You might remember when I painted the snarling lion in the video above, as it was fairly recently (August). Perhaps you see him as growling or even roaring. Although his mouth is not wide open in a roar, some of you may see beyond what is there.
Are you feeling like this lion? Do you feel a tension that is roaring, snarling or? Maybe you feel something else. Maybe you resonate more this THIS lion:
Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
I was inspired by the grief of injustice. When crime that is far reaching, affects human beings worldwide, and hurts so many innocent people, is perpetuated, orchestrated, and covered up by powerful persons, entities, and governments, it’s in our nature to have moments in which we feel righteous anger, courage, and the quiet strength of a lion who is observing, unseen. He’s watching. He’s biding his time. One day he may be surrounded by hyenas, and if that day comes, he will be bold.
We may hope to never be that lion ourselves. We may feel as trusting as child, that there’s a lion out there who will protect us. All we need to do is take care of our families and stay out of the way when the time comes.
There is something about the sadness and wisdom in the eyes of the silent lion that resonates with me more than the snarling lion. The power that is yet to be seen can be more chilling than the power revealed. Humanity has great power. When we collectively desire goodness, mercy, and justice, we shall have it. God bless you and your families.
A guardian lion statue is meant to symbolize prosperity and protection and is usually installed on behalf of a city or a wealthy person’s home. I was inspired to paint a fantasy representation of the resin winged lion statue in Savannah, Georgia. I imagined the lion standing at the edge of a cliff, guarding the land from whatever darkness may threaten its shores.
The real Georgian shoreline isn’t lined with cliffs, but the imagery is meant to universally apply in a spiritual sense, in any way that the viewer chooses. The concept of Guardians is appealing and comforting. Don’t we wish that such a winged lion exists, who will protect us, and keep us prosperous?
Believing in a spiritual protector and a God who blesses us requires faith. Wouldn’t it be easier if we could see something tangible, maybe as obvious as a golden winged lion? And yet, sometimes, faith comes as easily as this. There are times in our lives when darkness and fear overtakes us. In that dark place we may feel absolutely certain of the presence of a spiritual guardian, of angels, divine intervention, and God.
But when the crisis passes, we may doubt our experience. Always trust yourself and honor the certainty of the presence of divine love, protection, and blessings. Work to hold on to those moments when we have no doubts. Life feels so much easier when we believe that someone is looking out for us.
STORY do we want to tell?
EMOTIONS do we feel?
IMPACT do we want to make?
Art is a fluid language that flows from the artist, to the viewer, and back to the artist. Art adapts to the time and place of viewing- ever changing to meet people where they are. What we see and feel from a painting today may be different from how we thought of it yesterday, and how we’ll see it in the future. Therefore, we may have different answers to the questions in the headline above, depending on when we’re asked (What story do we want to tell, what emotions do we feel, what impact do we want to make?). We may also have different answers to those questions from the perspective of the viewer, including the artists themselves who become viewers as well (What story do we hear, what emotions do we feel, what impact is it making?).
Whatever our answers, art is personal, intimate, and we might change our hearts and minds seconds after we’ve settled on a direction. I can tell you what these paintings mean, but not what they mean to YOU. My perception about my art changes over time, so even though I’m the artist, I’m not an authority on art, not even my own. Once a painting is shared, art belongs to everyone.
Eyes can appear kind and wise. It’s all in what we see when we look into them. When painting eyes, it helps to imagine what we want the eyes to show and use our brush strokes to reflect that. Rounded shapes express gentleness, purity, innocence, and goodness; whereas sharp edgy strokes bring a sharp quality that expresses the opposite.
Layering with colors and highlights brings a flat painted eye to life. A fleck of white in the pupil is a “life spot“, according to my dad. He used to tell me to never forget that. Aiming for a small pin-point white dot works, but when the white fleck ends up as an organic, random “splotch” that doesn’t match exactly the life spot in the other eye, it has a more natural effect, so I try to resist making it too tidy. Light is generally not perfectly reflected or evenly cast.
Soft velvety texture on the lion’s face contrasts with the heavy paint strokes that become progressively more primitive as the mane extends to the canvas edge. What story, what emotion, what impact? Imagine running your fingertip down the bridge of that fuzzy nose, or a giving the lion a pat on that heavy golden mane. Is he gentle? Might he be dangerous? Would he hurt you? Would he protect you? What kind of lion is he, and what does he represent? Strength, wisdom, patience, victory over enemies? The story is up to the viewer, but an artist can steer the viewer toward asking questions. Contrasting elements give art a dynamic that is active, seeking, inquiring.
