Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Romanesque

Romanesque means Roman-like...
and it references the the 11th and 12th century metal work done in Europe. This was a prosperous time when artisans looked back at a great empire and tried to mimic the art left by the Romans. They were so eager to rise out of the dark, dingy and cold middle ages that focused just on survival. This new generation of Europeans wanted a future full of rich culture in the arts and education. They looked at the time when the great Roman empire thrived and built schools and museums in honor of knowledge and human development. These people were impressed by education and deep, insightful cultural expression.
Unfortunately, the skills and training that the Roman artisans had were not available to medieval Italy and other European societies in the 11th and 12th century, they had to improvise until proper training was available. The roads were not safe and the Byzantine artists who maintained the old school traditions were not eager to risk their lives for travel to the western world. It was just too dangerous.
Although the old Greek Orthodox artists from Constantinople were hesitant about traveling to the Roman Catholic world, the roads eventually became safe and the money enticed their appetite for new adventure. They brought their skills with them to the western societies and taught these techniques to many monasteries where crosses and small figurines were in demand. In fact, this was such a lucrative trade that many of the monasteries became rich off of selling 'cloister crafts' to medieval Christian families.
Like these early Christians, I share an appreciation for Romanesque style and the ancient skills. I love the mixed metals they used and even though they did this because of lack of resources for an abundance of one metal, married metals became a new style. The 'marriage' of more than one metal into a single art form creates a beautiful and unique look. I've always loved copper and silver or lead together so I really enjoy making these crosses. Every one of them is a unique, one-of-a-kind work of art. I've sold over a hundred of them to different churches and people browsing through crafts fairs and festivals.
I hope you will find the charm in these small one-of-a-kind artifacts, too.

You can find my crosses for sale on ebay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/122739671791?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649
just click the above link or search dcurtis on ebay...I will be listing more each week.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fairy Tales

 I remember reading Grimm's Fairy Tales when I was a child growing up in a not-so-nice environment. There was a lot of violence and alcoholism around me so I would read to escape. In fact, I won a library award in school for reading the most books.
Fairy Tales do much more than help us escape from our problems. I really do believe they help us solve problems by making us use our imagination to create a better solution.
Jack Zipes, a professor at the University of Texas, wrote a book called "Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales." I have loved this book for many decades! In the introduction, he introduces the topic of fairy tales by quoting Einstein. The story goes something like this:

A woman approaches the famous scientist Einstein and tells him she wants her son to become a scientist, "So what should I make him read?"
Einstein says, "Fairy tales."
The woman grimaces and then says "okay after that, what else."
and Einstein replies, "more fairy tales"

This is the way we get small children to use their imagination. With a powerful imagination, we can solve all the problems in the world...if we just believe....



You can buy a print of this watercolor I made in many sizes here:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/263131729104?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

If I do not have the size you want, just ask by commenting and I'll make a new listing with your requested size.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Eye of Providence


The Eye of Providence

This symbol has been around for so many centuries and in so many cultures that it is almost impossible to trace its origins. Most believe it started with the eye of Horus back in the old kingdom of ancient Egyptian worship and hieroglyphics. There are thousands of derivatives from it including the eye of providence on the United States $1 bill. conspiracy theorists link that specific image to the masons who used the eye of providence as one of their distinctive symbols to brand their secrecy. The Detective eye which adorned many old movies had a magnifying glass over the watchful eye. The 'Hams a' in the middle eastern Hebrew art uses a watchful eye to ward off evil. In the Hispanic cultures it is referenced by the 'ojo' and many customs and social courtesies surround their belief system. 
I follow the tradition in all the eye charms I make by lowering the eyelid over half the pupil which portrays a feeling of calm intelligence.

You can find this long chain necklace on ebay for only $15 - just click the link here:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/122736905241?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Still Thinking of the Summer

I've come up with an entire series of paintings based on the sea...

The last thing I did before starting back working at the new school year at the local college where I teach Art History and Design classes, was take a day trip to the beach and walk along the shoreline. The water felt great and if was my final good bye to summer...or so I thought.

