I had been wanting to create a painting featuring a dove for quite awhile. As tensions have been rising over the course of this year, it was on my heart more and more. Here's a bit of why I created the artwork I did, and the symbolism that it holds for me.
Peace - it's something that takes a great amount of effort, time, commitment, and redirection. It doesn't come naturally to most of us, it needs to be taught - to our children and to ourselves. The idea that peace isn't something that just lands upon us is important to remember. It's a beautiful idea that needs ACTION, not inaction.
"Teach Peace" is inscribed at the top of my Art Nouveau dove as a reminder to find and seek out peace in our own hearts. Others may see our searching and be inspired. The actionable quest to attain peace is also hinted at in my painting. My deconstructed peace sign is in two parts: the circle held within the dove's wings, and the vertical "fork" is being grasped in the dove's hold as a sprig of lavender. Lavender is believed to bring peace and harmony and is regarded as a symbol of love, happiness, devotion and protection by many cultures.
Peace takes work. Breath... stepping back and letting cooler heads prevail. It's never fully constructed, it's always a work in progress. "An eye for an eye makes the world blind." These words are inspired by Gandhi, but not directly attributed to him. All forms of spirituality and religion hold peace on high as a refinement of what we can strive to attain as humans with enlightened spirits and hearts. My art nouveau take on this concept had a perfect home within the theme and feeling of stained glass.
Below is a picture of an Art Nouveau stained glass window from the early 1900s. I stumbled upon in on Pintrest, but sadly there were no identifying marks or information for me to learn more about the artist or the artwork. I loved the light and flow of this design, and you can see my inspiration starting point from this piece.
My 11-year-old daughter, Abby Leidel, is quite the little author.
She's been penning stories since she was 6, and she has a clear genre - Thriller and Horror. She has read almost every book R.L. Stein has written in his Goosebumps series, and she just loves the idea of frightening her audience. She's a natural writer, and I'm so proud of the fact that she can scare the crap out of me with such vivid details.
I wanted to share her latest story with you.
The Candle with a White Flame by Abby Leidel - May 2020
Stacy Kramer was driving home from work when she saw a shop that caught her eye. She parked her car and walked up to the door. On the door there was a sign that said: NO RETURNS. Buy At Your Own Risk. As she stepped into the shop, she saw a woman talking to the man at the counter.
“Please! Take it back!” she cried holding out a golden music box.
“No!” said the man, “Did you see the sign? No returns. Now, take it out of here. I don't want to see it ever again!”
The woman sobbed into her hands and ran out of the store.
Stacy walked through the shop looking in every aisle until she came to one full of candles. Stacy picked up a red candle and smelled it. It smelled of rotting flesh. She quickly set it down. Then, she smelled a clear one. It had the most amazing smell but when she looked up everything was moving around. Things were flying at her and the colors were crazy. She closed her eyes and when she opened them, everything looked normal again. She smelled a white candle which smelled of lavender but when she set it down, she could hear a flute of some sort playing. She looked around to see where it was coming from but nothing was there. She shook her head and the music got quieter but then it got loud again. She shook her head harder, then it got so faint that she could barely hear it. But then, it got louder. She shook her head as hard as she could, then it went away. She pushed the candle far from her then she smelled a light pink one. It smelled like dirt. But when she went to set it down her hand had claws sprouting out of her nails. She shook her hand and it was normal again. She smelled a dark purple candle and it didn’t smell like anything. But when she put it down, a large white worm was crawling on her hand. She slammed her hand on the candle stand and it fell off. Then, she saw a black candle. She picked up the candle and smelled it. It had a good scent but then she found herself in a forest with a sudden urge to run. When she found herself back in the store, she felt very calm. She went up to the counter and set it down. The man stared hotly at her and ripped off the price tag.
“I’ll sell it to you for fifty cents, just don’t burn the candle." he said, "Bad things will happen.”
Stacy decided not to argue with the man and so she nodded and drove home. When she got home, she put the candle on the counter, grabbed some matches and lit the candle. It had a long, white flame. Then she sat down on the couch and turned on the T.V.
