moon music

Moon Music Makes Magic

Moon music on the ukulele is inspiring me. I have decided to have a new Category here on the blog called Friday Favorites, where I will post something that inspires me. It’s a place for my favorite things that help keep my creative juices flowing. My run with The Leprechaun Pirates at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has begun, so the focus this week is on my instrument of choice, the Ukulele. Taimane Gardner is a master of this instrument, and this is a stunning piece of hers. What really inspires me is the touch of vocal. It really brings in that magical moon quality to the song.

In Moon music – Taimane makes magic

There is a lyrical quality to her playing that doesn’t need words. I’m not the only person who is impressed with her abilities.

When Don Ho caught wind of the talented teen, he invited her to join him as part of his venerable variety show at the Waikiki Beachcomber, further fueling Taimane’s desire to perform for and connect with audiences. …Taimane weaves in original compositions that are as far ranging as her musical tastes. With the fierceness of a rocker, and the grace of a dancer, Taimane and her music are wowing ever-larger audiences.

I am totally getting caught up in her music, and I can’t wait to hear more. My heart and my mind are busy absorbing her cool groove. Her style is untouchable by me at this time, as a result Taimane is an inspiration to me both as a player and a songwriter. As she says “where words fail my music speaks.” It is said that music is the universal language, and I totally agree. I’ve even been asked to write some moon music of my own. We’ll see what the lovely moon inspires, shall we?

feminism becomes art

Feminism Becomes Art

Feminism at it’s best is a verb, an action that takes place in space and time that changes everything it touches. This is the case with art as well. Often in art and literature, the two are combined, and this is how feminism becomes art.

The Feminist Muse

One thing that has my mind thinking of my own art in terms of feminism is the the book I have been reading called Sacred Pleasure by Riane Eisler. In this book, she exposes the underlying culture of control and domination through fear and pain, and offers an alternative model of partnership through shared caring and pleasure. That pleasure, including sexual pleasure, should be sacred is shocking to those in the domination culture. But when one looks logically at these things, fear and pain as the main control mechanism in both a social and religious system are shocking.

Another book that came to mind is Dreaming the Dark by Starhawk. This book taught me about the difference between power-over and power-from-within as a personal path. My main methods of expressing my feminism is through my artwork, celebrating the Sacred Feminine. This is how my own power comes out and blossoms from within my soul.

Call of the Goddess

For the past several weeks, I have been concentrating on physical fitness as my focus, and my art has suffered. I haven’t been drawing or painting in the mornings and my heart is hurting because of it. Only following the call of the Goddess can bring me back into balance and heal. This means I must continue painting images of Her. Now that I’ve started sharing my artwork with people again, I’m getting asked about what’s available for sale. I’m not ready to start a business just yet, so I’m holding off on selling anything at the moment. When I look at statistics that say women artists only make 1/3rd of what male artists make, it causes me to pause as well.

When Feminism Becomes Art

The need to paint becomes even stronger in light of the difficulty women artists face in the marketplace. So I will continue to paint pictures of the divine feminine, and the sacred power of nature. My art is my power and I will express it. Creating this body of work is extremely satisfying for me, and I am looking forward to sharing it with the world.

Flower Goddess of Spring detail

Flower Goddess – Music From The Ground

When the Flower Goddess came along, the seventh in my Nature Goddess Suite, I was quite excited. Watercolor is the perfect medium for painting flowers. Each of my paintings have to take form in my mind before I begin, and I let my thoughts ramble until a cohesive form appears. Painting is a very meditative process for me, and tranquility is key for me.

The Tulip of Willendorf

Of all the flowers, the tulip is one of the most important heralds of Spring for me, so that’s the form she took. Her pose is quite intentionally inspired by the paleolithic figure of the Venus of Willendorf, and I am thrilled at how she turned out. Once the sketch started taking form, she really captured my heart. You can view all the Nature Goddesses in the Art Gallery as well.

