Another inspiring lesson in Unit 2 of Tracy Verdugo’s Abstract Mojo! This one is on Archetypal Symbols, an interesting exercise from which we developed some mini paintings. With six in total, I just completed all yesterday and thought I’d share here my second one! And here comes the Sunrise…

What are Archetypal Symbols?

To recap, Archetypal symbols represent a variety of objects, elements and emotions deriving from different cultures and societies. We have, for instance, the ancient hieroglyphics from the Egyptians, astrological signs, images in China which eventually developed into a writing system of today, and even secret codes used by homeless people! Tracy’s class called for doing some research on such archetypal symbols as a means of exploring our personal journey and eventually as a basis for creating our abstract artwork. By Googling on the internet, I did indeed find a number of interesting symbols including Zodiac signs, codes for homeless people, alchemy symbols and interestingly Adrinka symbols from Ghana! I collected them, screenshot them for own use and began taking some down on my sketchbook. Quite a lot I could always use again in the future!

Intuitive Painting

This exercise was definitely intuitive, based on our feelings and our train of thought. From a huge piece of mixed media paper (I used 360 gsm thickness), I cut up six equal rectangles each for a seperate painting. A limited selection of fluid acrylics (by Golden) and acrylic inks were used including Cardium Red, Payne’s Grey, Titanium White, Azo Yellow Gold, Titan Green, Teal, Turquoise, Antelope Brown, etc. And how could I not include some fluorescent shades too! I stuck with Fluorescent Pink and Orange this time. And here we begin taking each sheet one after the other randomly painting on as our first layer whatever came to mind.


For the first painting, I chose the one with the Titan Green rectangle briskly painted over with thin coat of Turquoise (bottom one on the left in the above photo) and first scribbled in the sign of sunrise in red. I wanted an impression of the sea with the sunrise and hence the gold painted in the middle with some fluorescent pink in the sky. With some Antelope Brown, I added a triangle which is the symbol for fire and then sprayed the area with some isopropyl alcohol and let it run down. How cool did that turn out! The Adinkra symbol of God’s Grace and Earth were then doodled in with the dropper of some Payne’s Grey ink and once dry, I incorporated some white dots and squiggles with a gel pen. As a finishing touch, I sprinkled on some Lemon Yellow ink around the painting for that starry effect. And here we are!

A second attempt at this type of painting, using symbols and creating abstract art. Like the earlier one, it gave me the chance to explore beyond my comfort zone which meant working intuitively and coming up with the unexpected. Worth mentioning here, though, is that the point of this exercise is about exploring one’s inner thoughts and emotions and should hence be seen as a personal journey rather than a perfect work of art. As such it is interesting that sunrise came to mind this time. Winter is here and as days get shorter, I do struggle rising before sunrise even though it’s 8:00 am. To be honest, I can’t wait till the shortest day which is in a week’s time because after that the days will lengthen again!


  1. hi. very interesting as always. thanky for sharing very interesting explanation on this topic, i never knew their were symbols the homeless used? also forgot to say i love your art expression on this art creations. bye for now. have an excellent art creative day and day…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too, I never knew as well about the homeless having their own symbols! In fact I was amazed about the wide variety of symbols in different cultures. Thanks again for all your kind words. You have a great creative day too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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