Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sentient Speech

Today it occurs to me that the language of the Sentient Beings has to be poetry

Work in Progress:  "Chances of Drowning"

But I argue, "I'm not a poet."  
Well, I'm not a good one.
I don't know what to do.

"A Pigeon Post."

Just sit back
and listen

In progress: "A Hurricane Steed."

So I try it.
And I think, "Yes!  That's how they come to me!"
All I have to do is let the words come to me, just like the pictures.

"Secret Substitute Smell"

You're Still Talking

"City Jackal"

So I sit back.
Two words, that's all.
Just two words.
Over and over.

In Progress: "Fare Well"

Thank You
Thank You
Thank You

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sentient Beings among the Humans

The world of the Sentient Beings has always been here. 

It's just that we don't always see.

The Sentient Beings were in danger of becoming invisible to all.  Jackal turned himself into a man, and tried to convince the people that these beings exist, are all around us.

Jackal can still be recognized by the hole where the moon jumped through him.

When Jackal vanished from the Sentient Scape, the introvert traveled to earth to find him.

It was all quite a mess for awhile.  Most humans mocked Jackal for his outlandish stories, and they could not see the world he pointed out to them.
The Introvert landed in a dark alley far from her intended destination and found herself alone in a hostile world.

And Masquerade knew this was his moment, his one chance to accomplish plans, plans that were born out of greed and fear.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


  1. 1
    a false show or pretense.
    "his masquerade ended when he was arrested"
    synonyms:pretensedeceptionposeactfrontfacadedisguisedissimulationbluff, play-acting, make-believe;
    "he couldn't keep up the masquerade much longer"

  1. 1
    pretend to be someone one is not.
    "a journalist masquerading as a man in distress"
    synonyms:pretend to be, pose as, pass oneself off as, impersonate, disguise oneself as
    "a woman masquerading as a man"

He carries a large machete, and hides his stick behinds his back.

What is he hiding?  And how does he fit in with the sensitive and benevolent Sentient Beings?  This character, "Masquerade" has enough pernicious qualities to make us all worried.  He pretends to be much more dangerous than he is, but he is more dangerous than most.  What stories lie behind the pretense of this creature?  They will unfold, when Masquerade confronts the Jackal about her own secrets.
Masquerade meets Jackal in two lifetimes, once before she has met The Introvert, and once after.  As you can imagine, the results are completely different.  Two identical encounters with vastly different results.  

I hope you are enjoying the story of the Sentient Beings.  This story has no beginning and no end, so you can join in at anytime.

You can also follow the story of Jackal, the Introvert and Masquerade on facebook or Instagram, where I sometimes post as I go along.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Jackal Meets Man

The Sentient Beings: Jackal and the Story of Intuition

Jackal lives her life with few enemies and becomes a trusting soul.

Jackal meets man, and wants to play.

When close, she senses something dangerous, and backs off.  
In another lifetime Jackal was a human.  
She knows the ways of man, but unaware of her memories, she relies on her senses.

Sensing something more, she backs away.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

From Dreaming to Dancing

More Jackal... she is Dancing Jackal, after a long journey via magic arrow.   
During the long and reckless journey she is pierced by the arrow
 and has to land in a canyon where there is no escape. 
Dancing Jackal does not have the patience and reserve that Dreaming Jackal has, 
but she shines like the moon.

          While trapped in the canyon, with only a few hours of sunlight, 
           Dreaming Jackal noticed the light of the moon during the dark night, 
and became greedy for more.
This makes Dreaming Jackal a servant of the moon.

She tried to jump through the moon, but the moon jumped through her.

After the moon jumped through Jackal she glowed all night and hid in a cave all day.
Now she is  trapped in darkness all day long.

Having suffered many days in darkness Jackal became frustrated with the the silence,
and learned to play the rhythms of the moon.

I hope you are enjoying the story of the Sentient Beings.  This story has no beginning and no end, so you can join in at anytime.
These are drawings from my sketchbook; some will be made available as prints on Society6 
at Dawn Patel Art:

You can also follow the story of Jackal on facebook or Instagram, where I post as I go along.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Dreaming Jackal

Before there was Dancing Jackal there was Dreaming Jackal.  He is a playful soul who has lived many lives and taken many forms.  He most remembers his human self, and uses those lessons he learned in his new life as Jackal.  Unlike his human self he takes nothing for granted, and unlike his dancing self, he waits for the perfect moment before jumping in.

The wheels are always turning in his mind, but he is steady like a wolf in his moves.

In his human life he took much for granted, but as Jackal he has learned this can lead to devastaing consequences.
He is wiley like a fox, but he has the heart of an old soul.

