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. [Read more…]

Turtle Tattoo – Czech Republic

Jan's Turtle TattooIn November 2009 a young man from the Czech Republic emailed me regarding one of the turtle’s I had done for Simon’s painting. Initially he was asking for permission to use that image for a tattoo for himself.

“I found your web site today by searching for man in maze symbols. I was very absorbed by the turtle with man in maze. In this time, I am going through a hard time in my life and I am searching for what I wanna really do – job, be happy with that and doing good things to other people. As a reflection for this I would like to get a tattoo with man in maze – symbol for my life path, for good and bad times, and searching for higher spirit. So my question is if you will give me please the allowance to use the painting of turtle with man in maze as a base for my tattoo.”

I thought that showed great integrity and class that he emailed me for my permission to use it. As an artist, all my work is copywritten, however that does not necessarily stop anyone from using it without my permission. I was grateful that Jan took the time to send me an email, explaining his desire and understanding of the symbol, and the reason it was so important to him.

I replied stating that he could indeed use the symbol, but he must allow me to change it slightly for him. As I’ve stated before, all of my work is one of a kind, and the original symbol he saw was for Simon, and Simon alone. So, I suggested I could alter the image for him slightly to better fit his personality. Jan replied,”I would be very happy about the changed painting, it would be a honor to wear for the rest of my life symbol from person like you.”

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Simon’s Soul

Once again, another wondrous and mystical collaboration with a very willing and open client. Simon emailed me back in January as he was emerging from a dark time in his life. He was turning over a new leaf and embarking on significant changes to his life and mindset. Part of his new direction involved buying a new condo which he wanted to decorate with his own artistic flair, which included a reverence to his life in symbols.

This painting came about one morning as he was sitting on his couch having his tea before work and focusing his mind on how fortunate he has been in his life. He wrote me stating he wanted something “significant, pertinent, beautiful and spectacular” to fill his walls.

“… I want those walls to carry positive images, something that evokes positive feelings…images of aboriginal icons came to me because they are mysterious, they have a meaning, every time you look at them they are different but also they are minimal-geometric, they are a brilliant exercise of concise synthesis and communication of ideas…I realized that what I was thinking of at that moment was the images from your art work and I thought right then and there that the “something special, significant, pertinent, spectacular” I want there to fill my walls is one of your art pieces….I would be honoured if you consider to paint something for me in that big format …something that would be an inspiration everyday when I have my tea in the mornings, and something that welcomes me after a day out. Something that inspires me and tells something about me in that simple language of lines and planes of aboriginal symbols. Something that would lift my spirit and reminds me of all that is good and well.”

And thus, our journey began.

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Turtle Tattoo

My client Jennifer and I had been talking on and off for a few months about her getting a tattoo done. Although she wasn’t quite ready to get a tattoo yet, she wanted me to keep some ideas in mind for when she was. She knew she wanted a turtle, but she also wanted something that embodied her 2 young children, Ashton (8) and McKenna (7). Although they are only 10 months apart, personality wise they are complete opposites. We wanted to find something that both accentuated and harmonized their differences. What better than Yin and Yang? But that seemed a bit too prosaic. I wanted more than that, and suggested we use the Sun and Moon and their favourite colours to represent each child. McKenna is the sun with vibrant reds and energetic yellows, and Ashton the moon with deep and soulfully reflective blues. Jenn’s favourite colour was green, so we made the outline of the turtle green.

Jennifer had this permanently embedded upon her person on August 3, 2006.

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Follow Your Bliss (Truth Courage Passion)

The wonderful thing about painting for other people is that (both artistically and otherwise) they take you places you wouldn’t normally go if you were only working at a level within your own self. You gain a different perspective by jumping inside their head and crawling around in their skin for a while. Not just to see the world how they see it… but to learn what they have learned by looking at the world this way. It is amazing what you can gain when you are willing to give up your strength, for a time, to learn the strength of another.

This painting was done for my good friend, divine doppelganger, and fellow Peter Gabriel disciple, Ralph Joseph. The title for this hanging comes from his recording company name, Sukha Records. Sukha is Sanskrit for “Finding Your Bliss,” (which I have done a slight variation on, though I’m not the first, I believe Joseph Campbell beat me to it). Not so coincidentally, it is also the motto by which Ralph lives his life. Quite simply, Ralph is a Radiant Manifestation of the Universe, and that is what I have tried to capture in this hanging.

This is the meaning behind Ralph’s painting:

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Warrior Passion Wisdom

I’ve been very drawn to the turtle lately. I found I’ve been using The Turtle’s energy and patience these past few months as I’ve been getting my hand back into fighting form. Just prior to starting this hanging I designed a turtle tattoo for a client in San Francisco, and part of what I designed for him has ended up in this hanging (middle square). It is the symbolism in general of the turtle that this hanging most represents (protection, patience, wisdom, courage, compassion, perseverance, skill, longevity, loyalty, peace, confidence, love, mother earth, adaptability, healing, and knowledge), but there were some specific attributes I wanted to accentuate. The turtle is an animal whose magic united heaven and earth, and the sea turtle in particular is a prevailing mythic figure and archetype. Therefore, I wanted each square to represent a specific element of this magical creature.