Flower Goddess of Spring watercolor painting by Beth Hansen-Buth

Flower Goddess watercolor original art by Beth Hansen-Buth

 

from earth’s lips spoken without sound”
– Edwin Curran

The Flower Goddess and Music

I love that verse by american poet Edwin Curran, it brings the music of flowers to life. There is so much beauty in the world that is soft and simple and delicate. Tulips are the herald to Spring, and they are gone so quickly. If you are anything like me, you have a crazy busy life. Flowers have also inspired many composers to create music to describe their beauty. Mother nature’s glorious art form inspires artists of all ages. Whether you want to tiptoe through the tulips with Tiny Tim and his ukulele, or do the Dance of the Flowers with Tchaikovsky, it’s up to you. Please feel free to share how you express your own harmony with flowers in the comments below.

Focus on Art

Why Focus on Art?

My thoughts often focus on art, most days it’s what I think about all the time. I find myself wondering if there is something more important I should be doing. Have you ever asked yourself what the meaning of art is? What purpose does it serve? As an artist I definitely have struggled with this.

So Why Focus on Art?

1 – Art enriches life

I am an avid reader, I love movies, and music gives me great joy. All in all, art makes my life richer for being a part of it. Can you imagine a world without the Mona Lisa? What about Star Wars, or the Beatles? We would definitely be poorer without all of these in our society. Art helps us create our environment and the stories we tell, and what’s better than that?

2 – Art is good for your brain

Any creative activity engages both sides of your brain, causing them to communicate with each other. Every art project requires lots of decisions to be made. It’s good practice for creative problem solving and you learn to think outside the box. Skills you learn while working on arts or crafts enable you to plan ahead and resist impulses so you can achieve your goals.

3 – Making art makes you happy

For reals. Spending time doing arts and crafts releases dopamine which actually boosts drive, focus, and concentration. So it’s a scientific fact that creating art makes you feel good.

I wrote this blog piece for myself, for the motivation I need when I get down. The following video is a big encouragement to me, and helps me understand the benefit that living a life focused on art provides to others.

Go forth and make art dear friends! You will be glad you did, it’s a proven scientific fact.

Flower Goddess pencil sketch by Beth Hansen-Buth

Goddess Sketch – Goddess Art Creation

Today you are getting a sneak peek at my latest Goddess Sketch: the Flower Goddess. Each painting starts out in pencil on paper, where I work out the idea and the basic shapes. Any shading is minimal, because that all happens during the painting process. With watercolor, you have to let the paint decide for itself where to go, there’s less control but more flow working this way. For this painting, I’m using mostly watercolors with a couple of guache colors to keep it bright.

Flower Goddess Sketch by Beth Hansen-Buth

On the drawing table, Flower Goddess Sketch

Goddess Sketch to Painting

Yes, my drawing table is usually quite messy as I work. I keep my brushes in a mug whose handle is broken off, and my palette is a piece of glass. This work in progress is an 8×10 watercolor on aquabord. I’m looking forward to adding her to my gallery when the painting is complete. When I begin a painting, I keep it loose, with edges not clearly defined. It’s very messy at this stage, so you won’t ever see me share anything until it’s complete. The sketch is complete, so that’s why I’m sharing it today. I took the photo with my cel phone, which is the only camera I currently have, something I’d like to change in the near future.

There are so many aspects to creating art these days. With all the technology we have, it makes it easy to share things right away. My plan is to keep updating the blog each week with my artistic endeavors. Tonight I get to go play with my fellow Leprechaun Pirates as we have our first show this weekend. Wyrdhaven Studio is thriving with art and music, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where this story leads us over the next six months. Music is life and art is joy!

The Mystery of the Tree Goddess

I do love painting trees, they are very patient models and hold their poses very well. Deep down I think we all know that the trees provide life and shelter to us all. I have a love for well crafted instruments and furniture made of wood, and there are hardwood floors here in my studio. An old apple tree struggles as each year more of its limbs grow black and brittle in my yard, while a young pin oak delights in the regularity of sun and rain we’ve been having this year. In the back yard a magnificent silver maple shades much of the yard and our sacred circle space we use to count the months and seasons creates a leafy canopy that we watch the moon travel through.

