Over My Head

And so it begins... thoughts on OVER MY HEAD a painting just completed (acrylic with gold and silver leaf on cotton canvas, 36 X 96 inches, begun April 29 and completed August 2, 2016). Initially this piece was to be about what it might have been like here in this very spot 1400 years ago when there was a 200 foot deep lake here. I imagined the old Andrews Schoolhouse at the bottom of the lake… and set about with that premise. After doing some estimations about where the shoreline would have been on the existing mountains behind the schoolhouse I also spent some hours discussing what animals might have populated this area then… talking with archeologist Patrick O’Grady.

The full length of Over My Head, August 2016

But as the painting formed I realized that I did not wish to paint about the animals of the past; I wanted to depict what it might feel like to me if I were sitting inside the old Andrews School and there was 200 feet of water over my head.

Pressure! Incredible pressure! I imagined that could not breathe! My heart was pounding! I wanted to escape, to fly away! These elements began to form on the canvas… the wings of a raven… on a figure that was me yet not me… it seemed to be part of my friend, Peach, but also I sensed the presence of friends Lucinda and Tom and then Boone and James… I encouraged my spirit to fly freely and during this process I painted what came forth.

The painting developed in the moment, there were no solid plans. I trusted that whatever came forth would work itself out. Weeks were spent visually exploring this.

Sensing an impending separation of energy from my friend, James, who had lived with me and worked with me at the old schoolhouse for 3 months… the heart of the figure became a knot… known to mariners as the “lover’s knot”… and right lung developed a spot that, as it turns out, had actually manifested in a friend’s lung. An overall sense of pressure and the inability to breathe easily was depicted yet also there was a certain calmness… an acceptance and trust… two large eyes manifested on the figure’s body… all-­knowing eyes… with a calm nature reflecting in them.

And the light! Light both without and within… there is lightning and there is an unexplained beam of light that strikes the figure’s “middle eye”… this light also illuminates the figure of a baby that is curled up in a fetal position in the place where the brain usually resides…

The thing about this painting… I think the symbolism and metaphor may speak differently to each viewer… yet there is a general warmth of color to this piece and a pleasant flow of symmetry and asymmetry. The light flows down the chakras of the figure… but there is no solid explanation. The viewer is encouraged to listen to what comes forth in their own spirit.