Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Spirit of the Stream, 9-2-2014

After visiting Colorado for a week and getting deep into the forrest, I had to try to capture the magic of the creeks and streams that were so numerous this year.  The light/shadow; textures of moss, rocks/pebbles, logs; and the QUIET………………..except for the soft burbling of the stream……like it was whispering to me……like hearing God in church.........those were the things I wanted to capture and communicate to the viewer.  

So I wanted something that felt big but small, if that makes any sense.  The forrest was SO deep and HUGE but around the creeks, it was like the forrest was enveloping me in a hug, soft, quiet, warm and yet cool breezes caressing my skin.  That is why the Spirit is small in proportion to the whole painting.  I knew I didn’t want her to dominate as in some of my other paintings, why I wanted her transparent, almost not there, quietly caressing the water, barely making a ripple.  Is she really there, or will the bubble burst and it will all be just imagination and wishing?  

Hope you feel the quiet of the forrest, the cool water, warm sun, and most of all, the peace of the Spirit of the Stream.

Spirit of the Stream, 30"x15", mixed media--acrylic on stretched primed canvas, ink, pastel

Enlargement of the Spirit

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hand Built Ceramic Sculpture, Aug., 2014

I am finally back in my ceramic studio!!!  It feels so good to be working in clay again......it is my first love!  I got to try out the new small Skutt kiln that my husband found for me at an auction for $30.  We figured it had maybe been fired twice!  It works beautifully and will be great for small loads, test firing, testing glazes, etc.  I also have some new glazes which work beautifully with my earthy style.  Here are a few examples of the new pieces.  Keep watching for more updates.


I love working with simple, primitive styles that look like they might be found along a path while walking in the woods or along a river.  So these pieces are all displayed with or on wood or stone pieces to strengthen that feeling of unearthing a treasure.

Handbuilt Ceramic Sculpture by Barbara JO Converse Stevens, August, 2014



approx. 12" across

approx. 8" across

approx. 12" across

Pod pot approx. 10" tall

Spirit Ball....this is taken from an Native American belief that the artist's spirit is captured within the sphere.  One hears the 'spirit' by shaking the sphere and hearing the rattle of the spirit inside.  I love this concept as I feel that  a portion of my spirit is transferred to all of my art pieces, whether it is 3D or 2D.  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Spirit of the Cycle of Life, 6-2-14

Every day I say a prayer for my family, friends and myself that God open our hearts to His love and light, wisdom and grace and His joy.  I have expanded this prayer into the cycles of life as I see it.  I hope you enjoy these new pieces and the message they bring.

Spirit of the Cycle of Life:
These are all four panels making up the Spirit of the Cycle of Life.  There are four 12"x24" panels to create this 24"x48" piece.  It is mixed media with a base of scraped acrylic and layers of acrylic, ink, pastel.

Panel 1:  Love and Light
Notice the dried seed pod in the bottom left corner, scattering the seeds from which the new sprout, surrounded by Light and Love, grows.

Panel 2:  Strength and Confidence
Now the life is full of Strength and Confidence, shining brightly and fulfilling the promise of the first sprout.


Panel 3:  Wisdom and Grace
With age, one hopes, comes Wisdom and Grace, His light still shining through helping to spread the hope of a full and fulfilling life.

Panel 4:  Joy and Peace
Take note of the dried seed pod at the bottom right corner of this panel.  It is spreading the seed with His light and love shining down from the cross, top right corner, to start the new growth of a new generation.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Spirit of the Eclipse: Panel 1, Shadow Lives; Panel 2, Emerging into the Light

On April 15, 2014, I was fortunate enough to witness the lunar eclipse on a perfectly clear, calm, beautiful night.  As the earth's shadow moved across the brilliant full moon, I was profoundly touched.  The next day I researched some Native American lore on the eclipse and found many interesting stories.  One that truly touched my heart was the practice of Native Americans looking inward during an eclipse at their "shadow lives" and finding the life they should allow to emerge into the light as the full moon reappears.  I have a bit of Cherokee in my background and have a strong Christain faith.  For some reason this story of the shadow lives emerging into the light reflected how I see God gifting us with many talents and through our free will, we are allowed to choose the life that emerges into HIS light as we follow the path He has laid down for us.  The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to represent this in one of my Spirit paintings.  I hope you enjoy the results.  The two panels will hang side by side to create one painting.


Panel 1:  Shadow Lives, 18"x18", mixed media--scraped acrylic, watercolor, ink, pastel

Panel 2:  Emerging into the Light, 18"x18", mixed media--scraped acrylic, watercolor, ink, pastel

Detail of Panel 1 showing a woman reflecting on her shadow lives which are represented by the shadows outside the circle of her reflection.

Detail of Panel 2 showing the shadow life that has emerged into the light of both the full moon and of the Heavenly light.

