Some months ago I decided I was finally going to order myself one of those DNA kits I have been wanting, just for fun. It was on sale and I researched (by that, I mean one google search😄) to see what is the best company when it comes to privacy and storing of information, and I landed on FamilyTreeDNA. I am no (conspiracy) theorist who thinks they will use my tiny bit of saliva for anything sinister, but still, you never know. Although if they want to clone me or something, that would actually be very practical!
I have always been curious in anthropology, culture and history. I believe people are people no matter where we live or come from, all sharing the same basics in heart and mind, but these relative things can be quite interesting, too! There is so much to learn, and it’s fun to see the connection in cultures, languages and lifestyles.
I received my package, filled out the little form and swabbed my cheeks, one on each side. Next day, I shipped it off to overseas and waited for my results (which took some weeks).
Now, before getting them, I was pretty sure it would say mostly Scandi and some Asian (since the sámi peoples origins come from the East long ago). Perhaps some percentage viking too would be cool, like 25% shieldmaiden, lol..🙌 I was a bit surprised to find that my origins is mostly (69%) Finnish/from Finnoscandia, or more correctly Kven. (All results in pictures on the bottom).
The Kven are an ethnic minority group of people who emigrated from Sweden and Finland to the north of Norway, mostly to Finnmark. I know this after speaking with my mum, learning things which I never knew. A friend of mine also informed me that “finnish” or “Finland” in the DNA results also means “sámi”. So I cannot know exaclty what is sámi and what is finnish, but after reading and watching YouTube videos on the subject, I have come to learn that there seems to be one common trace of ancestry, called uralic.
I have never learned any sámi language, like most other sámis in my generation. (It is estimated only 15% of sámis speak one of the sámi languages, but luckily it is being revived). And obviously never any kven either, although it would be cool to at least hear it being spoken, which I don’t believe I ever have.🙂
Learning all this, I instantly felt more inclined to buy more Moomin stuff, which I believe now is my cultural heritage 😅
Before even starting this list, I know this is going to be a long post. I will not be able to choose just one artwork by each artist, and I want to write what exactly it is about their work which speaks to me and inspires me. Just googling and looking through their work and studying their techniques instantly sparks motivation and awe in me.
Here are the artists:
Nicholas Roerich Thomas Cole K. Hokusai John Savio Eva Harr Robert Gonsalves Theodor Kittelsen The Brothers Hildebrandt Phil Couture
The list is sort of random, except for the one on top. Nicholas Roerich’s artworks are truly some of the best I’ve seen, not only in style and composition but also in the message they convey: often spiritual, mystical and religious themes combined with amazing landscapes and colour combinations.
Short trivia: Roerich (1874-1947) was a Russian painter, philospher and archeaologist. Founder of Agni Yoga or Living Ethics/Teaching of Life with his wife, Helena. He did a five year long ‘expedition’ to Asia, which in his own words were: “from Sikkim through Punjab, Kashmir, Ladakh, the Karakoram Mountains, Khotan, Kashgar, Qara Shar, Urumchi, Irtysh, the Altai Mountains, the Oyrot region of Mongolia, the Central Gobi, Kansu, Tsaidam, and Tibet”, which immensely influenced his works.
During his life, he lived both in Russia, Finland, England, India and USA.
Besides the recognition as one of the greatest Russian painters, Roerich’s most notable achievement during his lifetime was the Roerich Pact (the Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments) signed April 1935 by the representatives of American states in the Oval Office of the White House. It was the first international treaty signed in the Oval Office.
There is a museum in New York displaying 150 of his works- which I would love to visit 🙂
Fun fact: The minor planet 4426 Roerich in the Solar System was named in honor of Nicholas Roerich.
Here are some of his best works, in my opinion (Sources: Google and the Roerich museum website)
As you can probably guess, my favourite kind of art is landscapes; mountains and rivers, skies and horizons. Thomas Cole’s work is very realistic and typical for the romantic era, but also carries a sort of spiritual vibe to them as he often implemented celestial beings such as angels. He is exceptionally good at perspective and composition, as you can see in the works below – and the details are amazing.
Short trivia: Thomas Cole (1801-1811) was born in England, but moved to the United states when he was 17 with his family. He is known for his amazing landscape paintings of the American wilderness, and was mostly self taught, studying other artists’ work and reading books.
