Category Archives: Life As Art

What’s happening in Darlene’s life.

The Birth of My New Endeavor

It’s no good to be mad at myself for not being able to perceive the solution earlier, especially since it’s a no-brainer. But it’s all in the timing, as they say. I needed to learn some key concepts first. I needed to know how crucial the energy of JOY is and how pervasively JOY operates.

This JOY concept is rather alien to me, given that I’ve had my share of misfortune. I thought I had many reasons to wallow in dark’s anonymity. As if martyrdom was a virtue, I fully participated in my depression. If I allowed myself to feel true joy, wouldn’t it diminish the seriousness of my suffering? I now allow myself a small chuckle at the memory. I was taking myself much too seriously.

It’s great to be at the point where I can finally laugh. It’s funny to me now, remembering myself as the misunderstood, deeply feeling artist working from the depths of despair. Who could have guessed the seeds of (my) art grows faster when JOY is present? The answer is so obvious, its hidden.

But still, I’ve ever so slowly been rising up, like a mist, from gloomy subterranean chambers into a lively expanse of light above. Today, I can appreciate the value of creating JOY. I LOVE that my early RPG illustrations of women provided lasting memories for so many. That’s why, in recent years, I’ve lent the bulk of my energy towards creating art for classic RPGs—in hopes of building positive memories for the next generation of gamers. Contributing to the feel-good memories associated with game play is a very worthy goal.

My newest dawning realization came when I proudly showed off my Coloring Book at a Feminine Empowerment Weekend. The response was so overwhelmingly positive, I’m expanding my market to include a demographic that has been as dispossessed and as invisible as I’ve been. My new demographic is women seeking feminine empowerment. Yet, I want to offer more than an awesome coloring book with archetypal images of powerful women.

I received so many comments about women’s love of mermaids, it got me to thinking. If a lady identifies with being a mermaid so much, why not create a painting of her AS a mermaid? What if I create fantasy portraits for women who wish to sustain the awesome shifts they’ve already achieved? Would women welcome seeing their innate genius and strength of spirit expressed through fantasy imagery? I hope so.

Many ideas occur to me. I could create portraits of women alongside their power animals, or as cat woman, or as an Egyptian goddess or queen or character, the possibilities are only limited by the imagination. Whatever their fancy may be, my portrait paintings will remind women of how unique and special they are—like beautiful, magical beings of light who have much to offer the world. The thought of uplifting their self-image through my art brings JOY to my heart and feeds my Soul.

I realize that this slight change in focus—from a fantasy artist to a fantasy portrait artist—has been staring at me in the face for a while. Haven’t a clue why I could not perceive the clarity of making this shift before now. But I won’t continue to admonish myself. It’s all in the timing. That’s my out. My new, and entirely unique creative endeavor feels good, appropriate, and totally right. I’m not saying that I will not also consider painting portraits of RPGers as their favorite character (think cos play)—of course, that’s always a possibility—but I’ll be directing my main focus as stated.

The portraits I’m envisioning would be painted on large canvases measuring around 36″ x 60″ in size, substantial enough to make an impression from a distance. There is so much to do to prepare this idea for launch and make a go of it…

Thank you for witnessing the birth of my new creative endeavor.

Shifting my Artistic Focus…

There is a secret language of signs and symbols that is accessible to anyone who is sensitive enough to take notice. People should be more aware of how dynamically the Universe (The Divine) speaks to us. Communications from the Divine world are constantly being directed our way to guide our paths and decisions. I’ve learned the wisdom of “going with” whatever the messages present. That’s the beauty of it. We need only be present enough to recognize these messages AS messages whenever they appear. First, notice the message and second, be able to receive its meaning.

The customary ways messages manifest are through dreams, synchronicity, song lyrics suddenly popping up into one’s head, a person inexplicably remembered, street signs and bill boards, the unexpected appearance of certain animals, significant phrases from an overheard conversation, hearing something on the radio, a broadcast or a particular movie scene being shone, recurring numbers, contact from an old friend not seen for decades, an accident –literally any happenstance or encounter can have significance enough to guide people in the right direction. All here is to do is to be open.

