Hybrid Painting

Ace of Cups. Egg tempera with oil glazes on wood panel. It measures about 14″ x 11″. There is a lot to say about this painting. Aces are beginnings because they are the first or number one. Cups represent love and compassion and emotions. They hold things like you would hold things in your heart. They are also very feminine as they have a stylized shape of a woman’s uterus which is receptive like a cup. That is why Dan Brown, in his book “The Davinci Code”, brought up the theory that the search for the holy grail was actually the search for Mary Magdalene (the partner of Jesus) and her bloodline.

In my painting, I refer to a different Mary as the chalice or the Holy Grail…the Mother of God (Mary) which is what the Greek says in the corners of the painting. The snake is a common symbol in Christianity as the tempter Lucifer. However, in Hinduism, the snake, which is also called Kundalini, is the sacred life force that rests in the base chakra which is important for many reasons. It is the force that causes life when a woman gets pregnant and also when the time is ripe, the Kundalini or snake will rise up certain channels to the crown chakra and the goddess Kundalini will join with her lover Shiva, causing enlightenment. The butterfly appears as a symbol of rebirth and transformation (yes, I use that symbol a lot). The 20 sided die is the reference to God. The 20 sided die is used as a life counter in Dungeons and Dragons (yes, I am a total nerd). I added astrological symbols to show that life is a web and we are affected by the stars (a simple example is how the moon affects women and the tides). The astrological symbols also refer to elements like the center symbol of the circle with a dot in it is also the symbol for gold. The painting will be available for purchase in the near future.

I call it a hybrid because the background (niche) is egg tempera with oil glazes while the objects are painted in oil. 

The Skull of Saint Valentine

The Skull of St. Valentine. 7″x7″, watercolor on paper with 23.5K gold. Latin: You will die. I know I have painted a lot of skulls lately. In fact, this was the third time I painted this composition this year (long story).  The original idea was to paint this in egg tempera, which I did, but it needed weeks to dry before I could glaze it with oil paint.  While the first was drying, I corrected the composition by adding a couple of things and painted it again!  While the second egg tempera painting was curing, I decided this would be a great addition to the Sacred Bird series.  That’s basically how it all played out.

The painting was sparked by a photo of a painting by Hans Memling with a human skull in a niche. Not long after I was looking for information about Saint Valentine and saw the photo of his skull on display covered with dried flowers. I merged both ideas except used butterflies instead of flowers and a bird skull instead of human, of course. The Latin was on the painting of Memling’s.