18 x 24 acrylic on canvas.
So I just received permission to talk about this painting from the commissioner and good friend of mine. She came over and put some money down and asked me to paint her soul. I laughed at first thinking there is no way on earth I could ever paint her soul because to me, her light is so bright, there isn’t a color that could match it but when I realized she was serious, I started spinning about the style. Initially, extreme abstract was going to be the winner as it is the style that leaves so much up to the interpretation of the viewer. It was a safe option, after all, we are fed more than our fair share of information each day, it’s nice to not be told what to think for a couple of minutes and be able to zen out and come up with our own conclusions about the story. But then I felt that would be an injustice to her because through the years of our friendship, we have endured some of the most raw, riveting and not so great but beautiful experiences together and I wanted a substantial representation of the gifts she gives to not only the world, her family, and the smaller community, but to me on a personal level. So I began by sitting in silence with her picture in my head reflecting on her gifts. Then I decided to start with line relationships, splattered some paint and let it drip, then took a full day to look at the drips and see what I saw. Then the ocean idea came which I will break down. Just think of the ocean and what it is. My friend is a powerful force of love and depth. She once told me “if I am not here and you are faced with a big decision, err on the side of compassion, and beg for difference later”. She also said “whoever comes through your door, love them for who they are, whether you can help them or not. Don’t expect them to be different, just love them.” Well the force coming out of the water then birthed itself to my awareness. Now, this friend is in a position to help people. She is also a mother, and also an individual who has her identity that she was born with who has nothing to do with anyone else’s experience or impression of themselves on her. She is not a role, and is also a role in the lives of the people who are in relationship to her. So I looked deeper into who her soul is without being in roles and relationships and without being defined by words or ideas. Then the world made its awareness to me as she is all encompassing of the exact energy of the world and yet separate from it. The hands then made an appearance as she holds her balance and destiny in each hand, one of the community that she works in and one of the seed that she has grown and is trying to send into the world as a life force who will also be a passionate inspirer as she is. So within this wave that she harbors deity like energy from, mermaids if you will from the depths of the ocean, or love energy from the emotional wisdom that water holds, she is able to balance between the worlds that she lives in because she is grounded in her heart that connects both worlds together. She worries that her seed will prosper or get eaten by the world, she protects those whose burden is as heavy as the world and begs to hold their innocence and covers their ears so they can preserve the goodness in their souls. She is a life giver. She never gets lost as she wears the dress of love flowing wherever she touches. The original idea of this painting also had a spider web behind her but I canned it as I wanted to create zen space around her. Traditional the color purple is the color of psychic energy. Clairvoyant people, people who have the gift of sight are said to have purple aura’s. My friend is extremely intuitive and can see what is brewing under the surface of people and just knows what is needed to make others look into themselves and feel better about who they are as energy fields. Finally, the fish represents the old adage of ‘feed a man a fish, he will eat for a day, but teach him to fish he’ll eat forever”. My friend will walk you down the road of self knowledge and allow you to come to your own conclusions but she coaches you with love that you will be ok and that you’re loved exactly how are you. The swing and the window showed up on their own probably to give her a resting space while she’s doing all of the hard work.
So that is her painting. I couldn’t actually paint her soul but I could wrestle with the expression of it and hopefully interpret it in a way that made sense and resonated with her own truth about her soul.
From a space of raw vulnerability,