Exploring Euterpe's Lament

 

Euterpe's Lament showcases a segment of an experimental music video shot by myself, Fritz Heede and Jeremy Kidd for the classical musical composition by Danaë Xanthe Vlasse. The song is on her Mythologies album which received a Grammy for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album featuring sopranos, Sangeeta Kaur & Hila Plitmann. The visual concept was to explore a fusion of classical and modern motifs including movement inspired by Isadora Duncan (who was influenced by greek and renaissance art) and Martha Graham.

Euterpe was the ancient Greek muse of music. She and her sisters were daughters of the great god Zeus; each muse was responsible for supporting major cultural elements, including history and the arts.

The music and imagery symbolically reflect the dance of these celestial muses and the suffering that they endured during the worldwide lockdowns that included concert halls, museums, and cultural venues. While their dance had been interrupted, their spirits lived on like eternal flames of the heart.

There were two photoshoots one by Fritz and one by me. Fritz also included violinist, Lili Haydn, cellist, Eru Matsumoto, and violist, Virginie d'Avezac de Castera in his video. I combined parts of both footage in Final Cut. We used a variety of cameras as well as iPhones and iPads. It was a fun and informative experiment. Below are some behind the scene pics of my shoot.

Costumes and makeup.

Lighting on the fly. We used a black screen for blocking most scenes and masked the outside areas later in post production.

The iPhone's resolution worked well for some shots. When connected to a gimble it allowed for smooth pans.

I was looking for a classical yet modern movement and referenced Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham for specific scenes. To keep an improvisational spirit I encouraged Danaë, Sangeeta and Hila to explore dance movements and theatrical posing. It appeared at times that Sangeeta was channeling a Butoh dancer!

The iPad camera worked better than expected. It was nice to see the action through such a large viewfinder that could be moved around.

Ladders and chairs were used for top down shots. No cranes were used in this living room!

Patiently waiting for me to get it together... so much of shooting film is hurry up and wait!

Duet.

I want to thank Danaë, Sangeeta, Hila, Fritz and Jeremy for adding their artistic expertise to this video exploration. Onward.

Go here to experience and learn more about Danaë and her classical compositions.

Go here to learn more about the art I created for the Mythologies album.

May 13, 2022 by Greg Spalenka

Melding Lost Arts with New Visions

 

Recently I have been exploring historical photographic techniques.   The cyanotype process, also known as the blueprint process, was first introduced by John Herschel (1792 – 1871) in 1842. 

 

 

In the early days the paper was coated with iron salts and then used in contact printing. The print was developed in the sun or using ultraviolet light, then the paper was washed in water and resulted in a white image on a deep blue background.

 

 

The Salt Print technique was created in the mid-1830s by English scientist and inventor Henry Fox Talbot. He made what he called "sensitive paper" for "photogenic drawing" by wetting a sheet of writing paper with a weak solution of ordinary table salt (sodium chloride), blotting and drying it, then brushing one side with a strong solution of silver nitrate. 

 

 

The final print will have a sepia toned color. Applying the emulsion to the paper in different ways can create interesting textures. Depending on how long your exposure of the paper is to sunlight, will determine how dark, light or contrasty the print will be.

 

 

Above is a digital negative under plexiglass exposing the paper beneath it to the sun.

 

 

Above is an experiment in progress. My goal is to fuse drawing, painting, and digital esthetics with the photography world of the past, thereby bridging lost arts with new visions. 

 

 

Developing the cyanotype with water.

Cosmic Heart Update

 

Memory of a Cosmic Heart is getting closer to graphic novel glory! I have learned so much while crafting this story. Stay tuned for the writer collaboration I am weaving together. 

March 30, 2022 by Greg Spalenka

Book of Life

I use Birthdays as opportunities to turn back the clock and review what my journey has looked like. I reflect upon what have I accomplished, what I have done well, where did I fall short, what have I added to this world that is worth while?