Within moments she was asleep. She had a dream where she was running through the forest and something was chasing her. She didn’t know what she was running from, but she knew that she had to run. Then, a branch snagged her shirt. She felt the warm blood trickle down her arm. But she didn’t stop. She knew she had to keep running for her life.
Then she tripped. Her knee was throbbing, and she woke up. She felt very calm. But her arm hurt and her knee throbbed. She felt her arm. Her sleeve was ripped and there was something warm on her shoulder. Blood. She looked at her knee. Her pants were ripped and her knee was scraped. She looked at the kitchen counter and saw that the candle had burned out. Then she saw the time. She had been asleep for 30 minutes. She picked up the candle and put it on a shelf. Then she went to her room and fell asleep.
In the morning, she went into the kitchen and pulled the candle down from the shelf. She grabbed some matches and lit it. The ghostly flame seemed to burn into her soul. She was suddenly very tired but she shook it off. Then, she was running through the forest again. She kept running and running and her legs ached. Branches hit her face and thorns pierced her feet. She had sores all over her body now and she felt as if she had been running for hours. Then she tripped over a stone and it sent her tumbling over the ground as she woke up. She was standing over the counter with her hands above her face as if she was shielding herself. She was covered in scratches. She looked at the clock. She had been asleep for an hour. The candle had burned out. Then she realized that she was calmer than ever. She thought for a while. She didn’t know what was going on. All she knew was she felt at peace when she lit it.
She lit the candle and sat down on the couch. Within a moment she was asleep again. She was running through the forest getting caught in branches once more. Over time she found herself looking over a very large cliff. She couldn’t see anything else for miles then she heard a crunching sound. She turned around to see what she was running from.
It was a giant scaly creature as large as a tree, and as wide as a bear with a spine that looked like it was about to pop out of its skin. It had a long tail with hair sprouting from the end of it. Its claws were at least a foot long with jagged ends that looked like they were clipped with scissors. Where the nails grew hair did as well. Its face was the worst part. It had small, inky, black eyes and a large, circle-shaped red mouth full of teeth. The teeth lined the whole circle inside its mouth and in the center sat a thick, purple tongue. It came toward her with quick, steady steps. She turned to run but saw the cliff. The creature was inches away from her now and it stretched out a hand and grabbed her around the waist. The claws dug into her skin then the creature opened its mouth, ready to eat. She awoke on the couch, she was calm but her back had been severely wounded by the creature's claws. She decided to put the candle away for a while. Just so she could get all that crazy stuff out of her mind.
That day the hours dragged along. At 5:30 p. m. she heard something strange coming from her closet. She walked over and opened it. All she saw was the candle. She looked around trying to find where the noise was coming from. Yet, all she saw was the candle.
Then, she felt a strange pull… a sweep of grief…
like she was at war with herself. The candle seemed to call to her, as if it was begging her to light it. She couldn’t help it. She grabbed the candle and some matches. As she went to light it, she stopped to think. She had put the candle away so she wouldn’t light it and have that terrible dream. And yet, she was lighting it, knowing she would have that dream. She decided not to... But somehow, she lit it. She couldn’t help herself.
She was in the forest again. Running and running. For miles all she saw was old, dead trees full of claw marks and... was that blood? Then, she came to the cliff. She looked both ways and saw that in the distance the cliff curved around. Then to her horror she realized, the place where she was standing was surrounded by cliffs. There was no escape. No safety. Then, she heard a loud crunch of trees as the beast approached. Its long, purple tongue reached out and pulled her toward it. She struggled and pulled but it didn’t do anything. Then she was in the creature's mouth. It bit down and a tooth got stuck in her side. She screamed in pain. Then she woke up.
She was lying on the floor in her room, a tooth in her side. She pulled out the tooth and grabbed the candle. She was going to talk to the man who sold it to her. She ran all the way there and pushed open the door. She walked up to the counter and set the candle down. The man's fear shot through his expression then he looked normal again.
“What is wrong with this candle!” She demanded.
“Nothing is wrong with it,” He said, “it is meant to be that way.”
“What? Why would anyone want a candle like that?” she replied coldly.
“Nobody wants a candle like that.” He said, folding his hands on the counter.
