Monday, December 13, 2010

I have a friend I met just before my second college experience.  I still consider her one of my dearest friends, although it's been a long time since I've seen her and we don't talk or write often.  She had a huge influence on my life at that time.  Her name is Gwen To'omalatai.  She's an artist and I still have fond memories of running up to her upstairs studio and seeing what she was working on and afternoons of visiting and discussing philosophies.  I love her way of seeing and searching for purpose and understanding.  Below is one of my favorite pieces of her work.  I hope one day to have it hanging on my walls.    The focus of her work is color and light.  She looks to the natural world around her for inspiration and has a deep spiritual connection to it.   She paints our journey in this world as an attempt to reach another realm.  The spiritual is what draws me to her paintings.  I believe they embue them with--I'm not sure how to describe it--a peaceful uplifting feeling.

I have two posters hanging in my home at the moment that I love.  This is telling as I haven't hung much on my walls at this point in my new home.  One is this one:  Eternal Rest

My computer makes this image look a quite a bit more red than the actual print (the reds don't take over in real life).  However, every time I see it no matter what my mental state it helps me take a step back and I'm suddenly calmer.  That's good artwork for me to have on my walls.  I'm also grateful that she has affordable posters so that they can grace my walls.  The painting technique she uses is that of the Old Masters:  layering glazes.  She adds glazes and sands them away to acheive beauty. This process she says, "represents life, a refining process to reach the beauty that exsists in each of us." The paintings are most effective (as are we in life) when light enters into them and reflects or refracts back out of them.

I wish I could somehow share Gwen's soul with you.  She is a strong woman, determined and ever seeking.  She has met with sadness in her life.  Her sweet Husband, Ben, died in a car accident when she was expecting their 2nd son.  I have seen this experience intensify her quest for light and an eventual return to Heavenly Father and a reunion with Ben.  It is reflected in her paintings.  This deep sorrow has added the shadow under the light that allows it to shine all the more brilliantly.  Gwen is now raising her two sons, helping her Mom care for her Dad and continuing to paint.  She has also created some interesting wall hangings here's one that is hanging on my kitchen wall:

She uses the same technique she does in painting of layering glazes.  This gives the color behind the words a "moodiness" as it changes depending on the light.  Again the digital image shows very little of the true color.  The browns and greens are much prettier and more light filled in real life.  Gwen has two etsy shops.  One for her art, Gwen's Art, and another for boards, blocks and clocks like the one above  at Beaver Tail Boards.   Go and take a look she has some great things!

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