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Work Samples

Gatekeeper (2020)

The inspiration for this piece came from my reflections on the sacred role of wisdom keepers through the ages.
“Gatekeeper,” mixed media, 12”x12” (2020). The inspiration for this piece came from my reflections on the sacred role of wisdom keepers through the ages. These wisdom keepers, often solitary but singular individuals in the community, serve as the essential conduit through which certain specialized knowledge is stored and accessed for the benefit of all.

Within This Infinite Moment (2021)

This piece encompasses a year's exploration into mindfulness.
"Within This Infinite Moment," mixed media, 16"x16" (2021). This piece encompasses a year's exploration into mindfulness. Engaging in regular mindfulness practices that ground me into the present has helped me attune to my own now and appreciate each moment, even the challenging ones, as an opportunity to deepen my connection with myself and the world around me.

Her Greatest Gift (2020)

When we examine the balance we see in nature, we find that it is based in the act of both giving and receiving, of finding mutual benefit in reciprocity.
“Her Greatest Gift,” mixed media, 12”x12” (2020). Earth herself offered the inspiration for this piece. When we examine the balance we see in nature, we find that it is based in the act of both giving and receiving, of finding mutual benefit in reciprocity. In the context of COVID-19, humans can draw on inspiration from natural patterns: rather than withholding support and acting solely out of self-interest, the best path to survival is to support one another and work together to create solutions.

Her Glorious Design (2020)

This piece came into being as the world was reacting to the spread of the pandemic in late March.
“Her Glorious Design,” mixed media, 12”x12” (2020). This piece came into being as the world was reacting to the spread of the pandemic in late March. Humanity was collectively reacting to COVID-19 with fear, panic, and disbelief. Connecting all continents through myriad blood-vessel-like networks, “Her Glorious Design” alludes to the shared, albeit disparate, experience of all of humanity during these difficult times.

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About Summer

Baltimore City

Summer Blake (she/her) is a self-taught artist living and creating in Baltimore. Her use of bold color and striking imagery creates a dynamic punch of energy which pulls the viewer in to explore the complexity and fine detail contained within her art. Summer endeavors to inspire her viewers toward empowerment and growth. The intricacy and complexity of her art encourage the viewer to look closely, reflect deeply, and stay fully present. When we take the time to be present, to attune to even the... more

Within This Infinite Moment

"Within This Infinite Moment" encompasses a year's exploration into mindfulness. Engaging in regular mindfulness practices that ground me into the present has helped me attune to my own now and appreciate each moment, even the challenging ones, as an opportunity to deepen my connection with myself and the world around me. These practices have given rise to insights which I have endeavored to communicate through this piece.

The rising phoenix communicates that we are both dying and being reborn in each moment. The water flowing from the outstretched hands alludes to opening to a state of flow rather than operating from a state of resistance: if we open to letting go of what no longer serves, and to receiving whatever life has to offer, we move more smoothly through its currents. As the ouroboros swallows its tail, so too does each moment recede into the event horizon of what is to come.

Each moment births new selves, new ways of being. And each moment is endlessly complex, endlessly vibrant, endlessly captivating.

Each moment is infinite, but the only moment we ever have is now.

Within This Infinite Moment (2021)
Pen and watercolor on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 16"x16"

  • Within This Infinite Moment

    "Within This Infinite Moment" encompasses a year's exploration into mindfulness.
    "Within This Infinite Moment" encompasses a year's exploration into mindfulness. Engaging in regular mindfulness practices that ground me into the present has helped me attune to my own now and appreciate each moment, even the challenging ones, as an opportunity to deepen my connection with myself and the world around me. These practices have given rise to insights which I have endeavored to communicate through this piece.
  • Within This Infinite Moment (detail)

    "Within This Infinite Moment" encompasses a year's exploration into mindfulness.
    "Within This Infinite Moment" encompasses a year's exploration into mindfulness. Engaging in regular mindfulness practices that ground me into the present has helped me attune to my own now and appreciate each moment, even the challenging ones, as an opportunity to deepen my connection with myself and the world around me. These practices have given rise to insights which I have endeavored to communicate through this piece.

