Monday, February 6, 2023

raven painting might be finished; here's it's name and symbolism

 hi all!

i'm now at a stopping point where i might be satisfied with my raven painting, huzzah!  there might be some tinkering here and there, but for the most part i'm happy with what it has to tell me.  

yes, i took the plunge and did the scary thing by getting into more detail with the ravens, and that meant possibly messing them up with some white lines.  and yes, i was freaked out when those lines weren't to my satisfaction, but i muddled through the scary bit by letting the lines dry and then doing a wash of purple and blue over the white, creating more muted linework.  i also worked in other spots to get the look i wanted.

here's some close-up shots of a few of my favorite bits, then one of the painting as a whole- though it's really hard to see the details and such with the poor lighting and the glossy paint.  this one will be difficult to get a quality photo to put in my shop, and it might have to wait until summer for a good day so we can take it outside to photograph properly.

the main raven has 3 chakra points, explained later
here's showing the third eye chakra
this dude still has the "4" on his chest that you can see when the light is right

love the gold texture in this sweeties chest
and the pink in the legs
note the gem- explained later

this area is delicious to me!
including the throat chakra

the crystals all have fun areas
this batch has gold that shines in areas
crystals= healing/healer
this has always been a favorite spot
fun colors and texture
and the painting as a whole;
i present to you
"Ravens Realm"
 jenny gabrenas finished 2/6/23
for the sake of simplicity (cause i'm tired!) here's the notes i took before and during the painting, to get my mind into the project.  i'll interject with some thoughts as i re-read my notes

Raven painting ideas;


3 ravens in different poses, 1 main raven.

Collecting baubles around them, lots of eye pauses

Purple in main raven, yellows, oranges around, sunset, gold/metallic (some gold sheet maybe)

messy textures, collage, scratching paint

The fool tarot card (journey) (decided not to add this detail)

Chakra symbols/colors ( 3rd eye- dark royal blue; throat- turquoise; root- red)

Crystals, necklace, heart (didnt add the heart)

Added later as I painted- Sun rays into raindrops.  (to imply "intuition sharpened by challenges")


 (as i got into the painting, i looked up raven symbolism.  the bolded words imply important imagery and intentions to be added)


Raven symbolism taken from;  and other similar sites


Raven helps us change our perspectives.


Raven’s variety of sizes of feathers as well as iridescent black is symbolic of this bird’s connection to shifting consciousness in many cultures. Raven helps us discover power and wisdom lying in the dark.


Because of their association with communication and psychic abilities, Raven is symbolic of the Third Eye Chakra and spiritual awakenings. This interpretation of Raven’s meaning in your life is easy to understand when you consider the Raven’s iridescent color from black to blue. Considering generic bird symbolism associated with communication, you can also connect Raven to the Throat Chakra. The dark coloring of Raven’s wings and connection between this bird and the Earth can also lead you to attribute Raven’s meaning as symbolic of the Root Chakra, reminding you to ground yourself when facing obstacles.


Let this sage master “call” to the quarters of creation with your intention.


Raven has been called a master of time. Procrastinators out there, get ready.

If Raven wings his way into your awareness you are about to get a lesson in using time wisely. You may be in the right space at the right moment, and Raven encourages that change in movement in your life. (editing jenny here; i had initially wanted to add a pocketwatch in the main ravens beak, but it didnt want to be added there.  might revisit this idea somewhere else)


A Raven totem means that you are often the human version of Mercury, delivering information to others. This may be something mundane like guidance in their protection or something deeply spiritual. Raven people often walk the line between the worlds, acting as a bridge. (bridge to other worlds=walking the ladder to the moon)

Raven totem is often found among healers and those who are charged with the sacred duty of helping others initiate into deeper mysteries. You may be a leader who is responsible for protecting others and facilitating healing and growth during times of darkness.

First, however, you may need to heal yourself and embrace your own higher wisdom. Raven totem can reveal your true power and potential as your intuition is sharpened by challenging circumstances. You may go through a difficult path that leads you to be reborn in a significant way when Raven is your totem.

delve into the realms of the unconscious and reaching for your true Be-ing.

