Category Archives: My Inspirations

Pondering the GROUNDSWELL of Evolution

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WeTheLiving, oil painting study, 25" x 25" by Tiffany Davis-Rustam

Recently I sold this study above for a major painting I made for an album cover, entitled “We The Living.”

This was a small study painting created for a much larger 5′ painting, (pictured further below) which was used for the cover of Darius Lux’s music album called by the same name “We The Living.” Darius is my very talented husband who writes and sings engaging positive music full of heart and inspiration for the mind and soul.

The sale of this painting study felt like a confirmation from the universe of our combined quests to spread both our music and visual arts! This had me contemplating the painting yet again, and a new meaning for the narrative took shape, yet intrinsically it was always there.

Lately I’ve been pondering the idea of creating “groundswell” in our lives, a somewhat poetic description for the ambition to spread our arts far and wide, reaching a greater number of people. We’ve both been optimistically creating for a while, but without a larger audience for support, our efforts have started to feel fruitless and even pointless at times… It’s like the old adage “If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to see it, did it happen?” Or what does it matter?

Groundswell is about growth throughout our lives, and most people aim mainly for career success and achievement, yet our intentions are so much more BEYOND that. Certainly lots of attention, notoriety and a financially-supported livelihood can be the proof of connection on a larger level certainly, but our aim is not just to make lots of money.

We wish to share the poetry and vision of our altruistic ideals through our arts, and with the transcendental experience that art can communicate, help to uplift and inspire others in their life journeys, to assist a society that desperately needs more love, personal growth, awareness and connection to our souls. In this way our personal groundswell could lead to further development of a global groundswell of consciousness!

Final painting on the Darius Lux album cover: "We The Living"
Final painting on the Darius Lux album cover: “We The Living”

So in looking at this painting again, I saw that it could be interpreted as a figurative metaphor for the idea of “groundswell”, as the dominant shape of the mountain is a giant arrow pointing upwards, picturing a few visionary individuals dancing and doing their specialties, as all their energy flows together in a circular mass, and up towards the mountaintop and the shining sun! 

That really is what the idea for Darius’ “We The Living” record has always been about, and my art, as well. To inspire each one of us to be our best selves, and with each of our unique efforts, aiming to make our world a better place to live in.

Darius and I definitely dance to the beat of our own drum and it continues to be a colorful life that constantly shifts and evolves. Follow each of us on our journey towards GROUNDSWELL, via our website or social media accounts.

And in your own lives, perhaps somehow you might also find your own way to be a part of the groundswell of the evolution of consciousness on Earth.



Find out more about the final”We The Living” painting and get prints here in my Shop, and also larger canvas prints are available upon request.




A Story of Artistic & Personal Growth — via 4 Paintings

Top Left: Upwards Through the Brambles. Top Right: Leap of Faith. Bottom Left: Light Warrior. Bottom Right: The Existential Journey of Self-Transformation. All by Tiffany Davis-Rustam.
Top Left: Upwards Through the Brambles. Top Right: Leap of Faith. Bottom Left: Light Warrior. Bottom Right: The Existential Journey of Self-Transformation. All by Tiffany Davis-Rustam.

I want to tell the story of a process of my personal and artistic evolution via these 4 original paintings of mine here!

These were all created over the span of the last 7 years since I started painting seriously, and you can easily see how the subjects and expressions of these artworks of mine have grown over the years, while telling a story of my growth in life! 💫🌈🎨

🌟 1— TOP LEFT:
The first painting is called Upwards through the Brambles, one of my earlier paintings when I started out with a much more abstract style, very inspired by early Abstract Expressionists Wassily Kandinsky & Franz Marc, with their joyful color use and intuitive understanding of how abstractions mirror the emotions in a dynamically expressive way. Obviously, Cubism was a big inspo too!

Also personally in my life at that time I had recently moved across the country (several times), and with continued spiritual development, was shifting my lifestyle and graphic design career big time, experiencing a lot of confusion and anger along the way. This piece is my closest expression of feeling so many challenging struggles arising repeatedly.

Yet even with this distress, I always envisioned a way out of it, and in this case it’s the idea of that you have to keep striving UP-wards towards the light, because that’s the only worthwhile goal.

Next is Leap of Faith” — a painting that was created as part of a creative exercise to express something I’m not ‘supposed to do,’ according to society’s beliefs at large. This process was inspired by The Artist’s Way book by Julia Cameron. I did 4 other sketches, 1 other which became “Causing a Scene“, but this was the most powerful to me in several ways.

