Thursday, November 17, 2011

Newly Commissioned Painting, "Creating a Sacred Space"

25" x 58"
Acrylic and mixed Media on Canvas
Private Collection of Nancy Rabe
Fine Art Giclee Prints available here

When Nancy came to the art studio to pick up this painting, she jokingly said, "Thank you for my baby!", but she actually hit the nail on the head with her remark.  Parting with my pieces reminds me of the feeling of giving birth, in a sense that you are sending a piece of you out into the world, off to live a life of its own after you have so lovingly worked on its development.  But it is absolutely a labor of love. 
A shot of the painting in progress, which I stretched on the wall of my art studio. 

The title of this painting comes from an infusion of a few elements that came together.  When Nancy approached me to create a piece, she was looking for something to fit the entryway of her newly built home, one she and her husband had designed and watched go up over the past year. Nancy already had an image in mind of this beautiful landscape, majestic in its serenity. As I explained my process to her and in an attempt to make the painting more personable and meaningful, I asked her to provide me with building plans of the house, which I made multiple copies of and used in the background to build depth and texture.  The plans are almost completely covered up, but there are places in which these are barely visible, like on the tree trunks toward the center/right here:

In addition to being a woman who is dedicated to her family and career, Nancy is an advanced yoga practitioner and teacher who I have had the pleasure of getting to know at Exhale through our mutual love of yoga. In fact, we both realized we were twins in class one day when we showed up wearing the same pink t-shirt that said the words, "sacred space" on them. Our friendship has unfolded into a beautiful and natural appreciation and respect for one another and the joy that comes from our spirited family of yoga practitioners. 

The notion of a sacred space is complex, encompassing a range of aspects: architecture, geography, core beliefs, community stories, and not least of all the receptivity of one’s soul. When several of these elements come together, the results are breathtaking. I felt that through the loving and thoughtful construction of their home, Nancy was creating this space, a sacred space, for her family and the legacy they will leave.

Sacred truths require faith. G. K. Chesterton has described the phenomenon of faith as being like the sun: one cannot look at it directly, but everything else is seen more clearly because of it. And it is in this domain of knowing and yet not knowing, of understanding more than we can explain, of mystery, that sacredness resides.

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