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Kate Claringbould's Art

Check out my artwork below. Do you see something you like? Currently my available pieces can be purchased here

Ocean Sunrise

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I sit there in front of the desk listening to them talk. "It is important that you be normal," they say "just like everyone else. You will not function in society if you are not normal." I stare back. "What is normal?" I ask. 

 

To me, they missed the point. Normal does not exist. It is a construct that is defined from generation to generation. Normal in the 18th century is not equivalent to normal now. There is a reason for this, if we were all the same we would never grow and develop. We would still be living the lives we started all those millennia ago.

 

It is our differences that allows for the interplay of new ideas, new perspectives, new voices, new songs, new artworks. If I saw the world as you did, we would paint the same art and something would be lost. So I stand before you bringing my own perspective to what I do. And please know, I am not normal... and neither are you!

Artwork Size: 8x10 inches

Ocean Sunset

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Sunrises and sunsets allow us to see nature's palette hard at work. We get to see colors travel across the sky, varying and changing in each moment. Every second there is another amazing artwork begging to be immortalized. Yet how can we keep up? The very act of taking a photo diminishes the enjoyment of this slideshow. Painting in real time is impossible for as soon as brush hits the paper the masterpiece has moved on to a new one. So I stand there watching for as long as I can. I do my best to absorb and immortalize the colors of this sunset (or sunrise), but I know that memories are unreliable at best and that tomorrow the exact specifics of the world before me will become blurred blending with others that have come before.

Artwork Size: 8x10 inches

The Coming Remembrance

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I hope the title of this piece is wrong and that the future I envision happening does not occur. However I fear that this title might prove to be true and that we are facing another great extinction event. More and more animals are being placed on endangered lists or have simply just disappeared (the elephant is just one that is currently endangered). Soon for many of these creatures all that will remain will be the memories of their presence in our lives, like this artwork.

 

The abstract elements in this piece were deliberate choices. Grey-green skies to indicate the coming storm as these creatures leave us. Water to symbolize the tears shed and sadness we feel as they go and red poppies in the background, symbols already of remembrance and of tragic losses too innumerable to count.

 

Why an elephant? In the literature I have read, elephants apply themselves time and again to solving problems so that their tribe has the greatest ability to survive. They will work as a team to protect one another and make sure that all members live to face another day. They do not abandon each other until all hope is gone. Thus the elephant was chosen as a symbol of not only things we could lose, but also as a symbol of hope, of what we could bring to the table to help solve this problem.

Artwork Size: 20x16 inches

Bathhouse Beach

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For many decades they have sat together at the top of the beach looking out over the water. Small bathing boxes built for the people’s convenience. They appear as a symbol of permanence, brightly colored and fixed to their location.

 

Looks can be deceiving however. Permanence is not a part of the world we live in. Nature and time can bring great changes. The bathhouses are there, but the beach underneath them is disappearing.

 

We people do not cope well with the change. The bath houses were built to stay. Thus, like Sisyphus with his boulder, we spend many hours rebuilding the beach. Can we stem the change in tides or will the ebb and flow of nature triumph?

Artwork Size: 6x6 inches

Beacon

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Water fascinates me. It is always changing and moving, never static. You can watch it for hours and never see the same scene twice. You can lose yourself just as easily in a small puddle as you can in a lake or an ocean. Yet water can also be a source of dread. The floods that rage across the landscape removing all traces of your possessions, the storm at sea that hides dangerous rocks from tossing ships. The ice that hangs from trees causing limbs to fall and break threatening you as you walk beneath them. Water is a necessity and a force of nature. It supports us and yet it can also destroy us, both through abundance and lack thereof. 

 

With Beacon I wanted to capture the duality of water and of life itself. Do we feel relief that the storm is departing or apprehension at its arrival? Our perspective of this work will be a reflection of our state of mind outside of it and can change from moment to moment as our own moods morph and change. Yet, even in our darkest moments I also wanted to give us hope. No matter how perilous the situation, there is a lighthouse there to not only alert you of danger but also to help guide you to safety. It is a rock in a storm that will be there, whether the storm is there or not.

