February 28, 2014

The Healing Cauldron, a painting-- from start to finish

--Updated 3/1/2014 with better photos.--

This painting has taken me nearly three months to complete.


The first month and a half was spent planning it.


Its origins are in Leonie Dawson's Creative Goddess E-Course.

Leonie had us recollect a deeply healing moment in our lives.

I thought back to when I'd visited a sacred Spring in North Florida with my husband and his parents. That place just felt healing... just being near the water, hearing it, sensing it. I waded in, accompanied by fish and manatees, as well as mossy stones and, according to the signs, the occasional gator!

On our way home, I fell asleep in the back of the car. The sun was setting and I had an almost lucid dream that I was in a healing vessel, bathed in sunlight and spring water.

This is what I wanted to capture in my healing painting.


When I was a teenager I developed an interest in Buddhism, thanks in part to a former sculpture teacher who was enamored with Alan Watts. This led to me collecting Buddhist art in my early twenties, including this photo (pictured here in my North Carolina apartment).

I'm no longer interested in Buddhism, and so I put this canvas away when we arrived in New York, intending to donate it somewhere some other time. (I actually did hang it, but it didn't last five minutes. It felt all wrong.)

I finally got the idea to paint over this canvas! This photograph began to represent a lot of things in my past that no longer fit me. So to paint something deep and meaningful over it became a symbolic act in and of itself.





It's so difficult to capture a painting with a point-and-shoot. The colors are either too warm or cold, and the details get so muddled. Nevertheless...








See the difference in these colors between these photos... one is taken in evening light, the other, morning light.



This was, as you can imagine, a deeply emotional painting. I had vivid dreams around it, and I cried the whole time I painted the mountains. I don't understand it completely, but I suspect meaning will come in due time... and I also know mystery is healthy, too.

19 comments:

  1. Gorgeous, evocative and very powerful. And the more I look, the more I see. Thank you.

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    1. thank you for your lovely comments. :)

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    2. Me too, it's so beautiful and very interesting! and yes, the more I look, the more I see too! I love the colours, well done Raquel. Kassi

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  2. This painting is absolutely incredible...

    When I first read through the post and saw the buddha canvas, I thought, wow, that is a really nice buddha face. When you said you'd decided to paint over it, I was immediately curious to see if the paint over would be an improvement. I saw the first paint over - just the cauldron roughed in and at first thought that was the finished painting! Which gave me a kind of "oh god what a waste" feeling. :) But then... oh then I scrolled down, and down, and each new layer just got more and more amazing... the finished painting is a true, gorgeously spiritual work of art. Sincere congratulations, you are very talented.

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    1. Thank you Petalouda! The Buddha photo, I got it at a furniture store-- one of those mass produced things that's considered very trendy (it probably is a stock photo). So I didn't feel any pressure to make it better, (nor any guilt at painting over it) but I wouldn't have been satisfied at that layer either! Thank you for all your kind comments. I'm very happy with the results. <3

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  3. Very beautiful, thank you for sharing. The snakes in particular speak to me, though I can't tell you what they're saying...but I admire their serpentness immensely.

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    1. Thanks Carmine! The snakes...ah. Snake has been a powerful totem for me since I was 16 years old. In particular, in relation to healing, the snake is used in the popular medical symbol, the caduceus, which I vaguely referenced here... the two intertwined serpents. The Cosmic Serpent, the term, refers to our DNA, which spirals in a double helix, which is exactly how the plant ayahuasca grows, which is what Amazon shamans drink to produce hallucinations, to commune with the divine. These snakes here are the color blue, which is the color of the 5th chakra, communication. I don't think it's an accident that there is so much blue here, in the painting, and that I did the bulk of the painting with laryngitis... I was informed in a dream that I was releasing many blockages in that chakra. And of course there is Kundalini-Ma, the coiled serpent energy of the dark goddess in each of us... and for me, bellydance (controlled belly undulations in particular, as well as serpentine hands and arms) and the shedding of skin are very extremely important.... I hope this isn't too much, I just thought I'd share some of my own thoughts while painting the snakes. I don't really know what they are saying either, i can only guess right now...

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  4. What gorgeous rich colours and lovely paint handling and a very mysterious juxtaposition of elements. I am curious if you will share anything that occurs to you as you live with the painting? I hope so!

    And I definately applaud painting over the Buddha, nothing against buddhism, but your painting is infinitely superior.

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    1. thank you Birdie! A couple things... well I wrote a little (a lot) about the snakes to Carmine. I dreamed last night that the leaves had pink and red dots all over them that were pulsating with light. I realized they were cells! It was pleasing actually, to know the painting was alive/coming to life.

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    2. oh and I thought the Buddha wouldn't mind being painted over, all things are transient and all that. :)

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  5. I left a comment this morning I swear! How peculiar...unless you have comment mod on. I'm going to test with this one before I reat myself :)

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    1. So I posted this one and my original comment appeared. That is so strange!

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    2. It happens to me all the time. I often repeat comments and will check in later only to find they all have magically appeared!

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    3. so I think it's wise of you to test...

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  6. wow.

    utterly.

    so. SO. SOOOO amazing.

    i love the story in this painting...it's one i could gaze at for hours....i love the rabbit and the owl..the snakes (swoon)..oh, it's just all so rich and beautiful. truly luscious.

    xoxo

    ps. i can't ever comment from my phone but i meant to say WOOOOOT!! on the acceptance for your MFA!! HOLY WOWZERS!!!! simply incredibly awesome! xoxox

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    1. thank you soo much Mel!!! I am really happy with it. I hung it up in my apartment even though we're leaving soon. And thanks for the wooot! The universe continues to bless me. :))

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