Why do you paint Babaji and Jesus and the Divine Mother so much?
I am often asked, “Why do you paint the spiritual Masters so much, and does it ever seem like a limited subject matter?” I recall the 20th Century Italian painter Giorgio Morandi who painted bottles and vases in small still life paintings for his whole painting career. Contrary to getting tired of that subject, or thinking it was a “limitation,” he entered into that realm as though it was a sacrament of intense stillness and wonder—of Joy and unlimited possibilities of Creation. I feel the same way about painting the Masters, and even more like it is a sacred act of intense aliveness and Joy.
One of my first drawings of Babaji I did way back in 1987. There was a stillness and silence coming out of the photo I had of Babaji meditating. I liked it so well. What I found was His energy of silence transmitting itself through the small photo. It was like a “holy encounter” coming to me out of the photo. Even though I had never met Babaji in the “flesh,” I was receiving His energy in the very instant I was looking at his picture. When I got around to the drawing, that energy of stillness and silence stayed with me.
This was one of my first attempts to draw and paint the Masters. Another larger work had Babaji in the background, with a wing, and in the foreground a hand holding a scepter.
Some were more simple, like this one just simply called Shiva.
I painted abstractly after these few portraits of the Masters. But I never forgot this connection to the face, to the holiness of the face, looking right through me. So when Sondra Ray asked me why I did not paint the Masters in 2008, I was kind of shocked what came out of me. I said, “No problem, I can do that.” This next one was my first attempt to paint Babaji again, in Houston, Texas. One of the students in the seminar, Barre Bernhardt, purchased it outright.
I have been painting the Masters ever since, and I never tire of that subject matter. Soon I was painting Jesus, as well as the Divine Mother. I painted this portrait of Jesus this year in Madrid, Spain. It is still available for sale, by the way.
One of my first paintings of Ammachi, the Divine Mother, was done in Valencia. This one is owned by Maria Jose Borras, who was our organizer at the time.
I receive a lot of spiritual benefits by painting the Masters. I call Babaji, Jesus and the Divine Mother our “Dream Team.” They bring me into the the stillness and silence within. They give me directions. They protect me from mistakes. The reason I paint the Masters is because when I do, the gap between me and Them becomes less and less. Their Love and Being comes into my Love and Being. Painting the Masters uplifts my Soul. The more I paint them the more I become like them.
It is something like the old Chinese proverb: “In order to paint a fish, you must become the fish.”