Completed "Spirit of the Eclipse" with the two 18"x18" panels together.  You should be able to see the full cycle of the eclipse from left to right, the full "blood moon" at the top left of the second panel, the woman reflecting on her "shadow lives" at the bottom left of the first panel, the shadow lives outside her circle of reflection, and the emerged life surrounded by the Heavenly light as well as the second half of the eclipse toward the center of the second panel.  





Thursday, March 27, 2014

Scraped Acrylic Paintings

On March 19th, 2014, Majean Schneider, owner of Stuff n Such in Downs, KS, held a Cookies and Crafts class.  Twelve people attended, six to paint and six to make a burlap wreath.  The following photos show the process of the scraped acrylic paintings and the people who came to enjoy an evening of fun and learning.

Getting started, pouring paint on canvas.

Completed 16"x20" scraped acrylic by Payton, age 9.

The youngest customer, age 4, scraped paint, added more paint and left the "puddles", then painting with a brush for linear contrast....all her own design!


Michelle scraping paint.

11"x14" scraped canvas.

Michelle adding linear drawing of feathers.

Michelle's completed painting.

Andrea and Jennifer  comparing notes.

Andrea's scraped canvas.

Andrea's completed canvas.

Payton working on her second painting.

Payton's completed second painting, 8"x10".

Michelle's scraped painting.

Michelle's completed painting.

Jennifer's scraped canvas.

Jennifer's completed painting.

While my students were working on their paintings, Majean helped six people create fun burlap wreaths.  One group was the Heller family who held a mini reunion while they worked and caught up with each other.  A circle of love and fun!

Heller family working on burlap wreaths.

Jessica, Majean, and another customer with their finished wreaths.











Sunday, March 2, 2014

Spirit of the Promise of Spring, 3-2-14

While my friends across the north and east are battling some of the deepest snows and coldest temperatures in the last fifty years, they are dreaming of spring.  For them, I dedicate this newest piece, "Spirit of the Promise of Spring".  While the snow is still falling, in the softness, protection and warmth of the womb of Mother Earth, Spring patiently awaits to be born......softly, quietly, in all her beauty.......

"Spirit of the Promise of Spring", snow dyed  raw canvas background, mixed media (acrylic, ink, pastel),  14 1/2" x 20".

Detail of "Spirit of the Promise of Spring"


Monday, February 24, 2014

Spirit Paintings, Feb. 2014 -- No FEAR!

Last fall I really got waylaid with the holidays and it has taken me awhile to get back in the right frame of mind--painting with NO FEAR, TO PLAY, and to FEEL PURE JOY while painting.  Today was one of those days.  I would like to share the paintings that I started today.  I did not finish any of these, but I'm so excited to be "back" that I am anxious to share these beginnings.  Please keep in touch over then next few days/weeks as these backgrounds develop into fully completed paintings.  May your spirit find joy in these beginnings and watching them develop.



1st background, poured acrylic.

Second layer of background.

Several layers later, developing the background.

 After deciding to name this piece " Spirit of the Child", I added the toys.  But the balance just didn't seem right.  Below is the completed version with a few more layers.

Detail of the goose and 4-wheeler with stripes of color added to both soften and highlight them.


Detail of face, frog foot print, bottom of rhinoceros.

Detail of frog foot print, yoyo, texturing.

Completed 11"x14" "Spirit of the Child"




2nd background, scraped acrylic, 11"x14".

3rd background with several layers completed.  This piece is about half done.

Detail of above background.

Completed "Spirit of the Raven", 8"x10".  I did some research on raven lore and found some interesting information.  I think because of Poe's "The Raven", I always thought that ravens were portents of bad things, especially death.  I found that that connotation probably came from their being carrion birds.  

But in many cultures they are actually birds of mystery, magic and good omens.  Some Native American lore portrays the raven as a sign of change or transformation.  Because they believed the raven could be a trickster and transform his shape, he was felt to be the bearer  of truth because he could "see" from different perspectives. " Foremost, the Raven is the Native American bearer of magic, and a harbinger of messages from the cosmos.  Messages that are beyond space and time are nestled in the midnight wings of the Raven and come to only those within the tribe who are worthy of the knowledge" (from Avia:  http://www.whats-your-sign.com/raven-symbolism.html).  The raven was also thought to be the "bringer of light" or knowledge and is part of the creation story of some tribes.  


Detail #1.

Detail #2.




4th background with several layers completed.  This one is about half finished also.

Completed "Spirit of the Snow Queen", 8"x10".  

Detail of head and background.


5th background, first layer.

The above background with a cheesecloth layer laid over the "tree".  This one is in the very beginning stages.  

Added handmade rolled stamp in green; white chalk highlights reflecting the moon light off the tree.

An addition of the stamped squares, large dots, black and white ink details complete this piece......"Spirit of the Night Forest", 8"x10".