Art Models 10: A Review

I have been a member of Posespace.com for almost three years. I found the site while searching online for reference images for my anatomy drawing practises, and fell in love with the site from day one. The site provides high resolution images of nude models for artists; you can purchase and download individual poses, or get their books in digital and/or printed form, which offer beautiful and varied selections of images from their many models and pose collections.

This year, they offered artists and bloggers to review their upcoming book, Art Models 10; I jumped right at the opportunity, and was so fortunate to be chosen by Douglas Johnson, the site’s editor, to be one of the reviewers. I hope this makes very clear that I was NOT paid in any way to do this review in any way, and that I do not get any share from the sales of this book. I was a user and lover of this site before this review, and this is a totally honest opinion – you will never, ever, see paid sponsor reviews on my blog!

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Reference images are a true treasure for an artist, no matter which style they belong to, or which technique they use. Reference images bring true life to a drawing or a painting – when you’ve been drawing for many years, you can clearly see which artists use reference pictures, and which just invent their way through the painting. When drawing only from memory, characters look stiff and lifeless, usually standing in stereotyped poses that communicate nothing.

The best solution, of course, it is to hire models and photograph them, or to attend classes with live models – but this is an ideal situation, and more often than not, a not very realistic solution for many artists. Hiring and photographing models takes money, time, and photographic material and skills. Classes with live models are not available everywhere, artists may have a full time job that keeps them from attending them, or they may be a financial sacrifice that not everyone can make. Just so, artists with any kind of disability may find these solutions extremely problematic.

Art Models 10 (and the whole offer of Posespace.com) offers an affordable and extremely easy to use solution. The images of Art Models 10 are tasteful, inspiring, extremely detailed, and made clearly with making the artist’s work easier in mind. For a beginner, these poses are the perfect solution for more natural and powerful art; for the experienced, it is a perfect reference library that is always at reach. The images include many full body poses, plus extra chapters for head and hand/feet poses, which I think would make excellent drawing practises, even for the most experienced.

The fact that they are royalty free is also extremely relevant for the artist, as most times galleries, contests, and exhibitions, will not allow to show or sell work that contains copyright infringement of any kind. Not having to worry about this at all makes our work so much easier, and again, it shows how much the artist’s needs are always taken into consideration. Unless you are an artist, you will not believe how many hours we can spend searching for the right references, so the usefulness of this ebook, and of the whole site, is really invaluable.

I think that comic artists, fantasy artists and Pagan artists could benefit greatly from purchasing this book, no matter their level of expertise. There is a great variety of ages, races and body types, and I can see a lot of the images being used for great illustrations and comic scenes, as well as many that could inspire beautiful paintings in more classical styles – the balance between the modern poses and the more conventional, established ones is really remarkable.

The book also includes a chapter written by artist Butch Krieger that beginners will find particularly useful, as it is focused on working with the pictures in the book to improve drawing, shading, modelling and composition, as well as directions on using a grid. As a completely self-taught artist, I cannot stress enough how important these kind of exercises are for improving your skills, and how much benefit they can bring. You can be sure that I use these methods all the time!

Links:    Posespace.com   ·    Art Models 10  ·  Facebook Page

My Art Website: In The Garden Of Spirits  ·  Facebook Page

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Talking To An Artist: A Short Reflection

Garden Harvest, my latest watercolour work.

Personally, I would never get offended by it, and I know that when people say it, it comes from a place of true admiration, but when you talk to an artist, you should avoid the words “talent”, “blessing”, “gifted”, or anything similar.
 
Why? Because there is no such thing. Good art is always the result of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice, and nothing more. There is absolutely no gift, no talent, no blessing – actually, it is quite a frustrating profession, specially when it comes to selling and promoting it. When you talk about gifts, you are erasing the hard work, the many years of practise, the sacrifice of devoting time and money to your art when everyone around you is enjoying their weekends, their holidays, their time off.
 
In what applies to me, I am doing my art on top of managing my own business at Bruja Carolina (and being the only income bringer at my home), on top of a chronic illness, and being completely self-taught. As I said, you would never offend me with such a compliment, because I am a big girl and I completely understand where it comes from, so this is not a rant or a complain – but I will not deny that I would much rather hear other kind of comments.
 
