July 2013 Watercolors

More watercolors inspired by inner work and time spent in the European painting galleries at the Met. I enjoy sharing the images and insights on this blog. It takes guts to share from the heart; good practice for anyone operating in the creative realm and for life in general.

  Two Sides
9" x 6", watercolor on paper
July 1st, 2013

This piece may represent the two sides of myself: one hopeful and powerful, the other anxious and depressed. My job is to reconcile the two.

Altarpiece I (Triptych)
9" x 12", watercolor on paper
July 2nd, 2013

I've been hanging around the European painting galleries lately. One of my favorite rooms contains altarpieces from fourteenth and fifteenth century Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. I can spend hours looking at the intricate depictions of the Mary holding Jesus (also known as the Christ Child), St. John the Baptist, saints, martyrs and donors. I also enjoy the early Sienese devotional painters, influenced by the great Duccio.

 Here is my own triptych altarpiece: on the left, a woman and child with three attendants or witnesses; on the right, an elderly man crowned by a halo of stars in prayer or devotion; center, an outline of my own hand. When a friend looked at this piece, he said: "I like the image of you and the baby." This astonished me because I had not intended her as a self-portrait but as my own conception of the Divine Mother (which is not limited to Christian ideology). Perhaps, like dreams, all characters in art are aspects of oneself.

9" x 6", watercolor on paper
July 2nd, 2013

 This watercolor is based on a dream I had of painting and repairing artwork for one of the curators at the Met. In the dream I felt recognized and appreciated; however, the next day I was crestfallen. The dream is far from reality as I am not best friends with a curator and I do not have permission (yet!) to repair and rework masterpieces. Could the dream be compensation for my self-judgment for underachieving in my current employment situation? Or could it be a forecaster of things to come? This watercolor represents the part of me that values status as a indicator of success (in this case, the curator) banishing the part of me that it feels is under performing. The landscape and the colors resemble the part of the Kandinsky-esque painting I reworked in the dream.

 Self Portrait as a Security Guard
9" x 6.5", watercolor on paper
July 2nd, 2013

 After the dream, I couldn't help but feel bad about my current position. Here's me as a sad security guard.

9" x 3.5", watercolor on paper
July 2nd, 2013

 My standard, my sun sign, Aquarius.
Water represents emotion and I'm holding a big overflowing bucket of it.

 Altarpiece II (Triptych)
9" x 12", watercolor on paper
July 4th, 2013

Taking advantage of a lazy holiday Thursday, I created this altarpiece, incorporating religious,astrological and pagan imagery. I find it intriguing that Italian Renaissance painters and thinkers attempted to reconcile Greek and other pagan philosophies with Christianity. On the altarpiece to the left is my Aquarian counterpart, to the right is a Dionysian Libran (my moon and rising signs). In the center is the Madonna (or Divine Feminine) with the Christ Child and cute little putti flying around. The center panel is influenced by Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian, active by 1278–died 1318 Siena), Rafael (Italian, Marchigian, 1483–1520) and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venetian, 1696–1770) among other Italian Renaissance painters.

  Three Priestesses of Atlantis
9" x 12", watercolor and oil pastel on paper
July 9th, 2013

This is fun piece came right out of my head. The imagery and the use of mixed media is inspired by Leonard Rosenfeld (1926-2009), an artist worth checking out. His pieces are at the same time whimsical and heartrendingly serious (my interpretation), using a variety of materials and addressing an amusingly wide subject matter. His oeuvre spans over five decades, many pieces exploring life in his native Brooklyn. The three figures in this watercolor are reoccurring characters in my work; in this piece I have chosen to name them as Priestesses of Atlantis, the civilization that is said to have existed before our own. Perhaps the different colors, shapes and mudras (symbolic gesture found in Hinduism and Buddhism) represent the varied specialties of the Priestesses. In any case, it's good to have fun and let one's imagination run wild.

A String of Broken Hearts (Versions I and II)
12" x 16", watercolor and gouache on paper
July 12th, 2013

This piece comes from a meditation I have been practicing where I experience my own broken heart. Broken hearts do not just come from romantic relationships; they can also stem from painful childhood memories that have never been dealt with. In my attempts to address my deep-rooted feelings (and fear) of rejection, I have inserted myself into the past to re-experience the gut-wrenching sensation of betrayal, neglect and trauma. For me, the prominent image is a black and red hole carved out in my chest. Interesting how there are seven people strung across the top, the same number as the main chakras in the body.

The sister meditation to this is placing a golden or multicolored orb in the center of my chest where the hole gapes and drips sorrow. It is often an image of an adult me (as I am now, at age 30) placing the healing orb into myself as a child or in past relationships. The Netherlandish painter Gerard David inspired me with the colors for the orb as well as the dove of The Annunciation (1506), in this case representing peace and Divine Intervention.

 All In // Hai Roto il Tuo Proprio Cuore)
12" x 16", watercolor and gouache on paper
July 17th, 2013

This powerful piece displays a jumble of scenarios and emotional states. At the top left is an image of myself placing a healing orb in my own chest. To the right is an image of myself with the gaping broken heart in my chest, radiating panic and stress. Below left is an image of myself with a hollow heart sleeping and dreaming, perhaps of being in a couple and being whole (pictured below). The horse head, derived from the Alexander Mosaic (now at the Naples National Archeological Museum in Italy), has always represented to me a primal fear and horror. The right half of the piece, by contrast, is a Mother Mary figure encapsulating three figures with her love. In this case, her heart is so big it melts the head of the central yellow figure (curiously, the same color as myself asleep, dreaming with the broken heart). The blue cloak is typical of Renaissance depictions of the Virgin Mary, as it represents the heavens. Since ultramarine blue was expensive and hard to acquire, use of the color demonstrated the patron's wealth and status.

12" x 16", watercolor and gouache on paper
July 17th, 2013

This rapidly painted piece was born from a flurry of emotions last night. The sunflower is a gift, a token (un pensierino) of the Umbrian countryside, perhaps representing the sun or Divine Intervention. The cloaked, kneeling figures come from Giotto di Bondone (1266/76-1337) and his followers. Once again, the Virgin Mary makes an appearance, this time with the Christ Child happily slung in her arm. Just to reiterate, in my paintings, images of Mary or Jesus are not religious icons specific to the Catholic Church but symbols of forces that prevail (or that I wish would prevail) in my life. Mother Mary represents the feminine, the Divine or Eternal Mother within myself. The Christ Child could stand for my own inner child, or perhaps my innate Divine Qualities. The worshipers symbolize my own desire for peace or happiness, whatever I am looking for. You understand that I work around these images all day, I have been to Italy and seen these pieces in the flesh. They have undoubtedly marked my psyche and I welcome this intrusion.


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