Category Archives: Artist Spotlight

Art for Life

Colors. Images. Words. Art can be a very personal expression. Having beautiful art in our homes and work spaces can serve as a focal point of calm during chaotic times or ignite passion in us to move into action. Art can be a reminder of who we are or who we strive to become.

At Amber Lotus Publishing, we are fortunate to be able to spend our time contemplating art – discussing, researching, and discovering. Art that we hope will infuse clarity, joy, and inspiration into our calendars. When we develop our calendars, we fall in love with the art and the message. It’s exciting to create a story for the year to mark our journey around the sun – one month at a time. Twelve pieces of art in celebration of that journey or to be touchstones along the way.

We are honored to work with a host of extraordinary artists, illustrators, photographers, writers, and thinkers. Here is a bit more about just three of them:

The Mindful Art of Thich Nhat Hanh 2018 wall calendar

Click to see more images from the 2018 calendar.

Thich Nhat Hanh
New for 2018, The Mindful Art of Thich Nhat Hanh wall calendar features the Zen calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hanh – affectionately known as Thay (“teacher”). His work is a joyful, fluid expression of his artistry and a timeless interpretation of Buddha’s teachings. Thay uses the calligraphy as a meditation; his hand and the brush merge to become one. Each serene stroke conveys a sense of mindfulness, energy, and love. With his calligraphy, Thay invites you to breathe in, to bring your mind back to your body, and to be present in the moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh has dedicated his life to the art of mindful living. Born in 1926, this Vietnamese Buddhist monk, scholar, poet, artist, peace activist, and prolific author is a beloved and revered global spiritual leader. His powerful teachings and best-selling books have reached an audience of millions around the world. For more than fifty years, Thich Nhat Hanh has been a pioneer of “Engaged” or “Applied” Buddhism, which applies ancient Buddhist wisdom to contemporary issues. He teaches that only through living in the present moment can we approach peacefulness – in ourselves and in the world. Now known as the “Father of Mindfulness,” he is the man Martin Luther King called “an apostle of peace and nonviolence.”

Celtic Mandala 2018 wall calendar

Click to see more images from the 2018 calendar.

Jen Delyth
The Celtic Mandala wall calendar presents the magical knot weavings of Welsh artist Jen Delyth. Jen’s intricate paintings and illustrations are founded in her deep connection to her Celtic heritage and are a personal journey into the language of ancient Celtic mythology and symbolism. In its 16th year of printing, this wall calendar is a beloved bestseller.

Inspired by the spirit in nature, Jen’s artwork appeals to those who seek meaningful, profound images that express deep and essential aspects of the Celtic tradition. This tradition has its own ancient roots in the cultures of Neolithic and Paleolithic peoples who came before them. It continues to evolve and is – most important to many today – a living tradition.

Jen elaborates, “Although I am not affiliated with any particular branch of Celtic spirituality, my work often focuses on an expression of my deep love and respect of nature and all its mystery. The Celtic tradition expresses a wealth of wisdom and understanding of the natural world – of plants and animals and also the inner world of active imagination and our psyche. Working with the patterns, sacred images, and myths of the ancient Celts renews my connection between the past and the present, the inside and the outside, the seen and the unseen – life in all its mystery and interconnectedness, through art and story.”

Spirit Horses 2018 wall calendar

Click to see more images from the 2018 calendar.

Tony Stromberg
The gorgeous Spirit Horses wall calendar features extraordinary portraits of horses, both wild and domestic, by renowned photographer Tony Stromberg. Each luminous image is paired with quotes from great teachers and writers exploring equine wisdom and the love of these magnificent creatures.

For more than two decades, Tony Stromberg made his mark as a successful advertising photographer. Yet a quiet but gnawing voice eventually drew him out of his commercial roots and deep into the soul of the West. What he had gained in reputation he felt he was losing in quality of life. Just before the turn of the millennium, he began his pilgrimage away from the frenetic world of advertising and into a world possessing a respect for nature and the land. Since then, he has spent much of his time learning the nuances of his most beloved equine companions in their natural environment. “The spirit of the horse,” says Stromberg, “is a magnificent teacher to humanity.”

Our most enduring companions, horses teach us about honesty and authenticity because they know no other way of being. They teach us about collaboration over dominance. And they teach us to respect and honor the unknown as opposed to fearing it and trying to destroy it. In both their physical and archetypal forms, horses help bring us back to something wild and unrestrained, reminding us of a sense of freedom many have forgotten.

About Amber Lotus Publishing — We Plant Trees!
Based in Portland, Oregon, Amber Lotus Publishing is proud to be a carbon-negative independent publisher with a dedication to environmental stewardship. As of December 2016, Amber Lotus Publishing had funded the planting of 650,000 trees.

Amber Lotus has been a Gold Certified Green America member since 1993. Green America certifies businesses that are committed to using business as a platform for social change. Green businesses adopt principles, policies, and practices that improve the quality of life for their customers, employees, communities, and the planet.

