Love in the Garden

 

During June through August in Santa Fe, New Mexico a beautiful nightshade plant called Datura creates large fragrant trump like blossoms. They bloom at dusk and through the night, then wilt the next day. Supposedly it is poisonous with hallucinogenic properties.

What is truly astounding is watching bees and hummingbird moths compete between each other in a frenzied attempt to gather the Datura's nectar and pollen. I think it makes them high, because they dive into the flowers with a reckless abandon. It is not uncommon to see two hummingbird moths one on top of the other attempting to get to the aromatic nector, or eight bees in one flower lost in an orgiastic feast. I made a little video of the party.

The video quality has a lot of grain in it due to the low light at dusk. All footage was taken with the iPhone and iPad. Most of it is in slow-mo so you can appreciate the fast moving wings of these creatures. The only sounds you will hear are the beating of the moth's and bee's wings as well as slowed down crickets and birds in the background. Enjoy.

July 13, 2022 by Greg Spalenka

Violet Flame

 

The new "Violet Flame" print is a creation that started with a request to produce a piece of art for Illuminated Perfume's ritual box series. Her new one is slated for release this upcoming Summer Solstice.

The image I created for the first ritual box was the "Green Knight" (below). These beautiful box sets include a unique hand made botanical perfume and other special items 

The inspiration for the Violet Flame was the mystical essence of Count St. Germain, the immortal myth, legend, alchemist, musician, philosopher, and Rosicrucian. Some honor Saint Germain as an ascended master. 

I had Roxana's magnificent perfume to inform the art, as well as her thoughts on the concept and my own intuitional guidance of what the art could be, but I wanted to go deeper.

I asked Sophia Murphy, a friend, poet, and spiritual guide who channels ascended masters and coincidently, Count St. Germain for some insight. This is an excerpt of that channeled session:

"I am St. Germain, holding the violet flame. You may see me holding this violet light within my being, my heart, my being completely encompassed, with my hands open to share this power and this powerful energy with all who seek it. 

Remember the power of the violet flame includes the colors, many shades and tones of violet, red and the golden flame of the chalice which holds all of creation which I can represent through my ability to convey this energy of healing and consummate infinite love.

For the eyes of Divine Source are the channel through which you are receiving this energy and this healing of the eternal violet fire. Remember there is a kinship and an eternal oneness between your own heart flame and the violet flame, which is eternally available to every beloved one who seeks it."

This reading opened a door for the metaphysical symbols to manifest- an amethyst chalice representing the body of creation aligned with the all seeing eye. St. Germain and the Violet Flame are one, complimented by alchemical designs of the elements and wings of the lotus flower. The earth below and the sky above remind us that we live between a physical reality and the consciousness of spirit. We transform ourselves in the violet flame.

The light of wisdom is within our self. Violet is the color of the crown chakra which represents the portal of enlightenment. May this art remind us, "there is a kinship and an eternal oneness between your own heart flame and the violet flame, which is eternally available to every beloved one who seeks it."

Pick up your print of the "Violet Flame" 

 Learn more about Count St. Germain.

June 15, 2022 by Greg Spalenka

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.