Don’t tell me I’m good, because I know that already, and I don’t care if it sounds prideful, because I have many reasons to be proud, all cited above. And, to be honest, compliments should be for the art, not for me
Tell me what the art makes you feel. Tell me what it brings to YOU, what it inspires and wakes up in you when you see it. Tell me what the painting is telling you, not what you think I want to hear.
 
And AGAIN – always, always, thank you for your comments and support. That DOES matter. A LOT. <3 <3 <3

After a morning epiphany during my meditation time, I worked my witchy ass off all day to give a huge turnaround at my art website. I realized that since I see no difference between the many manifestations of my art, and that I believe them all to come from the same source, they should all share the same space, and the same importance. I invite you to visit it, and enjoy the new galleries – plenty of magical, herbal, artsy eye candy!

http://carolinagonzalezart.weebly.com/

 

Happy Valentine’s Day: On Love Spells

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As every year, just as Valentine’s Day comes, some people like to sit in a very high horse, and point fingers from there, telling everyone how wrong both practitiones and customers are for doing (or asking for) love spells. Personally, I care very little about this kind of Internet debates, so do not take this article as my reply to them: this post is for my customers, so they can understand which is my position on this.

First, I do not judge my customers’ desires, because God* did not put me in this world to judge. I am not nearly as wise, as all-seeing, as to pretend that I can judge anyone’s choices, so I just don’t. Whether if I personally think my customers will be granted their request or not, it’s not my FUCKING BUSINESS, because I am not the one who grants them; I am merely the mediator between my customers and the Spirit world. I am here to provide a Service, and serve my customers in the way THEY want to be served; I have no guru delusions at all. My personal opinion is, to all effects, irrelevant.

I do not deny, because I am not a “love and light” Bruja, that sometimes the requests are selfish, dominant, and most likely unfair. There are requests that have you thinking “girl, you are going to regret this!” – but again, it is NOT my life, and whatever consequences come from that spell, good or bad, are for the person who requests it, not for me. I do not treat my customers as if they were children – it is their work to understand what they are buying, and what they are requesting, and not mine. My customers are empowered people, they know what they want from life, and my work is to help them get exactly what they want, being a communicator with the Spirits that can help them get there – again, I do not play guru.

Second, the scenario is not nearly as terrible as these people want to make you think – yes, there are some seriously deranged people (as there are in every profession and area of life), but the truth is that I have done thousands (literally) of spells that helped couples solve their differences and find communication; that helped then find the “spice” back and empowered their intimate life; that removed blocks of interference from outside the relationship, and allowed them to move forward together; that helped people who lived far from each other come closer. When it comes to love spells, most people have nothing but good intentions in their hearts; couples can go through temendous stress, through terrible misunderstandings, and we all need a little magic sometimes when the shit has hit the fan. None of us is free from making huge mistakes, or from falling in love with someone who has made a huge mistake. In my opinion, it is very prideful to say “I will never do this kind of magic” because we never know the circumstances we will face in this life, and how desperately we will need help from the Spirits. I was born with very little privileges, so whatever is essential in my life, I have every right to defend it to the very end, and I will. And, the truth that applies for me, applies for all those I work with.

And, before I finish, let me add something – if doing love spells doesn’t adhere to your beliefs for whatever reasons, FINE. As I said at the beginning of this post, this is not a debate for me, and as long as you don’t go around pointing fingers, I will ALWAYS respect your decision AND your religious beliefs. But, not all religions work that way – love spells, both binding and non-binding, are a completely common practise in many religions of the African Diaspora, and in plenty of other cultures around the world. In my religion (Espiritismo), there is no such thing as the Three-Fold law, OR as Hell, OR as Karma, and we are not fearing any kind of repercussions, from God or from the Magic itself. We are free to perform Magic as we see fit, and we are free to live our life as we see fit – if we make wrong choices, we face the consequences, just as everyone; but that is not something we see as an unbreakable magical law, that is just life.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

*I do not adhere to a specific concept of what, and who, God is. For me, the only meaning of the word is “the source of Energy that is above the Spirits”, but I do not add any more qualities to that energy. Insert whatever you want there, male or female, one or many, all-powerful or not.