In 1842, Cole embarked on a grand tour of Europe in an effort to study in the style of the Old Masters and to paint its scenery. Most striking to Cole was Europe’s tallest active volcano, Mount Etna. Cole was so moved by the volcano’s beauty that he produced several sketches and at least six paintings of it.
Fun fact: The fourth highest peak in the Catskills (where he and his wife lived) is named Thomas Cole Mountain in his honor.
I struggled choosing a limited amount of Cole’s paintings because he has so many good ones. I chose four of the absolute best ones, in my opinion, where the two first ones are part of a four series of paintings called The Ages of Life.
(Sources: google and Wikipedia)
Amid those scenes of solitude… the mind is cast into the contemplation of eternal things.
I love Japanese art. Although kind of typical Japanese in style, Hokusai still has his own expression, and I like the use of so many colours. He also has a lot of movement in his works, making them come alive. Just look at that wave 🙂
Short trivia: Hokusai (approx. 1760-1849), was a Japanese painter and woodblock print maker.
Hokusai had a long career, but he produced most of his important work after age 60. His most popular work is the ukiyo-e series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which was created between 1826 and 1833. It consists of 46 prints.
Hokusai was never in one place for long. He found cleaning distasteful, and instead, he allowed dirt and grime to build up in his studio until the place became unbearable and then simply moved out. The artist changed residences over 90 times throughout his life.
During a Tokyo festival in 1804, he created a portrait of the Buddhist priest Daruma said to be 600 feet (180 m) long using a broom and buckets full of ink. Another story places him in the court of the Shogun Iyenari, invited there to compete with another artist who practiced more traditional brush stroke painting. Hokusai’s painting, created in front of the Shogun, consisted of painting a blue curve on paper, then chasing a chicken across it whose feet had been dipped in red paint. He described the painting to the Shogun as a landscape showing the Tatsuta River with red maple leaves floating in it, winning the competition.
The artist also had difficulty settling on a single moniker. Although changing one’s name was customary among Japanese artists at this time, Hokusai took the practice even further with a new artist name roughly each decade. Together with his numerous informal pseudonyms, the printmaker claimed more than 30 names in total (!)
His tombstone bears his final name, Gakyo Rojin Manji, which translates to “Old Man Mad about Painting.”
Fun fact: Claude Monet acquired 23 of the Japanese artist’s prints.
(Sources: katsushikahokusai.org, artsy.net, google and wikipedia)
The only Sámi artist on my list, and the best one 🙂 I snuck him on there despite him not mainly being a painter, but also doing lithography. This summer, I went to see his original artworks at the Savio museum in Kirkenes, my mother’s hometown. Most of his art has arctic inspired themes; reindeers, the Sámi peoples way of life, and the wilderness (vidda).
Short trivia: John Andreas Savio (1902-1938) from Bugøyfjord, was the first sámi artist to get his own exhibition at the National Gallery (Norway). He also exhibited some of his works in Paris in 1937.
Savio grew up as an orphan and died at age 36.
I was lucky enough to visit Eva Harr’s gallery in Reine, Lofoten this autumn, and got to see her original works up close. Her style is realistic combined with a fiction-like feeling; it could be a real place she has painted, but it could also be a made-up dreamy landscape. She’s good at combining elements, such as rocks, and I like how she is able to make many of her paintings look hazy.
Short trivia: Harr (1951) is a Norwegian painter, born in Harstad. She has her own gallery as mentioned, and many of her works are displayed in other museums around Norway. Her own words about her art:
“Jeg har en meditativ holdning til mitt arbeide, der naturens syklus alltid står i fokus. Døgnets ulike stemninger, lyset og mørket, nattens begynnelse og slutt – og ikke minst månen med sin mektige symbolikk og innvirkning på våre liv. Symbolene jeg finner i naturen er ofte universelle og sterkt ladet. Dette velger jeg å utforske og fordype meg i. Mitt landskap er et indre landskap, og er metafor på mine indre reiser. Jeg vil speile naturen, og dens viktige plass i våre liv. Jeg blir berørt av dette uforutsigbare som preger vår tid, uro og støy som truer vår natur. Dette preger mitt blikk, og er underliggende i mitt valg av motiv. Samtidig ser jeg klart at lysets skiftninger og landskapet i nord, er en veldig viktig inspirasjonskilde.”
from her own website, evaharr.no
Some of her amazing works (Sources: google and her website)
Four years ago, I came across one of Gonsalves’ paintings (the first one below) and it reminded me of a meditation experience I had had. So I checked out more of his works, and found so many more that I liked. Style: surrealism (or magic realism) and optical illusions.