In a similar way, a major shift in my artistic focus recently became revealed. Back in September, I’d paid for a marketing class I was unable to attend. A portion of my payment had to be swapped out within a certain time for me not to forfeit. I transferred my funds to a weekend intensive in Colorado called “The Art of Feminine Presence” because it was the closest in cost. I took this odd change in focus as significant and chose to be open to whatever the lessons would yield.

This is where it gets interesting. It wasn’t necessarily, what was taught. It was the fact of me attending with a copy of my recently-created “Fantasy Maidens & Beasts” coloring book to show. My artwork received such an overwhelmingly positive response that if I had brought a stack to sell, they would all be gone. That’s when I realized, “Gosh! I’m catering to the wrong market.”

What a realization! The true demographic for my work are the participants of this class. Thus, I’m reorienting my artistic focus to cater to women who are stepping into their feminine empowerment. So, in a very interesting, but round about way, I found a key piece to my marketing puzzle, even though I did not take a marketing class. My creative orientation will adjust towards aiding the course of feminine empowerment in my art through the use of fantasy images.

And I thank the Divine Universal Mind for revealing this to me.

Consciously Making a Difference

A shift has been happening within me. But I’m not the only one. Now that I reflect upon it, I’m aware of many other sensitive people who’ve also intuitively been preparing for a major shift in perspective. We could feel it. We just did not know how to name it. Nor did we have the language to describe it. Like others I’ve shared with, I feel we are at a critical juncture for planet Earth within our current space/time. I am consciously tipping the balance in favor of an emerging paradigm of life that compels vision, skills, creativity, courage and collaboration.

sunflower-loDuring the last couple of years, I chose to select projects–like Kathleen Wiley’s two books which combine Jungian insights with biblical wisdoms–that see old subjects with new eyes, new perspectives. By putting my focus on Kathleen’s books, I am adding my energy and input to her message. Both of her books have been very favorably received.

Before that, I devoted my time to a much larger book project several years in the making. Occupying most of 2014 and 2015, I am proud to have added my artistic touches to “Mythos Arcanum,” a new RPG game system based on classic D&D. It’s innovation is that it introduces the concept of “philosophic gaming” which encourages critical thinking about the nature of reality. The morality question is openly addressed. There ARE consequences for stealing, plundering and killing. As in real life, players must figure out alternative ways to achieve their character’s goals. So I am choosing to lend my energy to worthy projects that will help people in some way.

The project I’m currently finishing up is a medieval fantasy and mythological coloring book which I will first publicly present at NTRPGA Con (June 2016). Most images depict powerful women with their animal helpers and familiars. The impetus behind the coloring book is due to the gift of a little girl who showed up at my exhibition booth at GaryConVIII. In response to one of the drawings I had on my table, a little seven-year-old girl presented me with a small piece of paper upon which she depicted a unicorn in colorful felt markers. Her gift delighted my heart.

When I looked around the room, I noticed there was not much merchandise being sold for smaller children. Then it hit me. What if I “give back” to the RPG industry by creating something to delight the children, the next generation of gamers? Could it not also feed the child within the adult? I started my coloring book project with images of things I loved and dreamt about when I was a little girl–mermaids, unicorns, dragons–then expanded it to include a centaur, a winged comic-book heroine with a lion, warrior women with different animal mounts etc…

It’s not only about the coloring. It’s about jump-starting the imagination and enticing new creative neural pathways to form and develop.

This is the way I’m making a modest contribution towards solving problems and offering solutions at the micro level. Yet, in terms of the collective, by adding my piece to a new story, I’m helping to change the conversation. My micro becomes a mega when viewed from the perspective of the collective. At the core is the quiet force of Feminine Power.

