The transformative lotus is an image that I’ve used in my work many times over the years. The petals unfolding never fail to soothe me, to embrace me and to help me transcend the ordinary. You can read more about the Lotus in my book, Symbols of the Spirit: A Meditative Journey Through Art. (https://www.glenrogersart.com/copy-of-books-1)
While working on the painting, I began photographing each step to document my progress. It was meant as a tool for me to study as I went along. So it literally shows how I built the painting – the layering of colors – easing my way towards completion. I hope you enjoy the sequence.
Ofcourse the title is a nod to Love in the Time of Cholera a novel by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. And folks, we are living it – in the here and now – a crisis pandemic in our times. So what’s an artist to do?
I feel lucky that I just received a commission for a large painting. A 3′ x 6 1/2′ canvas. A transformative lotus – an image that I’ve used in my work many times over the years. The petals unfolding never fail to soothe me, to embrace me and to help me transcend the ordinary.
From my book, Symbols of the Spirit: A Meditative Journey Through Art: Incorporating the lotus into my artwork is meant as a spiritual metaphor, not just the image of a beautiful flower. Using simple graphic strokes, I try to capture the hidden aura of the plant and reveal an ethereal side of nature. Jung said that the symbol (any symbol) is the psychological mechanism for transforming energy. Through this simple form, I attempt to transform a blank canvas into something mystical, giving the viewer a spiritual connection through my art.
1. So during this time of uncertainty (and mass histeria!), I will hole-up in my studio and create.
2. I’ve also decided to amp up my spiritual practice and do my yoga and meditation every day (up until now, it was 2 or 3 times a week). But I have plenty of time – so I’m going for it!
3. Pull a Tarot card each day (Also a practice I’ve been doing once a week for many years). Yesterday I pulled 2 of Discs: Change. The only constant and it is cyclic. For the purpose of re-balancing. For revealing to us that which is knowable and that which is unfamiliar. Changes in the External reality – and Internal changes that are expansive and positive.
Today I pulled The Hanged Man: The Pattern Breaker. Somethimes it’s necessary to take a distinctly different posture to get un-stuck. Time to trust the deeper aspects of who we are.
See how these nuggets of wisdom can make us contemplate and go deeper? (These abbreviated readings from Angeles Arriens’ The Tarot Handbook).
I realize this forced social distancing and self quarantine is a hardship for many. Believe me, I’m not trying to make light of the situation we are all in. But what if we thought of our forced home stay as agift of time? How will you use your gift?
Glen Rogers – New Works – Opening at Galeria Espiral, Fabrica Aurora, San Miguel de Allende Saturday April 6, 5-7pm and for the month of April
With these new paintings and prints, I honor women and the sacred feminine . With each new life passage, she has a desire to be heard and respected. Women share an inherent strength to face challenges in the present, demons from the past, and uncertain futures. In Her Story and Black Madonna, mothers, sisters, and daughters display the power of the feminine. While they radiate independence, they also acknowledge the arbitrary barriers and obstacles that women often encounter. These women stand at the threshold of their lives and hold a shared wisdom as divine creators.
The return to the figure began in September when I went to Morocco for an artist residency. I planned on pursuing symbols inspired by Moorish design but something shifted, as often happens when I travel and create in a new locale. To my surprise, the figure reappeared – this time in the form of Islamic women in their head dresses and jallabas – with a series of prints, Anonymous in Morocco. (Read my blog on Morocco here: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/artandsacredsites.com/1626). This new direction was not a conscious choice – yet these figures showed themselves and transformed my imagery to figurative after more than 25 years of working symbolically.
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In my Mazatlan studio, the Ouroboros rears her head and almost bites her tail.
The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting the snake or serpent eating its own tail. There are many interpretations but in general it signifies Eternity or the never ending cycle – something constantly re-creating itself. Carl Jung named it the archetype of the human psyche. It is considered a symbol for introspection. In Alchemy, it is infinity or wholeness.
The Ouroboros has appeared in many cultures with the earliest siting in Egypt dating back to 1600BC. The Phonecians used it – then the Greeks who named the symbol, Ouroboros, which means devouring its tail. In Aztec mythology, Queztacoatl, was similarly depicted. More on the Ouroboros: http://www.tokenrock.com/explain-ouroboros-70.html
The Ouroboros is closely connected to the circle and the spiral, two universal symbols that also point to wholeness and regeneration. These two symbols have been mainstays in my work over the years – but I had never used the Ouroboros until recently.
