Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Stag Lord Cernunnos or Old Horney Himself

When the muse comes she sometimes comes disguised as Cernunnos himself. The Celtic God of Fertility and the Hunt. This was created by a great carver/sculptor (my beloved other) who modestly goes by a pen name Mazola.

The Celts all over Europe before Christ worshiped the Stag Lord Cernunnos. He has the horns of a stag, a rams horned serpent, a stag to represent the hunted, a wolf representing the hunter and oak leaves and acorns for fertility and the cycles of life. Cernunnos is usually portrayed as a mature man with long hair and a beard, he coincidently looks exactly like the carver. He wears a torc: this was an ornate neck-ring worn by the Celts to denote nobility. He often carries a torcs in his hands or hanging from his horns. The torc in this case helps support the antler and was carved from cottonwood and covered with gold leaf.
The Song of Cuerunnos

I am a stag of seven tines,
I am a wide flood on a plain,
I am a wind on the deep waters,
I am a shining tear of the sun,
I am a hawk on a cliff,
I am fair among flowers,
I am a god who sets the head afire with smoke.
I am a battle waging spear,
I am a salmon in the pool,
I am a hill of poetry,
I am a ruthless boar,
I am a threatening noise of the sea,
I am a wave of the sea,
Who but I knows the secrets of the unhewn dolmen ?

Origin obscure but certainly Celtic 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Talkeetna Air Taxi and Downtown Gallery

When you come to Alaska you must visit Talkeetna and take an air taxi flight to Denali!
There is no other way to see this mountain except up close and personal.
Talkeetna, Alaska is the jumping off place for those few brave souls who must climb North America's highest mountain 20,329 feet or 6,196 m.
Me I'd rather go flight seeing on a nice day.

In a quaint loig cabin at the end on Main Street next to the Chocolate Shop is Talkeetna Air Taxi and Downtown Gallery. The gallery is full of art by Alaskan Artists all original art and one of a kind.

My art is now in good company along with other marvelous local Alaskan artists like my BFF Sharen AK Harris

Please go visit Talkeetna Air Taxi's web-site and get a taste of Alaska! I know you will want to come now! PLEASE COME! we love you guys from everywhere else and want you to visit thIS awesome place just so you understand that we are not crazy to want to live in this wild and wonderful place.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Talkeetna Ghost Story

Yesterday I went with my BFF Sharen to Talkeetna to market our art for the tourist season. We always have fun on our excrusions.  It was a rare day when you can see Denali clearly, I took this photo. We stopped at the new gallery in Willow, then drove on up the road, I dropped off some art and sand off for Rhonda at Wytchwood, then we drove to Talkeetna and scouted out some galleries. Talkeetna air Taxi and Downtown Gallery seemed very interested in my art.  We enjoy our Hungarian soup  at the Roadhouse and got some homemade bread  and cinnamon rolls for our husbands.....Stay with me.....

The Smoking Room at the Fairview Inn
Talkeetna, Alaska
Original Oil
We strolled into the Fairview Inn like a couple of tourists,  I asked the bartender if this place is haunted and she said; of course it is haunted! I joked and said we should have the Ghost Hunters come for a lock down and they can yell at them all night. I wandered off to explore a little bit when I walked into this empty room it felt weirdly like I had seen it in a dream. The television was on and oddly playing a real old Laurel and Hardy movie. Then the room got colder and goose bumps rose on my arms and my hair began to stand on end. Sharen was standing in the doorway flipping out! She said she had never felt her hair stand on end like that before. I got this picture of the room before the batteries on my camera got completely drained. We ran out into the bar laughing and freeking out at the same time. I said there is a ghost in the smoking room!! and the bartender said; that is not surprising there is a man buried beneath the floor. OMG lady you might have warned us! But then where is the fun in that.
It was a great day 

Monday, May 14, 2012

When Monkeys Fly Out of My Ass

This has become a running joke with my husband, back in 2004 when I applied for my first Rasmuson Foundation Grant; I was a novice a naive babe in the woods. Still I hoped they would see my vision and financial need and award me a grant.
Now Peter my help mate says "When you get that grant from those guys, “monkeys are going to fly out my ass" what I wouldn't give to see that! I dot my eyes cross my tees and make an A+ presentation. After waiting about 3 months they reply:
Dear Ms Vars,
Thank you blah, blah, blah. I regret to inform you that you did not receive one of the "Foundations Artists Award in your category.
2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 no, no, no, no, no, no.!!!
Each application more polished and eloquent than the previous year, I used their kind critiques and suggestions to improve my chances.

