Embracing life in meaningful ways - exceptional artist LIONA HOTTA talking about her artistic journey and the launch of an exciting new on-line learning opportunity 1
Today's article will take you on a journey into the life of a once rebel "undisciplined" child who grew up to be an exceptional mandala artist praised for her talent all around the word.
As you all know, Liona Hotta's extraordinary art distinguishes itself from others' for its sensual explosion of colours, perfection of shapes, and the vibrant positive energy it contains. I hope you enjoy seeing part of her creations depicted in marvelous photographs throughout the article.
How Liona started this amazingly inspiring career not only as a painter, but also as a musician, here is for you to find out.
Who is Liona Hotta and how did she grow up to be the artist she is today?
I like to think of myself as a person who wants to express herself through multiple forms of art.
Since very young I loved singing, painting and dancing. These arts were very present in our home, and although we were growing up in a demanding agricultural community, all members of my family were or are still practicing some form of art. It’s no wonder that I ended up marrying an artist (photographer) and now we share the love for that art too.
Artist LIONA HOTTA (photo credit to photographer Tomoyuki Hotta)
As a little girl I was a rebel. Since I was a non-diagnosed dyslexic, I had to go through hard times being called a brilliant but undisciplined child.
I continue to be very untidy and unorganized. I always listen to my feelings more than my brain. Time has taught me though that I needn't apologize for my carelessness and better continue to listen to my heart.
This coming June I will be celebrating my 50th birthday and I am truly happy with who I have become and with what I do.
Apart from painting I also perform as a singer. I am blessed with the companion of a number of talented artists who play with me in our concerts.
Over the last 3 years our band, Liona & Serena Strings has been immersing in a Sephardic music project, with which we traveled and performed all over Spain, in so many beautiful locations and theaters. This year we also had the pleasure and honor to travel and perform concerts in India (Kolkata, Delhi, Goa) and North Macedonia.
Liona and Serena Strings music band | Youtube | Website | (photo credit to Tomoyuki Hotta)
With such a busy singing career, and having to travel such long distances, how did you actually find time to start painting on rocks?
My romance with stone painting started when I was hosting intuitive vocal workshops.
I was looking for a way to make little personal presents for my students who were about to finish a course I was teaching. I decided to search for ideas on the magic internet and this is when I fell in love with mandala painting on little stones.
Has life changed for you in any ways since you started painting?
It did change tremendously.
At the beginning I was only painting at night. I immediately noticed that my sleep was improving as I was falling into it easily and peacefully.
Later, as I was making mandala-dotting part of my daily routine, I could see how it was also helping me relax and center.
At first I was just counting dots. This came to me as a natural habit that originated in the need to assure symmetry while painting (I discovered I loved symmetry).
Soon I realized I was thinking of absolutely nothing while dotting - my mind was quiet for long minutes. It became my only meditation habit (oh, I’m such a restless person I could never sit and meditate like everyone else).
Later I began listening to music, practiced guided meditations and affirmations while painting. Pretty soon I noticed how my whole life was changing - I felt more centered, calm, and able to better handle life’s hassle and challenges. Today I can actually sit down and meditate like the rest of the people... what a joy!
Starting with the 1st of December I hear you are launching a series of courses on-line about dotting mandalas with a brush. Tell us more about this upcoming event.
My most recent project is the online course “How to dot your mandala with a BRUSH"
A while ago I realized that the international dotting community is divided into those who dot with dotting tools and those who dot with brushes (and lately there is a third group rising of cone dotters).
Somehow there is (in my opinion) a misconception about brush dotting that it is hard, complicated or “reserved” for the “more capable” artists.
Firstly, I don’t think it matters what we create art with: dotting tools, brushes, sticks, fingers.. art is art.
Secondly - it's all but wrong - dotting with a brush is easy. It’s a technique, you learn, you practice and you do it (just like about anything else in life).
This course is built to take you by the hand and step by step help you understand, practice, get confident and apply this technique. And I do not offer it as a replacement for dotting tools, but as an additional enriching way to add to your backpack of possibilities.
This is a 4 weeks course, with lessons dropping once a week, beginning with December 1st. All materials of the course are permanently available to signed up users. You will be provided with access to an only-member Facebook group for this course"s participants. We will have Q&A live sessions once a week during the course, and from time to time afterwards, when needed and required by the group members.
