Shedding Fear

Shedding Fear | encaustic mixed media

Shedding Fear

Shedding Fear is an original encaustic mixed media painting inspired by a series of vivid dreams which began many years ago. In each of the dreams, a bright red snake takes center stage. Most often, it is a scarlet boa constrictor. In the following dream, however, a scarlet cobra is the main character…

Once upon a dreamscape, a woman discovers a giant cobra in her house. It is about 10 feet long and if she startles it, the cobra puffs up its cobra neck, hisses, and scares the bejeebers out of the woman.

She loses sight of the cobra. The woman and her male companion now crouch on the top of a tall bookcase, hunched into a ball because they are close to the ceiling. They want to be sure they are as far away from the cobra as possible. Then the woman takes a peek at the bookcase shelf right under them and realizes the cobra is right there, all coiled up, too! Now what?

The woman and her companion have now magically moved around the room and then around the house in and out of various rooms. Scarlet cobra is always close by and after a while, it doesn’t seem to mind us, and we don’t mind it either. We get used to each other, and Scarlet only hisses if I get too close. I marvel at Scarlet’s bright color; the red is so vivid and energized. I realize I’ve seen a bright red snake, but a boa constrictor, in my dreams before. So I realize I am in a lucid state. I’m no longer afraid of Scarlet and realize she’s not really poisonous, after all. I awaken with a feeling that something important has shifted.

A colorful dream character calls out

This dreamscape especially grabbed my attention because I was aware that I was dreaming and in a lucid state. I only occasionally have lucid dreams, so I definitely pay attention when I do. Within the dream, I remembered encountering scarlet boas before, but the only places were within past dreams. And having previously explored and created art based on those earlier dreams, I have an idea what this colorful character means – for me. Some examples and art inspired by those previous dreams are Transformation of a Scarlet Boa.

Curiously, when I’ve shared this dream with others, they’ve responded generally in two ways. If they have a fear of snakes, they react by stepping back and saying how much snakes scare them. Others are fascinated by snakes, leading them to take a very close look. Both can lead to lively conversations!

While researching this topic, I came across, “Snake Dreams and their Hidden Meanings,” by author Amy E. Brucker on The Dream Tribe. In it, Ms. Brucker explores various snake imagery throughout history. I was intrigued further by her focus on the healing aspects of the snake.

So in this episode in my scarlet snake dream series, I had a healthy fear of its danger. But, somehow, I also learned to live with this it in my space. When I shift my perception from fear to healing, the dream takes on a whole new feeling and ah-ha! Perhaps in my own shift, my companion learns to live with the healing snake energy, too.

What do we fear?

This is an intriguing question with as many different answers as there are people. There are so many things to be afraid of… being terribly sick, having a horrible accident, losing someone close, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, etc. We each have our own fears to face. And how can we go about shedding fear?

  • From the Cut, here are Quotes from 25 Famous Women on Fear, and overcoming it. Very inspirational!
  • One of my favorite quotes by author Marianne Williamson, in “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles” (1992). I’ve also seen this quote mistakenly attributed to Nelson Mandela.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

  • And here’s a fun take on snakes – Bela Fleck’s Snakes Alive musical creation.

About Shedding Fear

This 15″ x 15″ encaustic art piece is also inspired by an actual snake skin, one that I found in my garden compost bin. I assume the snake that molted was either hiding really well or long gone. Looking at this snake skin up close, it was very thin and fragile. With rectangular, oblong, and smaller oval segments, I marveled at its construction and form. The head portion had space for the snake’s eyes and mouth. I had to hold it very carefully, very gingerly. Which also got me to thinking about fear. Could fear be thin and fragile, too? If I could just let it go, would it shrivel up and crumble?

Next, after creating the main painting of the shed skin up close, I created the miniature snake from paper clay, then painted it to resemble a Scarlet Boa, but with a bit more red.

Then to finish it, the miniature Scarlet Boa needed to be resting on, wait for it… a bright red feather from a fluffy scarlet feather boa!

