A couple of days after I had retrieved the magical diaries of Australian artist, Vali Myers - I received this amazing tribute to her painted by Brazilian artist, Patricia Ariel (whose work was featured in the Summer Solstice Newsletter). It was as if I was staring into the eyes of my dear, dear friend again. Please go to have a look at Patricia's blog: www.mesmerizedbythesirens.blogspot.com to see how this amazing portrait came to her. You are a beautiful intuitive painter, Patricia, the truest portrait I have ever seen of Vali.
For all of you who have only recently discovered the incredible worlds of artist Paul Rucker, here is the full interview on the top of Water, Inspiration & Flow featured in the Lughnasadh Newsletter.
What inspires you? How do you open yourself to creative flow?
It's not too much of a trick for me to get ideas; I frequently find myself showered with them. But which are inspirations-- not just self-ignited mind-stuff, but sparks that will kindle the work of my hands?
What brings me to a state of flow? That bright quickened river within is a self-sustaining current of motivation; it is awen, the flowing spirit, moving near me, through me, past me, out in to the world. Images of bright fire and flowing water seem naturally to merge in the world where visionary work and mythopoetic art comes from-- fire flowing like a stream, water livid with secret light.
In the practice of my art as an inner devotion, a focus upon the things that matter most, I seek that state where I face the shining inner river which is the channel between me and my Godself. When I know in my gut that it is good and get more and more kindled to work, I am ready to "make kala," as it is called in Feri Witchcraft, in my own inner world.
To "make kala" in Feri means to bless an offering of water, then to take that blessing back into yourself by drinking it, and of course, to send it on its way again eventually. The fire of inspiration must be reflected in the water of emotion, so here I mean that I charge my inspiration with emotional passion, bringing it into resonance with the work of my spirit. Spiralwise, I return to several deep Themes in my art, over and over again: each circumambulation brings more depth to the Mystery.
My renewed encounters with the Themes that have the most meaning for me gives them energy, something like the mana that an icon or statue may acquire from having been venerated for generations. Though I love novelty and am always seeking ways to grow out of what I already know, and in fact have taught myself much from taking deliberate risks, novelty is the servant and not the master of these deep Themes. To "make kala" with my own feelings, in the service of art as a yoga or a devotion, augments what the Feri describe as Aligning the Triple Soul-- which means to bring one's consciousness, energy body, and Godself, into harmony with each other.
Thus "ordinary" water-- which can be compared to my personal feelings and moods, just the "water" in me-- is made holy and charged by my intent to use this nourishment not just to "express myself" but to flow back into that shining inner river like a feeder stream. On some level what I make as art that is visible to the eye becomes an offering to my personal Source, and through it, to the World Soul.
The creative work of my life results from this focused interchange between my inner world and my external experience. The visible works of art are what can be seen and shared by the world at large. But the ongoing act of creative engagement evolves the unique body of my interior world, which in the aggregate I often think of a tapestry or an edifice. This is not unique to me, by the way. I have discovered that in general, I resonate best with other creatively-alive individuals who are doing the same thing-- weaving an inner tapestry through personal vision and creative work that in both their inner and outer worlds reveals the stamp of their unique engagement with their themes, and style. I also respect those persons who are sincerely reaching for such a conduit of expression, even if not fully seated in it yet. This is part of how I see making art as a spiritual activity.
Without some sense of spiritual passion and emotional connection I can't be bothered, which is why I have done very little art that was meant to merely illustrate the preconceptions of others.
As a child seeing visions from an early age, I forced myself from sheer passion of need to learn the skills I needed to draw from that riverine inner connection-- a door to beauty and meaning which secretly sustained me through a rough childhood. There is some truth to the idea that from suffering comes art, but no truth, in my opinion, that one is obliged to seek out suffering in order to be authenticated as an artist. No life is without pain, but what do you do with it? What pearl is born from this?
What do you most hunger for? And how would you know it, if you made it?
Thank you Paul! xx
What are your thoughts on 'symbiosis' - the interweaving of our male & female / light & shadow elements of our natures? Do you find art to be a good way to explore & understand these elements within yourself?
How has your upbringing influenced your spiritual beliefs & particularly your interest in divination (tarot & astrology)?
I am very interested in your blending of art & astrology - can you tell me more about your Astroportraits?
Art and Astrology have a lot in common. Both are symbolic languages, and Astrology is another type of Art... So it seemed just natural to blend them. It's very exciting. In my work with the portraits I am just expressing the symbols that already exist in my client's psyche and using my technique to produce something artistically pleasing. I design them to be a reminder of the person's uniqueness and potentials, something that she looks at and feels good about herself and feels empowered. I will first raise your birth chart and try to identify the images and archetypes that it evokes. I also use the tarot and meditation. We'll talk by email about the chart until come to a conclusion about what you need and want more at that moment. The process ends up being sort of therapeutic.