Much of my imagery, whether it’s in my paintings, illustrations, jewelry or surface design, involves animals. On occasion, we cry. The impetus behind our tears is about love, longing, and loss. It is about the love of nature, longing for a healthier planet, the loss of a beloved pet, a species, of habitat. I have a hopeful, optimistic, glass half full spirit, but sometimes we cry.
Sing Me a Song, Cry Me a River | Encaustic and mixed media | 8 x 8″ | Available | ©Karen Christine Eide
Within my series of encaustic paintings based on conservation stories (last post) are several allegorical works inspired by the efforts of a Buddhist monk, Tashi Zangpo, to save the rare Tibetan Bunting. Although these birds have never been huge in numbers, their scarcity is stunning— going from a mere five in 2005 to twenty-nine in 2009. To protect areas where these birds build ground nests, he has been able to coordinate with the yak farmers when and where the yaks graze. This simple idea keeps the yaks from trampling the bunting’s nests during the breeding season. Tashi Zangpo’s efforts have spawned imagery in my work that ranges from the luscious reds, oranges and yellows found in monk’s robes, to prayer flags, prayer beads, and yaks. The full Smithsonian Magazine article on the Tibetan Bunting can be here.
everal years ago I began, what has become, an ongoing series of allegorical paintings rooted in successful wildlife conservation efforts for a solo show. The elephant and bee paintings are inspired by the award-winning research of, a British scientist, Dr. Lucy King, who has helped resolve a huge part of the human-elephant conflict in areas of Africa. Fencing farmland is not a successful deterrent to keeping elephants from trampling crops. Dr. King had observed that they are deathly afraid of bees and found that hanging bee boxes between fence posts kept them from trampling crops. The mere sound of buzzing bees sends an elephant running in the opposite direction. Bees are attracted to the moisture in their eyes and trunks, where they can deliver painful stings. A swarm of bees can even kill the elephant’s calves. Not only is this use of bee boxes between fence posts saving elephants from being maimed or shot and crops from being destroyed, it provides farmers with a sustainable income from the honey. This simple, yet brilliant idea stole my heart. It’s an amazing example of how we can coexist—peacefully—with nature.
Additional paintings in this series can be found here. These paintings cover a range of wildlife conservation efforts including the Tibetan Bunting, the Riverine Rabbit, Sierra Nevada red fox and the Serengeti zebra. All paintings are on encaustic and mixed media on wood.
When the 100-day project was announced by one of my fav art magazines ~ The Great Discontent ~ my first thought was hmmm… sounds cool but I don’t have any extra time. As a dedicated studio artist I already spend a lot of time in the studio designing, creating, making. Treasured time, mind you, that I plan, organize and fight for.
Time, which I can’t wait to jump out of bed and harness. Every day.
What I ultimately decided is — don’t wait to do it someday…
SOMEDAY can be THIS DAY. Now.
For my 100 Day Project, I chose surface design where I am turning my sketches into patterns and designs that could then be made into repeat patterns or block prints to use on fabric and products. (I’ll do a brief tutorial in later post)
Surface design isn’t totally new territory for me.
In art school at VCU, I was in the Crafts/Material Studies Department and, alongside metalsmithing and ceramics, I studied textiles. I wove tapestries, dyed fabric and wool, screenprinted, sewed and knit. I loved every minute of it.
In the last year, I’ve been taking some great online surface design classes to polish and add to my skills. The 100 Day Project is a perfect way to begin to pull it all together.
Today is day #19. I’m committed. Yes, it is an extra push at the end of the day, a kick in the butt, a little less sleep – but isn’t that hard and it takes less energy and has more rewards for me than wishing I had gotten started on something I LOVE.
Following some of the other projects and connecting with people around the globe are added perks. Plus, it’s fun watching my images multiply on my Instagram page. Can I sustain? Time will tell. I’m already scheming on how to keep it going while we are on vacation.
What is it you’re not pursuing that you wish you would? This 100 Day Project doesn’t have to yield a finished work each day! It could be a doodle, a sketch, a bar of music, a paragraph, a photograph. It’s about the process, not the finished project. It’s not too late for you to join in. Catch up or NOT… make it an 80-day project. Set up an Instagram account and tag your posts #the100dayproject and share your passion. Keep me posted so I can follow you.
They’re back! Much to my excitement, the hummingbirds returned this week. Their migrational feat is an amazing one. Comprehending that these tiny creatures make it all the way to Mexico from the U.S. East coast – Virginia in this case – and back again is hard for me to wrap my head around. When I picture the journey it seemed like it would involve packing lots of schnacks for the trip. So, there you have it – suitcases full of sweet, succulent daylilies. I like to be able to switch up mediums for my inspirations. Most often when I am painting it is with encaustic paint but this one cried out for watercolors. If you’d like a copy they are available in my Etsy Shop.
They’re back and, so am I! I’m dusting off the blog and hope you’ll venture back and enjoy this journey with me where I am crafting a life with my painting, metalsmithing and surface design. And, painting a few birds.
My entry for illustrationfriday.com topic…… LONELY
This fox inspired by the Sierra Nevada Red Fox, also known as the High Sierra fox – one of the most endangered mammals in North America.
“Thin Ice” | ©2011 K. Eide | Encaustic MM | 10 x 10″ | SOLD
for entries by other illustrators you can visit IllustrationFriday.com.
This week”s theme is “Jump”
©2012 Karen Eide | Encaustic, oil, ink and graphite on maple panel
I”m back! I”ve missed my fellow illustrators!!
This week”s theme is “Heights”
My online Encaustic Painting Mixed Media Lab class begins May 7th.
Just finished a fun video for it!
Included in my recent solo show KAREN EIDE: RECENT WORKS was a series of abstract pieces entitled The Economy of Nature. Crop and pasture lands are used as metaphors that reflect my concerns over environmental disruption caused at the hand of man. I examine the complexity of nature through simple, distilled forms that appear random and ordered at the same time and imply a repeating pattern or continuum.Ecology studies environmental systems and is also referred to as the Economy of Nature. The latter is where I draw the title and impetus for this series.
Multiple mediums – encaustic, charcoal, ink, pastel and graphite are used to create images that cross the lines between painting, drawing and textile.