Sometimes he wakes from a troubling dream, is he human or is he canine?

Even the troubling dreams have important messages.  Jackal is smart, and he knows to heed his visions.

Each Jackal original miniature painting is for sale for $18 on Dawn Patel Art at

He thinks like a human, he moves like a fox... he hunts like a wolf and he laughs... well no one laughs like Jackal!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Story... no beginning and no end

The story I am telling with the Sentient Beings has no beginning and no end.  
It started sometime... perhaps when I was sleeping.  
It will end sometime... in a future that doesn't exist yet.  
So, like I said, it has no beginning and no end.  Jump in whenever you like.

The Seer.  In his youth he is a runner and a reacher.

The Seer is a Visionary with a third eye in his forehead, which makes him embarrassed and confused.  After all he is not living in a mythical land of Eastern Gods, but rather South Dakota.  At least for now.  He is not sure how he got there and he is certain he doesn't belong.  He has visions, but he doesn't take the time to see them clearly, he just reaches for relief and runs away from his fears.  So... in his youth he is always running and reaching.  I guess you can say at least he's moving forward... but at this rate who knows where to?  He could really end up going in circles if he doesn't slow down.

The Seer, in her old Age.  A cloud covers her third eye.

The funny thing about Sentient Beings, they exist in different realms, times and forms all at once.  While the Young Seer is busy sprinting to who knows where, the Old Seer is unable to use her wings and fly, and she is unable to use that third eye, because it's covered with a cloud.  Her life was hard, and her vision was clouded by pain, loss and disappointment.  She stopped seeing the visions when she started to only see the hardship in her life.

Eagle Eye see through the layers of existence.  

Just when you started to lose hope... in comes Eagle Eye.  She is a shapeshifting spirit who comes and goes from our lonely Seer's life to reveal a deeper truth.  Hopefully to shed some vision on the visionary so he can start using that extra eyeball and not become a hopeless old lady.  Eagle Eye flies above all the realms and sees through the many layers of existence.  Most of use see one, or maybe two layers, but Eagle Eye has seen so many he has lost count.  For awhile she thought there were 13, but she's realized it just keeps going and going and going....

What has Eagle Eye learned that can help poor Seer?  At the moment that's a mystery, because although Eagle Eye can see, he can't speak.  So... I guess they will all have to find another way to communicate.

Stay tuned... some more characters are on the way to help explain all this.  Infinity and Tree are not far behind.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Cast of Characters

You have already been introduced to The Introvert... here in his traveling form.

The Sentient Beings are a cast of characters I have been developing for years, I guess I can say my entire life.  They are all coming to life, together!  I am introducing you to a few more today.

Meet Grandfather Hummingbird

Grandfather's hummingbird, like the write E.B. White, has a conflict of interests.  "I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have a hell of a good time.  Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult." (quote by White)
White knew some really interesting Sentient Beings himself, I hope Grandfather Hummingbird can do them justice.

The Snake Spirit appears in many forms, here are two: The Anhinga, also known as Snake Bird and the Winding Vine.
The Snake Spirit is a misunderstood character, but the Introverts know his true intent, because Introverts pay attention to the little things and are never swayed by a mob mentality.

Luna Bear dreams all day and runs through the forest at night.

Luna Bear is a dreamer.  He also has a fierce and protective nature with a gentle and nuturing spirit.  Spirit Bear sometimes fools people into thinking he's a scary beast, but he has to do that to protect the innocent ones who can't always protect themselves.

 Many fear what they don't understand.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sentient Beings: The Introvert

The Sentient Beings Sketchbook

At the side of my bed I have a little sketchbook I have titled "Sentient Beings."  The characters that come to me are from another world.  Some might call it the imagination, and some might call it another dimension.  I haven't named it.  But the beings are named "sentient" because I believe every living thing possesses a sentience that we as human beings are too quick to dismiss.

One of hundreds of my quick sketches of Sentient Beings
I believe there is a quality in all things, called sentience, an ability to experience sensations.  This is an argument for an approach to life in which all things require respect and care.

The Introvert.  He is the first Sentient Being I am developing into a character, using paintings and stories. 

So, I have decided to treat my own Sentient Beings with the care and respect they deserve by letting them develop into characters and be a part of a story.  I'm letting them lead.  I'm starting with one character and letting the story develop in its own.  The first character is The Introvert.

The Introvert travels between dimensions in a small world of his own, but it is full of treasures.

The Introvert is very self contained, and therefore able to travel easily between worlds.  He carries with him a rich existence, but is often tempted to stay there, in his little self contained world, because he has everything he needs.  Almost.

