Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, April 30, 2018

Zest is Our Life Blood - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Zest is Life Blood" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Zest is Our Life Blood" is my phrase for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. Zest is the perfect word to close out my posts. After all, enthusiasm and passion are synonyms for zest, and I have great passion for art and for the response it inspires.

Today's painting is experimental. I love to experiment with art. Years ago, I created work using scraps of colored Plexiglas embedded in Celluclay (instant papier mache). It was fun and created dialog. I enjoyed the sculptural quality of the work.

"Zest is Life Blood" is cold wax and oil on two-inch thick Styrofoam that is 18" x 18". (I couldn't resist using this material when it was given to me.) Once again, I see a lot in this piece of art. It overflows with zest, enthusiasm, and passion. Life blood is the basis for this painting. Images lurk throughout.

What are your feelings? Should last be first?

Which pieces of my art do you like best? Which materials?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Yesterday is a Step to Tomorrow - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Vision of Yesterday" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Yesterday is a Step to Tomorrow" are my words for today in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. What a profound statement. Everything we do is somehow built upon our past, like it or not. Memories of the yesterdays in our lives remind us, teach us, guide us--the list goes on.

Today's painting, "Vision of Yesterday", is a little blurred, like our memories often are. This loosely-done encaustic painting on board is a waterlily floating on the surface of a pond, quietly living on the gentle water. It reminds me of a large acrylic painting on canvas I created years ago that I sold to a collector on the West Coast. I wonder where that piece of art now resides. That art from long ago yesterdays was a step that inspired this newer painting.

What do you see in this creation? What does it mean to you?

Friday, April 27, 2018

Xanadu Holds My Lantern - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Chasing Dreams" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Xanadu Holds My Lantern" is my phrase for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. For a while, I have been painting about my search for Xanadu, that special place where goodness and beauty reign. Somewhere in space, such a place exists. That is my dream. We need that destination to counteract the evil that sometimes seems to prevail everywhere around us.

So much can be found in this painting which is Robert Doak watercolors on Yupo. The light is there, but broken. Colors bleed and shift.

Please tell me what you see. Is there hope for Xanadu found?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Watchers Are Among Us - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Watchers Among Us" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Watchers Are Among Us" is my phrase for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. This is a little eerie. I suppose with all the devices around us, there have to be unknown watchers of all of us. My painting indicates that, I think.

People with cell phones; video cameras hidden. They are everywhere, making us safe. Or not.

This encaustic painting says a lot about the possibilities. I'm not going to say what I see. Are you?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Visions Follow All of Us - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Visions From Afar" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Visions Follow All of Us" are the words I received for today in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Some of us are more open to visions than others. However, visions are a part of our lives. So many things come to us in the visions of our minds.

"Visions From Afar" is the title of today's painting. I look at it at the top of my blog and think it could almost be a Georgia O'Keeffe painting. It isn't. In fact, it is an oil encaustic in which much can be seen. That's because visions do follow us throughout our lives. This vision looks very much like a giant flower, open wide, perhaps in midst of mountain peaks.

Look hard at this painting. What do you find hiding there inside the colors?


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Unfettered, We Follow Our Star - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Following the Star" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Unfettered, We Follow Our Star" is my phrase for today in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. These words have great meaning for me, for over the years I have, mostly unfettered, followed my vision and my star. How fortunate I have been.

"Following the Star" is today's painting. It's another encaustic (oil) on board, and it represents the phrase well. In this art work, a crowd is moving in the direction of the star which is bright yellow. The crowd is raised in the image, and there are other elements for the imagination.

Are you following your star? How?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Thousand Lights Lead Our Fortunes - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Lights on Dark Waters" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Thousand Lights Lead Our Fortunes" is the phrase I received for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. Wow. I am really having trouble realizing the meaning of this. Perhaps today's painting will help.

This art work is encaustic on board, and I love the "feel" of the image. Have you ever stood on a dock at night and watched lights shimmer on the water? Sometimes the reflections are many more than the lights creating them. Perhaps the lights on the water create a time of magic for you. Perhaps they cause you to reflect on the past and into the future. Perhaps a revelation is born in your mind. A thousand lights. A thousand new ideas. The plot of a novel. A new innovative thought for a painting.