Then along comes the inspiration for pictures and products with the sea in my mind. You can find these products on ebay by searching dcurtis OR click on the link below.




ebay links - these links will take you to ebay listings  - away from this blog

http://www.ebay.com/itm/253185647643?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

http://www.ebay.com/itm/263227621627?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

http://www.ebay.com/itm/252954301061?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

http://www.ebay.com/itm/263210923895?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

http://www.ebay.com/itm/253155045325?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

http://www.ebay.com/itm/263208665442?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649


Friday, September 1, 2017

Survival from Floods and Hurricanes

I'd like to take you on a tour that is a little less gory than the news lately when reporting about the Houston area and Hurricane Harvey.
This is posted on my facebook page so I would love to have you 'friend' me on there as well. Here is the active link to that page:
https://www.facebook.com/dianne.curtis.54

On that page you will find an active link for signing a petition for credo. They are asking in this petition for President Trump to reinstate the flood safety rules that were outlined under the Obama administration.

If you've watched the news lately, you might have seen all the horrible images of people losing everything to the recent hurricane and then flooding that hit the Texas coast.
Here are some less gory images that really explain the issue that isn't really part of the natural disaster, instead it's a consequence of the over development that is occurring in this area.
This overflowing creek marks the line where voluntary and mandatory evacuations stopped. I'm one block away. We were advised to just stay put. The street did not even flood. This small creek never spilled out on the street. The people in those homes were under voluntary evacuation only and that was on the last day. The small creek is still high today but they are safe.
I live in a "planned living community" and I think this was one of the factors that saved us THIS TIME.


 












In my area, they are now trying to cram huge houses in tiny little lots like they are doing to downtown Houston. There is simply no place for the water to flow. It's not the only problem Houston has but it's a big part of it. I have lived in Houston since I was a child and this flooding experience is new. I remember floods when I was younger but never to this extent and hurricanes were not even scary 20 years ago...they certainly are now! You can click on the images to get a larger view.

 













I'm trying to get the exact crop and exact location in these next images. It's not real easy since many months have gone by since I took the first image. Even if I go back later, nature has some very subtle details. The third image is just to show you how low oyster CREEK is usually. Usually, you can't even see the creek from the sidewalk. You have to step out on the grass about 10 feet.















Here is an image with a flood gage. The valley around the tiny creek really shows how much water was dropped in this area in less than 48 hours...and then it kept raining after that...






























The last image is on the other side of hwy 6. You actually walk under the hwy to get to the rest of the park and I don't have one from that side, yet. When I was out there today, I saw a "floating log" moving around in the water. I watched for a while and then realized it's an alligator...a medium-sized one..but still it's right in the neighborhood. Whenever there's a bad flood, the alligators get relocated and it's not their choosing. They are usually very timid creatures...unless they are hungry!😉Can you spot him in the water?


We do have an alligator squad that come out to relocated confused, stuck alligators that were forcefully caught up in the raging currents. This poor little creature doesn't want to be in somebody's neighborhood any more than we want him there!














The day after the rain stopped I walked outside and saw this beautiful sky with clouds that looked like the last bit of dragon's breath














I was so glad it was over. Ironically, the week before all this started, I had changed my facebook banner to this photoshopped image. Somehow, after all the suffering I saw, this image was no longer funny so I replaced it with the old one again.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Guest Writer Anna Bromley Shares Her Incredible Story of Healing and Adventure...

I feel very honored to share a "dream sister's" story of healing and survival. It will touch your heart. All gorgeous photographs were created by the writer of this article, Anna Bromley

Greetings Dear Ones,
I am back from Crete and wanted to share with you my experience of the healing temple of Asklepios at Lissos. It's a bit of a long one, so get a cuppa and make yourself comfortable.

