tired fabric.”
― Stephen M. Irwin, The Dead Path

Tension: My writing mentor forever lives in my brain. This is one of many things she whispers while I write. “Just when you think you have enough tension in your story, make more.” My characters are human with human limitations. I have to give them plausible situations, believable responses. But when I throw the unpredictability of weather into the equation, well, that is a whole different set of rules. Hurricanes have been featured in my stories. They’ve possessed gale force winds that left fathers dead in branches of the only cypress tree left standing, and chickens flying past second story bedroom windows. “Twister” is one of my favorite movies. Given the recent weather in my home state, which caused extensive flooding, I now have a new story percolating. Imagine what creatures a spontaneous flood could unearth! What natural disaster might befall your characters? What would they learn about themselves, or others, as a result?

“Dark and pregnant clouds gave birth and fist-sized stones of hail hammered the earth.” ― Michael R. Fletcher, Beyond Redemption

“The November evening had a bite; it nibbled not-quite-gently at her cheeks and ears. In Virginia the late autumn was a lover, still, but a dangerous one.”
― J. Aleksandr Wootton, The Eighth Square

Irony: It doesn’t always have to be nighttime and raining when the bloody corpse is discovered in a field, amongst trees who’s naked limbs reach to grab any passers by. What if it’s a perfectly beautiful day and your protagonist is strolling leisurely through a field of wild flowers? She’s just reached down to pick a flawless daisy when she notices the ruby red liquid dripping from its white petals and looks around to see severed limbs nestled within the field of vibrant spring colored flowers. A bright, sunny spring day filled with bloody body parts makes a very interesting contrast. So next time you go for the dark and stormy night switch it up a little, and see where it takes you.

“It is a common fault of men not to reckon on storms in fair weather.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

“It’s so dry the trees are bribing the dogs.”
― Charles Martin, Chasing Fireflies: A Novel of Discovery

In conclusion remember, unless atmosphere/weather happens to be an actual character in your novel, don’t drown your reader with too much of it. Small doses interspersed to give the proper setting, or steer your character in the right direction, are all that is needed.

“one day you stepped in snow, the next in mud, water soaked in your boots and froze them at night, it was the next worst thing to pure blizzardry, it was weather that wouldn’t let you settle.” ― E.L. Doctorow, Welcome to Hard Times

I do hope you write a vicious storm, snowy blizzard, sun-baked day, torrential rain…the variations are endless, into your next story. As for me, I’m going to cozy back up with Lisa’s book. The atmosphere outside where I am vacationing, here on the Oregon coast, is perfect. A fog is rolling in and I can literally feel the waves pounding below my balcony.

Have you found other ways in which weather has enhanced your own writing or a favorite book?

Find more amazing blogs by me and other amazing writers at:

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https://shadowspinners.wordpress.com

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