"Lights on Dark Waters" is a special image for me. What do you think?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Secrets Hide Among the Strangers - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Secrets" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Secrets Hide Among the Strangers" is my phrase for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. What a profound statement, for secrets surely hide among the people we do not know. I have a painting in mind for this--a painting on Yupo--but I cannot find a photo of it and do not have time to look for the painting now.

"Secrets" is the photograph I have selected instead. I took this as part of a series several years ago while visiting canyons in Arizona. The canyons are strange places. This one especially. There is even a portal in the photograph as well as many visual secrets that lie hidden for imaginations to reveal.

Please let me know what  you think.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Responding to the Night - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Night Sky Over Crater Lake" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Responding to the Night" is the phrase I received for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. I don't like the darkness of night and never have. That means I have no painting I think is suitable for these words. I do have a photograph I took several years ago of the night sky over Crater Lake in Oregon. Each morning while we were there, I got up with my daughter to photograph the 5 a.m. sky as the sun was beginning to rise over the scenic lake.

"Night Sky Over Crater Lake" is very mysterious, I think, especially the moon in the sky. In the distance, morning light is beginning to show behind the mountain. Crater Lake is a lovely destination for photographers where they can enjoy "Responding to the Night".

Do you respond to the night?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

"Query Among the Whisperers" - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Among So Many" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Query Among the Whisperers" are the words I received for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. This is an odd one. It is like we need to question those hiding in the shadows. They wish to be heard but don't want to be known for their words. I know some of those people, and you probably do as well.

"Among So Many" is an odd piece of art, too. That's why I think it is perfect for the phrase, "Query Among the Whisperers". This painting is cold wax and oil on my favorite surface, Yupo.

What in the world do you see there? There is so much to ponder. I don't show any of the shadow people, but they are well-represented, don't you think?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Portals Lead Us Away - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Raining on Sedona Rocks" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Portals Lead Us Away" is my message phrase for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. I love portals. I've stopped and photographed many of them. I've painted dozens, including my favorite "Portal to Forever" which was inspired by the jungle-covered Mayan ruins at Palenque in southern Mexico. I thought of using that acrylic image for today's painting but decided instead on this cold wax art work.

"Raining on Sedona Rocks" is a small painting on Arches paper for oils. It is perfect for today's phrase because of the portal at the upper right leading us from the rain and rocks. The cold wax/oil paint mixture features several different textures that I find intriguing. I wish you could see the actual work close-up.

Where is the portal leading?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Opulent Fortunes Follow Us - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Starry Nebula" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Opulent Fortunes Follow Us". What in the world could that mean? Those are the words I got for the A to Z Blogging Challenge for today.

My painting is titled "Starry Nebula". This is encaustic (oil and hot wax). I love the feeling of the lines of color going to the very  striking red force. So many elements follow us to that central image. "Opulent Fortunes Follow Us". Of course, they do and we see them here. I love the image and the colors.

What do you see here? What do you think about this image and the phrase for today?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Night Vision Leads Away - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Light on a Frantic Sea" ©Mary Montague Sikes
My phrase for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge is "Night Vision Leads Away". I wonder what those words mean. Something different for each person, I think. Perhaps they mean nothing at all. Perhaps the darkness brings fear and disturbing thoughts or dreams.

"Light on a Frantic Sea" is the painting I have selected for the phrase. I can imagine this as a depiction of a chaotic night. The lines move away from a troubled zone. There is a spot of red near the center of the painting that draws me to it. This painting is oil and cold wax on a panel. I enjoy working with cold wax because of the many possibilities this material offers. The painting experience is far different from that using watercolor on Yupo.

What do you think? Do you like the look of cold wax and oil? Does it tell a story about the phrase for today?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Myriad of Madness Flows Afar - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Secrets Beneath the Sea" ©Mary Montague Sikes
It's a mad Saturday, so what better phrase to have than "Myriad of Madness Flows Afar"? Sounds a little crazy, but that's what came to me for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. Thoughts of the sea, the vast expanse of oceans charged into my thoughts as well. What lies hidden there, flowing far away and nearby as well?

"Secrets Beneath the Sea" is the title of today's painting. Green and blue colors are the ones you see written in the waves. Storms bring a wildness to the ocean water and a bit of madness, especially in hurricane season. This art is more watercolor on Yupo.

What do you see today?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Lucid Thoughts Lead Dreams - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Lucid Thoughts, My Dreams" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Lucid Thoughts Lead Dreams" is the phrase that came to me for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. All those words are tantalizing. What can they mean all together? I want always to be lucid in my thoughts. Dreams of all kinds are important to me. So what is the art for these words?