The Introvert is Duckling

When he first ventures from his safe little world of his imagination, he lands in a world with lots of water.  And he is Duckling.  He has bright orange galoshes and tiny wings.  His galoshes give him courage and his wings, although small and unformed, give him hope.  With this he ventures out, slowly....

Stay tuned.  We can find out what happens together.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


With an election looming it's hard not to think about values.  We are bombarded by ads which presume an emotional connection to our values that will override our commonsense and analytical processes.  Reading the news, scrolling through the Facebook feed, listening to the radio,  I hear many kneejerk reactions that reveal an underlying assumption: that we should expect to see our Values reflected in the world around us.  And when we don't we should be outraged, and look for someone to blame.

This leads me to wonder... how many of us actually live a life according to those values?  And how many sculpt our values to fit nicely into our life?  And what do we do when they (our values and our lives)  change?
When I was young I valued idealism.  Often my idealism prevented my from listening.  Life lessons have revealed a destructive side to that value. While Martin Luther King was idealistic, so was Adolf Hitler. (I can only hope it is obvious to the reader that one accomplished constructive change and the other didn't)  It is our human qualities, lessons and actions that take idealism on a path to constructive or destructive ends.

When I was young, the dramatic contrasts defined my values.  As I age, varying shades of gray color not only my hair but also my perceptions of the world.

The Grays:
Bill Withers, in the documentary "Still Bill" said this (more or less, I am quoting from memory) "What I hope for before I die is to accept everything"  His wisdom, and his beautiful music, takes my breath away

Yes, love.  Not the Romantic kind we fall for in the movies, but the simple, uneventful love that grows with daily care.

What I have struggled with so much on my forties... taking responsibility for your own life and resisting the urge to judge or blame.  It's work, but I think it is the only way to grow.  Every action we take not only defines us, it sculpts us into who we will be tomorrow.


Real change happens, but it's so slow we often don't notice it.  So we complain, give up and excuse ourselves.  Along with responsibility, this one has been the biggest lesson of my forties. Patience truly is a virtue, and by taking a breath and letting things unfold we can learn to treat our lives, and the world, with a more careful touch.

This one was a challenge for me.  I try to be nice to everyone and I aim to please.  In learning to assert my own personal boundaries I have also learned to respect others.  A greater sense of self is not equivalent to selfishness, but rather strength and real confidence.

Which leads me to the Center of the gray scale....
Trust (also known as faith)
Learning to accept and take responsibility for my life has given me a greater love, for myself and the people in my life, and patience, when we all don't live up to my ideals.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What's in a Hand?

Lately I've been pushing myself to focus.  I love to paint, of that I am sure.  But in the process of establishing a career for myself as an artist I have to also think practically,  and focusing both the style and the content of my work is necessary.

What I love most about the creative process is starting with the unknown.

As I work through the process of finding a focus to my work in this moment I have several things to think about: materials, markmaking and style, palette and content.  The problem with my love for image making is that I love creating in many styles, many palettes and a full range of materials.  Content, for me, is an easier place to start.

Certain symbols show up over and over again.  I have spent years depicting hands.

I know I can count on nature,  animals, plants, and human figures (in particular eyes, hearts and HANDS) to provide me with plenty of symbolic meaning.  So much so that each one deserves its own thesis.  Let's take Hands....

If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush... what about a soul?

I can't take any credit here.  The hand is one of the most commonly symbolized parts of the human body.  According to Aristotle, the hand is the "tool of tools.  It can communicate more concisely and definitely more universally than our voice ever could.   Throughout the world hands hold meanings, both specific and general:  Hamsa hand, Milagro hand, Helping hand, Hand of power, Eye in Hand... a more universal and powerful symbol is hard to find.

Hands heal, they also carry, point, grip, release, shelter, wave, gesture and punch.  They can offer assistance and they can do great damage.  In my own musings over humanity and the natural world I often see the hand as a symbol of technology, the human impact on the natural world.  It is a part of nature that has severed itself from its source.  What good is a hand is severed from its body?  What good are we when severed from nature?  These questions present themselves as I work, and I work to understand the answers.

By working with a symbol over and over again I develop my own personal encyclopedia of meanings.

Despite its frequent use in art and culture, I choose the human hand as an important symbol in my work.  I know I will return to it again and again and it will continue to evolve in my visual vocabulary, because I now have a very personal relationship with the symbol and its meaning.  

What's in a hand?  A Universe of meaning.

All paintings and painted stones are available at Dawn Patel Art on etsy.  Prints and printed merchandise available at Dawn Patel Art on Society6.

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