contemporary art

Breath and Beyond

“Breath and Beyond” 12" x 12" acrylic, cloth, threads, and paper on canvas.

“Breath and Beyond” 12" x 12" acrylic, cloth, threads, and paper on canvas.

“Breath and Beyond” was the first painting I worked on and completed after returning from packing up my parent’s home. (We were getting it ready for sale.) Although I returned with several new projects in mind, I decided to get busy with the raw canvas I had prepared before leaving. My first goal was to create a thread filled environment in which to paint.

“Breath and Beyond” in process.

“Breath and Beyond” in process.

I began by sewing lines of stitches in something of a checkerboard pattern, leaving loose threads at the ends of each line. I had already cut five squares into the cloth before the trip.

“Breath and Beyond” didn’t develop as I had originally envisioned. So, I let go, allowing the process to lead me, and I was able to enjoy every step along the way.

I kept adding color, then some text, and then more color. The background canvas became a deep brownish mauve to peek through the openings in the cloth.

The text in the painting is the mantra, So Hum, meaning: "I Am That." It is used in meditation as one focuses on their breath.

“Breath and Beyond” in process.

“Breath and Beyond” in process.

I always have a title in mind by the time a painting is complete… but not this time. The painting had journeyed so far from the original idea and I felt like I was just along for the ride, not knowing where we were going. I had to brainstorm ideas for a name.

When the title, “Breath and Beyond” came to mind, I knew it was right. I could see how the painted cloth had become a tapestry OR a tapestry of life. I had chosen a mantra that represents the breath OR breath of life. And the cutouts had become windows to the beyond.

“Breath and Beyond” in process. Sewing the painted cloth to the back canvas.

“Breath and Beyond” in process. Sewing the painted cloth to the back canvas.

Painting with the Kaddish

"Kaddish 1" 12" x 12" acrylic, paper, string, and cloth on canvas.

"Kaddish 1" 12" x 12" acrylic, paper, string, and cloth on canvas.

With the recent loss of my parents, it seemed the perfect time to create a painting with a focus on the Kaddish, a Hebrew prayer often referred to as the Mourner’s Kaddish. I have always loved the flow of rhythmic sounds as these Hebrew words are recited aloud, particularly in a group. There is a cadence to these sounds that becomes a shared journey.

Text strips prepared for “Kaddish 1”

Text strips prepared for “Kaddish 1”

First, I spent a day preparing strips of canvas cloth for the lines of text I would be using in the painting. I probably created enough strips to produce multiple paintings. Hence, the name Kaddish 1.

Detail of “Kaddish 1”

Detail of “Kaddish 1”

While working on Kaddish 1, I never had a clear vision of where it was going. The painting seemed to keep showing me what my next steps were in it’s development. It took some time before the design layout for the text strips became clear. You might be able to see how the strips are not laying flat, but each one has an area which is raised up (image down below). And… I have to say, I became quite jazzed at the idea of adding the three lines of text to the left side of the background canvas, after placing single rows of text on the other three sides.

For now, this painting will remain with me and won’t be available for purchase. But I do plan to do more like it.

Detail of “Kaddish 1”

Detail of “Kaddish 1”

Twas Brillig

“Twas Brillig” 24” x 30” Acrylic, canvas cloth, and paper on canvas.

“Twas Brillig” 24” x 30” Acrylic, canvas cloth, and paper on canvas.

Detail image of “Twas Brillig”

Detail image of “Twas Brillig”

Painting brings me joy. I love my time in the studio and the relationship I develop with each of my creations… but once and awhile I create something that significantly increases the joy. “Twas Brillig” did just that. It turned up the “Joy Meter” and I was in no rush to complete it. I found myself savoring every moment I spent playing with this canvas.

For years I have wanted to create a painting with a focus on Lewis Carroll’s, Jabberwocky. I have loved it since high school. In fact, in one of my art classes back then, we had to illustrate a children’s book for a painting and drawing class. I chose to illustrate The Jabberwocky. (Thank you, Mr. Foo)

Closeup of the attached book on “Twas Brillig”

Closeup of the attached book on “Twas Brillig”

I so enjoyed playing with the text of the poem as I incorporated Carroll’s unique and wonderful words into the constructed cloth book. I took my time developing the background of the stretched canvas that became the setting for the “book.” This one gave me an opportunity to explore with color and structure.

Detail image of “Twas Brillig”

Detail image of “Twas Brillig”

My original goal was to, in some way, allow the words of Lewis Carroll to spill from the book, as if the boundaries of the books could not contain it. I would love to do more canvases like this one. Playing with text as it pours from the painting surface. These are the types of images that keep coming up in my mind, calling to be created.

I enjoyed every moment I spent on this painting. And I can’t help but wonder if this one may be something of a bridge between the work that has come before and the artwork I will be creating, moving forward. I definitely approached the painting process differently than I might have in the past… and that had been my goal.

Here are the words of the first and last stanzas of the poem for those of you unfamiliar with Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll and for those who would enjoy a reread:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.”

This painting is available for purchase. It has not yet been added to the online galleries but will be added very soon, along with several other recently completed works. For now, email me with any inquiries.