Category Archives: Nature as inspiration

Kali as a symbol of Climate Change

The Age of Kali, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, 14.5X17.5 in

The Age of Kali, Kathleen Thoma, monotype & chine colle, 14.5x 17.5 in

Art, Earth Day & Climate Change

While creating an entry for the upcoming show; Sweet Earth/Bitter Earth at the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, CA; the myth and stories of the Hindu Goddess Kali, jumped into my mind. 

The theme this year is our relationship to the environment. And for me, that is the heartbreaking news of climate change which is everywhere around us and has been ongoing for a long while. According to recent UN reports, we are nearly out of time. We have about twelve years perhaps.

I have always seen climate change in symbolic forms as if it were happening through a series of images from a dream. This dream which is shared by all of the life on our planet; is either going to be changed by all of us working together or it will continue growing into a nightmare. 

My image shows the “ruins” of our lives and civilizations in the upper left, while also showing the “forest of life” to the right. So the image can be read in either direction. The question becomes: Are we going to towards the ruins of our planet’s ecosystem? Or are we going to rebirth our planet?  And while Kali dances between the two possible futures; at her feet, we see the poisons that we have already left behind on earth, the plastic, the death, the radiation. 

The Hindu Goddess Kali is a complex, ancient symbol of change, death and rebirth, healing, cycles of time, and opportunity. Although most traditional images show her only in her terrible death aspect, she is also seen as the mother, who gives us the courage to hope while she helps cut away ignorance with her wicked sword. 

The Los Angeles Printmaking Society is a national non-profit artist-run organization. The juror, Marion Estes has selected many wonderful hand-pulled prints for this exhibition.  I hope you will see our LA Printmaking Spring Show at Eagle Rock from April 5-April 30, which in conjunction with many other Earth Day-related activities. 

Update: 

 I have a few photos to share from the opening.

Exhibition Signage

2019-Sweet Earth-Bitter Earth exhibition signage

The Age of Kali, Kathleen Thoma

The Age of Kali, Kathleen Thoma

gallery view of Sweet Earth/Bitter Earth, Center for the Arts at Eagle Rock, LA

Gallery view of Sweet Earth/Bitter Earth, Center for the Arts at Eagle Rock, LA

link to info on exhibition

 

Dreaming, Spirit and the Creative Impulse

I thought that I would post some of my recent images, which continue my explorations into the intersection between dreaming, spirit and the creative impulse.

Evocation of Spring, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, relief, chine colle, 14x11

Evocation of Spring, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, relief, chine colle, 14x11in,

“Evocation of Spring” begins with a memory and a dream. The dream involves the image of huge open book, which has forms within it that I am still learning how to read. The memory is from childhood, of the delicate colors of spring flowers and the sound of rain falling into a pond. Using abstract symbols to express sound was a fun challenge, which I have played with in the past. Many of my previous works were created by remembering the sound of drums, or by listening to drums as I work.

Perennial Mosaic, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, relief, chine colle, 14x11 in

Perennial Mosaic, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, relief, chine colle, 14x11in

“Perennial Mosaic” is another dream-like image, a collection of impressions from plants, sound patterns, and the colors of summer. These appeared to me as a mosaic of shapes, so I allowed them to grow together.

A Woman's Psyche, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, relief, collage, chine colle, 11x14 in

A Woman’s Psyche, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, relief, collage, chine colle, 11x14in

“The Psyche of Woman” shows the symbiotic relationship between human and nature as it should be, when humans are working to support our world instead of working against it. The woman is in her separate space, yet she is dependent upon her surroundings, whether or not she is aware of it.

These monotypes will be in my portfolio gallery very soon.

I am very happy that I was accepted into the Los Angeles Printmaking Society! I loved their recent show “Air, Water and Earth” at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton, CA. I spent a great deal of time at the show, just taking it all in. I look forward to showing my work with them when the time is right.

Ode to Winter,inspiration

Or how I discovered the Snow Queen.

Ode to Winter: I have recently created two fine art monotypes, “Ice Wave”, and “Winters Grace”. They are both a homage to my struggles in learning how to live in a much colder climate than I ever wanted to live in. They are both visual abstract images of the ice borne from the north wind that I was forced to accept as part of my life for at least half of each year while living in Canada, twenty-five years ago.