“Can you just tell me why it is like this?” Stacey growled.
The man looked at her sharply and narrowed his eyes. “Our ancestors lived in a forest where they learned magic. They had everything planned and everything in order. But, they also shared their land with a beast they called The Coorse-demzon. It was term in their language that meant “The Scaly Devil.” Every day the Coorse-demzon attacked, killing people and ruining houses. Until, the leader had a magic candle made and he trapped the beast inside. He surrounded cliff walls around the Coorse-demzons home. Now, whoever burns the candle gets sucked into the beast's home and once they are scratched by anything in the candle, even a tree branch, they are marked to be eaten by the beast.”
“Is there any way to stop that from happening?” asked Stacey worriedly.
“No,” said the man.
“Can you take it back?” she pleaded.
“No,” said the man standing up, “Can’t you read the sign? I sell these terrible things so I don’t have to die. Don’t you understand?”
“Please-” she started.
“NO!” shouted the man, “Get out of my store!”
Stacey ran home with the candle in hand. When she got home she was trying to figure out what to do when she heard the noise again. She tried to restrain herself but, the pull was too strong. Grief rushed over her like a river. Within moments she found herself desperately grabbing at the matches. It was like she no longer had control. She struck a match and lit the candle. The white flame shot up high into the air. Then she felt tired. Fighting her sudden urge to sleep, she ran to her room and locked the door trying to figure out what to do. But soon she had to sleep.
She closed her eyes and found herself in the dark wood full of dead trees. She ran and ran, tree branches hitting her and twigs lunging at her ankles. Thinking back to what the man said she remembered that if she was scratched by anything in the candle, she was marked to be eaten by the beast. She kept running until she finally got to the cliff.
She decided to run right to give herself more time. As she did, the crunches and cracks of trees sounded behind her. She looked back to see if she could see the monster. She saw it faintly in the distance running after her. Then she tripped over a rock. Her knees and hands bled. By the time she got up and dusted herself off the Coorse-demzon was only two feet away.
She started to run, but she felt the purple tongue of the beast wrap around her waist. It pulled her back into its mouth full of teeth. She didn’t have time to think.
Then, everything went black with the sickening crunch of bones.
Oh Happy Day! Metal Prints are HERE for 165 different paintings on my website!
My artwork is printed on premium, high-gloss metal that offers stunning vibrancy, stark contrast (and won’t easily scuff or scrape.) Artwork comes with .25" rounded corners. The colors brightly pop in a way that canvas can't. You will not see the metal through this artwork.
Each high-gloss metal print has an ultra-hard protective, weatherproof, and waterproof coating that’s easy to clean with a dry micro fiber cloth. Each comes ready to hang with a pre-installed float mount frame on the back making your artwork appear to float .5" off of the wall. These look great framed or unframed.
The following sizes are available: 8x10, 11x14, 16x20
"See Me" 16x20 Acrylic on panel. My art has always been about showing the light, the love, the connection to nature, and the reflection of positive inspiration, and good in the world, and in ourselves. In a way, this painting is no different. But, this time the message is a personal one about me. I wanted to dig deeper, be vulnerable in my artwork, stretch my artistic style and voice, and use art as my form of a time capsule and journal to record this moment in my life. I welcome you, as the viewer, in. I am not the voices in my head, I am the observer of those voices. I am strong and weak, I am hopeful and fearful. I am positive and negative. I am peace and rage. I have light and dark thoughts, and it is up to me as the observer to choose which voice is louder, the voice I listen to. These past 5 weeks have taught me. If I just keep quieting the undercurrent pulling me down, shutting out the sadness, uncertainty, the anger, she doesn't go away. She gets persistent. She is me. Two sides fighting to be louder, when really each just wants to be heard.... and is desperate to be seen. "See me!" they both cry. Look, really stop and search, and see and feel, and BE me. Be strong enough to hold the weakest part. Be hopeful that listening to the fear won't derail you. Be positive that the negative just needs to vent. Be at peace that the rage isn't all of who you are. There is no light without the dark after all. Keep the faith that you are vastly and fully surrounded by the love of your God and your Universe. In the mirror, I see both the light and the dark, but only the light can be reflected onto that chair or wall, or other human being -- the inner shadows are absorbed by me, and by others. Visit and love those shadows Julie, they get lonely too. See all of me
Outdoor Lab has been enriching the lives of 6th grade and high school students in Jefferson County for more than 60 years. Located in the mountains of Colorado, Mount Evans and Windy Peak Schools give ALL students the opportunity to explore and experience subjects such as earth science, wildlife biology, astronomy and forestry in a unique mountain setting.