Individual as Collective

The works of art featured in this series each contain an individual (or pair of individuals) who serves as the focal point. The intention, however, is not to isolate this central figure but rather to emphasize their connection to the surrounding microcosm, creating a dialogue of reciprocity and communication wherein each element reinforces and informs the others. The resulting narrative is one of union, with each part flowing into and forming the greater whole.

Gatekeeper (2020)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 12"x12"

Her Greatest Gift (2020)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 12"x12"

Alchemista (2020)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 12"x12"

Green Medicine (2020)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 12"x12"

Yab Yum (2019)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 13"x17"

  • Gatekeeper

    The inspiration for this piece came from my reflections on the sacred role of wisdom keepers through the ages. These wisdom keepers, often solitary but singular individuals in the community, serve as the essential conduit through which certain specialized knowledge is stored and accessed for the benefit of all.
  • Gatekeeper (detail)

    The inspiration for this piece came from my reflections on the sacred role of wisdom keepers through the ages. These wisdom keepers, often solitary but singular individuals in the community, serve as the essential conduit through which certain specialized knowledge is stored and accessed for the benefit of all.
  • Her Greatest Gift

    Earth's greatest gift lies in the interconnectedness of the web of all her living beings.
    Earth's greatest gift lies in the interconnectedness of the web of all her living beings. When we closely examine the balance in nature, we see that each organism participates in both giving and receiving, fundamentally acting in reciprocity. This is contrary to the current human paradigm, which is premised upon a delusion of separateness. Rather than acting solely out of self-interest, the best path to survival is to support one another and work together to create solutions.
  • Her Greatest Gift (detail)

    Earth's greatest gift lies in the interconnectedness of the web of all her living beings. When we closely examine the balance in nature, we see that each organism participates in both giving and receiving, fundamentally acting in reciprocity. This is contrary to the current human paradigm, which is premised upon a delusion of separateness. Rather than acting solely out of self-interest, the best path to survival is to support one another and work together to create solutions.
  • Alchemista

    "Alchemista" captures the ineffable beauty of personal transformation – even the parts that we find difficult to love.
    This piece illustrates the process of spiritual alchemy, in which an individual undergoes a process of transformation through intense self-examination. Each part of this process is sacred. Examining the ugliest parts of ourselves, accepting them with love, and releasing what no longer serves us, is incredibly difficult, but vital to our growth process. "Alchemista" captures the ineffable beauty of personal transformation – even the parts that we find difficult to love.
  • Alchemista (detail)

    "Alchemista" captures the ineffable beauty of personal transformation – even the parts that we find difficult to love.
    This piece illustrates the process of spiritual alchemy, in which an individual undergoes a process of transformation through intense self-examination. Each part of this process is sacred. Examining the ugliest parts of ourselves, accepting them with love, and releasing what no longer serves us, is incredibly difficult, but vital to our growth process. "Alchemista" captures the ineffable beauty of personal transformation – even the parts that we find difficult to love.
  • Green Medicine

    Depicting Guanyin, the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion, "Green Medicine" embodies inner peace. Dwelling at center, Guanyin gazes serenely at the viewer; the cup before her is overflowing with water. All things appear to be in motion, yet all is still. This piece encourages us to keep our hearts open to life instead of resisting its flow. In this way, we come into alignment with the universe and its profoundly beautiful rhythms and patterns.
  • Green Medicine (detail)

    Depicting Guanyin, the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion, "Green Medicine" embodies inner peace. Dwelling at center, Guanyin gazes serenely at the viewer; the cup before her is overflowing with water. All things appear to be in motion, yet all is still. This piece encourages us to keep our hearts open to life instead of resisting its flow. In this way, we come into alignment with the universe and its profoundly beautiful rhythms and patterns.
  • Yab Yum

    This piece seeks to convey the bliss we experience when we fully accept and integrate all aspects of ourselves.
    In Tibetan Buddhism, the symbolic "yab-yum" pose depicting union between the masculine and the feminine represents an overcoming of the illusion of separation which is believed to be the root cause of suffering. In a world where many individuals are still compelled to fit their complex identities into a rigid gender binary, or restrict their overall self-expression to stay within narrow boundaries of what is acceptable and what isn't, this piece seeks to convey the bliss we experience when we fully accept and integrate all aspects of ourselves.
  • Yab Yum (detail)

    This piece seeks to convey the bliss we experience when we fully accept and integrate all aspects of ourselves.
    In Tibetan Buddhism, the symbolic "yab-yum" pose depicting union between the masculine and the feminine represents an overcoming of the illusion of separation which is believed to be the root cause of suffering. In a world where many individuals are still compelled to fit their complex identities into a rigid gender binary, or restrict their overall self-expression to stay within narrow boundaries of what is acceptable and what isn't, this piece seeks to convey the bliss we experience when we fully accept and integrate all aspects of ourselves.