A Final Note – feel free to comment, but keep your religious bigotry away. Comments telling me I’m going to hell, that I’m breaking this or that law, or anything like that, will simply not be approved. I’m really not interested, so don’t waste your time and mine.

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

Social Networks:  Facebook   ·  Twitter  ·   Tumblr ·   Google+  ·  Flickr

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New Ebook Available: Santa Muerte Business Spell

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This 18 page PDF file includes all the information necessary to perform a spell with Santa Muerte. This spell is intended to help business owners and independent professionals increase business at all levels. It can be repeated as many times as needed, and the materials are easy to find and inexpensive. The ritual is simple, and can be made in the privacy of your home and at your own pace; no previous knowledge of spellwork is required.

My husband and I designed this spell for someone who is beginning her journey as a Santa Muerte devotee – It is, of course, deeply rooted in the practises of Curanderismo, but has been simplified so that practitioners of any spiritual path, and at any level of learning, can perform it.

During this process, I wrote all the notes that I have used to build this ebook, and that will help you understand the process fully, specially if this is your first work with Santa Muerte. May it bring you all success!

It includes plenty of original photographs for additional information, plus two printable pages for your Magical Journal, featuring the prayer that is used in the ritual, in both Spanish and English.

You can find it on the link below. Only 7,50$!

http://www.brujacarolina.com/product/new-ebook-santa-muerte-business-spell

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

Social Networks:  Facebook   ·  Twitter  ·   Tumblr ·   Google+  ·  Flickr

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Spiritual Work: Channeling

Today, and in a completely unexpected way, I had one of the most powerful Spiritual experiences I have had in a long time. Following a hunch after receiving an email from a friend, I asked her to have a chat to check on her situation. The hunch was right – she was going through an extremely difficult time, and not only that, she was finding it very difficult to gather the energy to respond to the conflicts in her life.

I was mostly listening, and trying to comfort her. We know each other very well, and have helped each other numerous times through almost a decade, so as we chatted I could feel her Spirits, her Deities, calling my attention and wanting to communicate – and, since being the channel for Spiritual Light is my job in this world, I let them talk. She is an experienced practitioner too, so she felt the change immediately, and let me know that she was feeling a very strong wave of energy too.

For me, it is very difficult to describe what happened from there on, because I was making every effort to be able to type while I was channeling, something that is way more difficult than it seems; I didn’t even notice that, at some point while trying to convey the energy and message of the Spirit, her internet connection failed, and while she could read my messages, I was not getting her answers. She literally was forced to listen until the message was finished, and when it did, the connection went back to normal.

I will not give any details of the message itself, because that is only for her, but through the entire episode of channeling, I could only feel the tremendous, undescribable wave of total love and acceptance her Spirits have for her. I know for a fact of her unbreakable devotion to her path and her Gods (beginners, take note of this), so I was not surprised by their presence; but still, the feeling of their love passing through me was like being bathed in something golden, warm, filled with light… that I can only describe as Spiritual Honey, and that maybe it is what others call ecstasy, or vision.

My heart broke as I thought If only people knew how much Spirits love them…nobody would be so afraid, so lost. They would be invincible.

My friend is a very articulate lady, so after the Channeling ended, and as I was getting a cup of coffee to, let’s say, come back down to earth, I asked her to write a couple of pragraphs about her experience. Channeling is very different for the medium than it is for the receiver of the message, at every level, and we were only chatting (no camera or sound, just typing) so I knew it would be extremely interesting to know her side of the experience. Going through strong emotions, and it really shows, this is what she wrote:

“As hard as it is to put an experience like this in words, I will try. The surge of power is something to be reckoned with as it even disrupted the internet connection and electronics for a while. You don’t just hear or see the message sent, you *feel* it and you feel it deeply within you and that’s what makes all the difference. It feels like an enormous weight has been lifted and I felt energetic shackles quite literally be broken.

