Edge of Faith May 2017 - Page 38

I have, and I’ve shown pretty wide- ly across the country. My first rep- resentation was in Santa Monica, Tortue Gallery, Summit Gallery in San Diego, up in Seattle; Linda Hodges, Tatistcheff Gallery in New York City where I had a solo show that was reviewed by Eleanor Heartney for Art in America Magazine, which was really fun. I was a young artist starting out, so that’s been great. My involvement with CIVA has been wonderful, too. My work has been shown with CIVA and published in their publication Bearing the Mystery and I have also been published in Image Journal a couple of times. I have had a wide and varied audience for my work. We’ll put it that way. 38 • The Art of Faith Magazine • www.aofmag.com What is it that inspires you to paint the glory of God? I can say this in about one sentence, actually. I paint to witness the incar- nation of the divine in the natural world. I have this perspective, almost a knowing, that when I am walking through this natural world (and of course in the Pacific Northwest, it’s right at hand), the beauty that I see around me is really God’s love in physical form. Whether it’s the figure, or whether it’s the flowers, or the fruit, or the landscape or whatever, I really paint because I want to reveal His incarnation in some way. Could tell us now about your pieces in the exhibit? But, guess who resides in the cas- tle? God, right, so you truly are in a safe place. You’re, I think, literally in the presence of God.” There are two pieces; one is called The Tree of Life. It is 48 x 48 inches square and it shows a desert land- scape that’s very flat and you don’t see any vegetation except for a small tree. It looks kind of like a sapling, but it’s bearing fruit. It bears fruit of different kinds. You see pomegran- ates and lemons and pears and there are blossoms on the tree. One of the pomegranates is broken open; seeds from the pomegranate are falling out. The time of day is sort of early evening. The shadows are long and this little tree casts a shadow across the landscape that points to an opening in the earth. It’s a gorge and it references a place that I visited once in New Mexico where you’re out in the desert and all of a sudden the earth opens up and the Rio Grande falls into a deep gorge. It’s just spec- tacular, it’s stunning. The contrast between the dryness and the flatness of everything, and then the depth of the gorge with the water at the bottom — the life-giving water — was just stunning to me. It seems like this perfect visual metaphor for how we see the Tree of Life. We don’t see from where it derives its energy, because it looks like it is in this desert landscape but then you see the gorge and you see that deep, down in the gorge, there is water. The seen and unseen. A lot of our spiritual artists love that theme and I do, too. As above, so below. There is a manifest world, the incarnation, and then there is the divine unseen. The more energetic world where spirit resides. I thought it was the perfect setting for my Tree of Life. It’s early evening and there is a moon that is starting to appear just above these clouds that are out by the horizon and have this orange and gold and rosy cast to them because the sun is set- ting. It’s also one of those in-between times; between day and night. Where things seem sort of electrically charged. Even though the seeds are really tiny, I wanted the whole environment, this deep deep space and these little tiny things, to have their particular place in this dynamic. That’s wonderful. I described the painting, but I didn’t really tell you what inspired it. There was an event that inspired both of the paintings.The other painting, Seeds of Mercy II, is a close up of the tree with the pomegranate fruit hanging in it and then the pomegranates are broken open and the seeds are almost flying out of it. For a number of years, I have practiced these meditations that were taught by Teresa Avila, who was a 16th century Spanish mystic and a reformer of the Carmelite Order. She wrote this wonderful meditation guide for her nuns called The Interior Castle, and it has been translated with commentary by Carolyn Myss. In reading that book, I started following these meditations. One day, I was sitting in meditation; these meditations involve visualizations. I was sitting under the Tree of Life — I am visualizing this — when pomegranate seeds started falling from its fruit into my open palms in my lap. When I asked why these seeds were given to me, I was told that I already had the seeds of love and compas- sion, but that I needed the seeds of