How did my words and actions serve or inspire, or did they have the opposite affect?

Did my compassion grow or did I lock down my heart in specific moments? How did I handle uncomfortable challenges and fears?

Was I courageous and brave or did I back away and hide?

When I throw off this mortal coil, what if anything will be remembered of me?

I look at this life as a cycle of many, born and reborn, on and on. Each year is like chapter in a book. I wonder how many books I have in that cosmic library and what genres they represent?

March 13, 2022 by Greg Spalenka

Divine Nature Oracle Deck

The Divine Nature Oracle deck is finished! Expected delivery from the printer is the end of 2022. This deck is in collaboration with Angi Sullins and Silas Toball of Duirwaigh Studios and US Games. Angi wrote all the wisdom filled text. This special deck is a fusion of new and classic pieces of my art. I will be sharing more about it in the coming months, but wanted to give you a little taste.

I will also be offering limited edition packages of these decks. Stay tuned for the celebration.

2022 Divine Nature Calendar

 

Divine Nature III, 2022 Calendar

Only a few copies left! Go HERE to watch an unveiling of the entire calendar!

GO HERE TO ORDER

This edition has a mix of new and classic pieces of my art. Celebrates concepts of the Goddess and the Divine Nature within all of us. Orders will start shipping second week in December. Christmas delivery is guaranteed within the US for orders placed by December 18th. 

All calendars are beautifully printed in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

  • 8.5″ x 11″ wall calendar (11″ x 17″ open)
  • High-quality printing on premium paper stock
  • Saddle-stitched
  • 28 pages total
  • Contains legal holidays, phases of the moon, special quotes, and other important observances
December 26, 2021 by Greg Spalenka

Art for Mythologies

 

I created the cover and several illustrations for Danaë Vlasse's Grammy winning album, MYTHOLOGIES. This classical vocal album showcases award winning musicians and vocalists including Hila Plitmann, and Sangeeta Kaur Teresa Mai, whose last two albums I worked on. Jeff Burne added his amazing graphic design expertise making a truly spectacular package. Go to danaevlasse.com to learn more about Danaë and her beautiful music. 

This album reflects her Greek roots and so elements of Homer’s Odyssey are portrayed in the music as we follow King Odysseus returning home to the island of Ithaca after the Trojan wars.

 

 

The Three Graces in Greek mythology represent goddesses of charm, beauty, and creativity. Daughters of Zeus —  Euphrosyne, Aglaea and Thalia — who were said to represent youth/beauty (Thalia), mirth (Euphrosyne), and elegance (Aglaea).  

This art represents the song Euterpe's Lament. Each muse was responsible for safeguarding major cultural elements, including History and all the arts. This song represents the faith these muses represent despite the recent unprecedented worldwide closure of concert halls, museums and cultural venues.

Danaë, Hila Plittman, and Sangeeta Kaur Teresa Mai posed for this art. All images are mixed media and digital. 

Untitled

 

Penelope. One of the best known female figures from Homer’s Odyssey is Queen Penelope of Ithaca, wife of King Odysseus, who employs astute strategies to fend off her suitors' advances while loyally awaiting her husband's return.

Penelope is a strong example of female independence in her era. She epitomizes loyalty to her own heart, trust in her choices, and a perceptive understanding of how to navigate social expectations while maintaining her power and defining her destiny.

Danaë posed as Penelope for this art.

sirens video

 

Sirens. Sirens are perhaps the best known and most enduring element of Greek mythology. Their songs were reputed to be irresistibly alluring, but famously caused the demise of all who heard them. These myths have inspired every art form – filling the world with iconography of mermaids for millennia.

Danaë, Hila, and Sangeeta posed as the beckoning mermaids.

Below is a poem I wrote inspired by the Sirens song.

Sirens

Lusty storms of promise
desires of ancient lore

Sirens whisper songs of love
Beckon sailors to their door

Death and longing
intertwined
on rocks of distant shore

Enticing waves soon become
a shipwreck’s dying roar

 

The Prince

The Prince, mixed media.