Big things are on the horizon and Raven helps you to prepare. Learning to adapt, speak up for yourself and fight back when you have to are all lessons that are part of Raven symbolism.


Ravens can portend a journey, transformation, the need to change your consciousness or perception, or a symbolic death and rebirth.


Raven can also help you take back what is yours. Known for their tendencies to steal shiny objects, Raven symbolism is also about being attracted to what holds value for you. Don’t be afraid to reclaim what is yours. Often this comes in the form of healing past traumas or healing your Inner Child.  (red gem in ravens mouth=taking back what's mine.  needed at this time)

Raven’s appearance most likely is an omen that something is about to transform your life. Whether positive or negative, total transformation is usually dramatic. And, so, Raven spirit can help guide you safely through the fray.

Remember that Raven consumes the remains of other creatures, giving this bird the additional symbolic value of cleansing. Perhaps there is something old and unhealthy that you may need to purge? Raven is a great helpmate for that. 

Raven is also an excellent teacher, guide, and partner for magical studies and efforts.

Your ability to reverse your associations of death from something to fear to a recognition of a powerful rite of passage completing the circle of life, death and rebirth is also part of Raven’s message. Raven helps us change our perspectives


One thing is for certain, with Raven around your life will not want for mystical adventures and spiritual surprises.


that's the end of the symbolism i found that i needed to include.


Words needed for raven energy;

mystical adventures and new awakening

healer, heal yourself

change perspectives

raven intuition


reclaiming my self

speak up

raven insights

fly free



raven stands up for herself

raven has powerful medicine and painting these beauties was important for me at this time.  i hope you enjoyed reading about my journey into Ravens Realm!
until later,

Friday, February 3, 2023

where the raven canvas stands today

hi all!

my last update had me painting out some of the suns rays as raindrops in gold.  i also painted some of the rays more orange to see if i wanted that change or not.  i then asked sweetie his thoughts on my progress, including the rest of the rays being a bit more orange than yellow.  his thoughts were he liked the rays better more orange, but the gold raindrops to him looked like bombs or comets about to hit the earth.  after he told me what he saw i couldnt unsee it.  thats certainly NOT the image i wanted people to consciously or unconsciously absorb when they see my artwork!  being thankful i asked his thoughts, i set to work to make the raindrops less nefarious looking.  

 i still wanted some gold to be seen in the raindrops, so i worked to create some un-comet-y looking raindrops with gold peeking through.  they are close in tone with the blue sky background, but i like that this painting gives you little visual surprises as you look around the canvas.  the more you look and the closer you are the more you will enjoy this one!

not scary now!

before, with scary "comets";

after, with refreshing raindrops and warm orange rays of sun;

maybe it's now time to stop showing the whole canvas with my updates, and just do close-ups of the little details as i do them...  as a whole it's pretty much the same, the details is where it's at now.  
can you tell i've been stalling painting details to the ravens???  yeah, thats fear, and as soon as this cold snap eases (supposed to be getting down to -10 F tonight, with a windchill of -33) i'll be setting to work on the fear as well as the ravens! 

until later,

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

a few little tweaks to raven painting

hi all!

energy has been very low for me lately, but today i made a little progress.  just tiny changes here and there.  i painted the ladder to the moon, fixed the moon a bit and added the draping beads for the little raven to sit on and surrounding the moon.  i also made a few of the sun rays into raindrop shapes with gold paint.  it all might need another 'go round', but it's in.

it's looking a bit closer to the finished look and feeling i'm envisioning, but still has more to go.  the ravens of course need attention and i have a few small details i want to include before deciding what else needs to happen.  

the other day as i was doing a big painting session, i was listening to a group of ravens chatting away outside.  ravens dont often congregate like that near our home, so it was a thrill for me.  it felt like they knew i was inviting their energy near me and they were glad to accompany me as i painted.

