Beyond Beauty and into the Mystic Contest Winners

The contest I hosted on Fine Art America for the group Myth Magic and Spirituality has come to a close. I was more ruthless in allowing images into this contest than I have been before in hosting a contest, perhaps too ruthless in some cases, but not ruthless enough in others. The voting is concluded and the results are in and there was a four way tie for first! So since there are ties in the 2nd and third place positions and I don’t want to have to post every contest entry here, I am using my administrative prerogative and assigning the placements as follows:

1st Place: Your Art is Transcendent!

Love Written In The Stars – Michael Durst

01 Love Written In The Stars-Michael Durst

2nd Place: This is Mystical Magical!

Angel – Elena Oleniuc

03 Angel by Elena Oleniuc

3rd Place: Beyond Beautiful!

A Thankless Task… Autumn Leaves – Joe Gilronan

02 A Thankless Task... Autumn Leaves-Joe Gilronan

Honourable mention

I See Dragons – Terri Waters

01 I see dragons byTerri Waters


Then I have chosen I few that I really liked and felt really fit the intention of the theme, for administrators honourable mentions:

Sharing The Stardust – Randy Burns

Sharing The Stardust-Randy Burns

She Carries The Spirit – Joe Triano

She Carries The Spirit by Joe Triano

Spirit Horse Totem – Sherry Shipley

Spirit Horse Totem by Sherry Shipley

Alcmene And Child The Herculean Madonna  – Drew

Alcmene And Child The Herculean Madonna by Drew

Thank you everyone who participated! Welcome to everyone who have joined our group.

A source of Inspiration.

We all have many. Mine can come from nature, from dreams, from cats and animals, from friends and family. Today I am going to share the closest. My Husband Rocky. He is wise and funny and his support is what keeps me going. His brand of silliness is a never ending font of ideas. He also has a kind of vision that can see past the fluff and into the beyond. He will never cease to amaze and inspire me.

Here are some examples of the things I’ve done for him or have been inspired by him:

No More Eels in the Hovercraft-small

the bowling gods
The whole bowling team participated but Rocky named most of these.

Just No Money in Lawful GoodCloaky -merged style-newsprinted-400dps blue backing-smallwarning angel smallAnnalise 01 small


I think it is time to learn how to make pesto.

I don’t really feel like I have much of a green thumb, but a couple of years ago I planted some basil. I mostly didn’t want to pay the price to get the little bit in the plastic container from the grocery store every time I wanted caprese salad. Since I planted the basil I have had more delicious caprese salads and they all have way more basil in them which is also so much fresher and tastier now.

IMG_4438 caprese salad with greens-small
Caprese salad with spring greens and balsamic vinegrette.

Then last year I split it up and put it into more and bigger planters and pots. I have never had a food processor so I never got around to trying pesto, even though I like it very much, but looking at my kitchen window ledge, I think it’s time to do more than the occasional caprese salad with the basil.

IMG_7358 basil-small

So I looked up making pesto without a food processor, and found not only is it possible, but the best way seems to be with a mortar and pestle. Makes sense, as that would have been the way to do it before food processors. I have wanted one for a while but I didn’t really feel a strong need, but now with that in mind I started researching where to get them.

They don’t seem to be an overly common kitchen item. I did see online that Bed Bath and Beyond carried them, and as I wanted a new top cover for the bed I thought I would see what they had in store. I looked and looked. I went up and down all the kitchen related isles. As I was about to give up, a worker asked me if I needed help finding anything. I said, “a mortar and pestle?”  She said “A what?” I said, “a mortar and pestle” and mimed using it. She said “Ah, I don’t think we have those, try online.” I thanked her and went on my way. I found a quilt I wanted on sale so I took that to the counter to pay for it. The sales person there asked me if I found everything okay. I said “yes, mostly.” She then asked what it was I didn’t find. I said “a mortar and pestle.” She said “a what? Is that a name brand?” Before I could role my eyes, another sales person who had over heard this exchange, who seemed a little more knowledgeable, said “We have mortar and pestles” and went off to find one. I followed and she had trouble finding one too. Just as she paged someone to verify one was actually in the store, she spied it. One lonely box hiding on the bottom shelf. So after all that I got me a mortar and pestle!

IMG_7362 mortor and pestle-small

So the next step. Make it. I bought all the other needed ingredients when I knew I was going to make pesto. I decided I was not in the mood for pasta and I like squash so I wondered if spaghetti squash would work with pesto so I decided to experiment. Taking chances. I pounded up a batch of pesto, and baked me a spaghetti squash, mixed the two together and yum. Dinner!

I used a piece of rustic seedy bread to help me clean out the mortar, Oh my that’s the way to do it!

IMG_7443 pesto spaghetti sauce-small


Beyond Beauty and into the Mystic

I host a little group on Fine Art America. I hoped to gather together art and inspiration from people with a similar mind set as me. It’s a big topic very open to interpretation. Many folks find their spirituality in many different things. The main theme I seem to have noticed is Beauty. Pretty much all the images submitted into this group have been beautiful in one way or another. Very inspiring. Too inspiring!! I have felt the need to narrow the scope of the group and have been removing images that are more or less  mundane, just simply beautiful or fun. I wanted to collect images that invoke a sense of magic, myth and spirituality. Hence the title of the group.