Today our team is an extended family of ten people, including a martial artist, a jazz singer, bibliophiles, musicians, writers, belly dancers, gardeners, bicycle enthusiasts, plus a whole host of talented, creative, inspiring contributors. We strive to consistently offer products that are authentic and distinctive to bring you a sense of the eternal by nurturing your heart, renewing your soul, and expanding your mind.


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Artist Spotlight — Geninne D Zlatkis

We’re thrilled to welcome Geninne D Zlatkis to our family of contributing artists for our 2017 line of calendars. Geninne’s delightful folk art–inspired illustrations will set your spirit aloft throughout the year. She combines stamping, collage, watercolor, and a bold use of color and texture to create the charming birds featured in our Feathered Friends 2017 wall calendar.

Feathered Friends 2017 wall calendar by Geninne D Zlatkis

Geninne is an artist, illustrator, and graphic designer. She lives in the high desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico, at 7,000 feet above sea level with her husband, Manolo, their two sons, and an adorable Red Heeler mix named Zorro. She was born in New York, but shortly after her birth, her parents began traveling around South America, where she lived in seven different countries and attended several English-language schools. After studying architecture in Chile for a couple of years, she moved to Mexico City and switched her focus to art. Geninne works in a variety of media, including watercolor, ink, and pencil. She also sews and embroiders and loves to hand-carve rubber stamps. Prints of her watercolors can be found at her online Etsy shop. And she shares gorgeous images of her work and her home in the desert on Instagram. So many cute images of Zorro ❤️


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Artist Spotlight — Kevin Horan: Goats as Philosophers

We’re excited to welcome Kevin Horan to our family of contributors! Kevin’s goat portraits have been winning the hearts of many and have been featured in The Washington Post, Treehugger, and The Huffington Post. We love the thoughtful quality of these beautiful images. Weaving the portraits together with quotes from philosophers from the ages seemed like a natural fit to create the I Am Goat wall calendar.

I Am Goat wall calendarHere’s an excerpt from Bleating Hearts Will Love These Soulful Portraits Of Goats by Maddie Crum of The Huffington Post:

A subject sits for the camera. His eyes are forlorn, his expression sorrowful. His long ears, covered in fur. A few milliseconds later, he’s run off to find food.

As an involved experiment testing the power of portraiture, photographer Kevin Horan decided to start taking pictures of farm animals ― namely, a crew of unruly goats.

“I thought I was going to photograph sheep,” Horan explained in an email with The Huffington Post. “I was originally inspired by the dozen sheep living across the lane from me when we moved to semi-rural Washington State. They greeted me with a whole range of voices, and I wondered if I might be able to make classic studio portraits of the different characters.”

But the sheep proved to be tough subjects. They wouldn’t sit still, and Horan was wary of letting them near his lighting equipment. So, he decided to search for a tamer lot and discovered a goat dairy farm nearby. His new animal subjects were used to sitting still; they were milked twice a day and had grown to be somewhat domesticated because of their frequent human interaction. Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Nicholas Kirsten Honshin: Celebrating Zen Cat

We have the honor of working with Nicholas Kirsten Honshin to produce the Zen Cat series of calendars and greeting cards (as well as his series with Thich Nhat Hanh). In his recent newsletter, Honshin shared stories about his fascinating background and the inspiration for his work. ~Amber Lotus

Zen Cat 2016 wall calendar

Artwork by Nicholas Kirsten Honshin from our Zen Cat 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

“The way of peace is the way of liberation” — Nicholas Kirsten Honshin

The teachings of Nicholas Kirsten Honshin’s internationally-renowned Zen Cat Series are born in awareness and the oneness of existence. They demonstrate the love, peace, and joy that unfold in our hearts as we embrace the sacredness and beauty of all life. This acclaimed series has resulted in his best-selling Zen Cat Wall Calendar, which is a meditation in art and words on the interconnectedness of all life.

Honshin’s art is an expression of his personal journey. The Zen Cat series was born from both childhood experiences with his father in coffeehouses with the Beat Generation and his experiences with many felines – including one who would crawl into his lap as he was reading the Buddhist Sutras.

Daiensai Kuden Bonseki Dojin, Honshin’s father, was a renowned artist and ordained Buddhist Priest whose exhibitions ranged from museums to the walls of Beat Generation coffeehouses. Like the French Impressionist artists of Paris, the Beat writers were a small group of close friends first and a movement later. The core group – Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassidy, and William S. Burroughs – met in the neighborhood surrounding New York’s Columbia University in the mid-40’s. They later migrated to San Francisco, where Gary Synder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, and Lew Welch joined the group, and their focus started to move toward expanding consciousness with Buddhism, Jazz, and Poetry. Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Michael J. Green

We’ve had the pleasure of working with Michael for many years to craft the Celtic Blessings line of gifts and calendars as well as his Illuminated Rumi series. His attention to detail and passion for his art shines through in each of his beautiful works. ~Amber Lotus

Celtic Blessings

Images by Micheal J. Green featured in our Celtic Blessings 2106 wall calendar. Click for more info.

A Word from the Artist
For the first time in human history, we have the entire spread of our species’ cultural achievements easily available. But at the same time we find ourselves curiously rootless – almost weightless – suspended in the strange dream of accelerated time that is our postmodern age. Perhaps it’s a moment of great opportunity, a possibility to reshape – even redefine – ourselves, to re-anchor our souls in those timeless mythologies, tales, and truths where we meet and recognize one another as old, if forgotten, friends.