 

This is a significant personal piece for me. Like the flow of water, I too at times find myself adrift on a storm of deep emotions. In those moments, art is my lighthouse. It helps to guide me to calmer waters and deposit me on the shores of tomorrow ready to face another day.

Artwork Size: 6x6 inches

Sailing The Seas

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My ideal life is a nice breeze, friendly seas and a wind in my sails. Yet like the ocean, I know this is a momentary state, one to be enjoyed for the temporary passage it is. For at any time I know that my life can be disrupted by forces beyond my control: war, nature, or the health of myself or another.

 

Knowing that this can happen, I have sometimes asked myself why do we bother to set out at all? Why place our small little craft in the water of life if it is just going to get blown over time and time again?

 

It took me a long time to realize that I asked myself the wrong questions. Why use why when instead we can use why not? Why not set out and experience life? Why not see where life will take us and what vistas will open on the way?

 

We only get one chance to live. At the end of my life, I want to know that that is what I have done, no matter what life brings along the way. For it is only by living that we get to be alive, and being alive means feeling all that life has to offer: yes to grief, sorrow, sadness and pain and yes to joy, beauty, love and life.

Artwork Size: 6x6 inches

A Day at the Beach

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For me, visiting the beach is like going to a meditation studio, except of course it is free! As the waves crash around me I contemplate life and my place within it. The smallest I feel in life is when standing before an immense ocean. I know that I am as important as the other specs of sand gathered around my feet.

 

As I walk along the coastline and watch the waves roll in and out I see others busy with their lives: a ship on the horizon, a lighthouse in the background. I realize that there are many ways to live and many paths to take, just as there are many specs of sand gathered around my feet.

 

I look up at the sky and see shades of blue stretching as far as the eye can see. I lose myself in that expanse, letting thoughts roll through my mind as the sounds of the waves reverberate through my ears. I love that I too am one of those specs of sand, gathered around my feet.

Artwork Size: 6x6 inches

I Am an Ocean Elephant

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The story of an elephant is one of life versus possessions. Elephants are frequently killed for their tusks, a killing that occurs so a small segment of society can increase the number of trophies or ivory carvings they place on a wall. In this story, people lose sight of who and what elephants are, the lives they lead and the family that they leave behind.

 

In “I am an ocean elephant” I wanted to restore life to the elephant. I wanted to remind people everywhere that elephants are more than their tusks, that like us, they are creatures who think, feel, play, love, live. When we see an elephant as alive, and deserving of life, it makes it harder for someone to kill.

 

By sharing and communicating, values can be changed. I realized a deeper understanding of the plight of the elephant via sharing a conversation with a friend. I decided to continue that conversation with this artwork so that others too can join in and understand more themselves. To help with this I made some deliberate artistic choices. I chose beads where the reflected color changed as you moved and as the light hit different areas of the bead. This enables the elephant to move and change and live in front of you.  I constructed the elephant to look young to remind us that these animals have the potential for a long life, a life that is often cut short. Finally, I placed the elephant in water, a place of enjoyment, relaxation, fun and living, for them and for ourselves. By showing what we share, we can allow these creatures to keep their identity, their sense of self and perhaps their lives.

Artwork Size: 16x20 inches

Bamboo Jungle

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Bamboo is a simple plant doing what any plant would do when given the chance. Living, breathing and flourishing in whatever hospitable environment it finds itself. How bamboo is perceived is another reality. It straddles extremes: love, hate; symbolic and culturally important, or requiring extermination. 

 

Do I see bamboo as lucky, a symbol of prosperity and strength? Or do I see a plant doing what nature intended? Do I see a plant useful for all manner of construction and material tasks? Or do I see a weed requiring destruction before it consumes all around it? 

 

It turns out that our perceptions are not the same. How you see bamboo can vary wildly to how I see it. The view point we will each apply to bamboo will depend entirely on time, location and the cultural attitudes in which we were raised. Thus the bamboo’s outcome in life will be determined by the perception you apply to it.