and, i have to tell you... the happy little accidental "4" in the sitting raven really tickles me.  the shape was created many layers ago with washi tape, and just showed up as a 4 with this last layer of black.  according to my Angel Numbers book by doreen virtue, 4 says "Angels are with you.  Call upon them for help, guidance, and feelings of love and security".  i dont know if i will be able to keep the number as i work on that raven, but the message i will keep secure in this painting.

for now, i'm happy i was able to get to the studio today and do some work!

until later,


Sunday, January 22, 2023

painting the background and subject of my raven painting

hi all!

after a bit of recovery from my last round at the canvas, i was able to get back to it today.  fear was with me as i gathered my paints to start covering the bold abstracted underpainting to become closer to the final look.  i had begun to like the chaotic colors and bold shapes and worried it would all be lost to a more 'tame' painting.

i turned the canvas upside-down in order to paint in some of the bottom areas, so had to bend over to look at it in order to make sure all was going to plan.  i also took a few photos i could easily flip to see the progress.  i put on a thick coat of paint with a pallet knife at first, and later smoothed a light coat over top with a thick brush.  being such a large painting and the contrast between chaos and subdued, i couldnt see in my minds eye if it would ultimately look the way it looked in my head.  sweetie said he was confident i would be able to create what i envisioned.  

one highlight for me as i painted was the fact that the underpainting and texture was showing through in places just as i had hoped and planned for.

after the bottom third of the painting was finished i set to work on the top, being careful to go around the sun rays and other important areas i hoped would shine through.  i also sprayed parts down with water to let it drip here and there.

                                      hint at whats to come; should have quit while i was ahead...

and then i got to the ravens.

let me tell you...  this was where i lost my love of painting.  period.  done.  (happens every time). i am at the 'ugly phase' and then some.  up close it's not too bad.  and then when i back up, the detail is lost.  i keep going lighter and lighter, and soon my raven will be lighter than the sky.  the reference photo i'm working with has the raven pretty much blue, but i have a blue sky.  so, if i go purple, a light purple, that might work.  i'm just so frustrated with painting right now.  and, painting 'stories' is difficult.  i like painting single subjects for a reason, i guess.  you can get up close and personal and there's not the problem with contrast with other subjects to deal with.  

so, heres where i'm stopping today, sunday january 22.

see?  you cant see the raven, it just is washed out, no detail.  up close there's detail.  i know there is, i painted it.  and, see the reference photo taped to the canvas?  that raven with the sun shining on it is blue.  blue wont work with my blue sky.  

i'm just really discouraged about the whole thing.  the canvas is too big, i should have painted something bigger so you can see it all without moving your head.  this canvas in person is like watching a movie at a theater!    and i seriously hope this isnt going to be another one i have to gesso over.  sweetie keeps trying to talk me down and tells me to stop dwelling over it.  to let it rest and give it time.  i asked him, "so, i shouldnt burn it quite yet?".  he says no.

so, no bon fires tonight. i promise.

i'm gonna cuddle up with my pup tonight instead, maybe make a pillow fort, and tiptoe into the studio in the morning.  maybe some new eyes will make things feel better.

(and as i'm re-reading this post, i notice how big the change was that i made today.  maybe thats part of my problem with it.  i didnt give myself enough time to sit with a small change.  change is hard)

until later,


Saturday, January 14, 2023

work on the raven painting

hi all!

i took a 2 day break from painting, as it is hard on the body, but i was back at it today with working on the crystals.  i had sketched them in this week, and today was starting to add color!

there's another group of crystals to start painting out, and i will be fiddling with getting this batch 'just so', but i'm pretty excited about how it's coming along.  each time i add another aspect to the canvas i get to feeling the nervousness about 'messing it up', even though i know it's just paint and i can fix it if there's something i dont like.  my way of painting, my style, is showing the underpainting, so that's something i dont want to lose.  too many so-called mistakes mean something must be lost from the underpainting.  so far, so good, though, and i still have important glimpses of the collage pieces i enjoy seeing.

such fun texture!

and after a bit more work, i've got the other cluster of crystals partly in and more detail on the rest;

i'll keep plugging away at this beast of a canvas!

