In this painting, Dance of the Divine Feminine, I was attempting to connect with, and give a voice to, the complex concept of universal energy and how this energy is alive and creative and, somehow, through our intention, can be harnessed and used to transform our lives. There is a lot of talk out in the world concerning the role that we ourselves play in calling into our lives some forms of dynamic energy like healing, abundance, creativity, and love, among other things. As I was beginning this painting, I found myself drawn to a book called Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga, by Sally Kempton. In this wonderful book I found a great resource for many of the incarnations of the Hindu representation of Shakti. I would like to revisit this book soon and spend some time sitting with the various personalities that Kempton illuminates. I was particularly drawn to the Goddess Lakshmi, with her various attributes such as abundance and beauty.
Part of my personal process as a painter is to gather information from as many sources as possible, like books, movies, walks in nature, and especially playing with my six-year-old daughter. She really frees my mind from rules, which in the world of art, is such a blessing. I am just now starting to embrace this powerful form of play: “no rules.”
As I was saying, when I gather information, I almost never ask myself, “How can I use this in my painting?” I’m just absorbing information. Rarely do I understand how this preparation stage is going to manifest. Once I reach the canvas, I try to work without a plan and, perhaps more importantly, without editing. Eventually, the image comes into focus and I move forward with a little more certainty.
It’s fascinating how images manifest on a canvas regardless of my little intentions. Whatever wants to come out, usually does without too much effort on my part. That’s why I often say my only commitment to my art is to stand before the canvas; everything else will take care of itself. Because really, something bigger than me is doing the creating, and I have a front row seat. It’s awesome!
This painting is a little bit about Lakshmi, a little bit about science, and some of it—well, I’m not sure. The viewer can make up his or her own mind about what it might mean. I know that I had a lot of fun painting it. And I look forward to revisiting this theme on another canvas some day. Or maybe not.
January 13, 2018