Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions for the New Year? Consider the Law of Attraction

Shiny Mandala

I do not believe in making New Year's resolutions. I find that it's too easy to say what you *want* to do and that making a bold declaration that come a certain date, everything is going to change when in reality, it doesn't. For me, there are several parts to successful and lasting change:

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I can have anything I want. And so can you!

Orange

I grew up in an environment where the people around me worked jobs to survive- and for 24 years, I did the same thing. I never really had a clue that some people chose their professions, or that everyone didn't hate their jobs. I thought it was completely normal to come home and be irritable after a day's work.

Throughout my formative years, it never occurred to me that some people knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up and that they would do everything within their power to achieve that goal. I've even come to learn that some people had/have support and encouragement to achieve those goals, while others simply rely on their own gumption to pull it off.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Accidental Pictograph

Accidental Pictographs

I mentioned in a recent post the way I won't waste paint. As I am still fairly new to using acrylics, I am working on exactly how much to squeeze out of the tube to fill my needs. The image above was created with "extra" paint and was cut short when the lights went out during a storm. I'm actually quite happy with how I left it, as it reminds me of a pictograph, or primitive rock art.

Do you ever have problems with left over paint? How do you deal with it?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Outside In: Heart Mandala

Heart Mandala

Though I have created over 1500 mandalas in the last 4 years, this is the very first one I've ever made by starting with a pre-drawn circle and filling it in. My own personal process for creating mandalas, also the one I teach, is by starting at the center and working your way out.

Mandala is a Sanskit word for "whole" and through my research, can pretty much be used to describe anything circular.When I use the word, I tend to use it as a way that describes a circular form made up of concentric repeating patterns -  like rings on a tree or a hubcap design.

I found it very difficult to create a mandala in this way- filling a circle. I couldn't decide what to put in it or why. I would sit and stare at the circle and feel as if it were mocking me. I finally grabbed a colored pencil and drew a heart that filled the whole circle. My mind seemed to say, "So there." Upon reflection, the heart design was interesting because I've been struggling for a long while with the idea of self love, and my worthiness of the love from others. My struggle pertains to my understanding and accepting that I am enough.

I am going to continue to explore this method of mandala creation and see what it might have to offer to my own process and the process that I teach others. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Lealtà Feroce" - Passion and Frustration

"Lealtà Feroce"  Phase 4 Completion

Lealtà Feroce is a rough Italian translation for "Fierce Loyalty." This piece was running smoothly until the heart showed up. That's when the anger, resentment and frustration set in. That's when the piece became about not knowing what to do with my emotions- being tied to them in a way that makes me scream "GO AWAY! I don't know what to do with you!" This one is passion on a plate. It's about giving everything you have and not knowing if that was the right choice. (Yes. Of course it was... But that doesn't mean the devil of uncertainty can't rear its ugly head now and again.)

It's a dark piece, darker than the photos represent.

Roughly 17 x 22" Artist quality acrylic paints on handmade Indian watercolor paper. Original available for purchase.

"Lealtà Feroce"  Phase 3 Yellow


"Lealtà Feroce"  Phase 2 Flowers and Heart


"Lealtà Feroce"  Phase 1 Bubbles

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I won't waste paint: Backgrounds and Doodles

Start Somewhere

Lately, some of my favorite pieces are happening by accident. Since I'm still pretty new to working with acrylic paints, I'm often squeezing out more than I need at any given time. As I am not interested in using the "Stay-Wet" style palettes, I have no choce but to use up or throw out my excess paint. And I just can't stand the thought of tossing perfectly good paint.

Acrylic background - using up the paint in my brush

I am a notorious multi-tasker when painting with either watercolor or acrylic. It's unusual for me to work on only one thing in a particular sitting. I have a bunch of this hand made Indian watercolor paper on hand, (Bought in big sheets from Blick) chopped up into smaller pieces. It takes acrylic paint wonderfully and so I'll use up whatever is on the brush on one of these pieces.

Acrylic background - using up the paint in my brush

You can see how one of these sheets starts out. Black gesso painted with a sponge brush then some Golden Cadmium Red.

Red and Black

And how it ends up. The thing that's really interesting to me is that some of the doodles over top are also from left over paint and though are done really quickly - I think they are turning out quite wonderful. (1st & 2nd images were painted in this manner.)


Acrylic background - using up the paint in my brush

I loved the way the background started out on this last piece - so much so that I was hesitant to do anything further to it, but I knew whatever it would be, would be red for sure.

Mandala

This piece was worked in multiple layers.Golden Cadmium Red, black & white gesso paints & a white gel pen were used to complete this piece.

 

Monday, December 6, 2010

My First Mandala Tattoo - on Someone Else's Body


Back in June of 2008, a woman named Audrey from Washington state contacted me about the possibility of using one of my mandalas (the one shown below) to have tattooed on her body.

She was particularly drawn to this piece, because it had reminded her of her grandmother. Audrey told me, "My grandmother was an artist all my life and did all kinds of different artwork. She had an art studio downstairs in her house and was an art teacher for all of her friends in the community. They even started a small art club in the community which is still going today.

Mostly she did oils... but I think she had some of her “students” who were interested in wanting to learn watercolors and that’s were it started. I loved her watercolors more then the oils….so I collected as many of them as I could. I don’t have any of the abstract pieces but the only art in my house is her work."


0607 Watercolor Mandala

Audrey recently contacted me to show me that she got the tattoo. There is something quite thrilling about seeing someone make your art permanent on their body.

