The Journey

The Journey Image

The Journey

“Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won and all the fears you have overcome” Helen Keller once said, “although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” A little while ago I was asked to do a commission of a young woman who had spent her life in the service of others, now she was battling for her own life against cancer and her husband wished me to cronicle her journey through imagery. It was a task that moved me to re-evaluate my own purpose and that of my wife who is herself a cancer surivivor. Challenge is enevitable in life – for without it, there is no purpose to becoming stronger and without becoming stronger, there is no purpose. Strength doesn’t come from doing what you can do. It comes from doing what you didn’t think you could do. This Journey isn’t one we want to take, sometimes we hate it, but we would never change the chance to become a warrior and to meet others fighting the battle beside us. Sometimes silently. But we know, even when others have no idea. Courage has few witnesses. Confucious said, “it does not matter how slow you go, it only matters that you do not stop.” This is living. It is facing the purpose of gaining strength for some future tense without giving up, thus cutting our lesson short. We may have to do this all over again – which leads me to this: What is stopping? What is letting go? How do we tell the difference between giving up and acceptance? It has been my experience that acceptance is where peace resides. To know that you have fought harder than you imagined you could and to take peace in the knowlege that you have grown sufficiently in spirit to move ahead toward whatever lies next. Time doesn’t heal all wounds but acceptance does. The best thing one can do when it’s raining, is to let it rain. I’ll close with a quote by Iyanla Yanzant – “Acceptance does not mean you agree with, accept or condone or even like what happened. Acceptance means that you know, regardless of what happened, that there is something bigger at work. It also means that you know you are okay and will continue to be okay.

Summer ~ the Faerie Queen

Summer ~ the Faerie Queen

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you” ~ Maori Proverb

At Litha, the summer solstice, the sun is at its highest point in the sky.  Many ancient cultures marked this date as significant, and the concept of sun worship is one nearly as old as mankind itself.  In societies that were primarily agriculture and dependent on the sun for life and sustenance, it is not surprising that the sun became deified.  While many people today might take the day to grill out, go to the beach, or work on their tans, for our ancestors the summer solstice was a time of great spiritual importance.

The Egyptian peoples honored Ra, the sun god.  For people in ancient Egypt, the sun was the source of life.  It was power and energy, light and warmth.  It was what made the crops grow each season, so it’s no surprise that the cult of Ra had immense power and was widespread. Ra was the ruler of the heavens.  He was the god of the sun, the bringer of light and patron to the pharaohs.  According to legend, the sun travels the skies as Ra drives his chariot through the heavens.  Although he was originally associated only with the midday sun, as time went by, Ra became connected to the sun’s presence all day long.

The earliest forms of sun-worship presented the goddess as the bringer of warmth and life and so I’ve chosen to represent Aine with the flowers of harvest and bounty and the resurgence of life as the butterflies emerge from their cocoons fed by the living waters.  Of course, the lollipop represents the circle of life.  In modern times Aine has become revisioned as the Fairy Queen.

The Wallflower

The-Wallflower-

The Wallflower

Rooted in the corner
Nameless flower upon the wall
An unremarkable feature
amidst the gardener’s ball.
 
Where wildflowers boldly dance
Showing off their blooms
Beckoning the gardeners
enticing eager grooms
 
The limelight which they seek
Is the light from which she hides
Rooted in the corner
Amongst the paper she resides
 
Fragrant sweet bouquets have 
no place for her to fit
Her petals veiled by darkness
Of the corner where she sits
 
The gardener does not notice
Her bloom he shall not wear…
…Her fragrance goes unnoticed
No marriage will they share
 
Rooted in the corner
Only insects know her nectar
The bees know well her taste
As they make the sweetest honey
From ambrosia of the chaste
 
Slowly they devour and steadily consume
Attracted to her essence
The sweetest of perfumes
 
Rooted in the corner
no words are ever spoken
for roots of fear are forged 
in hell and dare not to be broken
 
Rooted in the corner
Slow-dancing with her shadow
Season’s passed, her roots have dried
The Gardener’s ground left fallow.

Love

Love - St. Victor Diaries

Love

God is Love – so it’s been said. It’s also been analyzed that if A equals B, then B equals A. So if God is Love – then Love is God. “Whoa, hold your horses”, says my former evangelical minister. “When it says God is Love, it actually means that God embodies Love, not that Love and God are the same.”

