Images From the Otherworld
In my visionary series, Images From the Otherworld, I depict my extraordinary experiences at sacred sites in Ireland, the South of England, and Scotland, as well as imagery derived from meditation. In these works, I am exploring the role of art imagery, belief, and the power of positive thinking on the healing process. I seek to mine deeply personal experiences that, when shared, will become universal concepts, and to inspire psychological and holistic physical healing through this imagery as I explore the role of art imagery, belief, and the power of positive thinking on the healing process. As I develop these works, I am realizing the presence of a connecting theme: the cycle of creation and destruction, of death and rebirth, and the healing that lies between.
Through my works based on sacred sites, I explore the intersection of the physical landscape with the spiritual realm. Inspired by the ancient Celts, who revered in-between times and places such as twilight and the shore, I merge surreal figurative elements into sacred landscapes. To best express the spiritual purpose of such sites, I employ visionary imagery inspired by the shaman’s inner landscape, as well as ideas found in dreams, meditation, and yoga poses. Though my process is in the visionary painting tradition, I employ photorealism to lend believability to my compositions by using multiple oil layers of glazes and wet-on-dry textures. While I seek to depict the specific physical details of each sacred site, often the setting serves as a universal context as well as a firm sense of place.
I am provided with rich source material at holy wells, those natural springs or other water sources that are revered as places of healing, a continuation of the ancient Celtic tradition of venerating water. There are thousands of wells across Ireland and the United Kingdom. These uplifting sites, filled with the relaxing sounds of flowing water and birdsong, are set aside from the modern, mundane world as sacred outdoor spaces. While others are now lost or overgrown, many wells are still actively tended and venerated by modern pilgrims. To extend the potential reach of each holy well I paint, I incorporate their waters, with their attributed healing properties, into the gesso layers of the canvas.
My artistic goal is to inspire viewers to feel as though they could walk into the sacred landscape to personally experience this imagery. To enhance the effect, my plan for certain future works is to create custom installation components so as to combine two dimensional paintings with interactive elements. When shared in this manner, these otherworldly images will become physical, and perhaps potentially healing to the viewer, which fits the history of the subject matter and the methodology of visionary painting. Through all my works, I seek to engage the community directly and personally with the imagery I paint, reconnecting city dwellers to a meaningful connection with nature through the peace and transformation it can symbolize.