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. 

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.

 

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