In my studio, I usually start painting by lighting some incense in front of my little art altar. There I have a statue that was gifted to me of an abstract pregnant figure on one side and when you turn it around the folds and curves are reminiscent of a yoni or vulva. This is my goddess of creativity helping me give birth to the images inside of me. I also have a painting that I made of a Green Man who looks on with a gentle smile at my growing creativity. My spiritual tradition acknowledges the concept of Deity as Male and Female, Both and Neither, so I have a photo of a galaxy to represent Neither and I’d like to add a statue of Ardhanarishvara, who is the Hindu Deity that is half Shiva and half Parvati. I have these as a reminder to myself that these are aspects of Deity that need paid attention to and are present in our world and it’s my responsibility to bring that forth.
While I create a work of art, the time around me dissolves into nothingness. There is a word for this, “kairos” or “sacred time.” It’s sort of a time outside of time. It fascinates me to look back at this strange state of being and try to figure out what is happening. The mystical poet Rumi stated, “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” That’s what I feel… joy, peace, a sense of completeness, enthusiasm… It was intriguing to find out that the original meaning of the word enthusiasm has been translated to mean “touched (or kissed) by the gods.” When I am finished and can analyze the process, it feels to me like I am “channeling”; that it’s not me creating it, but the artwork is being created thru me.
So yes, I am in ritual space when I paint. I think the artist Alex Grey summed it up best when he said, “By linking with universal mind the painter “disappears”, allowing the natural rhythms of divine creativity to channel through the hand.”
I consider myself an Expressionistic artist. You’ve probably herd of Impressionists, like Monet and Degas, but Expressionistic artists focus on capturing the feeling in a painting. The colors aren’t necessarily realistic, they are there to represent the emotions. One of the most famous Expressionist painters is Edvard Munch who painted “The Scream.” He tended to focus on more negative emotions. I feel that my mission in life is to increase the joy and beauty in the world and help people feel that thru my artwork.
For over 10 years I was a member of a weekly drawing group that painted from live models. It was terrific practice drawing from real life, but then in my quirky way, I would add extra details to the painting. The fascinating thing to me, is that while my head was in “art space”, it was easy for me to “read” things about the person. Sometimes I would add, say, eagle feathers to their hair and then the model would see it and be like, “I always felt the eagle was my totem animal!”, or one lady I gave raccoon ears and tail and she said, “That’s so weird, I dreamed about a raccoon last night!” All these moments of synchronicity make me feel like I’m just giving them a message from Spirit. So I am willing to do spirit portraits, but the person can’t be too exact about what they want the result to look like. They have to just trust that the right images will come thru. If I try to consciously change it, it just doesn’t work. So, usually, I tend to just let Spirit guide my hand and sell the results to those that connect with the image.
In the process of recognizing my pagan beliefs I called into question many, many things. One of which is sexuality. The Kinsey scale which measures the degree of a person’s sexual orientation made sense to me. Aside from my relationship with my husband, I find my emotional relationships with woman the most satisfying. It was very easy for me to empathize with those that were attracted to the same gender, so when my daughter became involved in the school age Diversity Club, it was natural that my husband and I got involved in the local PFLAG chapter. We helped organize the first Pride Parade in our small rural county and I’m proud to say it has been growing each year.
Although I have been married for almost 30 years, I consider myself pansexual; I love who I love, not because of their gender but because of the inner person that they are. I must confess that I’m probably a sapiosexual too; intelligent people just turn me on! When most gals were drooling over the rugged Han Solo or the hero, Luke, give me magical Obi Wan! I also thought Wonder Woman was totally awesome; gorgeous, smart, strong, compassionate, I’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat!
Desire is a mixed media of markers, black ink, and a poem that I had written that inspired the image. So I’ll leave you with the poem that works for any gender:
Valentine Sonnet – Patricia Robin Woodruff © 2013
Firelight catches the curve of your face.
Traces your smile, your shoulder, chest and thigh.
Stretching slowly with soft, leonine grace,
The beauty of soft touches makes me sigh.
My lips tingle with your passionate kiss.
A coruscating fuse traveling deep down.
Igniting desire, propelling towards bliss.
Sensations explode with barely a sound.
Holding me desperately, your passion grows.
Sweet tasting and touching will not be tame.
Deep in my dan tien spirals a rose,
Full blossom of crimson edged in bright flame.
Then you melt against me with your desire,
And all thoughts are consumed within your fire.