blue

Submerged

Image of an encaustic painting by Janet Fox titled "Submersion," previously "Submerged."
Submersion | encaustic

An invitation to see below the surface

It’s summer time. The hot, sunny weather beckons us to the fountains, swimming pools and seaside beaches to submerge ourselves to keep cool. Sometimes while in the water, something submerged catches our curious eyes and beckons us under the surface to take a closer look and maybe to pick it up.

The view through open eyes while under the water is quite different than through the air. With the water’s substance and lower levels of light, things can look quite fuzzy and solid objects can seem to ripple. Distances can seem harder to estimate and it may take a few tries when reaching out to pick up something.

If you poke around my site, you’ll see that many of my paintings have themes near or in the water. There are many ideas and articles about the significance of water in dreams. Psychotherapist and author Jeffrey Sumber, M.A., M.T.S., L.C.P.C.’s blog is a good place to start.

What is it, there, under the surface, that is obscured from above and calling me to descend to explore? Can you see what is submerged in my painting above, captured and just beyond a clear view?

Submerged people and things

Image of an encaustic painting by Janet Fox titled "Submerged."
Submerged | encaustic
  • Some explorers, like Fabien Cousteau and the Mission 31 team, push the envelope with record-setting submersion.
  • Did you know? The Olympic torch not only traveled to the International Space Station, it was submerged-and stayed lit-in the world’s deepest lake in Russia ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

What do you find when you look through and under the surface?

 Feel free to add your note about this post or view others’ thoughts by clicking “Leave a Comment / Comments,” below.

 For information about purchasing this artwork, on exhibit at Gallery 209 (located in the Artists & Makers Studios 2, at 12276 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, Maryland 20852) through July 4, 2017, contact Janet Fox. This painting, previously known as “Submerged,” was refined in June 2016.

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Chapel Glass

Image of an encaustic painting by Janet Fox titled "Chapel Glass."
Chapel Glass | encaustic (sold)

Looking Through a Chapel Glass

My encaustic painting, Chapel Glass, was inspired by the beautiful stained glass window in the former chapel in the center of the grounds at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. I visited the historic cemetery in late winter in preparation for the “Back to Life” art exhibition in April 2014. I was drawn to the building and its windows, wondering who and how many others had gazed through the glass over the years.

As excerpted from the “History of the Congressional Cemetery,” published by the U.S. Senate in 1906, “…the “Congressional Cemetery” was originally known as “The Washington Parish Burial Ground.” The official name is rarely used, however, and it has nearly always been called the “Congressional Cemetery.”

The reason for this is… when the cemetery was first established in 1807, it was chosen by the United States as the place of interment for nearly every member of Congress or executive officer who died while holding office, and the custom was adhered to by the Government for many years afterward.” For more details, the History link on the Congressional Cemetery’s website is the place to go.

I first painted the panel shown above on the right, based on my notes and a photo I took while on the grounds. This exterior view includes layers of blue and green hues, with touches of yellows and white.

Then, while unsuccessfully researching to find the original artist, date, and name of the window, I discovered a surprisingly different view. It is the left panel as seen from inside the chapel. With sunshine streaming through the glass, it displays lively yellows and oranges, with speckles of pink, white and light blue. Perhaps to someone attending a loved one’s funeral, this brighter view brought some rays of comfort.

These views also became a metaphor for the things, people, arguments and situations that change depending on the viewers’ illumination, mindset and vantage point. And close-ups look different than broader perspectives from far away.

I suspect the members of Congress buried there expressed many different and colorful thoughts, ideas, opinions and positions during their lives and times in office, too.

More different views that you might enjoy

  • Kathryn Vercillo explores optical illusions… two faces or a vase? old or young woman?
  • “It’s a mighty thin pancake that don’t have two sides,” is a phrase Rex Early, an Indiana political analyst, would say frequently on the “Indiana Week in Review” radio program. He wrote a book by the same title.

What reminds you that you can see something many different ways?

 Feel free to add your note about this post or view others’ thoughts by clicking “Leave a Comment / Comments,” below.

 For information about commissioning a similar piece, contact Janet Fox.

Water and a Cool Wave (mixed media)

Image of an encaustic mixed media painting by Janet Fox titled "Cool Wave."
Cool Wave | mixed media

Splash in the Cool Waves; Visit the Peaceful Water Spirits

Once upon a dream, a girl-woman strolled next to a stream. Or maybe it was a river, lake or ocean. The water was calm now, although sometimes it was not.