The transformative properties of Feminine power are effective because it works from the inside. Residing just under the surface within timeless time, The Feminine broadly understands and works with complexity, bridges ideas in novel and surprising new ways and offers brilliant solutions for all aspects of society. My art is my contribution. As I add my essence to the collective dream, the time ripens for the emergence of a new paradigm of cooperation, a world revolution from the inside-out.

Entering the Creative Zone

I’d not thought much about it before. But now I can identify the main reason I like creating art and graphics. It’s the gift of being able to enter into “the Zone…”

Recently, I was working on the computer creating a representation of a strawberry plant. As I was manipulating the pixels, this is what was going through my mind: “leaf, leaf, leaf, leaf, curve, curve, up, up, smooth, deepen green, add more yellow, contrast, no, lighter, stem, smooth the arc…” When I worked on the blooms, as I blended colors and shapes, I also imagined smelling their fragrance. This is the moment I suddenly “woke up” from my reverie and became conscious that I was in the state of DOING, not thinking—I was totally engaged in the moment, becoming fully engrossed within my creative endeavor. That’s when I grasped just how much I give myself over to this trance-like process.

After much consideration, I think “Entering the Zone” is a form of active meditation, a means of exercising the intuition (as opposed to the intellect). Whatever it’s called, I believe any artistic thing created with intent retains the artist’s energetic signature and it seems to have a lasting effect. To me, this comprises a sacred act. To impart to one’s art the qualities of what is aesthetically pleasing is special. I’m becoming more aware of how noticeable this energetic residue is to others.

The only other person I know who talked openly about “the Zone” was the cousin of a friend, an Indiana University professor of some renowned in computer language. At the time, a couple of large Texas corporations were courting him to work for them and offered three times his teaching salary. When I asked him why he stayed, he said that whenever he teaches, when he speaks he goes to a place where the words easily pour out of him. He enjoys being on the threshold so much that he would not trade the feeling of being in the Zone for anything. He’d really miss out if he simply worked at a desk all day.

Becoming consciously aware of the value of creating while in the Zone also means taking responsibility for the energy I impart. With Kathleen’s book, I was “there,” in timeless time during the entire creative process–open to Spirit and able to indulge my intuitive nature. Nothing‘s left to chance. Symbolic content was also streaming in. Deciding to illustrate her book using appropriate symbols served to contribute another layer of meaning to Kathleen’s book.

Well, something must have clicked just right because of the book’s phenomenal success just within the first few weeks of being electronically published. Even though the Kindle version has been available for two years, the book has been blessed with unprecedented sales. Maybe it is simply Kathleen’s time to shine. In this case, I’m glad to have been a catalyst. But maybe, just maybe, the energetic is a powerful factor in its success.

But there is a downside of being in the Zone. And that is it can become physically detrimental over the long haul. For the sake of one’s vision, every twenty minutes you are supposed to look up and re-focus the eyes at something in the distance. But all too often, I’ll be submerged for hours. Once I “come up for air,” I have to make a point of standing up and walking around.

One miscellaneous comment: when I am in the creative Zone, the cat loves to sit on my lap. It’s as if he is riding the creative wave with me. Perhaps he might even be actively accommodating it.

Surfing the Apocalypse

Escaping Reality

Escaping Reality

As regards the collective conscious, it’s best to meditate on how and in what direction the major sweeps are moving and notice what appears within its eddies. When adopting the long view of time, it becomes easier not to get as caught up within the drama of the different energy swirls. Once there, it takes more effort to escape the toroidal motion of the force. We are all navigating the time swirls. If we are not mindful of where we are going, we are apt to slip and fall inside a downwardly-moving conical spiral.

The key to knowing how not to fall victim to circumstances beyond one’s control is to become self aware. I’m not merely talking about being mindful of current events, although that’s helpful too. It’s as simple as to become aware of the symbols which suddenly turn up in ones life, especially Pay special attention to synchronicity. When I encounter moments of synchronicity happening around me, I first take it as a sign that I’m moving in the right direction. For content, I read the symbol. If I heed the action required to enact the meaning of the symbol, I can avoid, mitigate or enhance the probable outcome.