Uh-huh. Evangelical ministers have God’s very ear. They would KNOW. I find it amusing to watch the apologetic armament arise against such a claim that God IS Love, not merely the embodiment of it. No one knows who, whom or what “God” is, much less the mindset and timeless purpose of God. “God”, like Yaweh, Allah, Zeus, Ahura Mazda and a pantheon of others through the ages is merely a name given to a force we’ve all experienced in thousands of different ways, yet been at a loss to accurately describe because of the limitations of both language and wisdom. A horse can no more describe to another horse what it is to be human than one human can describe to another what it is to be God.. “God” is a name to identify that which cannot be identified. We associate it with forces of creation, of existent beauty and eternal glory ~ something we’d gladly die for. “Love”, by the same measure is also a force. An inexplainably powerful force that tames the beast and empowers the meek, breaks the soul and heals a nation, inspires quantum leaps of creativity and drives us to obsessive madness. Something we’d gladly die for..

I ask you to consider the possibility, and a very real possibility according to the Unified Field Theory, that all that has been, is and will be is the manifesting result of a single magnificent force known by as many names as emotions we simple humans can experience. God, Love, Fear, is all an aspect of one single force with what we call Love being the feeling we experience when we are most deeply aligned with that force and Fear being the feeling of our distancing from that force. A single force that we are the very cells of. We are but a microcosm of one force and when we are most aligned – we see that we are Love. God is Love and Love is God. And if A equals B and B equals C, then C equals A. We are all one force. You, me, Earth the Milky Way, the universe, the multiverse . . . God? Hmmm, it is possible, you know.

In this painting I try to encapsulate the many elements we associate with the force of Love. From the dark and light aspects of it all – the great storm cloud behind her pouring forth the rainbow (passion) to the regeneration of life through fertily (rabbit ears) and seduction (subtle right hand position). From the great loyalty signified in the Borzoi to the idea of all things united as one force in the messenger from above (raven) tying it all together in the evolving shape of a heart.

Christina the Astonishing

Christina the Astonishing - St. Victor Diaries

Christina the Astonishing

Born in Belgium in 1150 and soon orphaned. At the age of 21 Christina suffered a massive seizure after which she was declared dead and said to have visited God who gave her a glimpse of both Purgatory and Hell where she saw numerous friends suffering. She made a deal with God to return to earth and let her suffer the torments there in the stead of her friends who would then be cleansed by her actions and they could then ascend to heaven.

When she returned to earth, she levitated to the ceiling of the shire where her body was lay in state, and after being coaxed down by a priest began her journey of living a life of poverty and torment for the sake of those she loved. She would sleep on rocks, wear rags and beg for food, throw herself into ovens and reportedly laid for hours in freezing rivers during the dead of winter. She even allowed herself to be dragged under the waters by a mill wheel, and through it all never suffered injury.

For this I chose to paint Christina in ice blue. Her hair rises as though carried by a great gust of wind ascending up towards the heavens and releasing the beauty and joy bestowed upon her friends and loved ones as the result of her torment. I try to show this through the flowers, bee, butterflies and doves evolving forth and the red flow behind represents the cleansing of the blood in transition and the release of it in loving and life giving sacrifice for the sake of others.

I think of Christina as the perfect empath. We can give her our pain and our stress and she will bear it out in our stead allowing us to refocus our gaze to the cosmos.

Le Debutante

Le Debutante - St. Victor Diaries

Le Debutante

This painting is about the presentation of the young southern Debutante, a tradition that dresses up a young impressionable and naive child in the false expectations of parents plastered up against the Plexiglas of social acceptance.

The humble and barren origins are laid up against a game board on which the girl is positioned and maneuvered by her parents till she reaches the drapes that separate the social spheres. Upon presentation we see a scared child decorated in the lawn ornaments of southern landscape beautification, while the mask hides a self-identity that may unfortunately never become known.

The Martyrdom of St. Cecilia

Martyrdom of St. Cecilia Patron Saint of Music - St. Victor Diaries

The Martyrdom of St. Cecilia

A second century Roman known for having the voice of the angels was condemned by the Catholic church for singing the liturgies of which women were not permitted to do. Although she bowed to the churches threats – she was soon accused of heresy for aiding two brothers condemned for burying martyrs who were supposed to lie in open for God to find them easier. Go figure. She was imprisoned and scheduled for execution. Three attemps were made to behead her, noted by the three notches in her neck – each time the executioner suffering a fatal accident prior. Set to burn, when priests came to retrieve her for execution, they found her cell empty with nothing but rose petals strewn across the floor.

The archangel is represented as a stained glass representing both the church that condemned her and the angelic presence that rescued her. The notch in the wall shows the cell’s inability to hold her.