Lost and Found: Transformation Paintings

It has been a couple of months since I have posted any new work, so I thought I’d throw my current endeavors out there. You’ll find I’ve continued to experiment away from realism. This time, I am exploring images that exist in my mind’s eye and are therefore difficult to render through realism. Here is the first one.

Night of Stillness/Upheaval, Acrylic on Panel, 12 x 12 inches
Night of Stillness/Upheaval, Acrylic on Panel, 12 x 12 inches

My meditation practice inspired me to make this new series of paintings. They refer to images that came to me unbidden, memories of places and encounters with nature that were transformative to me, spiritually and intellectually. The actual places in the paintings are Rabbit Blanket Lake and Old Woman Bay on the Northern Shore of Lake Superior and also a collection of places in Northern Minnesota. My family spent many summers traveling, camping, hiking, and fishing in these areas while I was growing up.

The places in the paintings feel lost for me because I have not seen them for ten or fifteen years. For that reason, these images, which once transformed me, have been transformed themselves by the vagaries of memory, the manipulation of my subconscious, and the process of turning them into art with my hand and eye.

So much has changed in my life since that time. I grew up, I took on increasingly greater responsibilities as I launched a career, got married, got divorced, launched a new career (as an artist) and then got married again. I also became more separated from the natural world. Furthermore, in the ten to fifteen years since I last visited those places, I have become more dependent on technology than ever, more divided in my attention, and less capable of having such transformative, pure experiences.

But, to remember them and to fully grasp the images that swam to the surface of my consciousness, I first made this study. I was trying to remember the feel of sitting in a canoe on Rabbit Blanket Lake, which is located in Ontario Provincial Park.

IMG_1362

This is how it looked after I “transformed” it:

Rabbit Blanket Lake, Acrylic on Panel, 12 x 12 inches
Rabbit Blanket Lake, Acrylic on Panel, 12 x 12 inches

These paintings are about having lost and having found. I have lost these physical places, but their traces and their symbolic nature live on, resonating with something essential in my spirit and mind.

The Old Woman Swallows the Stars, Acrylic on Panel, 12 x 12 inches
The Old Woman Swallows the Stars, Acrylic on Panel, 12 x 12 inches
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4 thoughts on “Lost and Found: Transformation Paintings

    1. Thanks! It has been a long time coming. I don’t know about you, but I have hesitated for a long time to do work that relied more on my imagination, hating the idea that I might create something that wasn’t mine. It’s a slow process of experimentation and soul-searching.

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