Collective as Individual

The works of art featured in this series depict dynamic processes which transcend boundaries, space, and/or time. Each piece contains many small parts which flow together to create an encompassing narrative or theme. However, to each viewer, that story is different. Employing familiar mythological figures, geographies, natural cycles, and archetypal symbols, the intention is not to tell the viewer a particular story, but rather to emphasize that to experience art is to experience one’s own story.

One who is like water (2021)
Pen and watercolor on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 12"x12"

Higher Self (2020)
Pen and watercolor on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 16"x16"

Transcendence (2019)
Pen and watercolor on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 16"x16"

Her Glorious Design (2020)
Pen and watercolor on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 12"x12"

The Hidden One (2018)
Pen and watercolor on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 10"x10"

  • One who is like water

    This piece relates to the peace we can achieve when we exist in a state of surrender rather than one of resistance.
    This piece relates to the peace we can achieve when we exist in a state of surrender rather than one of resistance. If we close ourselves off from life by trying to avoid the things we fear, we shut ourselves off from possibility and opportunity. When we open to the flow, when we open to trusting it, life opens like a flower. Water is a recurrent motif in this mandala, emphasizing water's innate ability to move and transform throughout the ecosystem.
  • One who is like water (detail)

    This piece relates to the peace we can achieve when we exist in a state of surrender rather than one of resistance.
    This piece relates to the peace we can achieve when we exist in a state of surrender rather than one of resistance. If we close ourselves off from life by trying to avoid the things we fear, we shut ourselves off from possibility and opportunity. When we open to the flow, when we open to trusting it, life opens like a flower. Water is a recurrent motif in this mandala, emphasizing water's innate ability to move and transform throughout the ecosystem.
  • Higher Self

    The message is to trust in what is to come, and to remember how deeply we are loved.
    “Higher Self” is about moving through a very difficult time in life without knowing who we will become at the end of whatever we are going through. In this piece, an older woman gazes compassionately down at a young woman who is outstretching her arms as if to dive. This represents a future self looking back on a time of incredible growth and healing, at a younger self who was so afraid and so uncertain of her value. The message is to trust in what is to come, and to remember how deeply we are loved.
  • Higher Self (detail)

    The message is to trust in what is to come, and to remember how deeply we are loved.
    “Higher Self” is about moving through a very difficult time in life without knowing who we will become at the end of whatever we are going through. In this piece, an older woman gazes compassionately down at a young woman who is outstretching her arms as if to dive. This represents a future self looking back on a time of incredible growth and healing, at a younger self who was so afraid and so uncertain of her value. The message is to trust in what is to come, and to remember how deeply we are loved.
  • Transcendence

    In the face of great suffering, it is easy to see only the suffering and miss the bigger picture.
    In the face of great suffering, it is easy to see only the suffering and miss the bigger picture. Yet beyond every obstacle lies the potential to learn important lessons about life and move beyond our current state. "Transcendence" is an allusion to our ability to rise beyond a fear-based narrative where we are convinced that we cannot escape our present state of being. By trusting ourselves, and trusting life, we have the ability to transform our paradigm into one of empowerment, and achieve our greatest potential.
  • Transcendence (detail)

    In the face of great suffering, it is easy to see only the suffering and miss the bigger picture.
    In the face of great suffering, it is easy to see only the suffering and miss the bigger picture. Yet beyond every obstacle lies the potential to learn important lessons about life and move beyond our current state. "Transcendence" is an allusion to our ability to rise beyond a fear-based narrative where we are convinced that we cannot escape our present state of being. By trusting ourselves, and trusting life, we have the ability to transform our paradigm into one of empowerment, and achieve our greatest potential.
  • Her Glorious Design