I'm excited to announce that 50% of the sale for either painting will go directly to the Outdoor Lab to help support their amazing program, forever.
Driving home from The Grove Park Inn on Feb. 25th with one of my life-long friends (Terri Boylan), listening to Brené Brown's The Power of Vulnerability was a highlight for me. I had just come from the 34th Annual Arts & Crafts Conference for the 7th year in a row in Asheville, North Carolina. I had sold my artwork to peers, collectors, and respected & dear friends. I had the great joy and honor to facilitate a Roycroft Artisan brainstorm session with some of the most talented people on the planet that are like family to me. I had amazing conversations about the future, full of excitement and discovery. You just can't stop me after Grove Park Inn every year. I get SO filled up with all the good in the world, all the healthy choices I want to make for myself, all the friendships that have deepened, all the art I want to create... it's really a spiritual experience for me on many levels.
As we were driving home on that Tuesday, my hubby called me and told me the CDC was saying that COVID-19 wasn't a question of "if, but when" it would hit. That it would disrupt daily life for everyone. This was a sobering moment to say the least. I didn't go into denial, I went into "what can I control" mode. I made it home Wed. afternoon, unpacked my car from the art show, and headed straight over to Costco for a cart-worth of, well, everything. It was surreal in many ways. Seeing all the shelves full, seeing normal shopping happening, no one worried about much of anything. I was grateful for each and every item in that huge store. I was calm, but reserved as I walked up and down isles, picking out all sorts of tasty varieties for the days ahead. I was thinking to myself, this may be the last normal shopping trip for me for a time. It wasn't. I returned to the grocery store the next day to buy things I forgot, and the next day because I didn't think to buy x, y, or z. It was almost like the twilight zone everywhere I went - for a full two weeks, my husband and I thought maybe we were going crazy --no one else was paying any attention, and the collective denial of our fellow man was HUGE. Everyone around me and on social media was making a joke of how blown out of proportion this whole thing was, and some actively mocking and belittling anyone that was voicing any sort of concern. I felt very alone. Yesterday, March 11th arrives, and WHO declares it a pandemic. Everyone is forced to see it now, things start to change. Everything closes down: schools, sports, concerts, tourism, conventions, airlines, stocks. I asked myself, what is in my control? Cleaning. Taking my kids out of school one day before the district extends Spring Break. Staying home. Numbing out to a favorite movie. Working on taxes. Washing my hands. Mindfulness on not touching my face. Breathing. Treadmill. Meditation. Being grateful for all that I have...
In The Power of Vulnerability, Brené talks about how we as humans handle crisis. We have one of two paths: under function, or over function. That's it. I am an over function queen in crisis. I tick off the checklist, I do the deeds. I gett'er done. I'm also an under performer in crisis when I think I've run out of my list of things I can control. I've laid in bed in the fetal position and scrolled the news on my phone plenty too. The key to these patterns that we all share is to be aware of which one you are in. Take the time to do a self scan. Am I over performing? That means I may be stressing out the people I'm with, I may be barreling ahead too much without thinking. I may be adding stress to my crisis. Am I under performing? Am I frozen in unrealized fear, ready to numb out at all cost? Am I not functioning like I need to be? I say to myself "Jules, you are under functioning. Get up." This very new practice is really working for me. I tend to bounce back and forth between the two, but with smaller amounts of time between. Smaller waves. It's a great regulator to take the time to check in on yourself and see where you are on this simple, binary topic. All the emotions come into play still, but if I use these terms, I find that I can see it better as constructive criticism, and the negative self-talk can't take hold. Brené 's research on the 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living is a daily ritual for me to review now too:
This audible book is different than her TED Talk, it's not in printed form that I know of. This is a culmination of all of Brené Brown's decades of research. It's brilliant. Six 1-hour sessions that will change your life. Session 5 & 6 are all about these guideposts. I've listened to this talk 3 times now in the last 7 months. I recommend a listen through, and then a second pass with paper and pen for notes because there are so many nuggets of wisdom everywhere. Terri and I had 21 hours of road in front of us, and it didn't shock me even a little that we would listen, pause the book and talk, and then listen again for the entire drive. We had 15 hours of the most authentic, caring, and vulnerable conversation two best friends could have.
