Painting  Icons Is A Challenge

Venturing into new ground. One could say painting Icons is a thing of the past, and people just do not have the “belief” or the inclination to think icons have any more meaning in their life. We are more apt to be affected by the “icons” on our computer, or the logos of mega corporations, the images of “Coca-Cola” or “Starbucks,” than by paintings of holy persons from eons ago.

For many of us who have left the conventional religious context, the notion of Icons had to come from elsewhere. We looked toward the East for a spiritual connection. We looked toward the New Thought movement and the various modalities of psycho-spiritual cleansing, healing and clearing. In India we learned about Murti’s that were similar to the old Icons that possessed the “living presence” of the deity or holy being. Recently a friend from Russia sent me this Icon of Mother Mary. I was moved. He said it gave him and his partner a great comfort. I thought, WOW. Truly it could do that. “Our Lady of Comfort,” became the thought that possessed me fully from looking at this beautiful image.

I began to integrate the image and take it into myself. I thought about my own approach to painting “Our Lady of Comfort.” We were in Estonia, presenting a weekend seminar called the “Miracle Consciousness Training.” I thought it was best to “warm up” with just the face first. So I started there with a study.

This was the beginning of a “delving” into “Our Lady of Comfort.” My intention was to end up with something life sized and even bigger that life sized. This would take shape after the study. We stayed in Estonia an extra week this year, in an apartment in Old Town Tallinn, and I started the larger work. It was a challenge to be into a full blown rendering of the Icon. I used a little black and white photo for the model.

The famous photographer, Diane Arbus, said this about the creative process: “The important thing to know is that we don’t know. We are just feeling our way.” So I began to feel my way into this. I am still feeling my way. It is a challenge to paint an icon in 2017, and to capture the true essence of the being. Do I receive comfort from this image? Does it emit comfort? Is it truly peaceful? Does it have power to transform my mind into a state of being calming and pure?  These are the aspirations of the “unknown” toward which I am “just feeling my way.” I will write again when it is finished.






The Master Gives Energy Through The Face

In India there is a word that describes a kind of “holy vision” one receives from looking into the face of an enlightened Master. This word is “DARSHAN.” It is more than just describing a vision of something divine. It is a particular energy that is exchanged between the Master and the “devotee.” It is an exchange of pure grace.

The reason I paint the Holy Masters, especially Jesus, it to produce this “exchange of energy” from the Master to the person looking at the painting. What do we know about Jesus that is direct; not what we learned in churches, but what we have experienced from an actual experience with Him and His energy? I want the paintings I do of Jesus to offer this directness.

I painted this “JESUS OF SZCZECIN” in Poland last week. I am not too fussy in my style. I like to use simple and bold colors, usually in keeping with a feeling I am having in a particular country. In this country of Poland, Magenta came to mind as a predominant theme color. So I stuck with that.

I was happy with the result. It emanates peace. Others have confirmed that they felt the same peace that I did. Also, I felt my “touch” was very much sensitized in this work. Sometimes I am more in the zone than other times. I was really “in the zone” on this one.

There have been thousands of painters who have painted Jesus. What makes mine any better or more powerful? I like to think that understanding this principle of “DARSHAN,” and insisting that my paintings emit this direct energy, is half of the battle. This model I use is a painting of Jesus done by Heinrich Hoffmann called “Christ and the Rich Young Ruler.” 

The subtle mood and feeling is unique to every painting. I paint somewhere between abstraction and realism. So having a Blue Jesus is not out of the question, as long as the power of the image comes through to “touch” the viewer. I paint Jesus in order to transmit His Peace and Joy. And during this process I hope to touch upon something very sacred. 

I paint Jesus to offer His “DARSHAN.” I have to be surrendered myself to see Him closely enough to transmit His Presence in a painting. That is my goal, and my passion to do so. These are for sale, and I can paint them on commission as well.



Make What Hangs on Your Walls Count !

There are certain art objects and paintings in my life that would be hard to live without now, as they have become so much a part of my reason for being. One is a painting and altar to the Divine Mother. This is in our living room and dominates the vibration of the space. For me it offers a “meeting place” of my soul with the ever giving benevolence of Life Itself, which is what the Divine Mother represents.


There is a powerful statue of Quan Yin sitting on the altar, along with a picture of Mary and one of Ammachi. The statue is only about a foot tall, but it emanates a huge sense of peace and relaxation. That is what your living room should be, yes? A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN REST, RELAX AND REPLENISH.

