Art for Mythologies

 

I created the cover and several illustrations for Danaë Vlasse's new album, MYTHOLOGIES. This classical vocal album showcases award winning musicians and vocalists including 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.

 

 

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. 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.

SAN DIEGO COMIC CON 2020

Artist Alley table SDCC 2019

For the first time in 50 years SDCC will not be presenting their live event, however I will be there... online!
I will be there in two ways:
1. I will be at my booth "virtually" in Artist Alley at EE24! Well, sort of, kinda...
Wednesday, 9:00 AM July 22, the Comic-Con@Home Online Exhibit Hall will go live, where you can peruse an interactive version of the floor plan. HERE. 
I suggest enlarging the map (upper left hand corner) so you can see all the exhibiters. I am in Artist Alley EE24 (far left of the map). Roll over the area and I will pop up. I bow to the powers that be at SDCC who pulled this together so quickly.
2. This will be my 10th year anniversary moderating the, Artist As Brand- Rise of the Artist Entrepreneur, panel discussion on art career sustainability... this time via Zoom.
Joining us will be Ciruelo (Spain), Steam Crow (Daniel & Dawna Davis, Arizona), Shiflett Brothers (Brandon & Jarod, Texas), Jacquelin DeLeon (California). You will learn a lot from this group of talented individuals, guaranteed. The video will begin Thursday, July 23, 2020, 3:00 PM, PDT. HERE
Lastly, as I do every year I offer a 10% discount on everything at Spalenka.com from July 22- Aug 1. Use code SDCC2020 at checkout.

God is in the Middle

 

In the machinations of our reality, we are bombarded by a worlds opposites of right and wrong, dark and light, good or bad. The more extreme the drama of life the more interesting the story becomes. We see it today most prevalent in the news media who know how to manipulate and stretch the truth to extreme degrees. As an illustrator I came across these discrepancies all the time. It was difficult because I wanted to reflect the truth of an article but was asked to shift the image in a way that would be aligned with the publication's policies and agenda. They did not want to upset their readers or more importantly the advertisers.

Now with social media any event can be stretched to the farthest ends of the opinion spectrum. What is a fact and what is imaginary? One person's science is someone's conspiracy theory. 

It has been my experience that the truth is generally somewhere in the middle of an issue. It lives not so much in the black and white but somewhere in the grey area. I surmise this is where God resides... neutral, in the center, as the observer. Not all the way to the right, nor all the way to the left, neither up nor down, instead firmly in between all these extremes, pulling them together like lines of thought in a tug of war battle that is going nowhere.

Perception is an act of creation, until you know better.

There is a practice which comes from Buddhism called observing in “Equanimity,”  where we experience life in a nonjudgemental state of mind. This does not mean you approve or disapprove of what is happening in any specific scenario, but reaffirms that nothing outside of you creates your reality. It is an inside job. 

A neutral mindset can help keep our emotions calmer, but is there a way to reconcile the opposites in our life? Yes, that is with Love. 

Love is actually the synthesis and synchronicity of all complementary opposites. Only when we see both sides in perfect balance at once, will we experience the profoundness of the saying ‘and the truth (of love) shall set you free’. 

Love, is God in the middle.

 

Chakra Goddess, mixed media.

 

Fearless Painting

Painting can be intimidating until you are ready to let loose and approach it with a fearless attitude.

I am teaching two classes, EXPERIMENTAL PAINTING TECHNIQUE I and II that will take the mystery out of making art with paint whether it is abstract or representational. Explore art techniques utilizing acrylic paints, coffee, oil paints and more. Demonstrations, with emphasis on student experimentation.
We will use different techniques and processes to push the potential of these materials to create unique imagery and effects.

I used most of these techniques for many of my illustration commissions.


EXPERIMENTAL PAINTING TECHNIQUE I: Thursday, July 2, 12PM - 3PM

EXPERIMENTAL PAINTING TECHNIQUE II and Friday, July 3, 12PM - 3PM

Materials List will be supplied.

Know Thyself

 

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom."

 -Socrates

*****

Before Apollo the son of Zeus was venerated at the temple of Delphi, before Zeus sent two eagles east and west to find the navel of the world... Gaia was the mother of all. She was the heart and womb of creation.

In 1500 BC, the Temple of Delphi reigned atop the sacred mountain peak of Parnassus in ancient Greece. The primary religion at the time was devoted to the Earth Goddess, Gaia. Legends tell us that inside the inner temple was the Hestia or hearth where an eternal flame burned. Here priestesses would bathe and drink from the sacred springs, inhale the fumes of burning laurel leaves and sit in meditation to enter a visionary trance to ascertain the deeper mysteries of reality and prophesize future events.

Amongst the ruins of this wondrous Goddess-based civilization is an ancient Greek inscription prescribing its reader to “Know Thyself.” The Oracles at Delphi were part of that tribe.

We are all part of tribes. Your family, friends, school, society, business, and government are all tribes. They keep order within the group, they breed a commonality, and they induce a sense of security. There are also rules that dictate what is acceptable in these societies. You have felt these rules from the time you were born. First, they begin in your family with their customs and perceptions of the world. Then they are supported by your relatives, reflected in friends, school, society, and work. This support system has its advantages, especially during our elementary and middle schools years, but as we become teenagers our individuality blossoms (even if we feel timid or insecure), yearning to break out and push the boundaries of our potential. Stepping into our confidence and standing our ground can be daunting, especially if we have family, relatives, friends, or teachers pointing our paths in another direction.

Knowing who you are and what you stand for is a reflection of a deep soul imprint.

I created the Know Thyself workshop to be a transformational journey that reflects your unique purpose. It is a meta-physical journey. Meta (from the Greek meta- μετά- meaning "after" or "beyond") is a prefix meaning more comprehensive or transcending. Symbolically you will mirror the oracles of the past. The deep experiences of your life will offer clues to Knowing Thyself, and manifesting an empowered future.

Check HERE to learn more and for dates and times.

Online Classes Have Launched

Matisse. Hard/soft pastels on Strathmore Drawing Paper. Click on the image to watch the video creation. See the final art HERE. 

*****

I just starting teaching my online classes via ZOOM!

The courses range from graphite/charcoal techniques to painting techniques with an emphasis on experimentation. A class dedicated to conceptual art will be offered, as well illustration and concept design classes for film and games.

The courses are for artists with medium to advanced skills who want to experiment with materials and take their talent to the next level. 

Artist As Brand®, the go to class (ten years running) for artist entrepreneurs is going through a makeover with a new website and updated course material.
There will also be a class called, Beyond High School- Career Clarity and Sustainability which will help HS students get a handle on their career choices and whether to go to college or take some other path. This class has been beta tested with great result!

 

Know Thyself- Wisdom from the Temple of Delphi is a heart opening course that reveals your life's purpose. It was launched today with students as far away as India! Perfect for these times of introspection.

See the offerings HERE. They are up and running so see what resonates with you and join the fun.
  

 

The Art of Ideas

“A good idea is just an idea until you make it real.” -Dee Arisman The idea is the foundation of all great art… but how to get to a good one? Sketching is one way. It has been my experience … Continue reading