Kathleen Thoma, Winter's Grace, monotype, 12x24 inches

Kathleen Thoma
Winter’s Grace
monotype
12×24 inches

When I was a child, I felt that winter was something I wanted to sleep through, like a hibernating bear, in order to not really have to experience it at all. Except for Christmas, I just hated it.

Until I found myself in very long winters, unable to escape even in my dreams. I finally learned to find some beauty in it, although I would say that I still hated it. This happened when I lived in Montreal, Canada for five years. The first year, I thought I would die; the second year, I knew I wouldn’t die, I would just barely survive it. (Drama Queen)

By the third year, I knew that if I was stuck there, I would HAVE to find at least ONE thing that I liked about winter because I was feeling as though I could lose my mind like the writer in Stephen King’s novel, “The Shinning”. (I was half-way there already according to my husband.

So I set off on searching for that one thing for myself. And it ended up being the simplest of things. Just walking. Yes, just walking about, bundled-up in layers of sweaters, coat, hat, scarf, ugly snow boots. The ice forest near our apartment, being next to the St. Lawrence river, was often coated in lacework patterns of ice on the branches in the trees. It was often so cold that it would be crystal clear with the sunshine making the snow and ice sparkle like diamonds. It would take my breath away sometimes. I began to see how the myth of the snow queen was a natural idea in a winter ice forest. The thick icicles dripping off the tree branches seemed like her hair and dress, while the tree itself seemed like her body. The shapes were sinuous, and flowing, transparent while melting in the sun.

Kathleen Thoma, Ice Wave, monotype, 11x14 inches

Kathleen Thoma,
Ice Wave,
monotype
11×14 inches

The next two years were spent with my walks in this ice forest, observing and absorbing the nature around me, and allowing myself to see its beauty, even though I never did go as far as to completely love it.

So, as far as being a creative person is concerned, you never know what might inspire an image. It can even be something that you hate; and yet end up becoming something beautiful. So here is my homage to the cold, icy north wind. I can now sort of enjoy the Snow Queen, because I am far, far away in Southern California. Maybe I should try living in Iceland next?

See gallery link below for more:

http://www.kathleenthomaart.com/kathleen-thoma-art-abstract-monotypes/nature-monotypes/

Studio News-relocation to CA

After more than a year of trials and tribulations, I have relocated my studio, Kathleen Thoma Art, to Orange County, CA. I am very excited about the Irvine Fine Arts Center. They have a printmaking open studio available for artists to use. Last Wednesday, I decided to try it out and I was able to create a few images that I thought were worth my time.

 

New Journeys, monotype, Kathleen Thoma Art

One of my new works, “New Journeys”, 11 x 14, monotype

 

 

After a number of intense play/work hours, I ended up with a few things to show.

Kathleen Thoma at Laguna Beach

What a background! I am gathering inspiration at the beach, really.

I enjoyed meeting the wonderful people at the center and will certainly come again.

 

 

 

Come again to see my work inspired by the amazing beauty and color of southern California!

Succulent Suavage, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, 8 x 10

Pushing the Limits of Color

It is fascinating to play with color while exploring new possibilities. There  seems to be no end to the different combinations that are available to us. I particularly enjoy using complementary colors next to each other, which creates drama and excitement by bringing out what is the most vivid in each color. I am always looking for the “edge” between chaos and harmony with my colors. I am pushing the limits of color combinations; yet still creating what to me, at least, seems beautiful or wonderful.

Succulent Savage, Kathleen Thoma, 11 x 14 monotype

Succulent Savage
Kathleen Thoma
monotype 11 x 14

I see these color combinations everywhere in life. One recent example is some flowers I saw a few weeks ago. I noticed the outrageous fuchsia and lime green next to each other, making their brilliance seem even more flamboyant. Right away, I took a photo to remind me of the colors to use on my next print. What works in nature doesn’t always work the plate, but the challenge is motivating. (more…)

Study of wing pattern & color

Finding abstract patterns in nature

I am always finding abstract patterns in nature, I often use color for the starting point. Wing studies of birds, butterflies and other insects have a mysterious way of ending up in my sketchbook.

Study of wing pattern & color

Study of wing pattern & color

I used the abstract patterns and colors from the wing study. Taken out of their original context, the image doesn’t make you think of butterflies at all. I’ve used the same colors as starting points in a number of variations, using the repetitions to create new patterns. Here is the finished monotype, which I’ve titled “Sea Flight”.

Sea Flight, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, 12 x 24

Sea Flight
Kathleen Thoma
monotype
12 x 24