Moving into the hallway we have some sculptures of wood carved in Bali that would be hard to imagine living without. One is a very small carving of a Balinese woman, very delicately carved, and the other is a set of Balinese rice field Goddesses, one of which is shown here.

I guess you are  noticing the Divine Mother energy is very strong in our place. The Divine Father is here too, in the form of a Painting of Jesus I did a few years ago, and a lot of photos of Babaji.

Last but not least are a couple of Divine Mother paintings that are important. One is by Francene Hart from Hawaii of Madame Pele, which is on the cover of Sondra’s book Pele’s Wish. The other is an original copy of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a very famous Ikon painting that lives in Mexico City.

These are some works of art “I can’t live without.” What would yours be? You might like to give this question some attention. Make what hangs on your walls count. Your home is your temple, and it is the place where you can “charge up” your battery of soul energy. Why not have lofty stuff around you, in addition to the usual souvenirs?




A Picture Awakens Through Touch.


It is often said, “A picture is worth 1000 words.” In many ways an artist paints because he wants to leave words behind. The color, subject and composition  is not something in need of verbal description. It hits you in the heart or not. The Image sears itself into your memory or not. It “touches you.” I painted this “Babaji in Barcelona” last summer, and my friend Joe Petri was touched by it and bought it on the spot when he saw it. He was touched.

Recently I have been reading the work of Immortalist, Robert Coon, who gives touch the utmost spiritual importance: “Oh, Let my touch be the Highest Manifestation for the Will Divine.” So a painting is made by the qualities of my touch. I am touching the physical matter of the paints and the canvas and the brushes in just the right alignment and relationships to ultimately “touch” the person looking at the painting. This is an “Art Look” that transcends the “picture worth a thousand words.” The words cannot come close to the Touch of a great work. That happens instantaneously without words.


This portrait by Leonardo is touching in the way the man holds so delicately the piece of paper. It is a moment when time stops and our minds are still. It needs no explanation. We are touched. Touch is superior to words, because it cannot be misinterpreted. You are either touched or you are not. You are struck by the impact of this touch or you are not. You may only look at these two images above for less than 10 seconds, but the touch will go on long after you look away at other things. That is, if the artist was successful with his touch. If his touch has risen to the “highest manifestation for the Will Divine.”



What Makes an Ikon Painting Really Work?

I had an exchange on Facebook with a Russian friend of mine I met in Herakhan last April regarding Ikon paintings. He was struck by the last painting I did of Babaji, and mentioned he would like to take me to see some of the most powerful Ikon paintings in Moscow. The Russians were quite good at this art form. What makes these paintings so powerful? What makes them work? They would be the same reasons I would put into my own paintings of Babaji, Jesus, and the Divine Mother.

This is the most recent “Jesus of Madrid” I painted last weekend.

And here is another one I painted, “Jesus of Tenerife,” a few weeks before:

What do these have in common with the Russian Ikon paintings? It is interesting to trace the similarities between the concept of the “murti” in India, in which the “Living Presence” of the deity is imbued in the painting or the sculpture, the Russian Ikon, in which the Presence of Christ is meant to come through, and my paintings which are attempting to do the same.

Here are some Russian Ikons that I found compelling:


I suppose that a realistic rendition of the Christ, such as in the High Italian Renaissance period, is not my style. I am more attuned to these Ikons. I never gave them much thought until my Russian friend mentioned them. Perhaps I had a past life in the golden age of Byzantium, or in the  golden age of the Russian churches in which Ikons were the means of communicating the love of Christ to the people.

What makes an Ikon painting really work is the heart of the painter himself. Is he in the vibration of the Christ? Is he impeccable in his love? Is he living the principles set down by the Master? All these factors contribute to the effectiveness of the Ikon. Without being a “fish,” as the great Chinese painters would say, “You cannot paint a fish.”

Also, it seems my study of A Course in Miracles, and having been brought up in a Christian family and society has encouraged me to explore this form of painting even more. And all the many paintings I have done of Babaji and the Divine Mother over the past 9 years, as “darshan,” have contributed to the strength of these “Jesus Paintings.” People are moved in their presence, so I know I am on the right track. Also, people are buying them for their homes, which is another good sign.


PS. Jesus of Madrid is for sale. Send an email or comment here if you are interested.