So with these thoughts in mind I am hosting another contest. I am looking for evocative images that have that touch of magic, that connection to myth fairy stories or folklore. Spiritual images that can invoke a sense of awe, without words of explanation, that move beyond beauty and into the mystical.

Submissions can be in any medium. Much of the photography and life paintings I see may fall under just beautiful, so be aware, unless the subject matter really invokes something deeper and beyond beauty, it maybe removed from the contest. Also abstracts, I really enjoy many abstracts and so many are created with passion and spirituality but they are some of the hardest to interpret and I tend to feel so many fall into the category of just beautiful. Interesting, but simply just beautiful and therefore may not fall under the interpretation of the guidelines.

I know I have been a little long winded here for a simple little for fun contest and I apologize, but I would like see more entries with some thought put into the submission and less “It’s a contest! Here’s my Art!” spam.

This contest is sponsored by the Group Myth Magic and Spirituality and as such I will only accept images to this contest that I would also allow into the group. With that in mind, you are most welcome to submit to and participate to the group as well!

Again, all images and media are welcome but still keeping the guidelines in mind. Also for this contest I would like the images to speak for themselves, so I request there to be NO TEXT on the art work this time.

Keep it tasteful and work safe please. Thank you and have fun!

Find the contest page here.

I will post the top images on my blog. Posting here gives permission for such promotion, if you do not want the image shared, do not enter the contest 🙂 Thank You!

1st Place: Your Art is Transcendent!

2nd Place: This is Mystical Magical!

3rd Place: Beyond Beautiful!

Another Sketchfest has come and gone.

For May’s Sketchfest#87 I drew 3 prompts: The best cat ears, Heraldry-style iridescent unicorn and the approaching storm clouds look alive.

This is what I got done working an hour on each prompt:

Sketchfest 87 1hour prompts

I worked on all three this week into a more finished state and got these:

A study of cat ears-smallHeraldic style Unicorn-iredescent-smallShe is the Storm-edit-small

I played around even more digitally with the cat ears and came up with this:

A study of cat ears-green edit-small posting size

As usual I had much fun. Thanks to Ellen Million Graphics for setting up such an inspiring event each month!

It’s been photo taking weather.

Not cold, and not too warm and clear sunny days. So I thought I would take you on a photo walk with me.

One of my favourite walks is a park near a creek walking distance from home. It’s nice and shady with sunny spots and in spring so many plants and insects to see. Some of them not until I get home and see them in the photos I took!

So once I got to the park I was admiring the green of the pond so I head closer. So many interesting plants and flowers growing all around. This is one that caught my eye first.

Then there is the pond itself.

Lily pads! I have never really seen proper lily pads. I looked hard for frogs… maybe too hot in the middle of the day for them. Still I didn’t see what was actually lurking there…

DSC_9921 lily pads and spider

Can you see the spider?

Off I go down the path. Shooting anything and everything that catches my eye. From more flowers, to the path with the trees and sky.

I was hoping maybe to capture some butterflies or dragonflies. They move so quickly and are so hard to get close enough for a good shot, but I persevered.

I continued taking shots of more flowers, and came across more insects.

This guy I didn’t get a great shot of, I tried to get too close and he moved faster than I imagined he would and disappeared. I don’t think I have ever seen something so iridescent green in the wild before.

DSC_0345 six-spotted green tiger beetle
Six-Spotted Green Tiger Beetle

There were other critters playing hide and seek as well. These two I saw move so I knew they were there. The first shot has a butterfly in it. The second, there is some kind of grasshopper or katydid.

DSC_0292 butterfly camo

DSC_0405 there is a bug in here

Then there is this shot I was taking of the bee on a dandelion. I didn’t know until I was looking at the pictures at home there was something else there too. Hard to tell what it was, but from the bits I can see I am guessing a grasshopper or katydid of some kind.


DSC_0383 bee and bug on dandelion

Then there is this one. Couldn’t have missed it! It was HUGE, for a bug. I am not sure what it was. About 2-3 inches or so long. I thought at first a bumble bee but it’s so big and not quite right. Then I wondered if it could be a moth of some kind. Never did figure it out.

DSC_0771 bumblebee or moth

Heading back home I found a couple more sights to point my camera at and got these.

All in all, one of my better days for good clear shots. I recently had the camera cleaned, so that probably helped.

I really enjoy the long walks and the weather in the early spring here in North Texas. I can’t handle the heat of summer, so there won’t be as many walks then. Spring has all the new life and fresh growth going for it too.

So back home I go through over 900 shots, deleted it down to 699, named 278 that I liked, narrowed those down to 111 of the very best, then down again to the best of the best of best sir, of  the 36 I posted here.

Anyway, that’s a glimpse into part of my process when I put on my photography hat. I hope you enjoy!