I have opened enrollment pre-sale of this course (follow link HERE) .
There is also an early bird price offer which will be kept open until Monday, November 18th. The course will begin on December 1st and last date to sign up is November 30th.
All details are in the course sales page. Please email me if you any have further questions in case I missed any of them on my social media (email@example.com). I’ll gladly write you back.
Sending you all love and light,
I LIVE A LIFE OF COLOURS- ARTIST ALINA PRODAN TALKING ABOUT COLOURS OF CHILDHOOD AND THEIR IMPACT ON HER ART 0
Today I would like to introduce you to an astonishing artist whose work has never failed to amaze me every time I come across her amazing creations.
I love Alina Prodan not only for what she paints. I love her because she only speaks with her heart, and there is this humble kindness and warmth in her words that always makes me feel I'm with friends, that I'm at home.
The most beautiful thing she said to me was: "I wish we could also publish a few words in Romanian just for my mother, so she can read about me". And so I write:
Mama, aveti o fiica minunata, cu un har ceresc, si o inima de aur. Va felicit ca ati crescut un copil atat de bun si de inzestrat si mi-ati daruit o prietena cum rar se pot intalni intr-o viata. Imbratisari cu drag. (Mother, you have a wonderful daughter, with a gift from God and a heart made of gold. I want to congratulate you for raising a child so good and talented, and for giving me the rare opportunity to make such a great friend in my lifetime)
I hope you enjoy the story Alina wanted to talk about: the colours of her childhood and how they reflect in her art.
Yours, Christine Onward
Each season in the village had its own unique glory, its own colours, smells and emotions attached; but it is the autumn colours that I carry with me all the time, their spectacular brightness and the multitude of colours everywhere around us.
My village colours had an enormous impact on who I grew up to be. Even now, the colours I choose for my mandalas come from those beautiful memories of autumn falling on us, the fields, the forests, the sky, or the clouds above us.
I’ve been painting since I was born. Most of my painting happened in my mind though, because I never had the courage to actually do it. I did enjoy watching art, visit museums, art galleries. That was all the art I would dare to involve myself into…All these until 2 years ago when I took up painting mandalas on rocks and canvas.
For the last two years I have been painting mostly at night and during the weekends when I’m free from work. I love listening to music before and during painting. I like listening to Debussy – Arabesque and light incenses as part of my painting therapy. They help me calm down the noise of my thoughts and breathe again.
What astonishes me the most is how a colour can have such a powerful impact on us.
When I paint, my colour choices are influenced by my general mood to a great extent. I also consider the combinations of colours that are pleasing to the eye. The details of my designs are very elaborate, therefore every little line, every dot I lay has to be perfect. And all these because the energies I gather within my work have to spread charm, harmony and beauty to each and every one of you.
The stories are endless when it comes to colours and my art of cirlcles and dots. But I could sum them up in just these words: I LIVE A LIFE OF COLOURS. And you?
Toby, recently taking up painting, mostly on the indoor walls
Stories of the Outback : Living Life in Own Sacred Ways 2
Every journey to the outback I had so far was a new discovery. I am not talking about the discovery of new (extraordinary!) places only. I am talking about discovering new lessons of life, the lessons you carry with you throughout life, think of them, use them, and, at meaningful times, share them with others.
This year’s outback discovery was meeting people who chose to live their lives on their own terms; people who chose to live as if other’s rules of living did not exist but their own. Out of all other ways people chose to live, their own was sacred.
It’s a wonderful lesson to learn: regardless of the rules of life others obey to, the one you choose for yourself is sacred and is worth standing for.
Memorable travels in outback Australia: road from Bourke to Wanaaring (right before the sunset)
TALKING ABOUT M.
Meeting M. was a moment long sought for. We had tried to call her a few times, unsuccessfully though. A couple of times we had had driven to her farm. She was not there. The gates were locked.
But every try was worth it as we discovered when we met M. the first time.
AT THE GOONERY
Entrance to the Goonery farm (under clear blue skies)
Reaching M’s house was quite an adventure, as recent rains made access to the barracks really tricky.
A hundred metres drive from the gate and we turn a sharp left. A large muddy pond spreads in front of us right from the middle of the road. At the other end of the pond a white car is bogged into the mud all the way up to the windows.