no wonder i hurt!

until later,


Tuesday, January 10, 2023

getting to the painting stage of my raven canvas

hi all!

i almost successfully waited until a sunny day in order to photograph the canvas before fiddling with it.  i had a few trouble spots i wanted to rectify before the photo was taken.  small spots that sweetie didnt notice, even viewing the before and after, but they sure annoyed me beforehand and gave me a peaceful feeling afterwards, so i'm glad i did those little tweaks before we put it up on society6!




just small touches.  i added green in places that needed darkening and other small dabs.  subtle, but needed.

then came the sketching out part of the job.  these bits are hard to see in the full view of the canvas, but they sure help the thinking process and painting of the piece!  i sketched and rubbed away and sketched some more.  it was a thing, and i was exhausted after several hours of work.

what a cutie-pie
hard to see but it's there
starting to paint it out

i'm calling it quits for the day.  i keep going to the studio to look at it with fresh eyes.  i'm liking where it's going and can see my vision playing out.  it's a happy feeling!  i'm exhausted and in pain, but so very happy with the work i've done today.

until later,


Friday, January 6, 2023

more progress in the background

hi all!

i've had a good couple of days playing in the background of this huge- life sized- canvas i'm painting over.  my first pass was cool colors over collage (on top of a first and a second painting, so we have a LOT of layers happening, here).  i then took a think about what i want my final painting to look like, and decided that a warm color scheme peeking through would be better, so i added a warm layer on top.  here's the before and after;

i flipped the canvas before i did the next layers;

changed the top middle circle with gold dots a bit so it isnt so bright.  darkened the blue to a dark green, and i put pink on top of the gold dots.  looks much better now

and a bit of a photo dump of some textures i love



a favorite spot, reminds me of a sunflower;

i might need to capture this spot alone for merchandise


i am at a holding point at the moment, only because i wish to take a good quality photo in order to put it into my shop.  i am loving this point and with no main focal element i think it will look great and fit on all the products produced at society6.  here's my shop;

i've been thinking about the next steps to take in order to get my painting the way i wish.  because i want the main objects to have a bit of the background show through i cant have the sky and sun painted over the whole canvas.  i'll have to sketch out most of the main points onto the canvas in order to paint around those areas.  the sun i want to be bold, though, so i'll be using white gesso to block in the sun and rays and then when dry i'll go back with the bright yellows.  i tell you, it's a whole thing to figure it all out!  even the sun needed some thought how i wanted the rays to look.  

right now my list goes, in order, before getting to the main focal points;

1. chalk out the ravens

2. gesso the sun and rays in

3. chalk out the chakra points (might go over some rays)

4. dry brush the sky in

all this is after i can get a good photo, and that requires a nice sunny day, so a couple more days of pondering before even that task can happen.  then i can go about painting in the main and not-so-main elements.

and to remind you of the idea, here's the sketch i did of my vision;

this is the fun stuff!

until later,


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

and, we're off!

hi all!  i do hope you're doing well.  or at least doing your best.

me?  i'm starting the year off with a bang.  i'm just doing it, you know?  i'm refusing to let myself get the better of me.  i know there's darkness looming, but right now, today, i'm beating it.  i've got my list of things to do, that i can do.  some easy things, some harder.  and, instead of being on soul-sucking sites and listening to and watching soul-sucking things, i'm keeping as busy as i can with my own tasks.  it's what i can do for my own mental health, and thats important!  i'm refusing darkness.  period.  i can choose to look at all the things that have gone wrong in my life (and i can write a book!), or i can choose a brighter outlook.  which option is better for my physical and mental health?  light, bright, looking at the good that i have, looking at the health that i have, looking at the beauty around me, looking at the people who love me, looking for the good people out there, the good deeds, the colors, the trees, the rain.  there's beauty, light and love all around me in the world!  i choose that today.

yesterday i posted about my plans for my life sized canvas.  to paint over an older painting that no longer serves me with something more my style.  today i cringed as i covered the painting with gesso, but as soon as it was barely gone i felt at ease with the decision.  