At that time was the scary idea to quit my job as a graphic designer and become a fine artist full-time, a goal which I’d then only just recently dared to dream of, and which would take years to fully achieve.

Artistically by this time I had a big shift, after I realized how I could convey my specific ideas more effectively if there were figures added in my artworks, and all the sudden more people were relating their own lives to them! That’s always been my goal, to inspire people deeply through my art.

Light Warrior visually represents me developing my own personal style further, drawing heavily on influences from futurists like Umberto Boccioni, but infusing it with a more visionary art quality.

This painting embodies the strong passion and determination to develop in the path of a spiritual warrior and transform one’s life with purpose. Here the figure gathers up strength and power to kick his way out of the metaphorical darkness into the light!

Also during this time I was learning better how to let go of my negative emotions and take in more positive inspiration, while spiritually asking for enhanced awareness and evolution by doing a lot of meditation, inner work and affirmations.

Now this last painting, one of my latest ones, The Existential Journey of Self-Transformation, may figuratively echo the scene from the earlier painting above, but as you can see it marks a jump in style that’s more conducive to telling a detailed story.

The entire process of this painting was guided by a short-term mentorship by the amazing visionary artist Michael Divine. Through his teaching, I was guided to explore ways that I could combine my abstract expressions with more figurative details and perspectives, which became a better vehicle to convey the representational ideas of transforming from my deepest pain to my highest joy.

When I started this piece I quit my full-time design job, after I began to experience extreme digestive illness, which continued and increased sharply for 3+ years. This special piece was created to tell the story of my healing, and before it had even begun, I knew the trajectory it must take — for me to heal myself through my own higher self, with an angel or two as an aide.

And you know what? Eventually it happened just that way! About 3 years later, after unturning every stone, I experienced a miraculous BELIEF healing miracle which took me 90% of the way to reclaimed health! I’m still working on the last little physical bit, but that faith healing took me such a long way, and it was such a dramatic shift for me.

Everything I’d studied about spiritual self-empowerment over the years proved itself to be true in just 1 day! We really can heal anything, even our body through the power of our beliefs and thoughts.

So, thanks for following my journey through art here! I aim to elevate the human condition by artistic expression, and hopefully relate to others undergoing similar experiences.

— Follow above text links to learn more about each artwork.
2 of 4 paintings available and prints for all artworks found in my Shop page, leading to Etsy shop.

An Intuitive Painting Mother-Daughter Collaboration

This video features a fascinating painting collaboration of mother and daughter,  featuring Ruth Oosterman and her 3-year-old daughter, Eve Oosterman.

Eve draws her intuitive lines quickly, and then mother Ruth fills it in and expands upon it with watercolor, imaginatively creates forms where only mere suggestions once were. It’s touching to see how this very abstracted expression turns into tangible forms that you can recognize, and still the free spirited attitude of the child is still integrated.

Seeing this free-flowing process invokes an echo of expression with me and some of the intuitive techniques I use to make art. Creating art in a spontaneous free-flowing way is one of my favorite methods, and I’d like to also teach others how to do it as well.

When you feel how mentally freeing it can be to make art spontaneously, it removes one of the biggest obstacles to creation, which is the pressure to perform perfectly and make a masterpiece. Instead of asking oneself, “Did I draw that apple as realistic as possible,” I like to see how the emotional expression of feelings I’m going through on the inside comes out in painted form.

Abstraction is the easiest and fastest way to explore creation in general. While realism is more about a left-brained recreation of reality, non-representational art is right-brained and innately more spiritual, expressing the intangible that must be interpreted through the emotions.

I’ll be showing more about my intuitive painting process and offering classes and private lessons in my upcoming posts.

We The Living: Darius Lux Album Art

We The Living. 52" x 52", © 2013 Tiffany Davis-Rustam, created for the Darius Lux music album, We The Living, released July 2013.
We The Living. 52″ x 52″, © 2013 Tiffany Davis-Rustam, created for the Darius Lux music album, We The Living, released July 2013.

I’m so excited about this painting! This We The Living concept originated as a cover for my husband’s newly-released music album release, Darius Lux: We The Living, 2013.

Darius intends the songs in this album to empower people as individuals, and furthermore to encourage them to embody the changes they are looking to see in our world. To follow their passions, and help others while doing it!

Here in my painting these energetic beings are suspended in spheric orbs of brilliant white light, harnessing the light of the sun and swooping down over the hills to bringing abundance and knowledge to all people of the earth down below, represented by transparent spheres of light, bubbling within the arch of a giant red arena.