We all are going to have a bit more time on our hands perhaps with all the disruption to our daily lives. What will you do with your time?
What if we can lessen the blow of a different disease, the "Disease of Busy" (too much stress, too much work, too many activities, too much travel, too much everything) because of COVID-19? What if the silver lining is that we make it a goal to slow down, we find time to appreciate our family more, ourselves more and seek deeper connections? Pickup that guitar that's gathering dust, or learn how to really use that new tech thing you bought that's still in the box. Catch up on your family photo albums... play those games that are in the closet. What if we can take some of this balance back out into our world when this crisis fades? I believe we have a global opportunity to collectively use this gift of more time. We may even leave a larger impact on our planet than we can fathom. Wouldn't that be something? It may not impact the whole world for very long, but this gift of time could impact your life, and your family for many years to come, if you choose it.
I know this hiatus from the norm will increase my gratitude, make me a better mom, wife, artist, cook, and house-cleaner. Setting this intention now for myself is how I'm going to succeed. It's how I'm going to honor my creator and the universe for the positive, collateral and residual good that can come out of something so unknown.
I'd love to get your feedback on my art so I've created a short survey. If you can spare 5-10 minutes, I'd be so grateful.
Growth is something I really seek out in my art business. I'm also a big believer in good communication, and I can learn so much from you. If you could spare just a few moments for this short survey, I would be so grateful. Skip any questions you don't want to fill out, or talk my ear off and let me hear your voice on all of it!
As a personal thank you gift for your time, enjoy a 15% off coupon code at the end of this survey for use on my website, www.thebungalowcraft.com
Be The Change by Julie Leidel, 2020. Gouache on Illustration board, 20 x 24.
New Year Greeting Card, artwork by Britsh illustrator Ethel Larcombe, early 1900-10s.
Ethel Larcombe's, 1899 submission to The Studio Magazine entitled "Summer"
1900 children's book illustration by Ethel Larcombe.
The Letter O from Larcombe's 1902 original alphabet design.
One of Lacrombe's many book cover designs.
1917 design work for Sears, Roebuck, & C0. Designer unknown, but fits Larcombe's book design aesthetic.
As the idea for my next painting rolled around in my heart for a few weeks, I knew I wanted to have a strong visual to bring it alive with connection. I wanted this artwork to resonate with the historical time between 1890-1910 when the Art Nouveau Movement flourished and the time in which Mahatma Gandhi lived. The monarch butterfly has represented change across many cultures for centuries.
This female figure in my artwork is not meant to be a fairy however, but it is more of a representation of the "hats" we wear in our lifetime. Similar to putting on a uniform, this is a way we become the job. It's more of a nostalgic take on why a super hero would wear a costume. I've heard many interviews with ordinary citizens put in extraordinary circumstances where the news heralds them "A Hero." Almost always, this hero never feels deserving of the title, they were just doing their part. That's exactly the point behind putting on your wings. We all can be that hero to someone by being the change we want to see in this world.
"Be the change you wish to see in the world" is a beautiful quote, but it's not word for word from Gandhi in printed format. After some research, it is based on his printed teachings from 1913: "If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him." In 1989, the L.A. Times asked Gandhi's family about the quote and this was their response. "The Gandhi family states that M. K. Gandhi was known to say this verse many times in his lifetime and believes it to be original with him." So to be as accurate as possible, this is why I wrote "Inspired by Gandhi" on the artwork. Notably in 1976, Arleen Lorrance wrote with the same idea "Receive all people as beautiful exactly where they are. Perceive problems as opportunities. Be the change you want to see happen instead of trying to change everyone else..."