When calm, she clearly saw the fishes and plants below the surface; other times, all was a mucky blur. She liked walking in the shallow water, floating, swimming and splashing in the cool waves. There was much to explore on the shoreline while gently uncovering rocks and shells, too.

Mostly she went to these places alone, but one time her father spirit came to meet her. He invited her to go to the depths with him to visit the beautiful, peaceful blue flame spirits residing in the underwater realm.

She then returned to the surface, alone but with the kind of knowing that can’t be unknown.

Water

Probably like you, I have had many dreams of being around, in or under the water. Especially when a dream is vivid or intense, it captures my attention. These are the dreams I most enjoy exploring in more depth, primarily through my art; an example is “Cool Wave.”

There are many ideas and articles about the significance of water in dreams. Psychotherapist and author Jeffrey Sumber, M.A., M.T.S., L.C.P.C.’s blog is a good place to start.

In addition to the symbolism of water, it is a significant part of what we are made of. It amounts to an estimated 53 to 75 percent of an average human adult’s body weight.

Like different water bodies, life’s challenges and transitions can be calm or not… or somewhere in-between. Sometimes in life, paths are clear. But other times, the path is unknown with no directional signs and requiring a leap of faith to go down a chosen path. Often paths have many intersections, side streets, diversions, detours, forks. Some paths are beautiful with roses to stop and smell. Others not so much. Most are unfamiliar yet ordinary.

In the dreamscape above, the father spirit appeared as a kind, strong and protective guardian accompanying the girl-woman into an unknown realm. Had she gone alone, she may not have found the spirits gathered there nor understood what they were. This dream experience was quite peaceful, both then and now.

If you have had dreams of water, what did they feel like?

 Feel free to add your note about this post or view others’ thoughts by clicking “Leave a Comment / Comments,” below.

 For information about purchasing this art, contact Janet Fox.

Innocence (mixed media art)

Image of a mixed media art painting by Janet Fox titled "Innocence."
Innocence | mixed media (nfs)

Dreams of Art. Art of Dreams. Sometimes one appears first. Other times, both appear together.

What is a Dream? What is Art?

Welcome to my website created to share my art and provoke thought and conversation. What is a dream? A dream can play out while sleeping; sometimes, I think about an especially vivid dream while I paint. But a dream can also be what I want to do or achieve, people or places to visit, or a vision or purpose for my life. So with this meaning, my dream has also been to create art.

I collaged this mixed media art, Innocence, while reflecting on when I was a young girl who loved making things with fabrics. Sewing was not only a practical craft, but it was a fun creative outlet using woven or knit solids or prints plus thread, zippers, buttons, elastic, and other notions. I also learned the language and process of sewing with tissue patterns and how to operate a sewing machine, fortunately without sewing through my fingers!

Going to the fabric store with my mom and getting lost in the dreamy yards of smooth, rough, silky, and sheer colors and textures was heaven. I spent hours paging through pattern catalogs, often with sisters or friends, trying to envision wearing the garments pictured in the fabrics I liked or designing my own styles.

One of my first wearable creations was a simple dress, made from red cotton with bright blue and white flowers. I felt wonderful in it because it poofed out when I spun around fast and I had made it mostly by myself. I also loved the creative feeling I had while wearing that dress.

Although I have shifted away from wearable art, my media today continues a process of combining materials. I now layer wax, paper, paint, fabric, and other materials to create contemporary art paintings. I am inspired by nature or other topics of the day that capture my attention, in addition to the curious content of dreams. Having spent more than a decade exploring my and others’ sleep-time dreams, I find visual representations of themes, characters, and settings to be an energizing way to interact with this dream imagery.

Much like pursuing a dream has twists and turns, so does the path for my art. I enjoy where the creative process takes me and I usually like the resulting painting, too.

I hope you enjoy my website and blog as much as I’ve enjoyed and learned by creating it.

Thanks for visiting. I look forward to your comments.

How are you pursuing your dream? If you are not, is there something holding you back?

 Feel free to add your note about this post or view others’ thoughts by clicking “Leave a Comment / Comments,” below.

 For information about commissioning a similar artwork, contact Janet Fox.