 For information about viewing or purchasing this or related artwork, contact Janet Fox.

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Merci Mère Thanks Mother

Image of an encaustic mixed media painting by Janet Fox titled "Merci Mère Thanks Mother."
Merci Mère Thanks Mother | encaustic mixed media

Merci Mère Thanks Mother

Merci Mère (Thanks Mother) is an original, encaustic mixed media painting. With aqua, gold and ivory paint and papers, as well as shellac burn technique, it includes these simple words from a French storybook dictionary.

Creating something new, without a specific outcome in mind, can be a wonderfully relaxing process. In this painting, I began by collecting and gathering the various elements: art papers in my favorite colors, with some incorporating leaves.

Next, I arranged and re-arranged these elements, until I found a design I found pleasing. Layering the papers added depth. Carved hexagon shapes, of various sizes, as well as a shellac burn and text, adds interest and intricacy. The finished artwork is 12 inches by 12 inches.

 For information about viewing or purchasing this artwork, contact Janet Fox.

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Two Fish in the Pool

Close-up image of an encaustic painting by Janet Fox titled "Two Fish in the Pool."
Two Fish in the Pool | encaustic and pastel

Two Fish in the Pool

Sleep-time dreams have fascinated me since I was a child. Often, I wake up with an adventure of some kind to write down in my dream journal. But when I awoke on a late February morning, I had no memory of a dream. Instead, I learned that I had been talking in my sleep. Intrigued, I created Two Fish in the Pool. In my slumber, I had said these words: “I put two fish in the pool. In the POOL!”

Sleep talking

Why two fish? What kind of pool? Why did I put them there? Did it remind me of anything or any place where I’ve been before?

I remembered a former home where we built a small fish pond with a waterfall in the back yard. We filled the little pond with a few beautiful koi and also some feeder goldfish rescued from the bait and tackle shop. It was very relaxing to sit by the pond, watching the fish swim around and come to the surface when we dropped food pellets into the water and sometimes chase each other. It was also a fantastic “in the moment” meditation spot: listening to the sounds of the water, the birds chirping, and the road in the distance. Combined with sweet aromas of water lilies and other garden plant, I would sometimes gently tap on my drum. If conditions were right, at a certain point it all melded together, like being in a symphony with the surroundings. It was such a refreshing experience and warm memory.

Pisces

I also went googling to see what text, images, or ideas would strike my fancy. Searching for “two fish” led to me Pisces, the zodiac sign for people born between February 18th – March 20th. Since this experience occurred during this period, I decided to continue exploring this idea in my art studio:

Close-up image of an encaustic and watercolor painting by Janet Fox titled "From the Sea."
From the Sea | encaustic and watercolor
  • The images of Pisces showed two fish swimming in opposite directions. But as I created some mock-up pieces, what I painted was less direction-ally defined. For although the two fish are going in opposite directions, they could just as easily turn and chase each other in a playful or frantic circle.
  • I’ve often dreamt of water, either being close to the shore, walking in the waves, or completely submerged and in a different underwater realm. This painting focused on the narrow space, just below the surface of the crystal clear water.
  • A few of my other water-themed encaustic or mixed paintings include: From the Sea (shown), which has a similar vibe, Submerged, Seaside Dancer, Rain Drip, and Cool Water.
  • I also have two acrylic paintings, one of the beautiful southern Oregon shore and one of the Franz Josef Glacier on New Zealand’s South Island.

About Two Fish in the Pool

I used my favorite turquoise and copper orange family of colors in this 12″ x 12″ encaustic painting on a cradled board. After carving the scales, fins, and other marks into the encaustic, I filled in with more color. The finishing touches were those sleep-spoken words and, for good measure, a Pisces symbol ♓.

 For information about viewing or purchasing this artwork, contact Janet Fox.