Many times the idea for my art's verse, and the idea for my art's composition & visual layout don't happen at the same time. I knew I wanted to base a painting off of Gandhi's teachings in Sept. of 2019 and include monarch butterflies. For my creative process, I muse over different ideas (usually just in my head) as the artwork starts to take shape in a very natural way. I keep my mind open and on the look out for inspiration. New Year 2020 comes around, and I can always count on my dear friend Robert Rust, co-author of The Arts & Crafts Home, and Arts & Crafts Architecture & Design Library to post the most wonderful, antique illustrations & cards on social media. I saw this amazing greeting card drawing, and I was in love.
I stayed up all night on Dec. 29, 2019 creating my conceptual layout for the art. At the time, I didn't know who "LE" was, and neither did Robert. Weeks later, Laura Euler, author of The Glasgow Style, and Arts & Crafts Embroidery, gave us the missing link. LE is British illustrator Ethel Larcombe (1876-1940.) Anytime I can stumble across a new (to me) female A&C illustrator, I'm all in. I want to share my research of this amazing artist that was also thriving in the time of Gandhi (1869-1948), albeit in a much lesser known capacity.
Ethel Larcombe was born in 1876 in Exeter, England where she lived all her life. Not to be confused with Ethel Thomson Larcombe (British tennis player, 1876-1965.) Her early influences included the book illustrations of Walter Crane and Kate Greenaway, whose work she studies and copied. William Morris’sKelmscott Chaucer in 1896 inspired her to explore the Arts & Crafts style, and her artistic influences shifted to painters like Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
In the following years she decreased her use of medieval elements and concentrated on more modern Art Nouveau designs and winning many competitions. Her work was featured in The Studio Magazine.Other publications that featured her work were Stone, Von Larisch, and Salwey. Her typographic lettering was shown in 1902 in Italy, and a German publication alongside an original alphabet by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
This style soon caught the eye of prolific book designer Talwin Morris, the Art Director of Blackie & Son in Glasgow. He commissioned her to design several book bindings for the firm and its London subsidiary, Gresham, between 1904 and 1912. Today, many of Larcombe's bindings are misattributed to Talwin Morris. Larcombe’s work was usually more compact compared to Morris’s. She also provided the title pages and initials to Walter Shaw Sparrow'sWomen Painters of the World, published in 1905, seen below.
In the Spring of 1917, American retailer Sears, Roebuck, & Co. hired her to design green-bordered cotton textile "coverettes" and catalogues to appeal to the female buyers looking to decorate children's rooms. Ethel is also well known for her illustrated "rag books" for Dean & Son. Her designs were also used in postcards printed by E. W. Savory Co. and she provided graphical design work for Arts & Crafts furniture designers Neatby & Evans. Not much is known about her personal life, sadly. Ethel Larcombe died in Exeter in 1940.
This is one of my favorite things about being a Revival artist; I love to bring back not only the style of the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau movements, but also I love to raise awareness to some of my personal unsung heroes, the lesser known artists from this era. As I was writing, I discovered a lead on the 1917 Sears pamphlets. The last two images posted below have decorative designs that stand starkly against much of the other design work produced by Sears at that time, so I did a little more digging. I have a hunch both of these are Ethel's designs. The Glasgow School of Art put together a wonderful "Treasures of the GSA Library" online after GSA lost their centuries-old library collections in two separate and devastating fires in May 2014 and again in June 2018 before all renovations were complete. I don't believe this digital collection was available before the fires. This image below shows Ethel's 1905 cover (left) next to a 1917 Sears ad (right). Ethel Larcombe's unique typography is unmistakable in both.
Lastly, I want the reader to understand that artists are inspired by other artists and have been since the beginning of time. Art history shows us time and time again how peers (and rivals) have influenced, innovated, and copied each others work whether they are living at the same time, or are divided by a century or more. When I saw this 1905 title page of Women Painters of the World illustrated by Ethel Larcombe, the first artist that popped into my 21st century mind was none other that of Mary Engelbreit. I'd be willing to bet she's been influenced by this book illustrator too. It's a small world, after all.