This is a part of my spiritual knowing. If I read the symbols coming into my life correctly, I am being lead to revisit my early days as the first female artist working in the genre of role-playing games (RPGs). I have been doing this mildly in the last few years but stepped it up since the death of my husband last year.  I have been trying to fathom why it is important to connect with gaming and have finally come to an understanding.  Continue reading

New Responsibilites

May 20, 2015

It’s too early to determine the sex of the just rescued black kitten. I’m calling him/her Ebony who appears to be only three weeks old. Ebony’s fuzzy long kitten hairs are stunning as the tips of the hairs seem to be tinged with silver. I don’t know if that is only a property of a newly born kitten’s coat or if it will remain this way. The kitten’images eyes are a blue color. I think they just opened. I tried unsuccessfully to photograph the hapless little one with my iPhone. The result was always blurred. I came across this  pic that greatly resembles Ebony, sans hat.

 

There are a few amazing things about this tiny, little fella. First, it’s the loudest darn kitten I’ve ever heard. Wow, does it have a set of lungs! But the crying saved its life. The plaintive sounds coming from a certain spot inside a long vertical, metal gutter were loud enough to get the attention of the maintenance man at work. The night before, it had rained so it’s likely a torrent of water washed him into his predicament. How long was this poor, nearly drowned little kitten trapped inside his metal prison before its cries were heard? To top it off, the sun was hot enough to greatly increase the temperature inside the metal gutter. The traumatized little one surely possesses a great will to live.

Another amazing thing is this kitten’s ultra-sharp, micro-needle claws. They are the sharpest I’ve ever encountered. Although translucent, the prickling little claws are capable of some surprising damage.

May 21, 2015

I have never before had to feed and care for an orphaned kitten as its primary provider. I found using an eye-dropper for feeding to be minimally effective and that using a little bottle created for this purpose to be much better. Every three hours, sometimes more, I have to prepare a formula, heat it for 4 seconds in the microwave, place it in the bottle and get it in the right position inside the mouth. It’s an exhausting commitment.

My other cats are not sure they like what they see. I’ve had to reassure them they are still loved and cherished. Nothing’s changed. It’s only a mild inconvenience. From the first moment it came into the house, the little one loudly announced its presence. I knew it was crying for a mama who would never come. My two older cats regard the little black kitten as a hairy little monster who is being disruptive. They can barely tolerate the change in the status quo.

I’m reassuring my beautifully proportioned Tuti, young hyper-active Russian Blue fireball (who, age-wise, would translate into being a super confidant teenage girl) that before her is an entertaining toy that’s just not quite ready. “You are bored with your old toys,” I tell Tuti, “and you need something more challenging than just bugs and lizards. It will be Ok, just wait and see.” So far, she’s not buying it.

I’m not sure how my big ole boy, Lennie, a neutered male ginger (who would translate as approaching grandpa), is reacting. He did not like the din of the kitten’s cry. Lennie’s been attentive. He’s usually been in the same room as me, watching as I feed it. The kitten no longer cries for his mama in the same way it did before. I suppose that means I’ve been accepted as the mama. Lennie is more tolerant now that the awful sounds have subsided but he remains distant and unapproachable. I wonder if Ebony could stir the memory of Fred, Lennie’s old buddy and pal. Before Fred’s unexpected demise, he and Lennie were inseparable.

May 22, 2015

I noticed Ebony attempt to scratch behind his ear with his hind foot. He fell over. Ebony’s still learning coordination. This kitten is willful and strong. Though its cries were loud at the beginning, his little purr is soft, precious and delicate.

May 23, 2015

I think Ebony is a male. Today he’s learning depth perception. I watched him stare at something. With eyes fixed upon it, he’d move his head back and forth, up and down, then reach out to see if he could touch it. I also noticed him focusing his gaze upon his front paws while he purposefully moved them in front of his face. Is he trying to judge spacial relationships? Fascinating.