This mythical winged lion was inspired by a resin Guardian Lion statue in Savannah, Georgia. I imagined the griffin as made of gold, and “alive” (yet still maintaining the qualities of a statue). Again, it’s all about the contrasting elements, as this second painting also begs inquiring minds to ponder what this art means to them. The rigidity of the lion, its fixed expression, stern lines, and monochromatic coloring contrasts- and almost opposes- the soft terrain, wispy fantasy landscape, streaky brush strokes and colorful palette. The only movement is water spray hitting the cliff edge where the lion stands watch. What is the story, emotion, and impact? Do we feel safe? Is this lion in control, even over the elements, the sea?
“Lion and the Lamb” was inspired by stained glass windows in the historic Cathedral of John the Baptist in Savannah, Georgia. I wanted to paint religious art of my own, even though this isn’t in the style of the stained glass window art. My metaphorical intentions weren’t very deep (precious lamb, sacrifice and meekness; contrasting with mighty warrior lion and King). I guess we could bring that into a greater theological discussion about duality and the divine, but to be honest, I only imagined this art as a peaceful story, like the illustrations I have fond memories of from children’s Bibles when I was a little girl.
My Irish Gran used to dress up in her pink dress and sometimes she’d have a hat. If I was lucky to be at her home when she had a church event planned, I’d get to see her in her Sunday best. These memories are all caught up in my perception of Bible stories, which accounts for my peaceful and nurturing interpretation. However, I have received feedback from several viewers who have put quite a lot of thought into what they see in this metaphorical painting, and even took an entirely different path than I even knew existed. While I find their perspectives interesting, I still only see a gentle strong fatherly lion with an innocent meek lamb. Sometimes I paint on one level, while views take the art to much deeper levels. Art is a language that transcends, even if the artist is completely unaware.
“This piece (available as prints- and also as clothing- offered for sale on this page) was inspired by seeing the beautiful religious art in the historic Cathedral of John the Baptist in Savannah. The day we visited the Cathedral, there was a baby baptism being held, and I didn’t want to intrude, but I was able to survey the interior and it was breathtaking. The Cathedral is an important stop on a tourist’s map, but it is awe inspiring for locals as well, and the church is still very active in the community.
After seeing the stained glass windows in the cathedral, I wanted to create my own vision of Christian art, in my modern-day style of an artist living in 2019, while still honoring the traditional stories and history. I imagined Jesus as both precious lamb and sacrifice, and mighty warrior Lion… King. Sheltering the lamb in the storm, the King is merciful, kind, and loving.”
Note from Natalie: “I love this kimono. It’s comfortable and I can dress it up or down, depending on if I want to wear it formally or casually. It’s loose and open in the front (can’t see the full design), but you can wear it with a belt if you prefer the full design in the front to show (the back design is always visible). Personally, I am fine with a more subtle look in the front and I bought the largest size because I wanted something flowy and long to layer over anything. This probably looks more elegant on a taller person, but I’m 5’1 and I’m happy with it.”
“Lion and the Lamb” Kimono S/M, Free Shipping (USA)
Light weight draped chiffon kimono, suitable for layering over dresses or blouses. Machine washable. Size S/M fits bust size up to 37", Back neck to Bottom hem 23" (Note: I was wearing the size L/XL in the video, and I am usually a size M. I'm under 5 feet two, and yet I liked the long flowy length, so you might want to consider the L/XL even if you usually wear a smaller size. L/XL is offered below)
Care instructions: Machine wash in cold water with a mild phosphate detergent. Do not bleach. Hang dry.
“Lion and the Lamb” Kimono L/XL, Free Shipping (USA)
Light weight draped chiffon kimono, suitable for layering over dresses or blouses. Machine washable. Size L/XL fits bust size 37"+, Back neck to Bottom hem 25" (Note: I was wearing the size L/XL in the video, and I am usually a size M. I'm under 5 feet two, and yet I liked the long flowy length, so you might want to consider the L/XL even if you usually wear a smaller size?)
Care instructions: Machine wash in cold water with a mild phosphate detergent. Do not bleach. Hang dry.
Small Print “Lion and the Lamb”
All small prints are approximately 8 x 10. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.
Medium Print “Lion and the Lamb”
All medium prints are approximately 16 x 20. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.
Large Print “Lion and the Lamb”
All large prints are approximately 24 x 30. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.
List of Oil Paintings in this Collection, linking to their pages here on the site, and also citing physical pages in the hardcover book: