Two or three year ago I began a series of mixed media paintings which I've come to call my "Passion Series." Combining passages of abstraction with recognizable imagery, these are the landscapes of my soul. The series is ongoing, one that I continue to work on to this day. It's through these paintings that I work out and make visual the things that are on my mind: the joys and sorrows, trials and frustrations, celebrations and enticements that make up Life. Sometimes a painting starts out with a very specific story to tell. More often they commence with no end result in mind; meaning and expression simply evolve. Each painting in the Passion series measures 16" x 8" and is created on panel.
Two years ago I exhibited the first of the Passion series paintings in an exhibit in Taos. The painting shown here, Cathedral, is the most abstract of them all and is the only one created entirely with oils. For these reasons it has always been one of my favorites of the series, though I wondered if anyone else would appreciate it as much as I do.
Turns out they do, for a lovely woman from California and her partner ended up buying it. I remember when they came into the exhibition, they stayed quite a while, and we talked for some time discussing the paintings. I was pleased when they expressed an interest in Cathedral. I remember well our conversation, for they sensed a feeling of uplift in the piece — a sense of coming out of troubled times. Resilience. That sense spoke to them, as it did to me, and they ended up buying the painting.
These cool women have been on my mailing list, so they've gotten occasional cards and announcements from me, but really we haven't been in touch since their purchase. Oddly, just the other day, I was thinking of them and their painting.
Then yesterday, quite to my surprise, one of these lovely women visited me at the New Mexico Artisans' Market on her way up to Taos. She spoke of how fond she is of her painting they bought, and the fact that the painting increased in significance for her soon after they bought it. For not long after they acquired the painting, their beloved black dog died.
In the lower left corner of Cathedral there's a passage of black, and she came to see that passage as a symbol of of her good dog, and a source of comfort to her.
It just goes to show that we can bring our own stories to the art we gaze upon. I love that this painting allowed me to express something very personal, then, that someone else could appreciate it, and that they in turn have brought their own meaning to the work. This friend is now interested in acquiring another painting of mine to compliment Cathedral. Her timing couldn't be better, for I've lately been feeling the desire to work on some new "landscapes of my soul."