Producing a portrait is a task I take very seriously. I have created hundreds over my career many for the big publishers (Time, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated) and each one is a challenge. The first goal for me is to capture the spirit of the person. I want the likeness to ring true, but the soul must be present in the art for it to be successful. I generally like to meet the person, make sketches and take my own photographic reference. Then the materials take over and may be a fusion of drawing, painting, digital elements.
 
You can see many of my portraits in, The Art of Greg Spalenka book and more at this link.
 
The art you see above is a recent commissioned portrait of Anna Melcher with her spirit guide. What was different and touching about creating this artwork is that the choice was made to focus on the power of this very real presence in Anna's life.
 
The extra challenge here is that there were no pictures of this leopard entity so there was much sketching and finding reference that would reflect its beauty and regal qualities. We explored ideas of Anna being close to this spirit in a tangible way, which I really liked (below), but she wanted to let her guide take center stage.
 
 
The next step was to capture the feeling of this kingly force of nature, without coming across to patriarchal. The crown he wears was refined a few times. Below was one version.
 
 
The final portrait has a magical, very storybook quality to it... almost Pre-Raphaelite like.
In the world of ubiquitous smart phone photographs there is something refreshing and yet timeless about slowing down to appreciate a life made into art. I thank Anna for the opportunity to render her likeness in such a unique and special manner. 

2021 Divine Nature II Calendar

 

The 2021 Divine Nature II Calendar is looking beautiful.

It has been over a decade since my first calendar was produced with Amber Lotus and Duirwaigh. I felt sharing some art highlights of the last ten years celebrating the Goddess, Nature, and the Divine in all of us would be inspiring and uplifting. Every month has an image to remind us of the beauty in our life. In addition to the art with explanations of their meaning and symbolism, there are thoughtful quotes, and even a lesson on meditation! Did you know I have been a devoted meditator for 30 years?

I am printing these with Graphic Sky, my local printer in Santa Fe. They print all my museum quality giclees and are doing a stellar job with this calendar. Order by December 14th to receive yours by Christmas and before they sell out.

Only $19.95. Buy Now.

  • 8.5″ x 11″ wall calendar (11″ x 17″ open)
  • High-quality printing on premium paper stock
  • Saddle-stitched
  • 28 pages total
  • Contains legal holidays, phases of the moon, special quotes, and other important observances

Also for Narnia Fans: request the limited edition signed Aslan postcard in the comment box when placing your order.

 

December 11, 2020 by Greg Spalenka
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Lion's Gate- Metaphysical Symbolism of "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"

 

On the 8th day of the 8th month, the Lions Gate opens. Metaphysically this is a powerful day for transformation and visualization. There is a scene I worked on for the "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" motion picture which encapsulates this concept. Go Here.

One of the characters, Eustice has been turned into a dragon through a greedy activity. He is in danger of being slain because no one knows that this is not his real form. After realizing his error he asks for forgiveness and Aslan, the sacred lion turns him back into his human form... with some intense dramatics.

This scene symbolically represents the dragon of our lower nature, and the power of transformation using right thoughts, and right actions. The animatic shows our dragon/boy floating up from the ocean (his subconscious) as a sand bar pushes him above the water.

When he opens his eyes (waking the portals of perception) he sees the sun rising which turns into Aslan standing on the water. Aslan roars and rushes the waking dragon (the wind of realization). He tears him open with his claws (removing the ego) and the transformation begins from lower nature to higher being. 

The changing consciousness is washed over by a huge wave (infinite love), setting in motion a rebirth. Meditation, Contemplation, Prayer and Visualization are tools that help us calm the mind and open the portals of perception. May the perception of truth be yours.

Music- "Creation" by Honk and "Pulsar" from the "Memory of a Cosmic Heart" album.