We are witness today to the emergence of an ancient spiritual vitality into modern affairs. Call it the river of sanity. It comes from the deepest wellsprings of our humanity and moves us into harmony with the natural world and ourselves. It does not contradict scientific thought, but the river offers a profoundly wider way of engaging reality. It is caught rather than taught.

Two great wellsprings of our civilization are the Celtic tradition and the legacy of Christ. And the work here, as it is everywhere in a time of discord, is to bridge, heal, and connect. Let the heart lead; let art follow.

About the Artist
A countercultural revolutionary, author Michael Green has made an eclectic life the foundation of an artistic career. Born in New York in 1943, he received his BA from New York University. He attended film school there before going on to study at the University of São Paulo in Brazil. He joined the legendary Castalia Foundation, worked on germinal light shows with Timothy Leary, and, in the summer of 1967, moved with the group to an area of protected land (essentially a reservation) to experience communal living. Later, Green moved to Pennsylvania to study with the venerable Sufi master Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Tony Stromberg: Spirit Horses

Spirit Horses 2016 wall calendar

Images by Tony Stromberg from our Spirit Horses 2016 wall calendar. Click for more info.

For more than two decades, Tony Stromberg made his mark as a successful advertising photographer. However, a quiet but gnawing voice eventually drew Stromberg out of his commercial roots and deep into the soul of the West. What he had gained in reputation he felt he was losing in quality of life. Just before the turn of the millennium, he began his pilgrimage away from the frenetic world of advertising and into a world possessing a respect for nature and the land. Since then, he has spent much of his time learning the nuances of his most beloved equine companions in their natural environment. “The spirit of the horse,” says Stromberg, “is a magnificent teacher to humanity.”

In both their physical and archetypal forms, horses help bring us back to something wild and unrestrained, reminding us of a sense of freedom many of us have forgotten. They teach us about honesty and authenticity, because they know no other way of being. They teach us about collaboration over dominance. And they teach us to respect and honor the unknown as opposed to fearing it and trying to destroy it. Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Dietmar Voorwold: Creations In Nature

Land Art creations by Dietmar Voorwold

Images from our Land Art 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

Each year we showcase a different artist in our Land Art wall calendar. The emphasis of using materials from nature and creating installations in nature is consistent among all of these talented artists. But the materials they choose and the themes they explore are as diverse as the splendor of nature itself. Sally J. Smith was our featured artist for 2015, when the calendar explored her ice sculptures, twig architecture, and leaf and flower mandalas. Sally also builds faerie houses for a living!

For 2016 we’re honored to present the work of Dietmar Voorwold, which shows harmonious palettes of light and color and seems to defy gravity. He spends much of his time along the coasts and rivers of northern Scotland, where, sometimes in the course of a single day, nature moves through the spectrum of color, light, and weather, creating a lively spectacle throughout the sky and in the interplay with the earth. “It’s a matter of finding the balance,” he says. “The perfect place, the perfect material, the perfect shape. The right moment. There’s always a chance that the sculpture will collapse, the incoming tide will come too early, the light will change too quickly, a dog will step over my mosaics.” Photography is another important aspect of his art. This is how he freezes a brief moment. The actual installation will be gone within a few days or even minutes, depending on the rhythms of nature. The never-ending coming and going, the creating and letting go, the transitoriness and changeability in nature are charming aspects of his artwork.

In response to the WordPress.com photo challenge, Dietmar’s exquisite sense of balance and observational skills are a sublime example of being Careful. Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Rob Kesseler: Microscopic Photography

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge “Treat,” we’re thrilled to share more from Rob about his fascination with seeds and his process in capturing these stunning images – treats and mysterious wonders of nature. ~ Amber Lotus

Images from our Pollen Seeds Fruit 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

Images from our Pollen Seeds Fruit 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

From childhood, my love of flowers has always been an instinctive response to the sheer diversity of colors and shapes, and I think this is reinforced by the cyclical nature of the way they appear and are transformed throughout the seasons. There is a reassuring regenerative spirit of familiarity to see a tiny shoot emerge from the ground into full-blown blossom, and I never get tired of looking at the annual spring spectacle.

Looking is a somewhat undervalued skill rooted in our primitive needs to identify pattern, form, and shape in order to facilitate secure passage through life. The more intensely we look, the better our cognitive powers to interpret and translate our response into new physical form.

A lens, in both its physical and contextual form, gives a point of focus that enhances clarity of observation and nourishes our vision. It is both the lens of my own eyes and those of the various microscopes I use that nourish my creative drive and provide me with the stimulus to share my passion with others.

Process

The images are created using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). I prepare the specimens by coating them with a micro-fine layer of gold before bombarding them with a beam of electron particles and focusing them through powerful magnets onto a screen. The resulting images have phenomenal resolution at high magnification, anything up to X 10,000. But I often work with larger specimens at low magnification, taking up to fifty shots that are subsequently pieced together in the post-production phase. Continue reading