Dream of Invitation to Asklepios’ Temple at Lissos

I did a journey to the cinema of lost dreams to retrieve the dream that I remembered in fragments. The ticket collector was a Minotaur – a giant man with head of a black bull with big horns. He was scary looking but actually quite kind in a gruff sort of way. He gave us our tickets which were written on stone tablets. Bill and Phoebe came with me. He asked me to put down a heavy rucksack shaped like a turtle shell. It reminded me of my grandfather who had a very bad back when he came home from being a Japanese prisoner of war and walked as if he had a turtle shell on his back. He also took something off my leg.
The scene changed – now we were flying over the island of Crete in an old-fashioned flying machine with bat-shaped wings. We landed at Sougia on the South coast and prepared to walk to Lissos. We were met by Asklepios who told me to leave an offering at the beginning of the journey and to ask for his help. Then he carried me piggy back style to the temple. He told me, ‘Walk with intention for healing and I will help you. When you reach the temple, find a special stone to sit on – you will know it when you see it. Let the snake of healing enter you from root to crown. I will perform a healing for you to heal your back, leg and breast. Then go and swim in the sea and let the sea cleanse you.’

The Real Journey

So…the next day we caught the 5am bus from Chania to Sougia. It was beautiful watching the dawn break over the mountains as we hairpinned our way down from the hills through the tiny village of Mona and out onto the coast.
There was an incredible wind that whipped up the sand and tugged at our hair and clothes as we stepped off the bus and made our way into Sougia. We got a drink from the bakery – the only place open at 7am and bravely resisted the smell of fresh baked sweet pastries – me because of my no-sugar diet and Bill and Phoebe in solidarity to me.
Refreshed and ready for adventure, we set off for Sougia’s port where the trek to the temple at Lissos begins. We had heard varying reports of how long it would take from half an hour to one and a half hours and I knew that the terrain was not going to be easy. I had some trepidation about whether my poor sore body was up to it, with my weak sore leg and back but I was determined to go and I knew I had Asklepios on my side.
We found the sign for the trail and started on our way. Was this really it? The path started by scaling two huge boulders and then squeezing through an impossibly small gap. I was going to need all the help I could get. Time to make our offerings and call in all our allies. I called on Asklepios and he said he would give me a piggy back just as he had promised in the dream. Bill called on the power of mountain goat to give us sure footedness and good balance. Off we set, Phoebe dancing on ahead as excited children do, telling us she was scouting out the easiest route for us. As a Capricorn she was really taking on her mountain goat powers.
The way was very challenging, winding steeply through shoe-shredding rocks. There were many places where you have to lift your leg really high to step up onto the next boulder - all very difficult for me with my injured leg, and yet it felt strangely easy and I did have a strong sense of being carried. I know that Asklepios and the spirit of the land were helping me. It was also incredibly beautiful and peaceful, as we walked among pines, the occasional olive tree and myrtle bushes. We were the only ones walking here this early.
There were many boulders shaped like strange beings – a huge bear, a lion, a star fish and a winking cat. Others had huge megalithic faces in them – the stone people and spirits of the gorge were watching over us.
At last we came to a bilberry and thorn-covered plateau where the volcanic rocks were so razor sharp I thought my trekking sandals would be sheered off at any moment. At the western end of the plateau we had a beautiful view down to a cove of crystal clear water and we could see ancient ruins among the trees. A steep and treacherous decent along a narrow path with a long drop off the edge, brought us right to the temple. We could see huge blocks of stone and fallen pillars lying to the side of the temple, and there was still enough remaining to get the feel of how it would have looked.
It was wonderful to think that the temple stones have been here for over 2,000 years and built on the site of Minoan ruins from much further back. I contemplated all the feet of people who had made this journey in quest for healing over the course of this time. There certainly was a magical atmosphere.
At the entrance to the temple, I called on the Gatekeeper. ‘Whoa, he’s really here!’ said Bill. So we left our offerings of rye crackers spread with honey, and walked with reverence to the temple. Bill and Phoebe went in search of the spring, which had been diverted from its original place of issue from within the temple, and I looked for the special stone where I was to sit for the healing. The stonework was impressive – huge irregular-shaped stones all fitted perfectly together, just as you see in temple sites in South America, such as Machu Piccu. Just outside the temple, the pipe that carried the spring water was leaking and formed a little pool where all manner of butterflies, bees and colourful insects were drinking. As I crossed the temple floor with its mosaic of geometric shapes and a beautiful bird, I was drawn to an area to the left of the altar. I looked into a chamber to see that there was a marble basin with a hole in it at the bottom of the chamber and it felt as if this would have been the place where the spring would have issued up for drinking and bathing. The water must have been so important in this dry place so long ago.
I found my stone, just in front of this place and sat down for my healing. I connected my roots to the earth and my crown to the light from above and felt the presence of Asklepios arrive by my side, his huge snake rising from the temple floor, up through my feet, up through my body and into my head. Asklepios massaged my back and my leg and did an extraction on my breast lump. He filled my body with light and told me to drink from the spring and then to get in the sea for a final cleansing. I thanked him and left the temple. Bill and Phoebe greeted me excitedly telling me they had found a place where there is a tap that will let you drink the spring water. By now it was really hot and it was beautiful to bathe my hands and face and drink the cool, sweet water. Then we wandered down to the beach through ancient stone terraces and gnarly old olive trees to the remains of the Minoan harbour for a refreshing swim in crystal clear water.
At the beach we were relieved to see a sign saying that Captain George would be very pleased to take us back to Sougia in his boat for €5, so I wouldn’t need to make the arduous journey back on foot.
The following day, I felt a huge sense of wellbeing, not exhaustion as I had expected. The day after returning from holiday, I went to see my kinesiologist who did physical healing on all the things that Asklepios had worked on. He told me that it was coming to him that snake would be a very good power animal for me to work with in healing my physical structure. I smiled and told him about my encounter with the snake at the Asklepion temple. His eyes lit up as he told me that he has a strong connection with Asklepios and he had almost called his clinic after him, but plumped for the Chiron Centre instead as it is easier to say!
So my healing continues. I feel that it has helped me release a lot of the shock and trauma of the operation that went wrong. My body now feels more balanced. And my limp is almost gone as my leg gets stronger.