Once again, I am back to the Robert Doak intense watercolors on Yupo. There is much to see in "Lucid Thoughts, My Dreams". Look closely at the image. My ever-present dragonfly is there, center-front, foremost. An evil-eyed creature lingers. More and more figures arise from within the painting.

What do you see? Lucid thoughts are startling, driven, and appealing.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Karma Follows Me - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Karma Follows Me" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Karma Follows Me" is my phrase for A to Z Blogging Challenge for today. My painting for this entry is different from all the rest. It is acrylic paint instead of watercolor and is on Arches Aquarelle paper instead of Yupo. That makes quite a difference.

To me, the image is quite powerful. Much can be read into it. There is texture and a doorknob leading to where I do not know. I have no idea the meaning of the phrase, but I am pondering it.

What do you think about karma? What are your feelings about this work on a very different surface?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Joy Rises From the Light - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Joy Rises" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Joy Rises From the Light" is today's phrase that evolved in my thoughts as I considered the A to Z Blogging Challenge for 2018. Each phrase for the Challenge is illustrated by a painting from my home where Angel View Studio lives. Most of the paintings are created on Yupo using those beautiful Robert Doak intense watercolors. That is definitely true of today's work, "Joy Rises".

The light is in the bottom left corner of this painting. Waves of energy bubble out from the vibrant yellow light. Isn't that what joy is all about--bubbling, happy drive and vitality?

Does my painting represent joy to you? What is your most joyful experience?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Inspiration in the Charge - Blogging Challenge A to Z

"Charging" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Inspiration in the Charge" is the phrase that came to me for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. Oftentimes, images appear on their own when I use Robert Doak's intense watercolors on Yupo. Today's painting is no exception.

In "Charging", colors mix and glow; symbols grow out of the paint. I am fascinated and caught up in an hypnotic storm. Thoughts evolve, and I study it in wonder. What is the meaning of the white dot that draws my eye to it?

"Do you see what I see; do you hear what I hear?" are the words that come to me from nowhere. Words of another writer, and I do not know the name.

Take a look at this painting. Do you find inspiration in the charge?

This painting glows and shifts. As I worked on the surface, the colors flowed irregularly, taking on a personality of their own. I love the painting and the colors in it.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Higher Flow of Consciousness - A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Reaching Higher" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Higher Flow of Consciousness" is my phrase for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. What true writer, what true artist does not seek to attain a higher state of consciousness? We are always reaching higher, longing to know more.

Today's painting, "Reaching Higher", demonstrates the thoughts and anguish of the artist's journey as she reaches to gain more universal knowledge. The colors in the actual watercolor painting on Yupo are far more intense than those captured in this photograph. There are many details to study, not visible here. A pathway of yellow light reaches upward from the earth blue to where vibrant red energy lives. That energy expands and explodes into forever.

What about you? Do you seek a higher flow of consciousness?

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Goodness in the Light Surrounding - Blogging A to Z Challenge

"Pathway to Tomorrow" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Goodness in the Light Surrounding" is my phrase for today's Blogging A to Z Challenge. The words came to me in a flash and thus began my search for the painting that gives meaning to the phrase.

"Pathway to Tomorrow" is that painting. For me, only goodness emanates from the image on my canvas. I see the gentle trees rising tall and watching over us. The Robert Doak intense colors glow softer on the gallery stretched canvas. The light is ethereal and transparent. Spirits dance, radiating energy that sustains us. This painting is special. I cannot touch it again with my watercolors.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Fulfilling the Dream - Blogging A to Z Challenge

"Dream Fulfilled" ©Mary Montague Sikes
All of us have dreams, and I believe it's impossible to fulfill all of them. "Fulfilling the Dream" is my phrase for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. Even when we have dreams we find impossible to fulfill, we can still travel to them in our imaginations. That's where books and art are created. That's where we discover wonder and excitement that can bring joy to our lives.

The title of today's painting is "Dream Fulfilled". Once again, the surface is Yupo and the paints are Robert Doak intense watercolors. I have enhanced details using Derwent Inktense colored pencils.

If you study the image, you will discover an inner space with bars resembling tree trunks inside it. They might represent dreams already fulfilled or in the process. Tangled webs and forest leaves surround this secret place. We must journey through the perils of both light and clutter when we travel through time in our minute period on planet Earth. There is much to see in this painting that is barely visible in the photograph of it.

