Red Bear

November 6th, 2009

red bear
red bear

Today was frustrating, not because of art, but because of other stuff. And I'm glad it's Art Every Day Month because it gave me a great excuse to get out some of my feelings in paint. I had no clue what I was going to work on when I started. I put some water on watercolor paper and then dropped black ink onto parts which made the ink spread out like dark stars or upset blowfish.

I let that dry, then went forward with red paints, squirting directly onto the paper, moving the paint with a brush and my fingers, then a touch of yellow, turquoise, and purple. Then I let it dry across the room, looking at it occasionally while I did other things. The first thing I saw in it was a bear face at the top. I tried looking for other things, but the bear was so clear, I had to paint it. It was an angry looking bear. I looked up images of bears running to get some inspiration and then I dove back in, adding legs and belly to the bear. And claws. The yellow around the black ink spots looked like dandelions, so I gave them stems.

red bear face

Somewhere along the way, I noticed a figure in the bear, just a face and shoulders, sort of like a bust (see detail above.) I could have brought her out more, but I decided to let her stay there. I like how she resides right in the spot the heart would be.

While the difficult stuff is still there, I feel so much calmer in my body. And I'm grateful to the bear that showed up today to help me out, and to myself for showing up at the page.

36 Responses

Very nice – I really like the way you developed it – and discovering the figure at the heart of the bear!

how beautiful, and the uncanny little figure-head!

I looked up Bear in Ted Andrews’ book Animal Speak. This is a handy reference book if you don’t already own it. The first thing I noticed about Bear is that its medicine is about awakening the power of the unconscious. Coolio!

I love, love, love the bear. Are you in to animal totems at all? If you are, or not, you should google “bear as animal totem” and see if any of the description fits for how to deal with your frustrations. I think the bear showed up from your unconscious with a message. Check it out. Maybe not, but won’t hurt anything to look.

Thanks guys! And yes, I have Ted Andrews’ book. And I actually looked up bears back in March when I had a very vivid dream about one. I have to go back and look them up again though!

Hi Leah,
I love this piece of art and I love when art works out this way. I also felt it was a totem message for you.

Stunning, Leah! I love the colors and the power in the bear.

I can’t believe that you didn’t know what you were going to paint before you started. I can’t imagine trusting my intuition that much. Maybe I need to take a lesson from you and try to feel the art rather than planning it.

wow, i really love this piece, Leah. and i love that you left the figure as s/he emerged and didn’t expand it. really powerful stuff.

Wow, so much feeling. I first thought it was a big cat of some sort (I love all cats). The emotion is so strong in your artwork, it’s striking, meaningful and beautiful. Intense feelings find their way to great art.

Oh my goodness! I just love things like this. The bust of the person showing up. I love that! It’s amazing to me when that kind of thing happens. I already liked the piece when I first saw it. I thought it looked powerful. Then reading about the little person. Ahhhh. Wonderful!

By the way, are you going make prints of this one to sell?

this makes me feel a little better too. thank you. ditto on the rough day.

This is so wonderful, an intuitive watercolor that made use of a powerful totem — and placed you right at the totem’s heart. :) I’m so glad you followed your muse and reported on the results to all of us!

I gasped when I saw this, scared the cat. So powerful, I love the energy. Now if we can only convince the rest of the world they should make art when they are mad or frustrated…… think of the potential beauty!

WOW! The intense color and emotion are fierce and I LOVE it! It’s amazing to have a kinesthetic reaction to a two dimensional image. It makes me growl a little on the inside. Thank you for sharing this!

Stunning painting. It reminds me of Franz Marc painting; strong colors and very expressive!

I’m very interested in both its shoulders & the odd flower-beast-faces beneath it!

What a great streak of gold.

I am so impressed and awed. I have been working on just letting the painting take shape, but I always want to over work them. This is such a wonderful strong piece.

this is really stunning. The colors are amazing.

love it, love, love it!!! the sort of colours l use and love. l was feeling a bit down because l am not sleeping..then l saw your blog and really made me smile. thank you my friend and good night from Londonx

I love this Leah! I love the colors and the energy. The face image within the image is great. You have inspired me to give the ink a try. :)

What a powerful, strong bear. I feel such raw energy when I look at it. Thank you for painting it.

I love love love the bear, too! And I’m learning so much by you sharing your process with it! It is amazing how these colors and images are like shapeshifters — transforming into something we wouldn’t have imagined.

Hi Leah, This bear is such a exquisite way to express your feelings. I agree with others that the bear is your totem. The appearance small figure is amazing and so telling.
Beautiful intuitive work.

Love this one it is so cool.

I love the bright colors, the boldness

Very bold piece! I really like the color combination and the lady showing up is sort of spooky. It’s nice to be able to let out a bit of frustration or aggression in art! Therapy I say!

Hi Leah,

I am glad the bear came for a visit, very bold and striking.

Last night I went to a fundraiser for the Moonbears — a species of bears that are kept in cages and milked of their bile by Chinese and Vietnamese farmers for the medicinal market. It’s a horrific situation and a group called Animals Asia is working to eliminate this practice, and provide sanctuary for these magnificent creatures. So your bear just drives home for me, very creatively and very powerfully, that every person and every animal on this planet deserves to have a good life, no less than that. Thank you!

This piece is amazing to me… to be able to create something like this is beyond me at this time in my creative journey… wonderful and to be able to deal with “stuff” through your art. Inspiring!

The Bold and the Beautiful Bear. He is gorgeous!!

This piece is really great! The bold colors and strokes really create a sense of motion and urgency. I love the rawness of it.

It’s beautiful.I love that the bear is running. The motion really brings it to life for me.

I hope the girl in his heart is Rose Red.

This is a powerful piece. Bravo, Leah.

Hi Leah, I know I’m late with the comment but I thought I would share what a saw right off the bat..The bust, well I see a man’s face…the lefthand corner of the bust is his nose the top of the bust’s head is the goggles..he has a red hood…and a beard..IT just jumped at me…I wonder if it’s significant for you so I’m sharing what I saw…

Love you work! ALL OF IT!!
I hope you are feeling better…


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