Ep 42: Painting Her Way Through Tough Times
Born in South Minneapolis, in 1955 to an average Lutheran family of six, my life changed forever when I was ten. My father was shot and killed in the grocery store that we all worked in. After that my mom stayed in her bedroom, threatening suicide, telling us that God abandoned us and we were pretty much all on our own. Not till much later in life did she feel joy again.
I was 13 when Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy were assassinated in 1968. I turned my personnel pain into the world's pain, it made mine feel less relevant, watching the Vietnam War on TV during dinner every night.
I have always been way too emotional for my own good and I learned early not to trust life to take care of me. To survive as a teenager I started a journal of suicidal thoughts and poetry to express my pain and a longing for deaths relief. This later became the first half of The Rainbow Child story I wrote in 1979 about spiritual awakening.
I explored different religions and their symbols and deities, especially attracted to Hindu and Tibetan art. I ended up focusing on Mandalas or Visual Prayers to center and heal myself. The Shri Yantra is the cosmic sound of AUM in a visual pattern of unfolding triangles. From the Bindi or Spark of God from the center of the Sri Yantra unfold 9 overlapping triangles representing the male and female energies of life.
The Flaming Heart is a symbol of the alchemy of the spirit being born from this life of joy and sorrow: The transformation of matter into spirit. That out of this life of pain comes a joy we cannot imagine a place of true love that is our destiny as spiritual beings, but it is so far from this world’s reality that we can only glimpse it.
Laughing Jesus I had to paint being raised as a conservative Lutheran. To me, to see Jesus laugh is to get what he was all about. The transcendence of joy over sorrow / life over death, knowing we are all immortal.
Romantically obsessed, I painted about true love hoping that I could draw it in, to no avail. The last in that series is called Unrequited Love showing how energy gets blocked and can not flow freely when our obsessions get the best of us.
I did a series of Left-Handed / Eyes-Closed works to loosen me up for fun. I painted Quetzacoatl the Aztec Mayan God that is to return in 2012 and bring a balance of Male and Female energy back to the planet for a time of peace and psychic awareness, not the end of the world. My newer pieces are more personal expressions of my feelings, my favorite being Sorrow Is Beauty which represents my emotions filling up and overflowing and joining the tears that are the fabric of the Universe.
Much of my art is not original – it is a tribute to and an appreciation of the religious art of the past – sacred images that are very much a part of mankind’s spiritual obsession.
I will continue to paint Gods and Goddesses from various cultures and I am sure that I will paint mandalas till the day I die. Some people have accused me of jumping on some New Age bandwagon, but these images are a part of me from my past lives;I can’t help but be drawn to them. In ’92 I went to India and felt like I’d spent lifetimes there. I was amazed how much spiritual art and icons are a part of everyone’s life. My art is only Temple art – something everyone would be doing as part of their spiritual training or worship. This art is an expression of the Divine in all vision of unity behind all forms of the spirit.