I have been contacted before by people wanting to tattoo one of my designs, and I had been resistant to this point. I loved hearing Audrey's story and the respect she had for her grandmother as an artist. I agreed to allow Audrey to use the piece under the condition that she send me photos once completed.


This image shows the tattoo right after it was finished. Much thanks to Audrey for asking permission & for sending the images for me to share. Photos courtesy of Audrey and are being used with her permission.

I freely share my art on the web but I have always asked that people contact me if they wish to use/reproduce it in any way - including for use as a tattoo. If you have seen a piece of my work that you would like to have made into a tattoo, please contact me at stephanie at biffybeans dot com to discuss.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Biffybeans Mandala Art Makes for Great Gift Giving!

Mandala: Hot by Stephanie Smith
Mandala: Hot by Stephanie Smith


There are two ways that you can gift some Biffybeans Mandala Art for the holidays.




You can order high quality framed prints (or prints alone) from Imagekind.


Shop other personalized gifts from Zazzle.

You can also order greeting cards, buttons, magnets, posters, t-shirtsand mugs from Zazzle.

There is still plenty of time to shop and receive your items in time for the holidays. These two sites are also constantly running discount specials and free-shipping offers so be sure to look out for those!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I am most thankful for : My friends!

10 days 155

I love you all very much. Every moment of my life is richer with each of you in it. I am so very happy you are all a part of my life - you are my family.Thank you for being you!

080910 024

With Jim Donovan

10 days 031

10 days 033

Me w/ Jaqui MacMillan  - awesome drum teacher

Me & Kim

Me & Debbie

Me & Kim

Me & Jeff

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What a Compliment!


One of the most wonderful compliments I've ever received was having my artwork confused with John Buynak's. John was once a member of the band Rusted Root and had heavily contributed to much of the artwork used on album covers, promotional posters and concert t-shirts. I've never met John, but I am good friends with one of his old bandmates, Jim Donovan, who I met not long after he left the band in 2005.

So when my friend Kim recently asked me if I had created the art for some of their early album covers (Circa 92-98) I smiled, then said, "Thank You! But no, that's John Buynak's art. Isn't he amazing?" Kim thought since I knew Jim that it was within the realm of possibility that I was the band's artist. I was truly honored by the compliment as I've been a fan of John's art since the mid 90's.

John & I are friends on Facebook and it always tickles me to no end when upon occasion he has *liked* one of my pieces. Please be sure to visit John's website above to see more of his amazing art.

When I Woke Rusted Root Live Evil Ways Rusted Root

Examples of John's album cover art for the band. PS - the "Live" album is *Spectacular!*

Monday, November 22, 2010

Spirit People : Inspired by Rock Art

110710 073

These figures, which I have dubbed "Spirit People" have been turning up again and again in my art. I think they were originally inspired by my love of petroglyph (cave) art and have been modeled after various forms I had seen that represented deities and shamans. Sometimes they seem to come from within me, sometimes from somewhere else... as though there is something to be learned.

090307 Spirit Guides - Deities

The image above was requested to be used by Braden Barty (Billy Barty's son) in the movie Spirit Space; A Journey Into Your Consciousness

0607 6th attempt - little people

I initially learned to make them after trying a simple watercolor exercise that I had seen in a book I found at the public library. The movement to make them is swift but with the simplest of variation, you can make them look altogether different and as expressive as you wish.



I finally took th etime to look back through my work to put a specific set together of these images and I was surprised by how many of them there were. Please enjoy.

Spirit Space; A Journey Into Your Consciousness  Easy Field Guide to Southwestern Petroglyphs (Easy Field Guides) Rock Art and Ruins for Beginners and Old Guys

Friday, November 19, 2010

Transformation and Acceptance

Transformation and Acceptance

This is my first acrylic painting on canvas. It is 16 x 20" and entitled "Transformation and Acceptance." It displays a plethora of emotions that I have been tapping into while relentlessly working on my personal evolution. Anger, frustration, jealousy, dependence, control, fear, hatred, depression, resolve, understanding, joy, acceptance, surrender, love, impermanence... It is through this process- of tapping into a higher sense of self and allowing myself to create from that spot, that I can really let go and transform.

Transformation and Acceptance

It all starts here. The piece was created with various kinds of acrylic paint while using a dry brush technique. (I mixed no water with the paint.)

Transformation and Acceptance

Transformation and Acceptance

Transformation and Acceptance

Transformation and Acceptance

Transformation and Acceptance

Transformation and Acceptance

Transformation and Acceptance

Transformation and Acceptance

Transformation and Acceptance

I have come to learn that no matter how hard it is to go into the dark parts of our selves, you can never really know how good the sun feels until you agree to go all in.

Transformation and Acceptance

These images have been popping up time and again in my work. I call them "Spirit People" and in this instance, they are representing me through all the different stages of my transformation. (With more yet to come.) The most prominent one is representing my current stage, ages 40-50.

Transformation and Acceptance

I wonder whose face this is?

Transformation and Acceptance

Transformation and Acceptance

There are three things written in this piece. Across the top it says, "You are stronger than it." Golden words of advice from my friend Jim Donovan. Down the right side it says, "You can't roll back." Along the bottom is a Sanskrit mantra - "Om Droom Soha Om Amri te Ayer Da Dey So-ha." It is a mantra for breaking patterns and for releasing old karma.

I will be placing this piece for sale on Etsy - if you are interested, I highly suggest contacting me ASAP. It's going to be worth a fortune someday. :o)
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