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She Chi

Close-up image of an encaustic mixed media painting by Janet Fox titled "She Chi."
She Chi (focal panel) | encaustic mixed media

She Chi or feminine energy

She Chi is an original, 7-panel, encaustic mixed media painting inspired by an amazing springtime dream that went something like this…

Once upon a dreamscape, a woman was spending a quiet spring evening in a peaceful secluded park at the edge of a forest. Positioned up a bit on a hillside, she sees train tracks over yonder with a very unusual train. The train’s cars were open face, with flat beds and many cozy spaces.

One of the cars, toward the back, is humming with a lot of motion. As she zooms her eyes and focuses in, she realizes the car is full of something living. It is full of all kinds of incredible talking ovaries!” They are fully alive and chattering amongst themselves, but only about what they know best…every and all kind of egg thing imaginable! Some were quiet and in serious conversations, while others were joking and laughing. This was a surprising and curious sight, indeed!

The next car toward the front on the train is similar, except it is full of stomachs! They were busy talking about what they know best… all kinds of stomach things! And so it went like that all the way up to the front of the train, to where the brains were driving the engine.

Now on the track in front of this women’s train, a big, dark and hollow train was barely moving, all tuckered out with only a tiny spark of energy.

About now, “HER” voice from another realm is heard all around, filling every sound space. “SHE” directs the women’s train to approach the hollow train and to “drive through” it to fill it out from within. Once inside, the women’s train engine carefully makes its way through to the hollow train’s engine space, where it begins to settle down and fill it out.

Finally, as this union is complete, “SHE” declares the plan a success!…

A dream calls out to be painted

This dreamscape absolutely caught my attention; I was especially intrigued by the talking ovaries. The feminine voices must be heard: they were animated, energized, and speaking their truth in so many ways. This vivid dream was bound to inspire a painting, plus some interesting conversations and insight, too.

While working on some initial ideas and sketches, I researched to learn more about this area of the female body:

  • The Female Pelvis, Anatomy and Exercises,” by Blandine Calais-Germain, is filled with easy-to-understand text and illustrations showing the pelvic bones, how they are shaped, and how they move and work together. Separate chapters focus on the muscles, tendons, and organs. See how amazing this area is – able to dramatically expand and transform during pregnancy, childbirth, and then in later years. The book also shows targeted exercises to help keep this area healthy. While reading this book, I realized how much about this area I had not known before!
  • Turning to the emotional, psychological, and spiritual realms, “The Creation of Health” by Dr. C. Norman Shealy and intuitive Caroline M. Myss explores the flow – and blockages – of energy, or chi, in this second sacral chakra region.
  • And in the outer world, so many female voices are courageously speaking out, demanding to be heard and inspired by the #MeToo movement.

About She Chi

Seven panel image of an encaustic mixed media painting by Janet Fox titled "She Chi."
She Chi | encaustic mixed media

This complete art piece includes 7 squares, each representing one of the chakra regions of a human being.

I emphasized the orange, second chakra area, with thin o-shaped coils of handwritten, egg and ovary-themed notepaper embedded in multiple layers of pigmented encaustic. A variety of round or egg-shaped beads fill many, but not all of the coils. Finally, the feminine charm in the painting’s center, perhaps symbolizing a sort of kundalini experience, provides the energy to push forth its truth.

 For information about viewing or purchasing this artwork, contact Janet Fox.

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Gallery 209 Expands to 22 Artists

Gallery 209 Expands – Now With 22 Artists

I’m thrilled to be part of Gallery 209! Beautiful art from talented artists working together to make it happen. Check out this video for an introduction and sampling of our art.

We’re now located upstairs in the large, third floor gallery at the award-winning Artists & Makers 2 complex, at 12276 Wilkins Avenue, Rockville, MD 20852.

Our current exhibit runs from January 31 – February 27, 2018. If you’d like to make an appointment to see my art, send me a message via my contact form.

Janet Fox Featured Artist Reception November 3rd at Gallery 209

Janet Fox Featured Artist Reception

You’re invited to Janet Fox’s Featured Artist Reception in Gallery 209 on November 3rd; the show continues through November 28th. There’s more… on November 4th and 5th, come on by for the Open Studios Art Weekend, at Artists & Makers Studios 2 in Rockville.