What about you? Do you have many dreams to fulfill?

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Every Meaningful Thought -- Blogging Challenge A to Z

"Tangled" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Every Meaningful Thought". The words came to me in a flash as I pondered the phrase for "E" in the A to Z Blog Challenge for today. Then I remembered the perfect painting to follow the words.

When I painted "Tangled", I first cut a sheet of Yupo to fit an 18" x 24" gallery-wrapped stretched canvas, then I applied matte medium to both the canvas and the Yupo and adhered the two together. Since I love working on stretched canvas and I love working on Yupo, this gave me the best of two worlds. Next, I used my favorite Robert Doak intense watercolors in spray bottles to apply layers of paint. Later, I used Derwent Inktense pencils and blocks to draw and emphasize sections and parts of the image I had created.

In studying this painting, I have many thoughts run through my mind. Where is this place? Is it on Xanadu? Are there shells on its beach? A sun in its sky? So many tangled thoughts flutter and vanish. I study each section and more meaningful thoughts arise. There is wonder of a new world and places in the universe and beyond about which we know nothing. I wonder and wonder and wonder.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Dreaming Good Thoughts - Blogging Challenge A to Z

"Dreaming of Xanadu" ©Mary Montague Sikes
"Dreaming Good Thoughts" is my phrase for today's A to Z Blogging Challenge. This describes my painting on the left, "Dreaming of Xanadu". I love working with the intense Robert Doak watercolors on Yupo. The slick surface lets the paint move in special, often unexpected ways. That is the case with this art.

The turquoise color is one of my favorites, so you will see it often in my work. One turquoise section appears to be open to an unique view of some mystical place we don't really know. My painting features a surreal surface that describes Xanadu and my dream of it.

Trees are special images for me, and you see them on the right. I often wonder what the old trees in my woods have witnessed over the years. These trees see and know all. This painting is another in the series as I search to find Xanadu.

I would love to know what you see in "Dreaming of Xanadu". Does mystery abound in this unknown destination?

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Caring for All Creatures - Blogging Challenge A to Z

"All Creatures Great and Small" ©Mary Montague Sikes
For today's A to Z Blog Challenge, "Caring for All Creatures" is the phrase that came to me. I selected this watercolor painting, on Yupo, as the image that denotes my thoughts for this subject.

"All Creatures Great and Small" tells the story of the tiniest microbe, invisible to the eye, that lies hidden in the rocky terrain of Xanadu. I think of the endangered animals, hunted by lost souls, who care only for the prized horns or antlers. On Xanadu, that would not happen. Even the rocky roads and ledges are beautiful there where all creatures are treasured.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Be Not Afraid - A to Z Blog Challenge

"Visions in My Heart" ©Mary Montague Sikes
In today's A to Z Blog Challenge for "B", the phrase "Be Not Afraid" has come to me as I write about a painting I did with watercolors on Arches 300# paper. The painting is titled "Visions in My Heart". As I study it, I wonder about some darkness that must exist within, darkness that delays the search for Xanadu. I feel the heavy texture of the paper and remember that I do not really like to paint on Arches. The slick and slippery surface of Yupo is far more appealing to me as are the bright Robert Doak watercolors. Perhaps the phrase, "Be Not Afraid", is warning me against the fear I have about working on this surface. Perhaps it is encouraging me to explore more in my journey as an artist.

Study the image. Is that a window in the center that looks through into another part of the universe. What is the dark image nearby? This painting provokes a multitude of questions. What are yours?

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Writing about Art - 2018 A to Z Blogging Challenge

"Searching for Xanadu" ©Mary Montague Sikes
For a few years, I have participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, so once again I have signed up to write 26 blog posts in April. It is productive for me and, of course, challenging. My plans are to pick one (or a part of one) of my paintings and write about it each day. It is fun and intriguing to know some of the artist's thoughts as she creates new work. For "A" I have selected the word, artful to describe today's painting.

As an artist, I wish to explore beauty and hope in a troubled universe. I am forever searching for Xanadu and believe it exists as the first of the heavenly planets that lie just beyond our universe. We must take "an artful journey" to find and understand this exotic place where color is beyond description and there is only love for all living beings.

I hope that we will learn to understand and appreciate all things beautiful.I will share what I learn while "Searching for Xanadu".
A to Z Challenge