What changed? After taking my group down to Oaxaca for the Oaxaca Art Vacation in July, I stayed for another week to soak in the city and the culture. I saw several works of art utilizing the Ouroboros symbol. I bought a watercolor by Hector Hernandez – a very simple cobalt blue rendition painted over some sheet music. I had recently done a series using sheet music as chine colle in my monoprints – so that caught my attention. I had admired this artist’s work over the years.
On a tour of printmaking workshops in Oaxaca, the Ouroboros pops up again in this gorgeous large-scale woodcut entwined with figures.
As an artist, I draw my inspiration from ancient art to contemporary works. Whose to say what and where will get the juices flowing….We all have our on voice, our own style and way of working with the imagery at hand.
This is a commission that I worked on last season in Mazatlan – It’s ready to hang!
“Two in Flight”, A triptych, oil on canvas, 20″ x 60″.
A commission is always a challenge – with certain parameters such as size, colors and imagery – which of course I wouldn’t take on if it didn’t fit into my already established style. I enjoyed this one, and expect it to look fantastic in the intended home. Gracias, amiga for the opportunity! See you back in Mazatlan when we will hang your new work of art.
Floating Lotus III, Oil on Canvas w gold leaf, 27″ x 27″
The lotus, a metaphor for the unfolding of life and spirit, a timeless passage. As in all forms of nature, I begin as a seed and emerge gradually seeking light, my spirit rejoicing upon glimpsing something greater than myself – God, Goddess, All That Is – The Source. In my daily life, with heart, hand and spirit in alignment, I am at my best. Through creativity, meditation, and communing with nature, I seek divine clarity, and with luck, tap into the Collective Unconscious – source of inspiration.
I have used the Lotus as image for many years, and keep returning to it again and again. This timeless symbol finds its way into my prints, paintings and drawings creating a spiritual space for meditation.This simple floral shape associated with Buddha nature transcends its earthly role.
The Cumaean Sibyl is renowned in myths and legends as a prophetess delivering wisdom to emperors and kings, the wealthy and common people alike. They traveled far and wide to hear her predictions of the future. There were many sibyls in the ancient world, the Oracle of Delphi in Greece for example, but the Cumaean Sibyl became legend because of her close proximity to Rome. It is told that she spoke in riddles, and read leaves as part of her divination. She was a woman who held immense power in times when women rarely did.
To visit her cave became an obsession for me at one point but I put the notion aside. Then a couple of years later, I was in Naples, and picked up a tourist brochure and there was the Sibyl’s Cave just a train ride away! We took the local train down the Amalfi Coast and got off at Pozzuoli, a small village where the archeological park was. But once there, we could find no information about the site. Frustrated and tired we headed for a seaside cafe – (when in doubt, have a nice Italian meal.) I noticed a well-healed man with his family in a table nearby, and decided he could probably speak English. When I asked if he knew of the Sibyl’s Cave, he said yes, but you need a car to get there. (He was a shoe designer/manufacturer in Naples with a famous California client he thought I would know, Arnold Schwarzenegger.) This good man arranged for one of the cooks to drive us up the mountain to the site and told us how to get the bus back down.
Once there, I had the opportunity to walk the sacred cave, a long trapezoidal passageway cut out of volcanic stone, and enter her chamber alone. I sat in the space connecting with the energy and imagined her imparting her wisdom. “If these walls could talk”, I thought. This place is definitely not on the tourist radar – there were just a few others in this expansive park. I was awed.
Images stay with us and imprint on our consciousness. As an artist, I never know when they will emerge, ready for the canvas or paper. Here are three of my paintings that I feel echo the ancient passage of the Sibyl.
My newest painting in the Floating Lotus series. The lotus is associated with the 7 chakras in Buddhism – purity, an awakening of spirit, spiritual enlightment. In Egyptian mythology, the lotus flower is a symbol of the sun, creation and rebirth. The lotus has been a recurring image in my prints and paintings over the last 20 years.
Floating Lotus III, 27″ x 27″, Oil on Canvas w gold leaf, copyright 2015
“To speak of creativity is to speak of profound intimacy. It is to speak of our connecting to the Divine in us and of our bringing the Divine back to the community.” From Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet, Mathew Fox