The Art of the Sketch


The idea is the foundation of all great art, but how to get a good one? First I think big by determining what universal themes I want to address, then I look at the details. It is the same with illustration and concept design – getting to the core of a concept then breaking it down into specifics. I create simple icons inspired by words from a story or scene then cross reference and overlay them to produce new images. Beginning as thumbnails they evolve into loose sketches.

I love the tactile quality of a pencil moving against the surface of paper. It connects my mind with the world of image potentiality. Many of my early sketches are indiscernible scribbles and smudged lines yet slowly they declare their secrets. This is usually enough information for me to get started on final art.



Every so often I will put a sketch through a process of collage, or scan it into the computer to flesh it out more, but the initial idea is born from those primal marks on paper. My ideas flow out onto notecards, scraps of tissue or on the back side of used printing paper. I know that artists throughout time have loved the freedom associated with the sketch whatever material it is drawn on. It is fascinating how some roughly hewn lines can imbue a sense of wonder, explain an idea or tell a story with such vitality. This is one ancient and timeless technology that is not going away. In the 80s and 90s we used FAX machines to send our sketches to the client. Sometimes that tech became part of the sketch!

I Ching Oracle Deck


I am honored to be working with Mei Jin Lu, a master of Feng Shui and the I Ching. We are creating an I Ching Oracle deck together. The art here is a little peek at what is to come. Stay tuned.



Cyanotype Life


Working on a new cyanotype piece for a show at the Wolf Gallery in Austin Texas. Here we see the interior life of the cyanotype negative... its potential to create magic with the cyanotype alchemy- earth, water, air, fire.

Making these short little videos is a fun way to explore the creative process.

Mythologies Concert Imagery


I created and edited the background visuals and simple animations for Danaë Vlasse's Mythologies concert which was held at the University of AL in Huntsville. 

Ming of Void Visuals in Germany helped with fractal imagery and motion graphics expert Chris Friend in Los Angeles was incredible with some animations. I was able in less than two weeks to whip up a video presentation for the entire show. I still do not know how I did it. Here are a few excerpts.

Sopranos: Sangeeta Kaur & Hila Plitmann

Tenor: Camron Gray

Piano (Principal): Robert Thies

Piano: Melody Ng

Violin: Joshua Burel

Cello: Paul Vest

Lyra & Percussion: Danaë Vlasse

The Goddess & Alchemy



I am part of a group show in Austin, Texas at Music Hill Ranch, opening Friday, Feb. 24 with a new experimental body of work. This is the first of many explorations on themes of the Goddess and historical photographic processes.

R-Evolution The Triumph of Alchemy & the Sovereign Goddess

6'x3' Triptych of cyanotypes on paper.

10,000 years ago was the golden age of the Great Goddess. Women were venerated as creators of life. During this time, communication, art, beauty, tolerance, balance, peace, creativity, prevailed with a caring respect for nature. Conflict was minimal and war almost non-existent. The shift to patriarchal rule upset the balance between men and women, initiating the decline of basic human values. Gods rose above the Goddess, hiding her in shadow.

Alchemy is an ancient mysterious doctrine. Transformation is the goal of all alchemical exploration, but the "Great Work” of creating a Philosopher's Stone was the prize. The perfection of this essence was termed “the absolute.” Turning lead into gold was considered real and symbolic. However, enlightenment was most desired. It was perceived and realized as the Beauty of all Beauty, Love of all Love, and the High most High. True alchemy was misunderstood and so during the fourteenth century this science fell into grave disrepute, and many good practitioners suffered prison and death.

The Great Goddess and the Great Work as forces of nature and spirit live on, revealed in the power of personal transformation. As I learned more about these sacred concepts, I envisioned the Goddess of Sovereignty returning to the consciousness of the world… reviving the Divine Feminine and the Anima Mundi – the World’s Soul. To embolden the R-Evolution of Humanity.

My experiments with cyanotypes and early historical photography processes reflect a type of alchemy in the elements of earth, fire, water and air. The symbolic elements of EARTH are found in the film, paper, and emulsion, FIRE is the sun’s rays exposing and transforming the chemicals into light and shadow, WATER develops and transfigures the image, AIR finishes the process of manifestation. This technique includes painting with the emulsion, destroying and rebuilding the image and repeating the process. Each piece is an evolution. Resurrecting concepts of the Goddess and Alchemy in this manner, allows me to reflect upon aspects of my own personal evolution within the realms of nature and spirit.

This event is a ticketed event with exotic food, bar, live music!


Drawing Adelaide


"I use the figure in most of my art because it can communicate an infinite variety of ideas and emotions. I especially love the nude figure, as it is universal and timeless."

This drawing with charcoal on newsprint started with a live fifteen minute pose of the model. The goal of the short pose is to capture the energy of the figure. Then using memory and imagination I brought refinement to the final drawing. 

Adelaide Marcus, the incredibly talented dancer, artist, was the model.

Purchase the drawing HERE.

The Dawn of Night

“Cats come when they feel like it. Not when they’re told.”

I celebrated the 2022 San Diego Comic Con with a rare piece of comic art!


I rarely create art based on comic book characters, but this one was a delight. The goal was to bring a more quiet, classic approach to Catwoman instead of the more dynamic, ubiquitous qualities of the super hero comic genre. In this art the infamous cat-burglar calmly contemplates the exploits of the coming night. You can see Santa Fe sunsets influencing the tone in this one. 

This is a limited edition 18"x24" museum quality print of only ten copies. Each will be numbered and signed. $125. Purchase Here.

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 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 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.


Lusty storms of promise
desires of ancient lore

Sirens whisper songs of love
Beckon sailors to their door

Death and longing
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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