Into The Mystic
Oil on Board, 48″ X 48″
Ltd Edition print
Into The Mystic
Life changed globally while I painted this piece in early 2020 and the unknown presented itself daily to me, reminding me of the reason I choose to continue to create. Positioned against the sensational news, I yearned to reside in the mysticism of life, Nature, possibility, choice and conjuring joy whenever possible and frequently. With that as my lens which is my ‘go to’ when I paint anyway, my studio and this piece of art were and are my refuge. This particular piece was in process for a year!
The first images I painted (in oils because I love its origins and texture) were the zucchini blossoms from my garden. One early morning with a cappuccino in hand, I was moved by the stunning spirals of these opening buds and grabbed my camera. The pure possibility and the fragile yet hopeful nature of life became a theme which happens further down the road in the trajectory of a painting. My work also elevates the Golden Mean or sacred geometry and the circular and predictability of patterns and design and you see it here in the glorious tree, the the interlocking gears, the chrysalises, the skeletal human as The Thinker who initially was brilliantly created by Mau Vasconcellos in Brazil and more.
The ocean holds mystery and promise for me and as a scuba diver, I’ve fallen in love with octopuses, and learning that they have 3 hearts and 8 brains gave me chills the first time I heard it. Creatures I encounter in the deep, like the mantis shrimp (upper right, photo by Martin Strmiska) have made me literally cry in my mask. When I first read Art Forms in Nature, the story of Ernst Haeckel who was an explorer and biologist in the 1800’s, I was infatuated with his spectacular illustrations and his ‘sense of the beautiful’. All of my work has my interpretation of his images including the underwater flower from which I hung a chrysalis originally created by an art hero of mine, Ed Binkley.
His creations are otherworldly like the winged green creature sitting atop some strange underground bulbs. At first after painting him, I realized he could be interpreted as being menacing but I added some pale pink hearts inside his spectacles giving him a rosy outlook. Another favorite artist is Redmer Hoeckstra from the Netherlands and his turtle with the stacked cards reminded me that mindfulness in my decisions is possible by slowing down and knowing I’m supported by the Universe, (see 8 legs)! And the Michelangelo hand of God holding a human heart by a string that’s mending, next to the calligraphic style of kanji that represents ‘Kinsukeroi’ or’better for having been broken’. Next-door is an image borrowed from Gabriele Pico, again punctuating a fragile egg held by pliers and used for respite by a hummingbird. Mustafa Sözen, wildlife biologist and researcher in Turkey takes spectacular photos including the damsel fly atop the purple explosion of color and the wood swallows who are perched on Owed to Joy. That purple which was crazy to try and replicate from photography by a Ukranian, Nik Merkulov began a love affair with royal purple. I want to say thank you to all amazing artists and photographers who kindly grant permission to me to paint my version into my art. It makes every image very special to me and our relationships continue to thrive. And the phrases ‘Owed to Joy’ which was the name of a boat I saw and homage to Beethoven, and ‘Into The Mystic’ from Van Morrison’s song that I’m still attempting to play add direction in my work. Thank you Ali Sabat, a spectacular artist who created this typography for Owed to Joy! And finally, as I sit in front of this piece, I am overwhelmed with all who are courageously navigating the lifetime opportunity to re-invent ourselves and our world into a place of love and possibility made probable.