The dynamic cubist divisions greatly enhance the light beaming from the left corner, and spreads a rainbow of rippling color across the mountaintops, from left to right. A blend of abstract expressionism and cubist surrealism celebrates joyful outer expansion through inner experience.

Fine art print of oil painting on archival paper, 11″ x 11″, available on Etsy.
Different size printing options available upon request, or at Fine Art America.
Original 52″ x 52″ painting available on Etsy, upon request.

Art & Music Combo Package available on the Darius Lux website.

My painting for the Darius Lux album cover: "We The Living"
My painting for the Darius Lux album cover: “We The Living”


Inspiration: Headstrong Historic Futurist, Umberto Boccioni

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space. 1913, by Umberto Boccioni


Dynamism of a Soccer Player, 1913, by Umberto Boccioni

Umberto Boccioni (1882 – 1916) was the principle theorist of the Italian Futurist movement, and my personal favorite artist of the group. His paintings and sculptures embodied the Futurist concept of depicting a scene’s energy through time, space and movement.

These truly dynamic artworks inspire me with their joyful bursts of color and movements that appear to go beyond two dimensional representation, to tell you a whole story. This new way of redefining form and subjects has endless possibilities, and I’m just so surprised this movement took place 100 years ago, as to me it seems as relevant and “futuristic” as ever.

Unfortunately his life was cut short at age 33, by an accident during cavalry training for the war in 1916. I would’ve loved to see what else he would’ve done given more time to create. What do YOU think?


Below is one of my original paintings that you can see was heavily influenced by Boccioni’s sculpture above, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space. The buyer of this painting of mine, Light Warrior, was fond of Boccioni’s work as well and identified the inspiration immediately!

Light Warrior. Original oil painting, 28” x 32”, ©2012 Tiffany Davis-Rustam. Original SOLD

Inspiration: The Lush Sensuality of O’Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe, poppies
Georgia O'Keeffe, pink and blue
Georgia O’Keeffe is the kind of painter whose artwork will soften your heart forever. It has been said that she has never painted 1 line that was not sensually feminine. She is such an important inspiration of mine!
Most people who are familiar with O’Keefe recognize her flower series, (like the first painting of the poppies above) the series which made her famous.  Many compared her fine portrayal of the epicenters of flowers to the delicate contours of female sexual organs. While she never admitted to have aimed for that, the quality of her depictions certainly seems very tender and delicate, as she envelopes the viewer into the inner space of the petals, which seem sacred and ethereal.
I particularly am influenced by her abstract works, like the 2nd painting above, which often echo a flower, a tree, (or a female body part!), but takes it further away from recognizable distinction and more into a vaguer space that lets your own imagination shape your personal experience of the work. It’s this ambiguity that influences my own painting, as well as the colorful blending of juxtaposing colors.

Inspiration: Exciting Expressionist Franz Marc


Deer in a Monastery Garden, Franz Marc
Deer in a Monastery Garden, Franz Marc, 1912

Previously I’ve posted about Kandinsky being a pioneer completely abstract art. Well, one of his best friends was this guy Franz Marc, and together they introduced a whole new movement of art, through Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Horsemen) almanac and collections.

I get so excited looking at the evolution of Marc’s work, as he started to re-imagine the cubist grid into these complex and increasingly abstract compositions that bring the viewer inside the spiritual energy of the moment. Remember, this was around 1910, and never before had the art world seen such intensely vivid colors and abstracted form as he and the rest of the Expressionists used. The combination of colors, and their dynamic interweaving shapes gives a unique EXPRESSION of the moment that both enlivens and inspires me to dream and reach higher.


The Original Fine Art Rebel

Kandinsky painting
Wassily Kandinsky, Painting with Red Spot, 1914.

Wassily Kandinsky was the original art rebel, making the first leap to complete abstraction. Can you believe this painting was made almost 100 years ago?

It was VERY revolutionary for him time, to say the least. He was belittled by most of the art world for quite a while, and they called his work childish nonsense. Only with time and perspective did they realize what a major evolutionary jump he made.

Although it was so long ago, when I look at Kandinsky’s paintings, they appear completely contemporary and of the moment to me, and a source of endless fascination. I feel I’m always learning a lot from his unique color and shape juxtapositions. And as the master himself said, the absence of subject instantly connects more with the heart than the mind, allowing more of a spiritual exploration.