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.

Baby Dragons hatching

The Trouble With Twins

The trouble with twins is that they are twice as cute as a solitary baby, and twice as clever as they look. I should know, I’ve been a twin my whole life. It was only natural that I would not be satisfied with a dragon hatchling of solitary birth. No, I had to paint one egg with two little dragons coming out of it. I had to. They are dragons of different colors, as sometimes happens with dragons. One cannot be sure what color will come out of each egg. What is for certain is that they are born with their best friend, as was I.

twin dragon chicks hatching with runes

Double the trouble, double the fun! Twin dragon hatchlings by Beth Hansen-Buth.

What is uncertain is what they will grow up to be, more alike or more different. Seven years after painting this, I finally have decided on a title: Double Trouble. But any parent of twins can tell you it’s more like Trouble squared, because when twins get together with an idea, watch out! My twin has always been super supportive of my artistic endeavors, and is very happy to cheer me on, now that I’m getting back into the art groove again.

One of the wonderful things I discovered about working on the scratchbord is that the watercolor virtually disappears into the india ink. I didn’t know until I tried. It was a scary thing the first time I added color to the beautiful white clay surface, as I didn’t know how it would turn out. It was like magic! I was instantly rewarded for my effort with a pop of color that seemed almost back-lit to me, like stained glass. It really was love at first sight, but I put my boards aside when I got stuck on a larger image that wasn’t working out for me. It took a long time, and years of immersing myself into music, to bring me back to the drawing board. Now that I’m looking back, I notice that the year this was painted, 2009, was the year I bought my first Autoharp. The rest fell into place over the past seven years, instruments, more stability in my home, a steady job… all bring me back to where I want to start sharing the art I’ve made, leaving me eager to make more.

So now I’m working differently than ever before, learning as I go and loving every minute of it.Watercolor is a joy to work with, and I’m glad that the last time the urge to paint came upon me I invested in a good set of Winsor & Newton artists’ professional quality paints. Try as I might, I can’t find a picture to match the set of half-pans that I bought. All the more reason to clean the studio and do a studio tour video and or slideshow. I love seeing where other artists work, I’ve always found it very inspirational. Right now I’m becoming more and more inspired by the art I’m making, even if it’s in very small five inch by seven inch paintings, I find them immensely satisfying.

The Hollow Hill original art by Beth Hansen-Buth

Entrance to the Celtic Otherworld

It has long been told that the Sidhe, the Irish fair folk, live under the hills. There are many hills known as fairy hills in the Brittish Isles, and there are also many rings of standing stones. You can get the facts through Wikipedia:

As part of the terms of their surrender to the Milesians, the Tuatha Dé Danann agreed to retreat and dwell underground in the sídhe (modern Irish: ; Scottish Gaelic: sìth; Old Irish síde, singular síd), the hills or earthen mounds that dot the Irish landscape. In some later poetry, each tribe of the Tuatha Dé Danann was given its own mound.

In a number of later English language texts, the word sídhe is used both for the mounds and the people of the mounds. However sidh in older texts refers specifically to “the palaces, courts, halls or residences” of the ghostly beings that, according to Gaedhelic mythology, inhabit them.[3]

The fact that many of these sídhe have been found to be ancient burial mounds,[citation needed] has contributed to the theory that the aos sí were the pre-Celtic occupants of Ireland. “The Book of Invasions”, “The Annals of the Four Masters”, and oral history support this view.

The story of the Aes Sídhe is found all over Scotland and Ireland, many tales referring to how the Norse invaders drove Scottish inhabitants underground to live in the hills. This part of the legend contributes to the Changeling myth in west European folklore.

But it is the stories and the tales, of sleeping on the mounds to learn magic, or of musicians stolen away under the hill to play at a fairy wedding, that I find so enchanting. In 1850, a farmer in the Orkney Isles uncovered the true fairy mounds. There is truth to be found in fairy tales, and we are discovering it every day.

Entrance to the underworld in the Orkney Isles

Entrance to the underworld in the Orkney Isles

April Fools Day ~ Painting With Coffee

Once upon a time there was an artist who had to get up an hour earlier than usual, so she can go to a concert in the evening.

Her name is Beth, and she really wants to draw and paint every day before going to her day job. So she got up and started her morning coffee (decaf by the way) and set the alarm to go off in 10 minutes so she could snooze. When the alarm went off, Beth put on her slippers and stumbled back to the kitchen and made her coffee. She filled the mug she got at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and shuffled in her pajama’s and slippers to her studio, eager to get to her drawing table with coffee in hand.

Beth’s very excited that she gets to start adding color to her 5×7 painting on aquabord. It’s a new beginning for her, and will be the first painting she’s done in years. Beth is having lots of fun adding cheery yellows and a touch of blue at the corners, when she looks at the clock and sees that it’s time to clean up. So she gathers her paintbrushes to wash and stands up to go do that when she KNOCKS OVER HER COFFEE ON THE DRAWING TABLE!! Oh no! Coffee splashes on approximately 1/3rd of the painting! Beth worked quickly to minimize the damage by diluting it with water and dabbing it with a paper towel.

Not to worry, it’s on a clay surface so it can be scrubbed out to the clean white beneath once it dries…she hopes. Beth will fix that tomorrow, and she will NEVER, EVER have a beverage on her drawing table while she’s working on art again.

The End.