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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

The Sign of the Star

Do you find certain motifs occurring over and over again in your art? Earlier on my artful path I tried to avoid repeating myself. I thought it evidenced a lack of creativity. But I’ve come to realize these repeating symbols, images, motifs are simply part of my style. They show up so often because they’re important to me, and one of the most important is the sign of the star.

It showed up three time in last year’s Christmas greeting.

And again in this year’s, though it was “off stage.”

I have many more examples, but these are the most recent. My animals look to the star with a sense of amazement, seeking connection to the eternal, peace, and hope, as well as community with everything else on the earth, all that the same star shines on.

Closely related, are images of the moon in all its phases as well as the icy ring around that sometimes forms around it or clouds passing in front of it. And then there’s the night sky filled with stars, shooting stars, the light of the Milky Way, comets, and, at the horizon, the last wisps of color at dawn or dusk as the intense swirling energy of day gives way to the calm of night. (As an aside, I do realize the night is not a time of calm for many animals.)

I’m not a night owl—far from it—so it’s surprising to me that I’m so attached to the night sky. Why isn’t the sun fascinating to me, with its all-important role in life itself? I just don’t know. For me, the night sky with its myriad eternal residents represents constancy, comfort, and hope. It’s tempting to conclude it’s because I was born on the longest night of the year. But I’m not convinced.

A few other motifs demand to appear in my art time after time: spirals, dots, falling leaves, smudges and smears. I like drawing spirals, always from the center outward. Where to stop? Spirals are part of Celtic symbolism and at least part of my heritage. I have nothing to say about dots… I like the light, soft quiet of falling leaves. And smudges and smears bring in little elements of rebellion against what is so often the smoothness and order of the rest of the piece.

So, what are the marks of your style? What symbols, images, marks, words will absolutely not allow you to leave them out?

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