    Even in times of great suffering, there is the opportunity to grow together through our struggles, rather than become divided by them.
    This piece came into being just as the world was reacting to the spread of the pandemic in late March of 2020. Humanity was collectively reacting to COVID-19 with fear, panic, and disbelief. Connecting all continents through myriad blood-vessel-like networks, “Her Glorious Design” alludes to the shared, albeit disparate, experience of all of humanity during these difficult times.
  • Her Glorious Design (detail)

    Even in times of great suffering, there is the opportunity to grow together through our struggles, rather than become divided by them.
    This piece came into being just as the world was reacting to the spread of the pandemic in late March of 2020. Humanity was collectively reacting to COVID-19 with fear, panic, and disbelief. Connecting all continents through myriad blood-vessel-like networks, “Her Glorious Design” alludes to the shared, albeit disparate, experience of all of humanity during these difficult times.
  • The Hidden One

    Amaunet's role as equivocator between life and death is powerful indeed and a reminder of the many subtle, unseen influences that weave together to shape our lives.
    "The Hidden One" contains an array of Ancient Egyptian gods centered around a central goddess, Amaunet, whose name translates to "the female hidden one." Although hidden, Amaunet's role as equivocator between life and death is powerful indeed and a reminder of the many subtle, unseen influences that weave together to shape our lives.
  • The Hidden One (detail)

    Amaunet's role as equivocator between life and death is powerful indeed and a reminder of the many subtle, unseen influences that weave together to shape our lives.
    "The Hidden One" contains an array of Ancient Egyptian gods centered around a central goddess, Amaunet, whose name translates to "the female hidden one." Although hidden, Amaunet's role as equivocator between life and death is powerful indeed and a reminder of the many subtle, unseen influences that weave together to shape our lives.

Abstractions

The works of art featured in these series speak indirectly, leveraging the power of pattern, color, subtle symbol and simple form to communicate their messages.

Thousand-Petal Lotus Brain (2019)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 10"x13"

Remembering (2019)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 12"x12"

Sunflower (2017)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 9"x9"

The Journey Within (2018)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 9"x9"

  • Thousand-Petal Lotus Brain

    "Thousand-Petal" is a study into the bridge between the conscious and subconscious mind.
    This piece was created spontaneously. Rather than trying to engineer the structure of the piece from start to finish, the form emerged organically from moment to moment as I simply allowed the piece to take the direction it wanted to. "Thousand-Petal" is a study into the bridge between the conscious and subconscious mind. Surrendering to the creative urge gives us the opportunity to explore and bear witness to the mysterious depths of our subconscious.
  • Thousand-Petal Lotus Brain (detail)

    This piece was created spontaneously. Rather than trying to engineer the structure of the piece from start to finish, the form emerged organically from moment to moment as I simply allowed the piece to take the direction it wanted to. "Thousand-Petal" is a study into the bridge between the conscious and subconscious mind. Surrendering to the creative urge gives us the opportunity to explore and bear witness to the mysterious depths of our subconscious.
  • Remembering

    My greatest gift to the world is the act of simply being myself.
    Always coming up against my own expectations of who I ought and ought not to be, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself. In the midst of an intense inner conflict, I experienced the sudden and profound realization that my greatest gift to the world is the act of simply being myself. That realization culminated visually in the creation of "Remembering."
  • Remembering (detail)

    My greatest gift to the world is the act of simply being myself.
    Always coming up against my own expectations of who I ought and ought not to be, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself. In the midst of an intense inner conflict, I experienced the sudden and profound realization that my greatest gift to the world is the act of simply being myself. That realization culminated visually in the creation of "Remembering."
  • Sunflower

    "Sunflower" is representative of how love can be the impetus for extraordinary growth.
    This piece came into being through a meditation on a sunflower. Prevalent throughout my meditation was a feeling of empathy with the sunflower's abiding love for the sun. Although rooted to the earth, it raises itself ever higher, growing as tall as it can to be closer to the sun's warmth and radiance. "Sunflower" is representative of how love can be the impetus for extraordinary growth. It also reminds us that perceived physical limitations can serve as the means to unique forms of self-expression.
  • Sunflower (detail)

    "Sunflower" is representative of how love can be the impetus for extraordinary growth.
    This piece came into being through a meditation on a sunflower. Prevalent throughout my meditation was a feeling of empathy with the sunflower's abiding love for the sun. Although rooted to the earth, it raises itself ever higher, growing as tall as it can to be closer to the sun's warmth and radiance. "Sunflower" is representative of how love can be the impetus for extraordinary growth. It also reminds us that perceived physical limitations can serve as the means to unique forms of self-expression.
  • The Journey Within