Panelists Comments for Application 2012
Referencing Fayum Mummy Portraits as well as contemporary painterly practices Vars is developing her own unique visual language. Her desire to push the practice of portraiture further by finding new modes for representing historical and contemporary figures, that have had a major impact on out lives, is an engaging subject for exploration. Her work has merit both formally and conceptually; she should try to find new avenues for exposure.
Clever examination of the notion of “idol'” but the project would be stronger if it linked the request to the criteria of career impact. It is not clear that this project would significantly advance this emerging artist’s artistic development.
Average rating 2.5

That is the equivalent to a D+

I feel like little Judy in school trying my very best to get an A+ and teacher gives me a B+ for my good effort. Then the feeling why try so hard if you just sit there you’ll get a C+ anyway.
Yes OK sure I was just an average student but when subject interested me I gave it my all.

It's silly I know to get my hopes up, I know it's all subjective, that the panel of judges have their own criteria, I know it's wrong to base my feelings of my artistic efforts on other peoples opinions, or to compare myself with other artists, still it would be nice for those snooty art academics to grant me some recognition in the form of money.

What else to say at this point but... say la vee or simply fuck it!
I'm just disappointed that I did not get to see monkeys fly out of Peter’s ass!
I picture the wicked witches monkeys in the Wizard of OZ flying out and laughing hysterically like crazy chimps so happy to be freed.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Alaskan Environmental Crime Story by Roany Phelan

Because my art tends to be beautiful, dark and moody, I was approached by a collector of my art to illustrate the cover of his book. I was very honored to be asked to do this because this is a uniquely personal story and could only happen in Alaska. The book is partly fiction but mostly the real story with the names of the characters changed for obvious reasons. It is a story that needed to be told. As a teaser here is the back cover of the book....

Doyle Flynn, disbarred Alaska environmental lawyer, hobbled by depression, recently divorced, is haunted by ghosts both living and dead. Fate in the form of an aged Chinese businessman from Doyle’s past delivers to Doyle the opportunity for redemption for his transgressions, present and past. The opportunity for redemption comes in the form of an assignment uniquely suited to Doyle’s determined nature and training in environmental law. The question is whether Doyle, confronted by internal turmoil plus external threats he must face in gritty urban Anchorage and its rugged rural surroundings can beat the odds and break the cycle of self destruction he has been heretofore unable to rise above. Where better to test Doyle’s resolve than in the Alaska that Doyle inhabits.

Doyle Flynn’s story is told by author Roany Phelan, himself a former Alaska Environmental lawyer. Using a writing style befitting of the anti-hero protagonist of this story, Mr. Phelan invites the reader to hear this unique tale.

Roany Phelan has written a fresh and intriguing novel, one that is equal parts thrilling crime story and existential journey. In search of redemption, Doyle Flynn undertakes an investigation that leads him from modern Anchorage to Taiwan, his family’s dark history in the lower 48 states, and out into the primordial Alaskan bush. With a cast of lawyers businessmen, criminals, Native Alaskans and apparitions, the story builds momentum until it snaps like a whip, revealing surprising truths.

 --Alex Prudhomme author of The Ripple Effect, and co-author with Julia Child of My Life in France.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Southwest Art

Judy Vars
Madd Matters Gallery
1088 South Colony Way, Palmer, AK 99501

Southwest Magazine, May, 2012 page 119 is where you will find me. I am that nerd that cannot throw away even one issue of Southwest magazine I have saved them from 1975 really!
I thought the people who get to showcase their art Southwest Mag must be awesome.
Back when I was a closet artist working in a mans world so I could make a mans wage, I secretly longed for the life of an artist. In my quiet times I would flip though the pages of the Southwest magazines I had collected daydreaming of being one of those people. It is interesting to look back and see where some of the seeds of my artistic obsession began. 

 About 2 months ago I received this e-mail:

Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 9:41 AM
Subject: Southwest Art Magazine

Hi Judy,

We would like to invite you to participate in our May issue's special section. We will be featuring a special advertising section for Encaustic Painters. Whether you are looking to attract collectors to your work, find more representation in many of the galleries that look to our magazine for new artists or simply draw people to your website to promote your events, our special sections have proven to be very successful!

I paraphrase: Opportunity, showcase, 40,000 collectors, Promotional rate, Prominent People in the Art World etc.........

 They had hooked me for sure. I couldn’t believe that Southwest Magazine was contacting me, ME? ME! Yes my vanity and self promoting instincts kicked in and I took the bait.  So if you get a chance pick up the May issue and see my advertisement on page 119.

Not the front page or the featured artist but still I am in a well respected 40 year old national publication.

Hey I’m impressed even if you’re not.