Around the world stand sacred groves, and I pondered long on how to depict the Tree Goddess. Arms as branches came to mind, but it was this vision of the Goddess as a guardian of the inner mysteries of the tree itself that had to be painted. What lies beyond her gently curving form in the darkness? Just as a woman’s vulva holds the mystery of pleasure and life, so also do trees.

Tree Goddess Art

May the mystery of the secret gate bring you closer to your walk with nature. Tree Goddess painting 8×10″ watercolor by By Beth Hansen-Buth

Trees are sacred all around the world, and culture after culture reveres its sacred groves. The wisdom is found in Wiki these days:

A sacred grove or sacred woods are any grove of trees of special religious importance to a particular culture. Sacred groves feature in various cultures throughout the world.

They were important features of the mythological landscape and cult practice of Celtic, Baltic, Germanic, ancient Greek, Near Eastern, Roman, and Slavic polytheism, and were also used in India, Japan, and West Africa. Examples of sacred groves include the Greco-Roman temenos, the Norse hörgr, and the Celtic nemeton, which was largely but not exclusively associated with Druidic practice. During the Northern Crusades, there was a common practice of building churches on the sites of sacred groves. The Lakota and various other North American tribes consider particular forests or other natural landmarks to be sacred.

Ancient holy trees still exist in the English countryside and are mentioned often in folklore and fairytales.

When I was growing up, we lived for a while on a dead-end street. The farthest house had an old well on it and beyond it were trees. It was a lovely woods, that as a small child I considered a forest. A path led down the hill through the woods to a nearby park where we would go to play. This is where a neighbor lady would sit on her deck telling us fairy tales in late summer while we ate ice cream cones. The nature of magic is self-evident to children, it is everywhere around them, in the stories and songs, the rustle of leaves, and the old well down the street. It’s mysteries are very solid and real, and the trees have their own tales to tell if we will listen.

Earth Goddess Detail

Grounding with the Earth Goddess

The following is a meditation I use to stay grounded, the Earth Goddess helps me do that. As above, so also below.

Go to a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and can sit comfortably in a chair with your feet touching the ground. Have a glass or bottle of water nearby. Begin by closing your eyes and breathing slowly and deeply, expanding your rib-cage and your belly for six breaths. Notice how this feels by focusing on the expansion and contraction of your ribs. Relax and breath normally. Now bring your focus up between and behind your eyebrows, this is your Ajna Chakra or Third Eye and will help you with visualizing the rest of the meditation. Keep your eyes closed and picture a ball of white light in the center of your body, imagine it growing and expanding filling your body and creating a glow to about two feet from your body all around. At the outer edge imagine that a light blue electric light starts to form, like a forcefield it is protecting you and your space from any distractions.

Now feel the weight of your body where you are sitting, and imagine you are a stone, sitting in the warm sand with your feet and legs buried deep into the earth. Focus on your contact to earth, and imagine that the white light flows freely from you to the stump and back again. Notice any sensations you may feel as you connect and ground yourself to Mother Earth.

Earth Goddess watercolor painting by Beth Hansen Buth

Earth Goddess watercolor painting by Beth Hansen Buth

Move your feet back and forth, and wiggle your toes while touching the floor. Imagine your feet have sent shoots down deep into the heart of Mother Earth as energy begins to flow effortlessly like water into your Energy Body. Picture the energy as a warm, golden-green color or loving pink color, whichever you are more comfortable with. Still your feet as they continue to drink and focus on the rising warmth as earth energy fills your legs, knees, hips, torso, arms, hands, neck and finally your head where it flows out the top, down your body, and back to the earth through the trunk of your tree-chair to the center of the Earth to be transformed into clear clean energy again. Allow it to flow at it’s own pace, and imagine as it does so it’s cleaning away all your doubts & fears, anger & frustration, and any negative speck or blocked idea that keeps you from pure love and joy. As Earth Energy cleans out a space, it fills it with love, peace, and contentment. Focus on how this makes you feel.