Short trivia: Rob Gonsalves (1959-2017), also known as The Master of illusion, was a architect and painter from Ontario, Canada. His works were very much influenced by other surrealist artists, such as Dalí and Escher. He also published several books containing his works. Sadly, Gonsalves took his own life last year. Check out this webpage if you want to see more of his mindbending artworks.
(Sources: wikipedia and google)
One of the most famous and beloved artists in Norway. You have probably seen his works even if you don’t know it. His art reminds me of childhood, as he made illustrations to many of the big Norwegian fairytales, lores and legends. I wish I had more of Kittelsen’s art, but I have been so fortunate to get my hands on five vintage porcelain plates (for hanging on the wall) with his drawings on them, and one giclée print of “White Bear King Valemon”.
Short trivia: Theodor Severin Kittelsen (1857-1914) was a Norwegian illustrator and painter born in Kragerø. He has also written and published several poems. He came from a poor family with seven siblings, and his father died when Theodor was only 11 years old. This forced him to get out and get a job as an apprentice, which inevitably lead him to meet art historian Diderich Aall, who saw how gifted the boy was. Aall decided to pay for his art education.
In 1874, 17 years old, Kittelsen attended Wilhelm von Hannos drawing school in Christiania (now Oslo). In 1876, he travelled to München, to study at the royal art academy there.
Kittelsen’s depiction of trolls have largely shaped how people see these beloved fictional creatures.
His family’s home at Lauvlia is today a museum. Some of his most popular works were made here. His wife Inga was a stay-at-home teacher for their nine children and she organised his exhibitions.
Th. Kittelsen also composed an eerie book with illustrations about the Black Death.
Despite being very talented, Kittelsen never achieved financial security through his works.
(Sources: wikipedia, google and theodorkittelsen.no)
The Brothers Hildebrandt
When I was a kid, I used to flick through my dad’s art books and magazines, and I specifically remember seeing fantasy paintings. Fantasy is a very unique genre, and I love how skillful you have to be with your brush to make good fantasy art. Tim and Greg Hildebrandt are two of these.
Short trivia: Greg and Tim Hildebrandt, known as the Brothers Hildebrandt (born January 23, 1939), are American twin brothers who worked collaboratively as fantasy and science fiction artists for many years. They produced illustrations for comic books, movie posters, children’s books, posters, novels, calendars, advertisements, and trading cards. Tim Hildebrandt died on June 11, 2006.
They began painting professionally in 1959 as the Brothers Hildebrandt. The brothers both held an ambition to work as animators for Walt Disney, and although they never realized this dream, their work was heavily influenced by illustration style of Disney feature films such as Snow White, Pinnochio and Fantasia.
An oil painting artist I discovered last year on Etsy. As mentioned above, I like Asian art, and also fine art, so Phil Couture’s oil portraits of geishas really deserved a place on my list. I ordered one of his prints not long ago. Style: realism.
Short trivia: Philippe Couture was born in Drummondville, Canada in 1984, raised in Lakeland, Florida, and currently resides in Kyoto, Japan. He has been drawing and painting his entire life and Phil’s art education was primarily self-taught. His training consisted of drawing and painting from life, studying masterpieces in museums around the world, and employing exercises taught by classical ateliers. – from his own website.
Noen blinkskudd fra årets Riddu Riddu-festival i Manndalen! Herrefred, kor æ kosa mæ 😀 Topp fem mest minneverdige øyeblikk fra festivalen:
1. Tyva Kyzy – et tuvansk strupesanggruppe. Fikk sett de hele 3 ganga; en intimkonsert i en yurta, en gang på hovedscenen og enda en gang under frivilligfesten.