Artwork Size: 6x24 inches

United Lizards

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Lizards can be found everywhere except a few islands in Oceana and Antartica. Their diversity of shapes, colors and sizes is phenomenal with species variations running into the thousands. In United Lizards I chose seven lizards from different geographic regions: Asia, Australia, South America, North America, Europe and Africa. They have some similarities and some differences and yet they are still just lizards wherever they are. Their colors are unique and celebrate their individuality and beauty but are not used by us to rank them in order of value.

Artwork Size: 16x20 inches

Lucky Bamboo

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As we walk through our daily lives we imbue everyday objects with the power to alter or shape our destiny. Their mere presence in our pockets, room or auspicious location can help us study, work, dream and/or achieve. I used to think this was hocus pocus, but not so anymore.

 

When life is tough a lucky object can provide a little extra support that makes all the difference. Why not use a talisman if it helps us through a difficult phase in our lives? If I believe myself to be lucky, I will relax and do better than if I worry about luck having left the building. 

 

“Lucky Bamboo” began as a quick study for a larger piece but is now an artwork in its own right. It is a reminder that talismans serve their purpose, as they have always done. This “Lucky Bamboo” is here to remind you that yes, we do have the potential to alter and shape our destiny, and that the first step is believing that we are capable and lucky.

Artwork Size: 4x4 inches

A Day In Buffalo

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USS Sullivans (DD-537) was commissioned in 1943. It was named after five brothers who had died in the sinking of a ship in 1942. The USS Sullivans was active until decommissioned in 1965. In 1977 she was donated to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park in Buffalo, NY. There she still resides, although a recent sinking means that she now requires some loving tender care.

While walking with family in 2021, I took a series of pictures of the pier and the ship itself. One captured the American flag flying in the background. My nephew loved that photo and so working together we turned it into a drawing, then a painting and finally a bead mosaic. The bead mosaic was gifted to him in 2022.

Artwork Size: 11x14 inches

Future Butterfly I, II and III

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The Black Swallowtail caterpillar is a gorgeous caterpillar. Until this year, these caterpillars have arrived every summer in my backyard and I love to watch them grow and morph into butterflies, along with their relatives the Monarch. Unfortunately, many people in my surrounding neighborhood view caterpillars as pests and spray their entire gardens, killing or hurting all insect life in the process and the creatures higher in the food chain that depend on them for sustenance.

 

With my series of Future Butterfly artworks (I, II and III) I want to raise the profile of the humble caterpillar. I want people to see how beautiful these creatures can be in their own right and to remind people that they are an essential part of our garden if we want them to complete their life cycle into butterflies. I want to encourage people to search for better methods at surviving the summer caterpillar season without requiring that all insects shall perish. 

 

I created three works to represent the seasons when we normally see caterpillars: spring, summer and fall. I used larger beads for the caterpillar than the rest of the background in all three artworks. Thus they come to life as they crawl over the leaf and stem. By contrasting matte beads against more shimmering beads, I create a sense of light and movement that makes you feel as if you are there in the garden with them, just as I was when the original photo was taken on which these pieces are based.

Artwork Size:

Future Butterfly I: 16x20inches

Future Butterfly II: 12x16 inches

Future Butterfly III: 20X24 inches

Skull and Crossbones

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Theirs was a pirate wedding, complete with the most amazing costumes and the best location. A lovely wedding for two people to become a couple. They both share a love for Halloween. Thus it was appropriate when making a gift for one half of this couple that it should be a Halloween appropriate Skull and Crossbones!

Artwork Size: 4x4 inches

Trooper

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Trooper was a rescue dog several times over. He was first rescued as a young man after wandering lost in the woods and being hit by a car. After many surgeries and a lot of care by many wonderful people, he was adopted out. Unfortunately for Trooper his new owner became ill and passed him to a neighbor for care. He became too much for that neighbor and was returned to the rescue organization who had first cared for him. There he stayed for many years living in the kennel as he was happiest as an only dog and fosters generally had more dogs than they could handle. 