This piece was officially appraised at $2,500 in 2007, and in 2010 was donated to a great organization I partnered with (and have since donated several other pieces for) for their annual silent auction for Free The Children:

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Vienna – Los Angeles

I started painting this one just after my friend Fiona had given me the Live Aid (1985) DVD for a Christmas. I’d forgotten how much I loved Ultravox as a teenager, and it was nice to be reunited with this old friend, especially the song Vienna. So, because I listened to this song about, oh… 7 or 8 million times while painting this hanging, unfortunately, that is the name it got!

This hanging was painted for Glen, a Director of Photography (cinematographer) for major motion pictures in Hollywood and around the world. I wanted this hanging to represent a reel of film – each shutter opening to capture something different, to capture a small section of his life. Although this is one of my smaller hangings, it is one of my most symbolic. This hanging now resides in his house in Los Angeles (Hollywood Hills), California.

The border of this hanging represents a reel of film. Film also represents movement, going forward, as well as the importance and passion for capturing the essence of things (moving or still, on film or in memory). Different colours on the border represent seeing a different colour (so to speak) every time your soul looks through the lens, and how we’re constantly changing and are not even the person we were 30 seconds ago (well, at a cellular level, more so with growth, we can look at the same thing 5 years down the road and see something different, better (hopefully) or something we once clung to and now have become free from). The same colours may come around, but with each pass, we’re different, or they are different. We are more vibrant, and thus as a reflection of ourselves, they are too. Essentially different. The essence of change. Wow… that a lot for a bunch of rectangles hey!

Top square. The seer (as in see-er, one who sees). I’ve only used this image once before on one of my earliest hangings, and it is interesting to see how much it has evolved (better, deeper, more layers). This ties into the border a great deal, in regards to how one chooses to see the world. Half full, half empty (or fully full as I say – half full of water, half full of air… just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there… sheesh!). Glancing up at whatever it is you believe moves the cosmos or having a universe of creative emergence glance upon you occasionally (yeah… she’s cute AND deep.. I know, hard to be me…). For me this is the visual that comes to mind when I think of the quote, “Give me but one firm spot on which to stand, and I will move the earth” and is thus the quintessence of this image. So, you can go deeper with this square and revel in the fact that your questions were the universal questions asked by generations of seekers and the insider status that comes with a being a part of a lineage of seekers (for whatever it is you wish to seek); or it can be the ponderance of the fact that (so says Ken Wilber) the universe is only 12 billion years and scientists consistently show that 12 billion years isn’t enough time to produce a single enzyme by chance, so something other than chance must be giving rise to the ordered universe yada yada yada. Course, it can also just be a dude staring at the sky taking a light meter reading as well. At the end of the day it is whatever the person looking at it wants to see.

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Hanging 12 – Untitled

This one went to Delores for her partner in crime. I used the turtle and the lizard as symbolism in this hanging, as well as my 2 different images of the sun / moon. Much of this was also done right-handed (injured my hand painting Pending Sun) as there was a rush to get it done so she could give it to him for Christmas. How I suffer for my art!

Went retro while painting this one, 80s tunes were the order of the day. China Crisis’s “Wishful Thinking” and Ric Ocasek’s “Emotion in Motion” were played at least more than once…

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This was done as a house warming present for friends Jenn and Jeff. Trying to blend deep taupe walls with a shockingly bright blue leather couch was my biggest challenge. Luckily Jenn was wearing this great maroon sweater when I went to the house to measure the size of the hanging, and saw how well it went with the wall, and made that my dominant colour.

Oh… okay, I admit it… I had the DVD of Rocky on in the background several times while painting this one, so I kinda still refer to this hanging as “Yo Adrianne”. Sorry to be so mental…

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Hanging 3 – untitled

This was the first commissioned hanging and the third one I painted. My friends Tracy and Murray saw the ones I’d created to cover up spaces in my house and wanted me to paint them one. I decided to do one for their wedding present (since I became a marriage commissioner for a day and presided over the ceremonies and actually married them 8 months before – and… yes, sheepishly I admit I hadn’t actually gotten around to getting them a present yet). Quite an honour for me!

There are Runes all along the border of this one representing fire, earth, mountain, wind, heaven, earth, lake and wind. Ace and Muzz are very outdoorsy people, and I wanted to represent that throughout the hanging.

The three people dancing under the sun (in view of the mountains) are Tracy, Murray, and Murray’s son Jeff.

Tossed in a hummingbird (for native symbol of love, beauty, intelligence, spirit messenger: and the symbol of a deep and abiding love) coming out from a pair of healing hands (represents the presence of man (or woman.. let’s be politically correct here), his or her work, achievements and legacy. It also represents the direction of the creative spirit). Tracy is also a huge kokopelli fan, so that is just for her.

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