|Close up from “Spirit Helpers- Arctic Peoples”|
Last December we were settling into our new life, working daily in the studio and living in a small house in the woods in Door County Wisconsin. It happened to be an early, and somewhat snowy winter. The studio is in a very open area; being a farming region, we are surrounded by fields. The result is a view out of my window that often looks like the arctic tundra, snow blowing across a palette of white, gray and blue, with a backdrop of a dark tree line and big sky that often calls me to the window at sunset with its breathtaking and bone chilling beauty.
|The three levels of existence are beginning to appear.|
My painting immediately began to evolve into three levels, and I saw, in my interpretation of Arctic life, three very clear experiences of reality which, unlike our Western experience, are not compartmentalized. The levels of existence: the human world, the natural world, and the spirit world are all very intertwined and interdependent. My personal belief is that, despite our Western dichotomies, this is always the reality of experience. In the vision of Inuit Life I have captured they are all one, and working together with elegant grace.
|Color, texture and pattern: Sun and blood add life to the monochromatic landscape.|
During the weeks I spent painting this piece, Kerstin and I occasionally emailed each other with thoughts about the painting. I shared my discoveries and she sent images and ideas that inspired her. Although the exchanges were brief and arrived over the tangled web of the internet crossing an ocean, it seemed as if our minds were meeting in a way that transcended words. I would describe it as a meeting of not just minds, but of hearts and souls. The serendipity continued to inspire new developments and strengthened my trust in the process. Doing a commissioned piece is not always easy for an artist. Expectations can hinder creative thought and and outside influences can muddy the clarity of the process. I am fortunate to have had very good experiences, I only take commissions if I feel the buyer loves the innate qualities of my work, not just the superficial formal look of it, and he or she does not have a restrictive definition of art. Each painting has a life of it’s own, and when it is a good commission, it has two minds behind it, working together. And when this happens it’s magic. I often charge less than my customers expect for commissions, because to me these projects are a gift, and a shared effort and experience.
|Finished Painting with fabric backing and bamboo rod.|
She emailed me to tell me she cried when she saw it in person, and it hanging on her wall it felt like it had always been there. What an amazing experience for both of us. I couldn’t be luckier, doing what I do.