July 2013 Watercolor Book

Exhausting my supply of the large watercolor paper that I was using earlier this month, I turn to my stores of papers and accordion books that I (thankfully) made while at the Vermont Studio Center (2009-10). 

Totems
6" x 12" watercolor and gouache on paper
July 21, 2013

In this piece I am returning to the wonderful Yoga Art Book by Ajit Mookerjee (for the story of how I came across this book, go here). Rather than transcribe the meaning of the images, I'll share a story from the book itself.

'Fetch me from thence a fruit of the Nyagrodha tree.'
'Here is one, sir.'
'Break it.'
'It is broken, sir.'
'What do you see there?'
'These seeds, almost infinitesimal.' 
'Break one of them.'
'It is broken, sir.'
'What do you see?'
'Nothing, sir.'
The father said: 'My son, that subtle essence which you do not perceive there, of that the very essence this great Nyagrodha tree exists. Believe it, my son, that that is the subtle essence - in that have all things their existence. That is the Truth. That is the Self. And that, Svetaketu, That art Thou.'

-CHANDOGYA UPANISHAD
(Mookerjee, Yoga Art, p.67)

Double Page Spreads

Images of the Dissolving and Evolving Universe

 Mandala of the Evolving and Dissolving Universe
6" x 12" watercolor on paper
July 21, 2013

Image: Rajasthan, c. 17th century, Gouache on paper

Text: "This is the symbol of the evolving and dissolving universe, tension and rest. The principle of the circle has led to the 'enneagram'. This, in yoga philosophy, is a symbol of great potency. Its specific meaning remains a secret, yet the enneagram can be universally understood as a reference to perpetual motion and perpetual rest." (Mookerjee, Yoga Art, p.97)


  Manuscript Leaves Illustrating the Phases of
Evolution and Dissolution of the Cosmic Form
6" x 12" watercolor on paper
July 21, 2013

Image: Rajasthan, c. 19th century, Ink and color on paper


Bleeding Heart Jesus and Self-Portrait

 Jesus, en Ti confio!
6" x 12" watercolor on paper
July 22, 2013

 Not to be melodramatic, but the other day I felt as if my chest cavity was gaping open, revealing an aching heart. Immediately, my thoughts turned to the image of Jesus with his chest open, heart in flames. Despite the physical torture, his peaceful look always reassures me, as if to say: "You can do this." Using a small flyer found in my neighborhood, which is mostly Hispanic and Caribbean (there are at least four churches on my block, including a Haitian one), I created this version of Jesus pointing to his open, flaming heart.


 Self Portrait
6" x 12" watercolor on paper
July 22, 2013

 This self-portrait derives from a drawing I made from my own reflection in a glass case. It's the first self-portrait I've done in months. The white gouache, used as an eraser, gives the portrait a cold edge.


Madonnas
6" x 24" watercolor on paper
July 28, 2013

After several hours staring at the Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels by the Master of Verlungo (Italian, Florentine, active 1285-1310), the famous Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian, Sienese, active 1278-1318), as well as the Gerard David's (Netherlandish ca.1455-1523) Rest on the Flight into Egypt, I felt inspired to make my own Madonna's. What touches me about all three paintings is the tenderness expressed between Mary and the Christ Child. The human element of love between mother and child had not been expressed in painting or sculpture for hundreds of years. It's amazing that even now, these paintings from over five hundred years ago have the power to move one to tears.


 Mandala, Self, Hand
6" x 12" watercolor on paper
July 29, 2013

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