2. DJ Shub + Classic Roots, de spilte på fredagen (sjanger: pow wow dub). Du kan sjekke ut en av de beste sangene her.
3. Møte med andre urkulturer.
4. Koselige stunder rundt bål.
5. Alle de vakre koftene som var å se.
Jeg elsker å sy klær, og tenker stadig på nye design som jeg vil prøve å lage, både fra scratch, men også av klær jeg allerede eier og vil re-designe. Problemet har bare vært dette med å finne nok tid og energi til å faktisk få det gjort. Men dette neste prosjektet jeg nå skal begynne på, betyr såpass mye for meg og bare tanken på å starte gjør meg glad! Så jeg har all tro på at det kommer til å bli bra og at jeg blir å både ha det gøy og få utfordre meg ‘litt’… Det blir et nokså stort prosjekt, faktisk det største syprosjektet jeg noen gang har begitt meg ut på. Jeg skal nemlig endelig sy min egen gákti! Altså samekofte😊 Jeg har aldri eid hverken bunad eller gákti, så gleder meg veldig til å endelig kunne stolt gå med min helt egen håndsydde (Loppa/Alta)kofte, som ikke bare vil være et symbol på min tilhørighet til mine samiske røtter, men også en veldig personlig og skreddersydd kreasjon, da jeg også blir å blande inn andre elementer som betyr noe for meg.
Jeg driver å bestiller materialer jeg trenger for å komme i gang, men sliter litt med å finne ut hvilken hovedfarge jeg skal gå for. Jeg tror det står mellom kongeblå, vinrød eller mørkegrønn, men da jeg sjekka ut hvilken andre farger som også er mulig, ble det nesten for mye å velge mellom 😂 Har alltid tenkt at blå er finest og det er jo favorittfargen, men er litt i tvil nå. Vi får se hva jeg lander på!
(Bilder fra google)
Anyway.. jeg satt å snek litt rundt på Etsy.com etter tilbehør, og kom over denne gamle vintage beltespennen fra Tibet som jeg bare måtte bestille. Som sagt ønsker jeg å blande inn litt andre elementer, da spesielt buddhistiske og muligens viking-inspirerte symboler.
Jeg skal ikke si med hundre prosent sikkerhet at det faktisk er en beltespenne, men det er iallfall det jeg skal bruke den til. Den er formet som en vajra (betyr diamant på sanskrit), og har både blå og røde perler som pynt – noe jeg syns er veldig fascinerende; hvordan de nøyaktig samme fargene ofte går igjen i forskjellige kulturer, da spesielt blå, rød, gul og grønn.
Planen var å få ferdig dette prosjektet til årets Riddu Riddu-festival, men det ser ut til at det var litt vel ambisiøst.. Plutselig er vi én uke uti juli, og festivalen starter om 3 dager! Så da er den nye planen å få den ferdig til 6. februar 😉
Some books I 1) have read and loved, 2) plan to read and 3) am currently reading 🙂
* Stones to Shatter the Stainless mirror: The fearless teachings of Tilopa to Naropa:
Excerpt from the book: “…I suppose that is the secret and the point of this Vision. In every situation, there is the relative view; where there are others and a world to serve with loving-kindness, compassion and generosity. And there is also the Ultimate view; where there are no others and no world. Only the mind of clear light, manifesting in the various illusions.”
This book really hit home for me; it’s easy to read, is filled with wisdom but also some funny parts that I could recognize from my own path. It’s written in a way that shows Naropa’s own point of view and the hardships he went through to humble himself enough to receive the teachings of Tilopa. Also, there are some direct “pointers to the moon” by Tilopa at the very end of the book.
* The Life of Milarepa
“It presents a quest for purification and buddhahood in a single lifetime, tracing the path of a great sinner who became a great saint. It is also a powerfully evocative narrative, full of magic, miracles, suspense, and humor, while reflecting the religious and social life of medieval Tibet.”
I have heard this book three times on audio, and it actually only gets better each time. The words are collected and written down by Tsangnyön Heruka (“The madman Heruka from Tsang”), and tells the story of Milarepa‘s physical and spiritual journey towards enlightenment. It’s written in quite a humorous way, I think, and has been very inspirational for me. Actually planning on hearing/reading it again very soon!
* White Lotus: An explanation of the Seven Line prayer to Guru Padmasambhava
“Mipham Rinpoche’s famous explanation of the Seven Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche. In this remarkable text the author explains the Seven Line Prayer in the context and application of the main practices of the Nyingma school, including Trekchö and Tögal in an exceptionally clear and accessible manner. ”
* Lady of the Lotus-born: The life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal
“This classical text is not only a biography but also an inspiring example of how the Buddha’s teaching can be put into practice. Lady of the Lotus-Born interweaves profound Buddhist teachings with a colorful narrative that includes episodes of adventure, court intrigue, and personal searching.”