When you are ready, open your eyes and drink your glass of water. Know that the water came from the earth and is nourishing your Energy Body which just had a good workout! As you continue your day, you can renew your connection to the earth by imagining a vine reaching from the base of your spine to the center of the earth. Like an anchor it keeps connected to Mother Earth and you can make it as large or small in your imagination as you think it should be. Use it any time you need to eliminate any negative or unpleasant emotions or energies throughout the day.

© 2007-2016 Beth Hansen-Buth. All Rights Reserved.

Moon Goddess Art

The Moon Goddess

Approach the Moon Goddess with care. Her silver light will guide your step, you will find her in a still pool. She is the mirror of your soul’s longing, the gift of light in darkness. Drink deeply of her light and praise her beauty.

It is impossible for me to talk about the moon without waxing poetic. Walking under the moonlight is a truly romantic experience, I fall in love with her every time. While there are many named goddesses associated with the moon, it is her light which inspires me the most, it is a great blessing on a late spring night. In winter, the snow reflects her glory so brightly it startles the senses. She governs the tides, and times to plant and sow. Moonlight is magical, cool and beautiful. She glimmers and shimmers. There is no way to adequately describe the glory of the moon, or render her with watercolor paint for that matter. Yet I have to try to honor her to the best of my ability, exploring the sacred in nature and the divine feminine demanded it.

Blue Moon Goddess

Moon Goddess Original Watercolor painting by Beth Hansen-Buth

The Freedom Of The Moon – Poem by Robert Frost

I’ve tried the new moon tilted in the air
Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster
As you might try a jewel in your hair.
I’ve tried it fine with little breadth of luster,
Alone, or in one ornament combining
With one first-water start almost shining.

I put it shining anywhere I please.
By walking slowly on some evening later,
I’ve pulled it from a crate of crooked trees,
And brought it over glossy water, greater,
And dropped it in, and seen the image wallow,
The color run, all sorts of wonder follow.

How does the moon inspire you?

River Goddess Art by Beth Hansen-Buth

A River Goddess Runs Through It

I was born in a city on the banks of the great Mississippi river. It was a common playground game to chant out the spelling “em, I, es, es, I, es es, I, pee, pee i” in a rhythmic fashion. We are in a water rich state, and while I’ve never lived on a river, I’ve always honored the importance of it. When I was with the singing group The Idisi, we had a concert on a riverboat on the Mississippi. It seems fitting, now that I’m working in watercolor paint, I should turn my task to honoring the spirit of the waters. The inspiration for this painting idea originally came from the song Sister River Giver by Sasha Butterfly several years ago. It embodies the life giving power of the river, and the history of the Mississippi is a testament to that power. From Wikipedia:

The area of the Mississippi River basin was first settled by hunting and gathering Native American peoples and is considered one of the few independent centers of plant domestication in human history.[47] Evidence of early cultivation of sunflower, a goosefoot, a marsh elder and an indigenous squash dates to the 4th millennium BCE.

That is a long and powerful history to the gift of the River Goddess. In keeping with the first two goddess paintings I did, the Sun Goddess and the Green Goddess, I wanted to include a symbol at her heart. I thought about the river rock that so many people use in their gardens, worn smooth from the flowing water.What better than a beautiful blue cabochon stone, sending off her powerful heart energy into the flowing waters? This is the energy of the Goddess in motion, always flowing and renewing, bringing new life to the banks and the river dwellers themselves. So here she is, the River Goddess as she came to be here at Wyrdhaven Studio.

River Goddess painting by Beth Hansen-Buth

River Goddess painting by Beth Hansen-Buth

We Are the Flow
chant by Shekhinah Mountainwater

Em
We are the flow, we are the ebb,

D     (Em)
We are the weavers, we are the web

It is only fitting to include the chords with the chant, We Are the Flow was one of the first chants I ever learned, and it harkens back to my earliest days exploring what the Goddess means to me. Back then I was discovering all things metaphysical, with no idea where my path would take me, I embarked on the journey as on a river, to see where it would take me. Part of that journey took me to the west coast to the Faeryworlds Festival, where I first heard Sasha Butterfly’s beautiful music. I spent years trying to get my hands on a copy of her CD. She’d gone off to college and CD Baby had lost the file. Finally it became available again, and I got my hands on the CD and it was as beautiful as I remember it being. It brings back memories of the early morning call of the Peacocks on the festival grounds, and the sound of the music floating up to the vendor area where I spent the entire festival in my booth. I’ll leave you with my inspiration.