Paintings Unforgettable

There are some paintings that are unforgettable. And some pass you by, and don’t even register. Sondra and I went to the Prado here in Madrid yesterday and saw both kinds. Usually the art of the West is dramatic, but spiritually elevating in more visceral ways. The technical abilities of the artist are impeccable, and the subject matter depends on the times. We are very good in the West in depicting Tragedy, Suffering, Royalty, Sex, and Delight as though they are all holy charges of the artist’s eye.

This “Descent From the Cross” by Rogier van der Weyden is unbelievably crafted. The Northern Renaissance painters had a propensity for touching detail. 2D is given 3D; 3D is given 4D. Amazing! If you study the geometry of this painting closely, it is remarkable as well.  And the brilliance of the color is superb, almost defying the tragedy of the scene. The reds and the blues take us to another dimension, one of merited fame in the pantheon of Western masterpieces.

Goya’s “3rd of May” is also such a famous painting. He was intent upon capturing the horrors and dramas of war. But at the same time, there is a nobility that lifts us: the innocence and the courage of the victims who are about to be shot, and who have a very human face. And there is an ignoble quality that appalls us: the almost inhuman robot like soldiers in their high hats, without a human face, and with perfectly pointed weapons of cruelty. Have we really changed much since then?

Well, after a dose of man’s inhumanity to man, Sondra wanted to see Goya’s “Maja” paintings. They are in a room together, on the same wall, clothed and unclothed. From a purely male “arousal” perspective, I found the “Clothed Maja” much more enticing than the unclothed one. Also, the head on the “Clothed Maja” is more relaxed than the one on the nude. I can relate, as a painter, to the difference, even though it is the same model. The head on the “Nude Maja” seems lower, perhaps without as much breathing space. A subtle difference, but one I could feel.

The last painting that stood out in my recollection was Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.” It is a kind of allegorical arena of human desires, just a small step short of an unbelievable Eden of orgies. Again, a Northern Renaissance work, the minute detail of this almost “miniature” scale of the work is breathtaking. One could wander for hours in the scenarios of this Paradise of the Senses.

These would be my “quick pics” of what was impressionable from our walk through the Prado. Of course, there are other great works in the Museum, but these are the ones that struck a chord of delight in our 2 hours of sauntering. Madrid is lucky to have these paintings. May they always inspire us to ascend as human beings, to manifest the beauty and creativity of a Divine Life.



Babaji is in Love with Paris

If you have to paint, paint it in Paris. You could say New York is the current art capital of the world, or not. You could say Rome is the center of the Western Art Renaissance, or not.  You could say LA is a force to be reckoned with, or not.  But Paris has undoubtedly the vibe of all art vibes. Geez oh man! The place is pre-eminent with art and beauty with a capital “B.” Everywhere you turn the aesthetic beauty is overpowering.

I decided to paint a BABAJI in FRANCE for my friend Monique here in her apartment in Nueilly sur Seine. We went and got the stuff I needed in town, and I began in a non-assuming way, as I always do, to let the thing unfold. I started out with this:

These initial strokes turned into this:

I added some orange and then painted over the whole canvas with a more magenta glaze. You gotta do something bold (and somewhat destructive) if you are going to paint Lord Shiva, which is Who Babaji is.

But then I had to adjust the shape of the face. I did not like the left side, and the eyes were too close together. So I painted out the eyes and moved them father apart: sometimes one centimeter makes a meter of difference. I brought the thing back to a more purple tone with another glaze.

I added some orange too, and then I wrote this on my Facebook:

“Picasso said a painting is a series of “creations” and “destructions.” That is true. Everything you “add” to a painting “takes away” the former relationships and forms new ones. Every time you “paint over” a section and restructure, you have created a different painting all together, and destroyed the former painting.

For me every painting goes through this inner transformation. The vision may be simple, but the means themselves, the very strokes and decisions of which paint, which color, which density, and so forth, have a direct effect on the “vision.” In some ways I “paint blindly” of the final outcome, not knowing what it is to be.

Through a series of actions, with my Will to touch upon something impactful and true, I arrive at something new. Sometimes this process takes courage to obliterate what I have already spent time to create. But if I am attached to my “investment,” then the thing stays stuck. Nothing new at all. Only the copying of my own style.

One would not think that “imitating ones own work” could be a major pitfall in the creative process. But if I am honest with myself, I have to be willing to do something bold and thoughtless. Not calculated and controlled, to breathe new LIFE into a work.