Rare occasions of flood in the area
We drive carefully on the edge of the muddy waters and continue on for a few hundred metres on bare dirt road. All around us there are old vehicles, rusty engines, metal scraps, and piles of useless wires.
I’m beginning to think of snakes hiding between all this strange gathering of disregarded stuff. Apart from snakes, rats also come to my mind. And that is terrifying.
As we get closer to the house, everything becomes even more cluttered. Old tanks, water pumps from old times, rusty trucks, 50 years old or more, make access to M.’s place even more trickier. In the distance I see animal paddocks, few horses running free, and a couple of dogs resting in the shade.
It is so quiet.
M.’s house is hidden behind a tall fence and wild vegetation.
As far as I can see, the house walls are scratched and torn; some of the windows are covered with plastic boards and rugs. It’s sad, painfully sad to watch all these.
We call M. out in lower after some careful thought. Who is this lady of the scraps and what she might look like?
She comes out quickly with a large smile on her face. She looks tall, taller than me at least, small built, with short grey hair.
Her clothes are old and torn. Grey patches cover the holes in her over sized jeans. The collar of a once yellow shirt is revealed and I can’t decide if it’s actually dirty or grey from too much use:
She had surgery. Then went to Dubbo to help a friend who was struggling with cancer.
I’m watching her talk quickly with large gestures and continuous smiles. Her happy demeanour is contagious and I begin to love her, despite previous concerns. I feel no pity for her, no sadness for this life she chose. I only love her because she is nothing but light and full-on positive energy. And she is humble and eager to help.
She is the master of what she chose to be.
THE PAINTING OF "QUEEN MAGG"
The memory of M. remained fresh in my mind for many weeks. I didn’t know what to do with what I had seen at the Goonery. I didn’t know if it was sadness, or bravery, or illness what I had seen. All these were with me, tearing me apart, until I decided to paint M., to give her a new life, a life on my own terms.
I cut through the bare scene of red empty sands and placed inside a merry garden of flowers, as M. deserves. Between such flowers I gave life to a new M., to “Queen Magg”.
I threw the torn grey clothes away and gave her a magical dress painted in joyful patterns and happy colours. As for the eyes, the tired empty eyes I met at the Goonery, I wanted to give them life too. I wanted them to shine, to share hope, and share love. I wanted her to be remembered as she deserves: as a queen.
"Queen Magg", painting by Christine Onward. Description and other details are Here
Disclaimer: none of the photos used in this article belong to the Goonery (except for the entrance at the farm). The name of the described character was hidden to protect her privacy. Apart from that, the story is real and presented through my own lenses. If you feel you need to know more, please send an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Short video about the painting is uploaded on: https://www.instagram.com/christine.onward/?hl=en
Rocking the World – Australian Artists Making Their Mark in the World of Painted Rocks 4
The Indigenous art of Australia is considered to be the oldest unbroken tradition of art in the world.
Some Indigenous rock art paintings are estimated to be around 40,000 years old. They are located in the Pilbara Region and Olary district of South Australia.
Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley, Western Australia could be the oldest in the world. More details HERE
Original Aboriginal rock art "Dinuni" by Biripi artist Russel Saunders OAM
ROCKING THE WORLD – Australian Artists Making their Mark in the World of Painted Rocks
There are a great number of extraordinary Australian rock artists whose talent and expertise have reached the farthest and widest corners of the world. For all their hard work and passion I can only show my respect and gratitude. However, in this article I am only aiming at talking about five of the many Australian artists whose work I greatly admire:
ELSPETH MCLEAN – ETHEREAL TOUCH OF COLOURS
The critically acclaimed rock painting artist, Elspeth McLean of Perth - Australia has been known to create some of the most vibrant and hypnotic designs. In the last years her original approach to rock painting has made the greatest impact onto the rock art community worldwide.
What I mostly admire about Elspeth’s work is not only the extraordinary dotting skills she never fails to amaze us with, but also the array of colours she puts together to create positive moods. In her art I find energy, passion, strength, and motivation to overcome all things that come with life.