We first fostered Trooper at the age of 12 and quickly adopted him. He was the happiest dog. He had been through so much he knew the value of life and what it meant. Many a walk we took where we would just stop and smell the breezes of life and contemplate the world around us. Wiggly-jigglies or back rolls were the order of the day whenever the weather was sunny and the ground dry and warm. Car rides were the best and he never wanted to miss out.

Looking back now, what we loved and miss the most about Trooper was his love and his intelligence. This is the dog who was resourceful. We went out one night thinking unopened cans of cat food on the ground would not be an issue. We returned to six empty cans that Trooper had opened using the power of his jaws. We could not be angry because he looked so proud of what he had done! His most impressive feat though was opening closed and locked baby gates. After accusing each other of leaving the baby gates open, we happened to notice that Trooper had figured out the mechanism and was opening them himself. Needless to say, Trooper was never locked out of any space ever again after that. He went with us everywhere until the day we had to say goodbye.

If you are interested in rescuing or helping a dog, please talk with the Homeless Animals Rescue Team, or your local pet rescue society.

Artwork Size: 11x14 inches

Abstract Landscape

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Art for me is a chance to experiment and explore. It links me back to my early days as a physicist spending hours in a laboratory as I learnt about the fundamental elements of the natural world. With the “Abstract Landscape” I wanted to learn about color and its role in the creation of art.

 

Color and how we use it can be so evocative. Colors can remind us of a time, a place, a smell, an emotion, a memory, a person or many other things. We see a color and are immediately transported into an environment, whether one of our own making or one that is naturally occurring. Color or the lack thereof is a fundamental artistic building block.

 

I decided to see if I could create a recognizable and emotive landscape by focusing solely on layers of color and a simple repeating pattern. I organized my beads (for each color layer) into blocks of light, medium and dark colors, giving each block a range of shades. I then did my best to lay those colors with a few simple rules. Each block would be randomly applied, and I would endeavor to make sure that blocks of the same shade would not connect. 

 

While creating this piece, I tried to remove what I knew about shading, depth, values and perspective and everything I had learnt and taught myself about creating a successful artwork. And yet as I look at this piece, they are there. The randomly applied beads give depth and shading to each layer, just by being a different color. The decision to use darker colors followed by lighter colors gives perspective and to some degree a range of values. 

 

Yet without the colors of this piece, I would not see what I had created and so I would be devoid of the memories and emotions that this artwork creates for me. Memories of sitting with my parents in a kitchen as they shared their photos with me. Photos taken on an epic trip around Western Australia where the desert meets the ocean.

Artwork Size: 8x10 inches

Cardinal I and II

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The males are a flash of red regardless of the season. In my back garden they perform the rituals of their lives with their respective mates - raising chicks, finding food, finding shelter. They are mundane daily tasks and yet when watching another species at work, they are also endlessly fascinating.

 

They remind me that even when dressed in the most gorgeous of finery we all have work that needs to be done. The work of raising, of living, of being. None of us are exempt. They remind me that it is the work of living that creates a life. These tasks are the fabric on which our memories and moments are built on.  Finally, they also remind me that a life does not need to be anything more. These moments are sufficient enough reason for just being.

Cardinal II: Artwork Size: 4x4 inches

Cardinal I: Artwork Size: 8x8 inches

Common Collared Lizard

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Lizard, I followed you across the ground, my camera poised to capture your likeness. You were quick however and kept moving. I could barely keep pace. I negotiated and asked you for your picture. As if you realized what I wanted, you paused long enough for me to click the shutter.  In that instant you are frozen forever, your likeness captured, still, as if you had never once moved.

Your likeness will become the inspiration for creations of other likenesses. Your brothers and sisters connected through art, frozen in flight just as you were, but wearing different finery. I thank you for that moment and for sharing that pose on a long ago day. By creating your likeness over and over, I ensure that you will never be forgotten, even if you are confused for others. I however, will always know who you are.

Artwork Size: 8x10 inches

The Bee!

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I read recently that bees are considered the most important creature on the planet right now. We all need bees for our survival and the survival of many other species and yet many get killed from loss of habitat and use of insecticides/pesticides on farms and gardens. I decided that for my part I would do my best to create a bee friendly garden, full of flowers and plants that bees love without using chemicals that cause them harm.