Green Goddess

Sacred Nature

It came to me suddenly one day, while contemplating the new paintings. I am exploring the sacred in nature, and the nature of the sacred. What began with just one painting of the Goddess has evolved into an adventure. It started with the sun, the dawn of a new day for me. The next step came when the seed was sown and started to grow into this green goddess. While explore working with watercolors, each painting is also an exploration of the Goddess. What is she trying to tell me? It begins with an idea, and with this one it is the coming of Spring, The intention is to show growth and the power of green living things.

Green Goddess Art by Beth Hansen-Buth

Green Goddess Art by Beth Hansen-Buth

“The environment is where we all meet;
where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.”
~ Lady Bird Johnson ~

Each painting is a step to a whole journey, with an unfolding visual story whose destination is the next idea that grabs me and won’t let go. Taking up the brush, pushing the paint around, following my simple sketch, I watch each image unfold in ways that I didn’t imagine before I began. The original thought remains, but it grows and evolves from sketch to finished painting, even on something as small as 5″x7″ this happens. Creating each painting changes the environment, showing me things in a fresh way. Variations on the theme of the Goddess, it has a musical quality to it, each painting is a new verse to a song honoring Mother Nature in all of her aspects.

While the Sun Goddess has the strong energy of rays, this is full of spirals. Each plant emerges from a seed to form a seedling, curling up out of the soil. Shoots and leaves unfold and take form every Spring. In my own garden established plants were ready to divide, and columbine self seeded beautifully, so I can spread them around and enjoy their delicate beauty more and more.

Some notes on art techniques and materials:

Repetition and variation makes for good design, and I am reminded of when I was first learning to work in color. I have explored so many medium and techniques, and watercolor on aquabord is serving me well. Many of my smaller paintings in oil were on gessoboard, which has a similar texture; enough to give the paint something to cling to but still allowing delicate details. This painting definitely evolved, as I had no real plan for the background on this at all, other than the verdant green of growing things. She glows with the sparks of life, some of which were created by scraping away the paint to the bare clay below, and then tinting again with yellow or green watercolor. I used colored pencil to emphasize details of the hair/leaves/vine. Some of the white is from gel pen, the dots above the heart leaf and  some of the white swirls as well. This painting also heralds a change in my artistic signature, which I plan to refine and make into a logo.

Each painting is added to my Art Gallery, so take a look at all that I’ve done so far. Feel free to comment here on the blog or in the gallery. Art is a solitary business, but the paintings must be seen, so please leave a few kind words if you are so moved.

Sun Worship

My first adventure in watercolor on aquabord began on April 1st 2016, just over a month ago. For an artist there is nothing more exciting and frightening than a clean white surface waiting to be painted. While i have done a few watercolor paintings in the past, they were either on paper or illustration board, not kaolin clay. Unlike the scratchboard which was ultra smooth, the white kaolin clay of the aquabord is lightly textured. Even though I’m fairly experienced as an oil painter, watercolor has always intimidated me because you can’t rework it the way you can oil. But I’ve been determined to immerse myself in this beautiful medium for some time. I’ve always admired watercolor artists greatly, and love the delicate beauty of washes and subtle shifts of color that look so effortless draw me in and excite my imagination.

So there I was April fools day starting to put down my first wash on my new 5×7 inch painting. There was water, paint, and coffee involved. What emerged is a painting of the Sun Goddess, which is detailed above, and the full image is below. After a few short painting sessions it was done, and to my great satisfaction.

Sun Goddess Symbol by artist Beth Hansen-Buth

Worshipping the Sun Goddess for spring. Watercolor on archival clay on hardboard.