    "The Journey Within," with its multitudes of layers and labyrinths, alludes to the endless journey toward self-discovery.
    "The Journey Within," with its multitudes of layers and labyrinths, alludes to the endless journey toward self-discovery. There is always another layer; there is always something hidden. Perhaps the greatest source of curiosity is how deep we really go.
  • The Journey Within (detail)

    "The Journey Within," with its multitudes of layers and labyrinths, alludes to the endless journey toward self-discovery.
    "The Journey Within," with its multitudes of layers and labyrinths, alludes to the endless journey toward self-discovery. There is always another layer; there is always something hidden. Perhaps the greatest source of curiosity is how deep we really go.

The Chakra Series

This seven-piece series symbolically navigates the metaphysical journey from a limited state of awareness, in which the individual is only focused on themself, to an expanded state of compassionate awareness, in which one attains a state of harmony and oneness with all.

My interest in learning more about the chakra system served as the initial impetus for the series. In a number of mystical traditions throughout the world, the chakras represent energy centers which are situated vertically along the spine and located within the subtle body.

Each chakra relates to a different level or state of awareness. When energy moves unhindered all the way upwards through the chakras, a person can attain higher states of consciousness, ultimately resulting in an experience of being in perfect union with all of existence. On the other hand, experiences of pain cause us to contract. The energy within the chakras stagnate and become trapped, furthering the illusion of otherness and separation from the rest of the world. Exploration of the symbolism of each chakra served as a basis for self-examination and yielded unique visual renditions of the seven-chakra system.

Root Chakra (2016)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 5"x5"

Sacral Chakra (2016)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 5"x5"

Solar Plexus Chakra (2016)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 5"x5"

Heart Chakra (2016)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 5"x5"

Throat Chakra (2017)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 5"x5"

Third Eye Chakra (2017)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 5"x5"

Crown Chakra (2017)
Pen on watercolor paper with black glitter backing, 5"x5"

  • Root Chakra

    The root chakra relates to physical survival and safety. The “rootedness” of the chakra refers both to its energetic position as the bottommost of the traditional seven-chakra system and also our connection to Earth. It represents the unconscious mind. This chakra serves as the foundation of our personality, as the mind, intellect, and consciousness originate in this chakra.
  • Sacral Chakra

    The sacral chakra pertains to the second stage in the evolution of our consciousness. As energy moves upwards through this chakra, if there is no blockage, it provides for purification, development of the conscious mind, and growth. Within this chakra resides the potential to ascend to joy, self-confidence, and boundless energy, as it is located in the womb-space where new life is created.
  • Solar Plexus Chakra

    The solar plexus chakra is located at the bellybutton and is connected to the element of fire. This is where vitality resides and where we draw strength to regain or integrate our overall health. It is magnetic, energetically powerful, and provides for balance and inner strength where it is needed.
  • Heart Chakra

    The heart chakra symbolizes our boundless capacity for love. It is located at the emotional center of the body, the heart. Here, we can alternately be overwhelmed by our emotions -- hate, jealousy, despair, desire -- or become transformed through a deep pull toward compassion, unity, forgiveness, and peace.
  • Throat Chakra

    The throat chakra corresponds to our ability to communicate, and so is appropriately located at the source of our physical voice. Symbolically, visuddha relates to creative expression, and to freedom of pure expression in general. If blocked, one may experience difficulty speaking up for oneself or telling the truth. If we have repressed or shut away certain experiences, and so dimmed our ability to live fully, this chakra is where we may find the means to release what we have been holding on to.
  • Third Eye Chakra

    The third eye chakra is positioned just above the eyes in the center of the forehead. This is the site of clarity and wisdom. As the eye of wisdom or knowledge, it is representative of the seat of one’s higher Self, connected on both sides to the human/individual and divine/unity.
  • Crown Chakra

    The crown chakra is pure light -- it contains all colors, is all things, in perfect unity. This is the site of liberation from samsara (the cycle of rebirth and death) and where the mind resides at last in peace. Here, ignorance fades away as full awakening blossoms into completion.

Summer's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.