then it was off to the races with bold colors and large strokes over a bit of collage.  as it dries, i add more of the same color family, so as to not be too muddy.  today it was a black base, then cool colors.  tomorrow i'll be adding the warmer colors.

here's where we stand as of now

loving it so far!

here's to staying busy!

until later,


Monday, January 2, 2023

merry new year, and all that jazz

hi there!  merry holidays and new year, 2023!  it's been many, many months since blogging here, and with reason;  i've done no art-ing in all that time.  none.  zilch.  nada. 

my year has been filled with gardening and canning the fruits of my labor.  it's been filled with love and sadness.  it's been filled with learning, with anxieties, with lyme disease pitfalls and ill health.  it's been filled with a growing depression, and also laughter with sweet hubby.  life has been full, but with a stagnation of my creativity on paper and canvas.  the studio became more and more of a holding place of things that didnt have a home and a place for when a quick decision was needed to put something.  my creative space was in a sad state, and the limited movement created by such a state meant i went to the studio, took a quick turn and left, knowing i couldnt fling paint the way it needed to be flung.

my kids came at christmas and as always asked if i'd done any new paintings.  the shame i felt inside myself knowing that i havnt used my creative juices for so long was tangible and has now been turned into action.  i asked some strong people to help lift heavy things out of the studio, and i decided that the huge, my sized, "besties holiday" painting that i blogged about in my last post must be painted over in order for me to want to hang it in my home.  it's been in the way in my studio for too long, but i just cant hang it in a prominent place when it isnt my style.  it's not my personal style, but i still have it up in my store so i can buy myself a tote or a small print if i want to.  i have a new story in my head that i sketched out the other day.  i've searched my personal archive and unsplash and have printed out about 20 reference/idea images for this project.  and so, the stage has been set that i will soon be creating a new piece.  a many layered, multi-focused painting that will take time to complete.  (that's the plan, anyway...)

sketch of my thoughts so far


today i have started with tidying and organizing the studio in order to be able to move around.  the next step will be to gesso over the old painting before the fun process of a layered, drippy, colorful underpainting.

say goodbye

for the new year i've got many ideas and two daily planners to keep me moving in the direction i wish to go instead of wallowing in my mud;

i've been off facebook since christmas eve, and it's been so freeing to be off such a soulsucking non-activity.  my plan is to stay off it for as long as i can/want, and then if i go back to it, to limit myself to 1 hour 3 times a week.  (i'll try to update on social media when i post here, but i hope to soon update the blog to include a subscription by email).  i also want to limit my youtube time for the same reason.  it's time for me to live my own life, not to watch others live theirs, and not to wallow in others dramas.  my time on fb and utube must be purposeful and healing, not for low vibration activities;

i've got to get my health back on track.  lyme and co-infection symptoms have been tiptoeing back and thats a scary thought.  i will be going back to my old journals and notes to see what helped me when i was under an integrative doctors supervision, and i will do more research to get myself back to a good place.  i also want and need to lose some of the weight i've been slowly gaining, so i've got a plan for that as well with habit tracking my exercise, a yoga challenge, food journaling and just trying to be as active as i can;

i've decided not to do any art classes this year, which was a big decision as i enjoy the community created within the Lets Face It group on facebook.  since i'm restricting my tech usage, since i havnt been working on classwork, since i've felt bad comparing my work with others, and since i know my own style... well, it seemed a waste of money to continue this year.  i've got a list of art goals i'd like to work on this coming year, and a backlog of classes i could work on if i decide i'm stuck and need a push;

i've got a list of foods and recipes i'd like to can, and i would like to learn how to make a good homemade bread (one of my sons is heavy into breadbaking and delighted the family with a couple loaves baked during our Family Game Day on january 1st).

all these things combined with seed starting and planting my gardens this spring and early summer should help me off the couch, leading to a more healthful and enjoyable life-worth-living for me.  

i wish for you all things wonderful in the new year!

until later,