I will share my process with you in the BABAJI in FRANCE. Here is the first bold destruction. Awkward. I feel kind of vulnerable exposing myself this way, but let’s see what happens. I have 4 more days to work on this.”

By the time I got the hair adjusted to where it was dynamic, and not just sitting on a dummy head like a wig, it was time for a “halo ring,” I call it.

Then we took a break for a couple days and went to Vezelay to see the Basilica of Mary Magdalene. That was a total mind stopper. I was in the total bliss of the French genius by then…. filled with the Spirit, as they say. I had French limestone on the brain, and was still trying to find my way, flowing with the right colors for Babaji.

After we went to Vezelay, I was swamped with Frenchdom. I had to put some “fleur de lis” in there somewhere, for heaven’s sake. I stuck a few in the background. Why not? They were the symbol of French Royalty, and Babaji is certainly a KING!. And Royal Purple just kept coming to me. Babaji loves everybody, even the French. And certainly He was awakening my own Love affair with the French in myself, like NEVER BEFORE!

What a week here in Paris. Here is the final BABAJI in FRANCE, and I think everyone would agree it was worth going through the week long metamorphosis to get to it.

If you have to paint, (which I do or I would go mad,) paint whatever you have to paint in Paris. The vibe will help you and your art. It will blow your petty mind, and give you a Royal mind. It will push you around and knock you down a few times, but pick you up in the end and give you the shining glory of the Painter Gods on your side of your Facebook timeline. Give it a try, even if you are an artist in the bud, or a mature one like myself.




PS. Anyone want one, let me know. Have paint brush will travel, or ship. markus.ray@aol.com


A hill with a phallic object on top

There is a place in England that is considered by many to be the “Heart Center” of the world. That place is Glastonbury. We are giving a retreat there in August (8-16) and you can come join us for an in depth immersion into the spiritual energies of Glastonbury, Liberation Breathing, and soulful journeys to the surrounding sacred sites. We will visit Stonehenge, and the Glastonbury Tor, among others.

The Glastonbury Tor is unique. It is an ancient hill that was used in the pre-Christian era for worship of the Divine Mother. During the Christian time there was a church built on top of the Tor, St. Michael’s. All that stands there now is a lone tower, and because of its singular position, it appears as a phallic symbol on top of a huge motherly mound.

We will ascend to the top of the Tor during our retreat, and invoke the Divine Male and Female energies to help us grasp and commune with the Holy Grail of Physical Immortality.

I painted these watercolors in anticipation of being at Glastonbury on top of the Tor. This first one began as two free flowing arcs,  energies shooting upward to a crest point. Then within this humped shape emerged a kinesthetic swirl of forms aspiring upwards.

“TOR # 1”

The next painting has a suggestion of “St Michael’s Tower” at the top of the Tor. One feels the energy of elation on top of the Tor. You feel like you are on the crest of the world, even though it is only a couple hundred feet higher than the town of Glastonbury below.

“TOR #2”

The third painting utilizes a “column of light yellow,” vertically filling the center with a “Shiva Energy.” One of Shiva’s forms is a column of light that extends upward into infinity and also downward into infinity. This implies His being has no beginning and no end. Shiva is a “god of destruction,” destruction of illusions, or of that which is not supportive of Life. He is the great Cosmic House Cleaner.

“TOR #3”

And the final painting has a quality of a serpentine bowel in the middle of the Tor. The womblike nature of the hill lends itself to all kinds of things “gestating” from within: rainbows, steps, serpents, orbs and tails of inner elements all in the belly of the Mother of creation. The Father post sits atop the Tor, in honor of this vast container of cosmic things.

“TOR #4”

This set of four Glastonbury TOR series paintings are for sale. Inquire at markus.ray@aol.com.

JOIN US here for the Glastonbury Quest 2017, August 8-16:


…..and bring your watercolor pad. Perhaps you will paint your own versions of the Tor.

The Royal Road Test

Why “Jesus of Las Vegas” Sold (before it was finished.)


A few weeks ago we were on the road, in Las Vegas, teaching the Loving Relationships Training. And as usual, I painted one of the Spiritual Masters during the seminar. Since I painted Babaji the last time in Las Vegas, I decided to paint Master Jesus. Sometimes I paint the Divine Mother. Either three of these is a great subject. We call them “The Dream Team.”


“The Dream Team” is composed of the Royalty of all Masters. BABAJI is the “King of the Gurus.” JESUS is noted as the “Prince of Peace” through his total Mastery of forgiveness. And the DIVINE MOTHER is the “Queen of the Cosmos.”  I have painted this “Royal Family” many times, and put this “Dream Team” together on numerous occasions.


