Oil on Panel, 48” x 48”
I returned from a Tom Crum ski workshop enthralled with a new discovery about snow. Riding a chairlift with a ski pro he shared how these vast differences in snowflakes function in avalanche conditions as well as sources for the water we consume. The beauty of them is unique to this planet and like all paintings I do which develop a theme during the months-long process of work, research to me is fun and necessary. This painting indicated to me early on that our joyride on Earth must be accompanied by an awe and respect for the creatures below our footsteps, in the oceans and in the air. When the spacecraft Voyager I was ready to be ‘unthethered’ and sent into deep space, Carl Sagan successfully lobbied NASA to turn it around and take one last shot of Earth and the photo was grainy and hard to read but through a barely visible shaft of light this tiny dot was named The Pale Blue Dot and became the title of his book. In his words, To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known. http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/earth/pale-blue-dot.html
Water! The center image was painted from an underwater photograph taken by the stellar photographer Michael David Adams https://michaeldavidadams-fineart.com and it exemplifies our dynamic relationship with water personally, creatures in the oceans, the air we exchange with plant and animal life, the baby nourished in the waters of the womb, extremely rare leafy sea dragons and the other worldly octopus I included. Sitting at a lecture and behind the scenes at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego allows me to learn and explore more than I can imagine!
This painting was 7 months in the making and thus autobiographical. The personal and world experiences, the music and books I listen to, the research and people I encounter, the sudden death of my 13 year old Havanese dog Murphy, and the birth of a grandson all contribute to the humanity of my art. In addition, images I find or create and especially the ones submitted to me by other artists and photographers who give me permission to paint into a piece have become a meaningful global friendship and I love to direct you to their work. The carved wood tree was created by sculptor Alan Mantle and he graciously allowed me to use his work for inspiration. http://www.alanmantle.com/sculpture.html This piece is in Wales and Alan lives in Paris. I love it and its representation to help ourselves by pulling one another up,
The strawberry I learned is sacred to the Virgin Mary and symbolizes spiritual purity, decency and perfect nobility of spirit. In Tom Crum’s workshops http://aikiworks.com/skiing.html his story of a monk and a strawberry remind me to stay present to my painting and savor it all.
The lungs of twigs were painted originally because our respiration processes the water and air we exchange with the creatures and habitat, and then also are the organ associated with grief. The mending hearts were added after the death of Murphy.
The word RESPECT was placed as a reminder to hold our planet in our hearts so we can heal and pass it on. Then Aretha Franklin died and I thought of her famous song asking for respect. I took the board off the easel and suddenly was reminded of the song, Respect Yourself by The Staple Singers and the musical notations are of these more relevant lyrics.
All images are painted before adding the connecting line work. Music is universal and connects us emotionally. It appears in most of my work, bees are ancient, relevant to our survival and they also make appearances, there are drops of water and a line of beautiful images of Earth like beads in a necklace. One strand of linework is the alien-looking ‘sutures’ that connect the segments of our skulls and the rope, squiggles and gold lines work together in a poetry of motion punctuated with pale blue dots.