I ordered this book from Amazon about a week ago; patiently waiting for it to drop into my mail box! I have been fascinated by, and feel very close to, Yeshe Tsogyal for the last 6 months or so, so am very excited to start reading this book. I normally order books to my Kindle app, but there is something very nice about having the book physically in your hands too 🙂 Especially if you are in a coffee shop reading, which I often do.
* Sky Dancer: The secret life and songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyal
Another book on Yeshe Tsogyal. Not much on this book when I google it, but still seems worth reading and easy to order for my Kindle app. The cover shows a picture of Vajrayogini/Naljorma – one of Yeshe Tsogyal’s aspects.
* The Life of Longchenpa: The Omniscient Dharma King of the Vast Expanse
“Compiled from numerous Tibetan and Bhutanese sources, including Longchenpa’s autobiography and stories of his previous lives and subsequent rebirths, The Life of Longchenpa weaves an inspiring and captivating tale of wonder and magic, of extraordinary visions and spiritual insight, set in the kingdoms of fourteenth-century Tibet and Bhutan. It also reveals for the first time fascinating details of his ten years of self-exile in Bhutan, stories that were unknown to his Tibetan biographers.”
Since I loved The Life of Milarepa so much, I have been looking for more biographies on spiritual teachers to read, and stumbled upon this one on Longchenpa, a teacher from the Nyingma lineage. These kinds of biographies seems to be very inspiring and motivational for my own path, and I just generally enjoy reading about other people’s path, and the way they deal with hardships and challenges. Still have not ordered this one, but it’s on my list!
* The Heart of Compassion: The thirty seven verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva
“What would be the practical implications of caring more about others than about yourself? This is the radical theme of this extraordinary set of instructions, a training manual composed in the fourteenth century by the Buddhist hermit Ngulchu Thogme, here explained in detail by one of the great Tibetan Buddhist masters of the twentieth century, Dilgo Khyentse.”
Only just started on this one, think I am on page 4. I have been meaning to read Dilgo Khyentse’s autobiography Brilliant Moon for some time, but then I stumbled upon this book instead and will finish this before I start on the other. Dilgo Khyentse is by far one of the most inspirational buddhist teachers I know of, so looking forward to see if I like this text.
* Wild Ivy: The spiritual autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin
“Hakuin Zenji (1689-1769) is a towering figure in Japanese Zen. A fiery and dynamic teacher and renowned artist, he reformed the Zen Rinzai tradition, which had fallen into stagnation and decline in his time, revitalizing it and ensuring its survival even to our own day. Hakuin emphasized the importance of zazen, or sitting meditation, and is also known for his skillful use of koans as a means to insight.”
I am, unfortunately, a very slow reader and have spent a few months on this book, but I really do like it and plan on finishing it. It’s filled with personal accounts of Hakuin and also some lovely calligraphy paintings.
* More than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory
As the title implies, this is a book about polyamory. As a person who is relatively new to this kind of relationship structure, I thought I could use some pointers. Only read the introduction so far, but it seems promising.
If you have any books to recommend, please do not hesitate to comment or link it to me 😀
Wishing every one of you a peaceful and humble end of 2017. May the new year be a year where we share more kindness, empathy and practice compassion for each other. -Wow, that sounded like a cliché. But I mean it 🙂
Today is vintersolverv, the shortest day of the year – the sun “turns” and it’s only one month left of the polar night.
For me, 2017 has been a year with so many ups and downs, I don’t even know where to start. But it has also been filled with much love, romance, friendship, good memories, creativity and I have learned a lot about what I want for myself – but not in a selfish way. I have just come more in touch with my own wishes for my life, and where I want to go from here.
I have always, as long as I can remember, had a fascination for asian style art and clothing. When I was 12 I had two beautiful dresses like this, one in blue and one in red, which I unfortunately don’t fit anymore. Silk is of course not stretchy, so last week I treated myself to buy a new Chinese dress, and I found this black and red vintage dress on Etsy, and it was not expensive at all. Buying clothes online is always a gamble, but it fit perfectly and I love the length of the slits on each side. I don’t have a lot of occasions to wear dresses like this to, so I will probably just wear it as an everyday-dress, even though it looks a bit over the top for that. Oh, well. At least I feel good in it!