Now it’s mid May, and I’m so happy to be able to share my newest artwork. It is the dawn of a new day artistically for me. Last week I posted a painting which featured a sun which I painted ten years ago, and told my own tale of two trees. As I looked forward to posting this painting, I was so inspired, and wrote the following poem:

Sun Worship

When I was young I worshipped the sun
I lay alone, breeze caressing
clouds cooling my warmed skin
held in nature’s womb.

Her rays brighten closed eyes
mind resting, floating heavily
limbs languid, rolling slowly
to repeat my worship
on the other side
~
(c) Beth Hansen-Buth 2016

Some notes on art techniques and materials:
I did use some colored pencil to outline the figure of the goddess, which I then painted over with watercolor, which softened the rough crayon look. I made use of the nature of the surface to lift the paint to form the rays, first with brush and water, and then with a scratch tool to remove dried paint. The heart wasn’t planned, she just seemed to need one. I think the Sun Goddess will always hold a special place in my heart going forward, for she has given me the courage to shine and share my artwork that I love so much.

sunrise behind trees watercolor and ink art by Beth Hansen-Buth

A Tale of Two Trees

Ten years ago, I was working full time as an artist, and looking forward to many things. Fall would bring me to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival as a crafter, but leading up to that, Spring brought my wedding. This piece, The Two Trees, was my first attempt and adding watercolor to scratchboard art, and it was my wedding invitation as well. There is a sad Celtic tale of Deidre, where she was united with her lost love only in death as two trees grew from their graves, but this represents our life together.

Two trees, my personal wedding invitation.

Two trees, my personal wedding invitation. 5×7 inches on scratchboard with watercolor.

Coming up on our tenth wedding anniversary, I am posting it on the web for the first time.

We’ve been through a lot together over the last ten years, my husband David and I. That year was a complete roller coaster ride emotionally. We had just bought our new home, adopted two adorable kittens (Tinkerbelle and Jasmine) and I was going to live my dream of having my own booth selling my work at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for the first time. It was an amazing time. The wedding was an amazing party, and a whirlwind of activity. It was my first wedding and his second, and I was so blessed to have a house overflowing with friends and family. We jumped the broom in our living room, and my groom was wearing his black Utilikilt that he got at the Faeryworlds Festival we went to together in 2004. My wedding dress was my first Renaissance costume which I wore out at my booth later that fall. My sister-in-law Lynn brought potted flowers which later went into the gardens surrounding the house after wedding was over.

But there was great sorrow as well. Neither of our fathers were able to come to the wedding as they were both in the hospital battling cancer. Two weeks after the wedding David’s father passed away, and my father passed away less than two months after that. This was the background to my first attempt as a crafter at one of the biggest Renaissance Festivals in the country. I worked harder than I ever had to get ready for it, and I was glad to have something to look forward to after the sadness of the summer months. I was on a shoestring budget, and was renting space from another artist who bought a booth out there.

We had our families to support us emotionally, and we had each other. The next couple of years were a tough time to start an art business. It was the great recession, we had our mortgage to pay, and David co-owned the family home nearby with his brother who lived there with roommates. Then in 2007 his brother passed away in August from complications following surgery. Another season of the Renaissance festival followed quickly on the heals of another personal tragedy, and sales were no better for me this year. I had begun actively looking for full time employment. But I wasn’t able to find a full time job fast enough to save the house, we lost it to foreclosure when the banks refused to take our payment. I still love that house, a beautiful craftsman built in 1911, and the address is forever on our marriage certificate. But we were fortunate, we were able to save the family home and moved into it the summer of 2008.

My studio made it’s home there, transformed for a while into a Reiki Studio, then a Music Studio, and now finally my Art Studio once more. It is my happy place where I take my morning coffee, and I also call it my Girl Cave. So here I sit with a wall full of art, instruments, and my drawing table behind me. This year that I’m starting to paint again I am also returning to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, but this time as a performer, singing songs and playing my ukulele with the Leprechaun Pirates. Together we have grown and through it all my husband has cheered me on, acted as gruelmeister at fest, and this year will be my personal cabin boy. Friday the thirteenth is our tenth wedding anniversary. It’s always been a lucky day for me. Ain’t love grand?