It’s not rocket science to realize They already have a wide appeal to the populace. People love to be loved by the Masters. That is why I paint them. They are the ROYALTY of LOVE, and that is what the paintings emanate. People feel their love coming through the paintings. And this is a Royal test I always have on the road when I am painting them: Do I capture this Love energy in the painting? When I do there is always someone in the audience who purchases the painting, and everyone is happy.

So in Las Vegas LRT I wrote down my goal for the training as I always do. This time only one: I wanted to paint a Master-Peace of JESUS and sell it for $2250. I only had that one goal, even before I started it. This is what came out:


Before I was even half finished with the work, Jane Mnoian, one of our students in the LRT, came up to me after a Liberation Breathing session and said, “I want to buy that Jesus Painting.” OK. I told her I would give her first option on the purchase. So when I posted the price for opening bids, she paid the price: $2250, which was what I wrote down in my “goals.” ROYALTY always gets people’s attention, and SPIRITUAL ROYALTY gives LOVE beyond anything else. I passed the “Royal Road Test,” painting a Master-Peace and selling it for my intended price. Who says miracles do not happen?

And Jane is already writing us about the miracles that are happing as a result of having “Jesus of Las Vegas” in her house.

THANK YOU JESUS, for my link to a very ROYAL purpose: I am the “court painter of the “Dream Team.”




I got a message on Facebook from one of our friends and students in Estonia. She asked for a BABAJI painting. She requested I paint her a new BABAJI painting and she had a certain amount of Euros to spend, and would that be an OK price for me? It was in the ballpark of my prices, so I agreed. She also said she did not care how long it would take, or how I wanted to paint it, or when it would arrive to her in Estonia. She said, “I leave it now all to you guys – you and Babaji. :)” 

She gave me total artistic freedom to paint BABAJI however I was inspired. It does not get any better than this for an artist. So I thought, “I am home in Nashville for a few weeks. Why wait? Now is a good time to paint BABAJI FOR ESTONIA.”

I had some blank canvases left over from the last European tour. I pulled one out and taped it up on the wall and began to block it out. I used a photo as a model I seldom use. It is BABAJI meditating, draped in garlands of flowers. One of my favorites of HIM.

fullsizeoutput_2758Of course the painting went through a number of “morphs.” It started out in a kind of magenta color for the sketch. Then a glaze of blue. Then Sondra and I were looking at it one evening and we both said to each other, “The magenta is not it! Where did that come from?” It was too sanguinary. Too damn “bloody.” Maybe Halloween was on my mind. OK, when that happens I have to do something that is bold and drastic to shift the energy.


I had to rethink the whole direction of the work.  Picasso once said, “Painting is a series of creations and destructions.” So now I had to “destroy” the mood of the magenta completely. That would require a new “pass” of blue. “But geez, I am painting BABAJI, not Krishna,” I thought.”


Sondra walked in the room after the second pass of blue and said, “Wow, you really changed it now.” That set the stage for a whole new direction. And after all, the colors of the Estonian flag are Blue, Black and White, so I wanted to be in that energy with the BABAJI FOR ESTONIA. I painted a Blue Divine Mother years ago in Estonia, and a lady bought the painting in the training before I even finished it. SO BLUE was definitely IT!!

fullsizeoutput_329fI gradually got into the Blue. What a striking blue, I thought. Who cares if this BABAJI is melding with Krishna? They are all in the same MIND of God. The blue made the yellow aura and marks of chundun on the forehead even more distinct. POW and WOW! I had a great time painting the flowers. Some of the magenta remnants easily translated into plumb. I was on my way now. And with a couple days of refinement, VOILA! There emerged BABAJI FOR ESTONIA. (102cm X 144cm; 40″ X 58″)

THANK YOU Maren Penu for going with your inspiration to bring BABAJI’s presence closer into you life,  closer into your home, and closer into you heart, where He already resides. BOLE BABA KI JAI! we say: “Hail to the Simple Father.” LOVE to you Maren. Your home will be eternally blessed. It’s on its way to you now, to bless you, your family, and all of ESTONIA!


PS. Giclees are available of this BABAJI for sale. Giclees are original quality prints  of the painting on canvas. They are virtually EXACT replicas. I have two the same size of the one I sent to Estonia, and two half the size.