It’s not just that you see things clearly, you feel everything in the deepest part of your soul. Words can even become superfluous as you *feel* everything, like suddenly being submerged into another world and having all senses open at the same time. It sounds like it’s overwhelming but it’s not that. Blissful is the only word I can come close to use that would describe it. Like having a giant hole in your soul filled all of a sudden with love and bliss. You’re left feeling clarity, strength, comfort and peace, and power surging through your veins.”

I would like to add something – I do not do this as a Service, and I don’t train Mediums online, so please do not ask for it. When it comes to this kind of channeling, the Spirits choose who, how, and when, so this is not something I do on request, or for money. This is something extremely personal too, and it requires a previous and close relationship with the recipient of the channeling; as much as I appreciate every one of my customers, that is simply not possible.

Just so, I have remarked my friend’s devotion because it matters greatly; she has done her work, it is HER merit, effort and sacrifice. Her Spirits only chose a vehicle (me) to deliver the message – I am just an efficient tool. My only merit is my constant effort to be that efficient tool, but the relationship was hers, and was there for decades. I have said this a million times already, but this is not about me or my “powers”, because I don’t have any; this is about the Spirits, and about how they love you.

This is an example that should also warn you against unscrupulous practitioners that claim that can tell you who are your Spirit Guides, or your Orisha (!), or whatever entities are around you. It just doesn’t work that way, and although this would be a subject for another whole blog post, it is actually a very dangerous thing. The Spirits that she is devoted to came to show their love, to give her strength and self-affirmation, because she truly needed it, and because there was a previous connection between her, me, and the Spirits – not because of her request.

After several hours, a couple cups of coffee and a nap, I’m still shaken and moved, so grateful for this experience. This affects me too, it always does, no matter how many years I’ve been doing this. A trace of the Spirit’s Light is still within me, shining and filling me with the most loving energy.  And when I got up today, I thought it would be a normal day!

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

Social Networks:  Facebook   ·  Twitter  ·   Tumblr ·   Google+  ·  Flickr

Winter Rose: A Simple, Natural Beauty Tonic

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In our islands, roses are a brief winter delight. This morning, Fernando brought me some wild roses – they were already wilting because of the very cold night we had, so I decided to make a skin tonic before they were gone.

This tonic is formulated to smooth, clean, and revitalize your skin. It does not matter which skin type you have, and it can be used in your entire body if you want to.

I get extremely dry skin in the winter, and because of fibromyalgia I am very prone to itchy skin in any season, and this always works beautifully for me. Of course, you don’t need to have any skin problem to use it – a healthy skin is very important for good health, and cleaning it + feeding it will always make you feel and look better. Here’s the recipe:

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In a salad bowl or similar, mix the following ingredients:

· Rose petals (one handful if dry, two handfuls if fresh) – Roses smooth the skin, improves skin circulation, and help removing blemishes.

Note – please notice that they must be wild roses, or from any place where you are sure that they are not loaded with chemicals. Usually, flower store roses are, so avoid them.

· Honey (a teaspoon) – It is antibiotic, so it helps with clogged and infected pores, adds elasticity, and heals small wounds.

Note – the more pure the honey, the better. Avoid supermarket honey and get honey from a local beekeper if possible.

· Calendula Petals ( one handful if dry, two handfuls if fresh). Heals and strengthens the skin at all levels, reduces inflammation and alleviates discomfort.

· Lavender Flowers (around a dozen flowers if fresh, two teaspoons of flowers if dry, no leaves). Disinfects skin and helps healing acne, rashes, cold bites, etc.

· A slice of Lemon. Removes excess oils gently and disinfects skin.

Put all ingredients together in the bowl, and pour about two glasses of boiling hot water over them. Cover and let sit until the tonic is back at room temperature, strain and keep in a sterilized jar.

Use it as soon as possible, preferably that same day. To apply, soak a ball of cotton, and dab the skin gently and generously. You can just let it dry on the skin, but if you put too much honey and it feels sticky when dry, just wash the skin with warm water only. You can repeat the treatment several times during the day, or in different body areas. You can keep it refrigerated for 3-4 days, but not more.

