Follow Your Bliss Update

Daniella, Ralph and I with the new photosOccasionally, people “out grow” their paintings. From changes in experiences to evolving beliefs or even Life Event changes. In Ralph’s case, we “both” evolved from the original painting I did for him back in 2005.

When I was in Toronto back in December 2009 I noticed that Ralph had transcended his original painting, and knew I wanted to break it down into individual pieces to now incorporate Daniella into his life in images.

There will also be a fourth painting to this trio, representing Daniella – which will be forthcoming in the next few months.

Bird / Courage

One of the reasons for the change in paintings was Ralph’s comment that he wants to change the colour scheme in his house, but wasn’t sure of where he was goign to go with it. So I decided to make each painting its own colour.  From Ralph/s original, entry: I have drawn this symbol of a bird in general, but it is in reference specifically to the Eagle, Hawk, Rooster and Raven. I have also incorporated the imagery of the Feather. Ralph (like me) is born in the year of the Earth Bird (Tibet) or Earth Rooster (China). Birds are used to represent prophetic knowledge, and for warriors they represent prowess. They are chief of all the creatures in the air, and the primary servant of the Sun. The Eagle symbolizes courage, the spirit connection to higher realms, air, power in battle, clear vision, success, prosperity, wealth, intelligence and renewal. The Eagle is a protector from evil, and its medicine attributes include clear vision and soaring spirit. The Eagle is associated with success, prosperity and wealth. In the Zuni Tradition, the Eagle symbolizes the direction Up (also a great Peter Gabriel album!). I have used the Hawk for strength, foresight and truth. The Rooster is the warmth and life of the Universe, and symbolizes courage, vigilance, incomparability, passion, and pride. Lastly, the Raven (much like Ralph) is the bringer of magic and light, and represents creation and knowledge.

I have also incorporated the use of the Feather in the wings. The Feather is a sacred universal symbol of flight within the spirit world and serves as messenger to the Great Spirit. Feathers are symbols of prayers, sources of ideas, marks of honor, and represent creative force. This square is for Ralph’s soaring spirit.

Sea Turtle / Life Path

For this new image for Ralph, I have incorporated the Life Path (Man in the Maze) into the body of the turtle.  The image of the Turtle has transcended all cultures, religions, and corners of the earth. Ralph embodies many of impenetrable characteristics of the turtle. The turtle is a being whose magic united heaven and earth, and the sea turtle in particular is a prevailing mythic figure and archetype. The turtle encapsulates protection, patience, wisdom, courage, compassion, perseverance, skill, longevity, loyalty, peace, confidence, love, adaptability, healing, and knowledge. Impervious to attack, the turtle is seen as a very model of settled, universal order. It is a self contained creative source and is also called “the keeper of secrets” considered long-lived, wise, and secretive. The turtle is courageous because it makes progress only when it sticks its neck out, and moves forward with a patient, steady flow in order to achieve the desired destination. The turtle has carried Wisdom on its back for many cultures throughout history. Wise with age, some psychological theories see in the turtle a connection with the self; the unity of the personality as a whole. Eastern religions the turtle is thought to be the balance of opposing principles. In many cultures, if you need grounding, focus, endurance or deep power, calling on the turtle for help is a time-honoured way of wisdom.

The maze is the story of every human being, traveling through life as though through a maze, taking many turns (some veering us away from where we directly want to go, acknowledging that sometimes the world takes you on a different path from what you’d planned, so it can teach you something). Every turn is an opportunity to find acceptance or an understanding you need to acquire before you reach your destination (I mean how do you know who you are supposed to be unless you occasionally see yourself in contrast to what it is you think you are… follow me on that???), but all the while growing stronger and wiser as the centre of the maze comes closer. It is a variation of the Tohono O’odham’s symbol of life cycles and choice, and eternal motion with the goal of achieving harmony. The design is actually a unicursal figure that represents the choices one makes throughout life. This represents the journey from darkness to light.

Dragonfly / Truth

I tried for 8 months to put a colour into this Dragonfly (as stated above, to give Ralph a new pallet of different colours to choose from, so that these new paintings would fit into whichever pallet he decided to go with). However, it just would not take a colour. Sometimes, you just have to let the painting tell you where it wants to go.  So, just 2 weeks before I was due to fly to Toronto to give these to Ralph, I tried it with no major colour, just deep dark brown, tan and white, and it worked. This square incorporates 3 images into one. The image is of the Dragonfly, yet just beneath the surface holds the magic of the Dragon and the Butterfly. The Dragonfly symbolizes truth, whirlwinds, skill, refinement, swiftness and activity. In the Zuni legend, Dragonflies are shamanistic creatures with supernatural powers. The Dragon is used for wisdom due to long lives and hypnotic magic (and hypnotic magic is how I describe a lot of Ralph’s music), as well as eternity, courage and strength. And lastly the Butterfly is for metamorphosis (which ties into the border), self-transformation, balance and grace, all of which Ralph exemplifies. This square is Ralph’s wings. He told me he always wanted to fly. I of course told him he’s always flown.

Follow Your Bliss Update / 18″ x 18″
Toronto ON / August 30, 2010