Painting with a Joyous Heart

This summer I’m immersed in a new painting inspired by my Rock Garden Series. I’m calling it Gaia Dharma, after Katharine, the amazing woman who commissioned this piece. Roughly translated, “Gaia” is Earth Consciousness, the Earth Goddess, the primordial Mother. Katharine has developed a training program called Journey of Young Women, to support and connect a global community of mentors who guide young girls on their transformative journey to womanhood. The guiding principles of the program are compassion, awareness, and reverence for the interdependent web of life. I see reflections of Gaia Dharma in the Journey of Young Women program.

While meeting with Katharine, we decided the sculptural Hen & Chicks plant will be a focal point in the composition, and with Katharine’s love of the natural world, there will be rocks and leaves as well. The Hen & Chicks are symbols of nurturing and interdependence. To help steer the color palette of the painting, we surveyed the colors in Katharine’s home that will provide a backdrop for the piece.

I spent several days drawing the big shapes that will form the composition. It doesn’t take long for my impatience to show itself! So diving right into the paint, this week I began laying in some of the underlying tones as I continue to draw (and re-draw!) more details. I envision a piece gleaming with rich color and contrasts.

Katharine closed our preliminary meetings with the wish for me to paint with a joyous heart. What could be better than to lose one’s self in a Minnesota summer with Gaia Dharma, a joy filled heart, and playful, rich, saturated color!

May your summer be “painted” with a joyous, peaceful heart, too.