  

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Symbol vs Icon - What's the Difference?


You can find this cross on ebay here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/122335670407?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

You might have heard these words used inter-changeably over the years and thought nothing of it but there is a subtle difference. A symbol which represents something else, usually an abstract concept or idea, is not always an icon although an icon is always a symbol.
A much simpler way of stating this is that an icon is part of a symbol system. You've probably heard a computer instructor or IT technician say "click the icon on your desktop..." When you click a certain picture on you computer screen it launches a program. Clicking a different icon launches a different program. Creating this system was a simple way of compiling a group of programs that made computers user friendly.
Another common symbol system you might not have thought too much about is the alphabetic writing system. These are symbols that represent the sounds we make when we talk. There are certainly other ways of writing with logo-grams, ideograms and so on. These systems make up a richer much more complex way of writing that is not as easy to learn. In fact, English is supposed to be one of the easiest languages to learn simply because it is phonetic. 
When we say phonetic, we are talking about a symbol that represents the sounds we make and this is why English is so much easier to learn. There is a direct correlation between the symbol and the spoken word. Also, when we call our alphabetic system phonetic, we are honoring the culture that gave this iconography to us - the ancient Phoenicians. The Greeks 'borrowed' the phonetic language and made it more aesthetically appealing. For many centuries we credited the Greeks for our alphabetic system. They beautified it but did not create the iconography for our alphabet.
I remember in the 80s, signing up for an art history course in Iconography. I dropped it when I found out it was just a course in christian iconography. I wasn't open to the idea of studying Christianity at that time so I signed up for something more multi-cultural. It would have been easy to label this experience as limited or narrow minded but it wasn't until the end of the last century that average scholars outside the history and archeology departments were familiar with other cultural iconographic systems.
Now we are much more aware that all religions use iconography in some way and this term can be applied to much more than religion.