And Witches – remember intention! While preparing your tonic, concentrate on healing, restoration, wellness, health, vibrancy, beauty, and anything you relate to the ingredients of the tonic, and to what you want to get from it. Of course, if you work with any deity or Spirit that patronages any of these qualities, you can do the work under their presence, or ask them to bless the tonic as you make it. Magic becomes a million times more powerful when you make it yours!

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

Social Networks:  Facebook   ·  Twitter  ·   Tumblr ·   Google+  ·  Flickr

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Prosperity Work With Saint Pancras

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Financially, January is a tough month for businesses and buyers alike – after the holidays’ excesses, everyone is broke and those of us who are independent workers are definitely among those who suffer the consequences of such excesses the most. Also, today is also the end of the latest Mercury Retrograde period – so, to make the best of the forward flow of energy this will bring, and give a little free magical advice for improving your finances, I decided to make a special offering to Saint Pancras, one of the Saints that’s traditionally linked to prosperity.

· Take a nice plate, and place a layer of brown sugar on it. Sugar is an essential food for Spirits, and in Prosperity Magic, represents abundance coming easily and “sweetly”. Nobody wants their money to come through the pain or loss of another.

· Over the sugar, forming a circle around the outer edge, add thin slices of lemon, as many as you need to make the full circle. Lemon cleanses and purifies, so our abundance doesn’t come from “dirty” sources, and the slices represent the Sun, bringing protection, strength, and success.

· Over the lemon slices, place fresh parsley and rosemary, in any way you want. Parsley is Saint Pancras’ herb, so it is deeply associated with Prosperity Magic, and so is Rosemary.

· In the center, place a red or green candle. It does not need to be tree-shaped as mine; any type will do. We just got this one from a friend, and here, all special candles go to the Spirits, so this work was a perfect excuse to use it. If you have any Prosperity or Money oils, you can, of course, anoint the candle with them.

· Offer it to Saint Pancras; of course, you do not need to have a statue – Saint Pancras is not deaf, and he will listen to your prayer! You can print an image from the Internet, or simply keep an image open in your phone/computer as you do the work. Or nothing.

Speaking about prayers – I do not use any particular prayer when working with him; I just call him, tell him that the offering is for him, and ask him for what I want with gratefulness and confidence. This work is not a ritual, it’s just simple Prosperity Magic so it does not need any formality – what it needs is trust and love for Saint Pancras.

And – this is VERY important -, if your request is granted, praise Saint Pancras in some way, and consider giving him a permanent place on your altar/sacred space.

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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Urban Gardening: The Garden In January

As every month, here is a new post showing images of our urban magical garden. After a very rainy December (which, even if it makes no sense, it is actually unusual for us), January has woken up sunny and warm, and the plants are just loving it.

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January is a time for planting seeds for us – these two in the picture above is a mixture of sun-tolerant wildflowers, that we plant twice a year to keep bees and other beneficial insects coming to our garden. A very easy and affordable way to make your urban garden happy! These were transplanted together in a bigger pot, where they will grow undisturbed until the end of the summer.

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Above and below, the gorgeous flowers of the Canarian Bellflower, which we grew from a wildharvested cutting three years ago, and that is doing wonderfully in our weather. The flowers are huge, and smell like heaven, similar to the scent of Gardenias – of course, we are carefully saving the flowers as they wilt to be added in Love spells.

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Despite the colder temperatures, this Lavender is blooming in full force. A herb of blessing, cleansing and protection that brings peace to the Spirit.

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A “volunteer” Mallow Plant, always a sign of winter in our landscape. This plant grows everywhere in our area, so the seeds come with the soil we wildharvest. If they’re not disturbing other plants’ growth, I don’t cut them off, since their life cycle is just for the season, and they will be very useful for Love and Protection work.

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Common Sage blooming. Hopefully these flowers will give us a few seeds for next year, although we have had more luck propagating them from woody cuttings. One of the most powerful healing plants of our Curanderismo tradition, for the body and the Spirit.

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And finally, the first bloom of one of our Aloe Africana, which we wildharvested as a tiny plant a couple of years ago. I don’t know if this has any scientific base, but in our Curanderismo tradition, an Aloe plant is not mature enough to be used for healing until it has bloomed for the first time. I can’t wait for the gorgeus orange and red petals to appear.

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

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