 

As a consequence, my garden is now a bee city and I the interloper watching them as they go about their day. By giving them a spray free location to come rest, work and play, the bees give me permission to come close and observe them in all their intricacies. I can capture images of them with their legs full of pollen, the camera inches from where they work. However I understand they are busy and so more often than not I leave them be to perform the functions so vital to the health of our gardens, our food supply and ourselves. Instead I sit and watch, and for me the sitting and watching is always the best part.

Artwork Size: 4x4  inches

The Blue Lizard

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The desert stretches out red and white, its surface gently curving. The heat and sun reflect on the surface, making me think of hot days and dry air. Over the top the lizard runs, cool as the blood that flows within its body. Unlike me, it is able to survive extremes of temperature. I long to run for shelter. Yet I continue to lie under the harsh sun, watching as the lizard scurries across the desert surface busy with its daily chores.

 

As a child I was lucky to spend many days in the changing colors of the desert beyond the reach of the internet.  Camping trips were a time of observation, for absorbing the colors, sights and sounds of the world around me. The memories of these trips stay with me, even now that I am half a world away in another country and a very different time zone.

Artwork Size: 8x10 inches

Two Worlds Reflected

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This piece is an incredibly personal piece, a reflection of where I come from and who I am. I see it as a reflection of Sunrise and Sunset, North and South, Child and Adult, two worlds connected by a thin line.

 

AUSTRALIA: Sunset. A child in the Southern Hemisphere.

As a child I grew up watching the sun set outside the huge back windows of my childhood home in Australia. Every night was different and spectacular and full of my favorite colors - bright reds, strong oranges, brilliant yellows, vivid pinks and purples, just like the country to which I belonged. As a child, the sunset was the thing I always saw, a house facing west meant sunrises were usually over by the time I made it outside. Sunsets in Australia gave me a huge sense of space and of being a small part of a large world, a world that stretched forever.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Sunrise. An adult in the northern hemisphere.

As an adult I left Australia and went northwards to America. In the USA, my world flipped. I started to see sunrises more than sunsets (work and traffic helps!) and saw that they shared the same colors as the sunsets I had watched as a child, yet they were slightly different. The colors were softer here, the horizon was less expansive in the area I settled. Now when I look out the horizon ends at the trees, the sense of space and of being a small speck in an infinite universe is no longer present.

 

I have wondered about this change in the sense of space. Is it due to the sheer number of people? Physically there are many more people in the USA than Australia will ever hope to see. Is it because I am older? I am an adult now and as a result the world shrinks down in size and is less overwhelming. In the end though I think it comes to something ephemeral- the light. The light in Australia is different to here. It is bright, strong and intense, and thus it creates a different color palette and a different experience to where I now reside.

 

I am still to visit, but I imagine based on the paintings I have seen, that the light in Santa Fe has similar properties to the light in Australia and perhaps then it shares that same sense of unbounded horizons too. When creating “Two Worlds Reflected” I set out to create a straight forward piece about a reflection. I instead feel that this work took on a direction of its own: it reflects how I see each place that I call home.

Artwork Size: 8x10 inches

The Flame Dragon

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On wings I rise through the blackest night. My scales glow like a warm fire lighting the darkness. I can be seen for miles. Am I bad or good? The villain of your story or the hero? I can be both or either and have been all stages in between. Yet still I am a mythical creature. A figment of someone’s imagination developed and expanded upon over millennia, until now. Now I consider myself a species unto myself whose family history can be traced back through to your earliest stories.

Artwork Size: 8x10 inches

The Atlantic Ocean

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Sometimes a day embeds itself in your memory. At the time it is like any other day, perhaps more pleasant than most, but nothing that you expect you would remember over and over again. Yet, it becomes a day that you constantly visit, remembering sites, smells, the feel of the wind and the colors of that day.

