I painted Phoenix in 2014. It seemed to be a prophetic painting for me, as I look back on the last 6 years.
Phoenix began with four images, chosen with an intuitive consciousness. Although challenging to explain conceptually, they automatically connected in my awareness – as a sensation of rising consciousness.
The images are as follows, beginning with the image placed lowest and ending with the top center of the painting: – A diagram of earth layers taken from an antique textbook on the subject of agriculture and irrigation – A timeline of the Universe from Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” – A naturalistic drawing of a Moth – An ancient Mayan painting of a god throwing a comet
Placing these images in a vertical column down the center of the board set a stage for me. My task becomes weaving the images together with patterns, symbols, spontaneously arising images and color, to reveal the felt connection.
As I painted, what emerged is an illustration of embodiment and transformation. In the journey of the moth, this transformation requires a melting into fluidity, a dissolving of form. In the journey of the Phoenix, it is a transformation by fire, a burning off of old structures into order to allow the new to arise. As the painting revealed itself, I began to see both processes as necessary for human transformation. I see it not as a terrifying process, but certainly challenging and sometimes painful. It is, after all, a death. Yet, would the caterpillar build its cocoon in fear? In the end, it is alchemy, an evolution of humanity through the transformation of the embodied self.