KARIN GETAZ – FLUID EMOTIONS IN BRILLIANT HUES
From the Australian Tropics in the far North of Queensland - Australia, Karin Getaz has been “conquering” the world of painted rocks with mesmerizing elliptical constructions and other harmonious dot designs.
I am always in awe of how, with the graceful movements of her brush, Karin creates romantic moods. It is art that allows emotions to flow hypnotically with colours and invite you to dream.
Art of fluid emotions and brilliant colours by Karin Getaz | Instagram |
TAMMY WARD – LOVABLE, "AWKWARD", AND FUN
Tammy Ward is an artist with an inexhaustible energy to create and offer joy to the world. The electrifying colours she uses as well as her brilliant imagination and attention to detail have attracted a considerable amount of attention in our community of rock painters. Tammy’s flamboyant pirates, dragons, the beautiful owls and bright fish are some of the most sought after rock collectibles in the world! If you travel to Queensland, Australia make sure you take a moment to visit some of the local markets in Gladstone or Hervey Bay to see her joyful works of art.
Fun art in electrifying colours by artist Tammy Ward at Awkward Art Painted Rocks | Facebook | Instagram |
SCOTT DODSON – ROCKS WITH WHIMSICAL TEMPER
What I mostly admire about Scott’s rocks is that you can always expect them to talk to you!
His exquisite rock art will charm you with its energy, originality, and youth. You will find in Scott’s rock collection some of the most dazzling characters: mummies, werewolves, scary clowns, the bewitching gnomes and so on. With bright blocks of colours, Scott’s rocks are given different personalities; some will smile at you, some will challenge you with endearing looks.They will all make you love them. This is what Scott brings magically to the world: life on rocks.
JAN SINGLETON – LOVE FOR ALL LIVING THINGS
Jan is an amazingly skilled artist who has never failed to depict the most adorable animals on rocks! Her talent and passion for everything she creates is more than captivating. There are so many rocks to love in Jan’s collection: little dogs and cats, owls, hippos, seals, panda bears and so many others! Just have a look and smile.
CHRISTINE ONWARD - ROCKS OF "THE DIAMOND"As for me, I owe it all to Diamond Beach in Australia. I lived there for nearly three years and I am grateful for each day I went to the beach just to find the most amazing rocks in the most beautiful shapes in colours. These rocks have changed my life into what I am now: a passionate admirer and creator of art on rocks.
I hope you enjoyed my invitation to know some of the Australian rock artists I love. If you too live and create art on rocks in Australia, please let me know. I would love to continue the series with a new set of artist from our country. Thank you.
MASTERS OF OUR DAYS - YVETTE BIEDERMANN. Realm of Happy Rocks 3
The Land of Living Rocks
- Welcome to Switzerland -
For this week's ROCK ART SNAPSHOT, I am really honoured and grateful to have obtained the consent to feature the wonderful work of outstanding artist Yvette Biedermann.
I've never looked at Yvette's work without admiration as I'm sure so have you. She has this extraordinary gift of painting animals as if they were real: smiling at you, watching you, talking to you, making you love them, and wish nothing but to hug them!
The techniques she masters so exquisitely, the warmth of her rocks' presence, as well as the quality of photographs that depict her art, made me rank Yvette among THE MOST TALENTED AND INFLUENTIAL rock artists of our times.
With the following selection I am only hoping to open a door for you; and through this door I am inviting you to take a step into the happy world where Yvette's cats, dogs, and owls come to life from mere rocks. Isn't that amazing!
YVETTE'S WORLD OF HAPPY CATS
In case you thought there are no rock cats, you are mistaken!
These cats - as photographed from reality as they may appear - have taken the artist years of practice and long hours of hard work to come to life. And if they smile at you like this, it is only because the artist has put her heart and soul to make that happen.
TRY NOT TO WANT TO HUG THEM
Yvette's painted dogs on rocks are not only wonderful depictions of shapes and colours. To my endless joy, the artist manages to capture in her paintings a large array of emotions too:
STUNNING MESSENGERS OF GOOD NEWS
Out of all the rocks Yvette has so skillfully painted, I was also enchanted by her painted owls. I was impressed by how they were depicted in delicate shapes and harmonious colours. I also loved the way Yvette displays them in these original wood stands, as if to add even more life to what she creates:
I hope you fell in love with every piece of art Yvette has created as much as I have since meeting her. It is artists like Yvette that INSPIRE US and help us grow. And for this we can only be grateful that they are in this world for us too.