December, 2017 Note – A bit THANKS to everyone who stopped by for my November show and allowed me to share my art and stories with you. I enjoyed hearing your stories, too! 🙂

The Little Girl’s Dream

A sneak peek of "The Little Girl's Dream," an encaustic artwork (sold)
The Little Girl’s Dream | encaustic mixed media on wood (sold)

The Little Girl’s Dream is an encaustic painting reflecting on the earliest dream I recall ever having. The image above is a sneak peek at part of it.

I’ll present about both at DREAM ART: Connecting to the Dream World through Art, Annilee Oppenheimer and Janet Fox, at the Jung Society of Washington on Friday evening, October 13th. Ms. Oppenheimer will begin introducing the topic of dreams and dream circles. I’ll follow with a recounting of my first dream and my process of creating this artwork. I’m looking forward to lively conversation.

One thing I can reveal now is that while creating this painting, I came upon stories of Vasilisa and her trek to find Baba Yaga.

Which also led me to this wonderful performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, including Baba Yaga.

This is so much fun already… dream on!

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Encaustic Fedora

"Hatless Fedora," an encaustic fedora artwork by Janet Fox
Hatless Fedora | encaustic, paper and antique lace

Encaustic Fedora

My challenge was to create a 3-D encaustic fedora for “The Wearable Hat Show,” curated by DC art collector Steven Krensky and a mystery juror. The show offered artists in the metro DC area a unique opportunity to make a statement through the art of the hat.

Since encaustic medium works the best for me when on a solid base, I built a plaster cast from a fedora. After the plaster cast dried and cured, I primed it with encaustic gesso and again let it dry several days. Then I applied a base layer of clear encaustic medium, then added colorful papers, encaustic paint, oil paint stick, and finished it with a few “hatless” lines of text from a French dictionary. I found a piece of grandma’s antique lace that was just right for a brim wrap, added my signature and voila, the “Hatless Fedora” was finished.

"Hatless Fedora," an encaustic fedora artwork by Janet Fox
Hatless Encaustic Fedora | encaustic, paper and antique lace

“The Wearable Hat Show,” with 49 funky hats from regional artists, is on exhibit at the Artists & Makers Studios 1 and 2. My encaustic fedora is at A&M 2 location, at 12276 Wilkins Avenue, Rockville, MD. The show opened Friday, September 8th, and continues through Wednesday, September 27th, 2017. Viewing hours are 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Saturdays, and Sundays/Mondays by chance or appointment.

 

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 For information about purchasing this or a similar artwork, contact Janet Fox.

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Announcing Art Gallery 209

Gallery 209 in Rockville, Maryland is open!

Gallery 209 opens doors

I’m taking a break from my art blog for an exciting new effort… Gallery 209! This beautiful 12-artist art gallery cooperative is in #209 of the Artists & Makers Studios 2, located at 12276 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, Maryland 20852.

Our local artists

I’m thrilled to join with local artist Cathy Hirsh, our co-op’s instigator. Our artists create contemporary art in acrylic, collage, encaustic, ink, mixed-media, oil, pencil, sculpture, and watercolor. The other member artists are:

About Artists & Makers Studios 2

Artists & Makers Studios 1 and 2 just celebrated its second anniversary and is part of Rockville’s emerging and vibrant art scene. Three re-purposed buildings include studio and gallery space for about 150 local artists; there’s even an art school and special events, too!

Hours

Gallery 209 is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 AM – 4PM. Our artists will greet and meet you in person from 6 – 9 PM the first Friday of each month as we launch a new exhibit; other A&M Studios 1 and 2 will also be open then and with a reception. Our artists will also be there in person every Saturday from noon – 4PM, for other Artists & Makers or Gallery 209 special events, and by appointment.

I invite you to follow Gallery 209 on Facebook and subscribe for art news and invitations!

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