 

So it began one day for me. We drove 6 hours in one day to spend 3-4 hours on the shoreline of Assateague Island. It was November so cold and windy. We walked, we dug in the sand, we visited the small museum they had created, and we took a ton of photos. Perhaps all those photos is what made the difference between a day remembered and a day forgotten. (Although I have many other well-photographed days that I forget until I once again take a look at the photos.) 

 

I find memory a fickle beast. Why do we remember some things so well and never a trace is remembered of other things? Why are some memories promoted over others? I know I will never know the answer to this question, and even if I did find it, would I even remember it?!

Artwork Size: 8x10 inches

Life on the Wing

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Monarchs visited my garden every year until this one. I do not know why this year in particular they did not make their annual stop in my garden to rest, feast and lay their eggs. I do know that this year they were placed on the endangered list due to their precipitous drop in population numbers. I also know that in my neighborhood the use of sprays to control the caterpillar and mosquito population has increased. 

 

I created this artwork to celebrate the life of the Monarch butterfly, not to mourn its potential demise. This artwork was my interpretation of the journey the butterfly took to get to my backyard every summer. The air to us looks calm and still, but for a butterfly the wind currents are swirling around them requiring constant navigation as they head north every year. For such an investment of energy, food is an important ingredient and thus the background is yellow to represent the nutrition they require on the way.

 

I hope my butterflies return. I miss my flame-red summer friends and the bright splash they made in my garden. I miss being able to watch them create their cocoons and then see those cocoons turn into butterflies. I hope this artwork inspires all of us to make safe havens for butterflies and that next year we will all be visited by summer friends wending their way on their perilous journeys to our backyard gardens.

Artwork Size: 16x20 inches

Max the Pug

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Max is his family's Apollo. He is the Sun God and the world revolves around him. Max is a mix of a chihuahua and a pug. An adorable mix and exceedingly cute. He is loved by his owners. Today he is an elderly gentleman, but in creating this piece, I wanted him to appear as the God he is!

Max is my first commission piece.

Artwork Size: 11x14 inches

The Blue Jay

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I stand before you, looking back over my shoulder, inviting you into my world, a world full of rich designs and images. I want to share with you all that I create. I want to tell you so many things, about my art, myself and how it all fits together. I want to show you how I understand current events, changing times, my memories and the world around me. I want to share who I am, what I see and how I see.

 

Yet, art is also a dialogue between the art, the artist and the viewer. So I stand before you, inviting you to join me on this journey of mine and participate in the dialogue. I hope that you will share what the artwork means to you, the ideas you have and your perspective on any thoughts I write.  I hope that you will also share part of who you are, what you see and how you see, so that together we can make our worlds richer.

 

I hope that by sharing we will understand each other a little better, understand the world around us a little more and break down the walls and barriers that stop us from truly getting to know each other. I hope that by sharing we can make the world a friendlier place for ourselves and others.

Artwork Size: 8x8 inches

The Dolphin

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Sometimes I find myself caught up in the routines of life, not stopping to pause or enjoy the view around me.  It is amazing how quickly we become wrapped up in our work, daily chores and the tasks of living.  Often we forget to leave time for play, relaxation and the enjoyment of the everyday.

 

Dolphins themselves are known for taking joy and pleasure in life. They are not only about fulfilling the basic functions of life. They play and have fun amongst themselves. 

 

I chose to make “The Dolphin” to remind me to slow down every now and then. To take pleasure in the here and now and to every so often give myself permission to enjoy all the great things that life has to offer. After all who wouldn’t want to take a day here and there, go to the beach and surf those waves….

Artwork Size: 4x4 inches

The Starlight Turtle

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Turtles represent many things: longevity, wisdom, determination and a steady march to one’s goals. There is also another side of a turtle that is thought about less often. Turtles can also represent security in times of stress. Everyone at some point in their life will retreat into their shells a little when situations become too overwhelming. As a quiet person I love the latter representation of a turtle. The turtle serves to remind me that every now and then I need to draw back, take a break and enjoy the night sky at a beach. I know that when I come back, I will be ready to take another step and another on my path towards my goals.

Artwork Size: 4x4 inches

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