This is an article written by Christine Onward with the consent of the artist.
*Each Wednesday an artist and their works of art will be selected and presented to you in a few lines and images. If you want to be the next artist featured on our blog, please drop a message on email@example.com.
THE IMPERFECTLY PERFECT IN ART- Sussi Louise Smith talking about growth, colours, and passions of life 4
If I was only allowed to use one word to describe Sussi Louise's art, it would be the word INSPIRING. There are a thousand other words in my heart to use, of course (happy, bright, cheerful, unique, moving, ...) but it does seem to me that INSPIRING includes them all. That is because every time I see Sussi's works, I want to be like her: I want to be a ray of sunshine, despite all the rain; I want to be a song of colours, and I want to give others smiles, just like she does.
Today my greatest hope is that you feel inspired by Sussi's sparkling personality and her extraordinary artwork too. And when you do, allow your heart a smile. She painted it for YOU.
The wonderful Sussi:
"I have been painting and illustrating for almost 30 years.
I developed this particular style through a dream I had while I was expecting my first baby.
I have synaesthesia, which, to a certain extent, means "a mixing of the senses". For me it means that I read really fast and in vibrations; that's why I worked in academia for many many years.
For my art however it is extra special because sounds have colours and colours have sounds and emotions. My energy has colours and vibration, my emotions can have light and smells. It may sound weird, but it makes total sense. Really, it does!
"Reading in wintertime is like having chocolate after a long walk". Find these rocks at The Grove Bookshop Ilkley where Sussi is campaigning for the encouragement of children to read more
Synaesthesia also means that I am very sensitive to signals and energy therefore these are what I usually paint.
I have a saying that my soul paints through my musical heart and hands. And very often, this is true: I look at things I have painted and I think: "Wauaw that is nice, I wish I could paint like that!"
I paint because my soul tells me to, but really, I am a writer and a helper. For now I just happen to write in colours.
I believe that I can make a difference by caring. I care: I care about you. Me. The ecosystem and the wind. I am a lover not a hater.
When I was caring for my dying parents and my husband with cancer (he is still with us, thank God), I found out that by painting next to them they felt happier. And in the hospitals and hospices other patients felt the same.
Colours and shapes for happy times. Original design by Sussi Louise Smith | Facebook | Instagram | Website |
I started to exhibit in medical practices. They would contact me and I would ask what they were specialising in. Based on that, I would then tune the artwork into that community of practice.
I also have a travelling mini-exhibition that helps people who need a smile and dream themselves in my worlds for a while. They can have the paintings on their walls for up to six months.
Something very important about me is that about three years ago I made a pledge to the Action for Happiness Organisation: to paint for smiles and not because I want to get rich (not that I wouldn't like to have some more money). Just to let things flow out of my hands and hear what the heart has to say.
In this way my hashtag #sussishappyartproject has reached from Hawaii to Australia, from Iceland to South Africa and from young children to 97 year olds. I have painted pebbles for gravestones and Christening. I write stories for autistic children and grown-ups with depression. If that's not being blessed I don't know what is.
I have lots of training as an artist but no formal education, apart from a year in college, when I was 22 and I was studying to be a teacher. I have taken courses in all kinds of styles and techniques. However, for me my truest voice is the Naïvism. It's where I feel the light at its brightest.
The main mediums I use are watercolour and acrylics on paper and canvas. I also paint on stones and walls, porcelain, and fabrics; basically anything.
For some reason my stone stories are very popular and I really appreciate this. Clients tell me a story about themselves or the person they love. Sometimes they send me pictures and I proceed with painting their story on a stone. And that is such a beautiful honour for me. The grace and divine love they show for their loved ones and the fact that they entrust me with painting it really make me the luckiest girl alive!
The personal expression of my art is so true, so raw, so deep. And it is eternally grateful. So who cares if my rocks are not perfect?
They are IMPERFECTLY PERFECT " :
If you enjoyed her story, do follow Sussi on Instagram HERE. You will experience the fun, the colours, the warmth of all she does, GUARANTEED.
Sussi and I are welcoming your comments in the section below. Also you can make inquiries or add info on: firstname.lastname@example.org.