This Is What I Go Through creating a Divine Mother Painting.
This Divine Mother Painting was started a couple years ago, and sat in the storage area of our friends in Santa Fe. We visit them every year, and I decided to get the painting out and finish it. And I thought I would share my process with you, so you can see through a little window of my “painting world.”
The Divine Mother Painting is one of my major themes.
Ever since I have been with Sondra Ray in 2008 I have been inspired to paint the Holy Masters. The Divine Mother is one of them. I use a few photos of Ammachi, the “hugging saint,” as my models.
When I paint I start with a very gestural beginning, like this. I usually paint over the canvas with a particular color field, then make my color decisions from there. Then I decide what to do next. In this case, the first stage of this painting sat around for a couple of years before I decided to paint back into it.
Diane Arbus was a famous photographer who said, “The thing that’s important to know is that you never know. You’re always sort of feeling your way.” This always struck me as the truth of my process of painting. You know to a certain extent, but in the overall scheme of things maintaining an openness, a relationship with the Unknown is more important than “what you know or plan.” It is within this spaciousness of not knowing that creativity happens.
You may not always get it “just right,” but you are never “wrong.”
When are you ever done with a work? When is it “just right?” Some people like the earlier stages of a painting. They think it is already “done.” Sometimes I think adding one more stroke of color is what is needed, then after I add it, I find I liked the painting better before. This is just an ongoing process of adjustments until you arrive at a place in which you can go no further. Is it “just right?” Who knows. Is it finished? Sometimes that is merely a declaration.
Picasso said, “Painting is a series of destructions and creations.” That is so true. One thing you add destroys the relationships that came before it, and creates a whole new set of relationships.
After I painted a lot of cream colored ground over the face and background of this Divine Mother Painting, I wanted to add a yellow orange as I often do. It is my favorite color, I would say. This fiery palette is what sings to me. I am not too much into blues and browns, as much as greens and oranges. I feel my way along in the color scheme of things. I may not be able to get it “just right,” but a painting is never “wrong.” It is what it is, where it is, with the elements that make it. I take the painting through a series of destructions and creations, as Picasso said.
The Divine Mother Painting Is Everywhere.
“Divine Mother of Santa Fe” came together over a few years. It is a subject I never get tired of, really. The Divine Mother is everywhere, and even if I did not paint the face of Ammachi as the Divine Mother, but rather just made stokes and more open ended forms of pure paint, it would still be of the Divine Mother. The Sacred Feminine is the stuff out of which all things take shape, especially a work of art, such as a painting.
In the Final Stages
There is a stage of the painting in which you know you are near the end, but you are so far away from the end that you feel discouraged. This is a stage in which you “know the painting needs something,” but you are not sure what it needs. The bold strokes are over. They have already been laid down. But the fine tuning that occurs can make or break the entire work—it can give it life or keep it in the state of an average death.
The “Divine Mother of Santa Fe” has come together so far over a period of time. It is in keeping with my extended work with the Sacred Feminine. I wrote a book called Odes to the Divine Mother in which the essence of the Divine Mother is captured not only in verse, but also in a Divine Mother Painting or image every few pages. You can purchase this book HERE.
This is one of my best and most colorful Divine Mother Paintings. I hope you have enjoyed seeing the process I go through in making a work of art. This is my own personal ART LOOK into the Unknown regions of my soul, into my own creative inspiration. This ART LOOK shows you what I face, and what you as a viewer face when you have the stages of development before you. “Divine Mother of Santa Fe” is yours. You may purchase Her HERE. Many THANKS are well deserved to our friends here in Santa Fe, T. & D., for providing the space for me to paint this sacred icon in their home.