Angelic Sohbet | Oil on canvas | 36” x 48” | $10,000

Angelic Sohbet

Oil on canvas, 36” x 48”, 2013 $10,000
Angelic Sohbet
Sohbet is an Arabic word derived from Sufism, a mystical Islamic sect, and means mystical conversation. Sohbet, as it is known, plays and important and powerful role in the practice of Sufism. Sufi mystics have been known to closet themselves in sacred conversations, sharing mystical secrets and truths with one another, theologizing and philosophizing, for hours or even days.

These graceful angels whisper secret wisdoms to one another in an otherworldly, celestial atmosphere on another plane, as gold and cream clouds flicker by and time stands still. Angels are universal symbols of messengers of the divine, and found throughout many faiths, including Islam.

I have long been intrigued with Sufism, and I find the poetry of Sufi poets such as Jalaluddin Rumi and Rabia Basri very insightful and beautiful. Angels to me are wise protectors and guides that come to us in times of need. They have an understanding beyond human perception, comprehending the cosmic scheme. I find painting these mysterious and sweet beings very healing and peaceful.

The Golden Glance | Fresco | 23” x 26” | $3500

The Golden Glance

Fresco, 23” x 26”, 1996 $3500
This is an experimental type of fresco – I even purposely broke and reglued the plaster to make it look as if it were truly ripped off the wall in Pompeii from some forgotten castle. The image itself is inspired by the angel under God’s left arm in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling fresco painting “The Creation of Adam.” Much has been written about this mysterious figure. The two most common interpretations are that she is either Eve un-incarnated, or Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, and God’s consort. According to the Christian gnostics, Mary Magdalene was the incarnation of Sophia as Jesus was Johovah/Yahweh.

Christian Gnosticism was a philospophy and secret sect/society that Michelangelo, da Vinci, and other artistic luminaries were familiar with at the time, though as it harbored many (still) controversial beliefs, had to be guarded with secrecy and only expressed in code. The Goddess Sophia was a prominent Goddess in the Mediterranean going back to ancient Greece and Turkey.

There is even a famous now museum in Istanbul, called the Hagia Sophia, which was once a temple to the Goddess, then took on many different incarnations itself over the centuries, including as an Islamic mosque, and then as a Christian church. Sophia was closely associated with Goddesses Athena, Isis, Innana, and Ishtar. Whether she is Eve or Sophia, God’s arm is wrapped gently and protectively around her in Michelangelo’s painting, showing she is a loving being who is special – God’s “right hand girl” so to speak, but of course, painted to the left and under the left arm, as the left side was considered the feminine side of the body in Michelangelo’s time.

Here I wished to express the mystery, beauty, and wisdom of this figure, and aspects that would seem contradictory – strength, gravitas, sweetness and vulnerability, all wrapped into one glance, one gesture, and one “vibe” at the same time. She is peaceful, but active, not passive. She is aware, but gentle and looks on without judgement, but with understanding. I wanted to give this painting rich colors and lots of warmth, the colors of Tuscany in the Renaissance. And I wanted it to express the fleeting and delightful feeling of a moment in time, a rich, soft and knowing glance, soaked in amber light and an angelic wisdom.

Einstein: Portrait in Renaissance Clothing | Oil on canvas | 18” x 24” | $6500

Einstein: Portrait in Renaissance Clothing

Oil on canvas, 18” x 24”, 1993 $6500
My admiration for this great man inspired me to paint this portrait. Here I have depicted Albert Einstein in Renaissance clothing, and as I see him – a true Renaissance man. In addition to the Nobel prize winning work in theoretical physics for which he is known, Einstein was also a brilliant concert violinist. Einstein actually claimed that the special theory of relativity came to him as he was playing the violin, in a vision of himself riding a beam of light through the Cosmos.

A great humanitarian, like Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein was also a vegetarian, and abhorred war and violence. He often spoke of his regret for what came of his contribution to nuclear physics, and was an advocate for universal nuclear disarmament. Einstein was a great supporter and believer in both the arts and the sciences, and I can imagine with his charming eccentricities and casual wit, he would have fit in seamlessly at the 15th court gatherings of Duke Sforza of Milan or the Medicis of Florence.

I chose to paint this in black and white to modernize and balance the Renaissance details, and in homage to the many iconic, black and white photographs that have popularized his image. I also chose to have him face fully straight on to the viewer, as this is a very modern pose, and because I feel it rightly reflects his direct and genuine gaze, in which he seems intent to impress his consciousness onto the mindset of the viewer. I have been told by some that as they stood before this portrait, they half expected him to start speaking to them, he seemed so fully present. I take that as a great compliment, and I hope that I have done justice in capturing his kindness, intelligence, and audacity.

Radiance Found | Pastel | 9” x 12” | $600

Radiance Found

Pastel, 9” x 12”, 2001 $600
This pastel was inspired by portrait of the virgin Mary as depicted in Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Virgin of the Rocks, which is my absolute favorite painting and highly influential on my art. I have been privileged enough to stand before both original versions of this painting – first in London at the National Gallery and three years later, I stood in the Louve in Paris and drew the head of the virgin from the first, edgier version of this painting. That drawing became the basis for “Radiance Found.’

I wished to express in this work the feeling of coming into the light, into grace, and into “one’s own” Being truly at peace with yourself and feeling your inner peace, goodness, and true self shining through. I used a diffused light to play over her hair and features, and soft colors for the collar of her dress and for the background, to express the softness and mystery of this state of mind. This work is an expression of the softer, feeling, in one’s solitude, of self-actualization, being truly in the authentic self and feeling content.

For more information on the background of this artwork, please see the blog post on Archangel Uriel.

Sacred Spiral | Oil on Canvas | 36” x 48” | $6500

Sacred Spiral

Oil on Canvas, 36” x 48”, 2014 $6500
Sacred Spiral Update Proportional
The meaning of the spiral sparkles with an understanding of a universe in constant motion. As science can attest, our universe spirals out infinitely, thus reinforcing the concept of our endless skies, and our infinite creative potential.

“The human mind always makes progress, but it is a progress made in spirals.”

~Madame de Stael

Angel of Music | Oil on Masonite | 18” x 24” | SOLD

Angel of Music

Oil on Masonite, 18” x 24”, 1995 SOLD

‘The Angel of Music’ brings solace and quietude to the grieving. In her glowing embrace all is healed, forgiven, and made whole. This painting was based on a statue in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France. Many great musical luminaries are interred in Père Lachaise: the composers Georges Bizet, Luigi Cherubini, Frédéric Chopin, Gioachino Rossini, as well as French Jazz pianist Michel Petrucciani, and singers as varied as Turkish/Kurdish singer and songwriter and political exile Ahmet Kaya, Italian opera singer Giulia Grisi, French opera singer Célestine Marié, the legendary American-born Greek opera singer Maria Callas, 20th Century French chanteuse Édith Piaf, and rock singer and poet Jim Morrison, among many other musical talents.

This painting was done in a negative/wipe-off technique, in cool colors, with warm tones glazed over later. I sought to achieve an effect similar to stained glass. I took inspiration for the hair and face of the angel from the 15th century Filippino Lippi painting, “Apparition of The Virgin to St Bernard”.

Lucifer: Dissention in Contemplation | Oil on canvas | 24” x 30” | $3000

Lucifer: Dissention in Contemplation

Oil on canvas, 24” x 30”, 1995 $3000

This painting operates on many levels. It also evolved and took on more layers and details over time. It started off as more of a satire on the idea of Lucifer; I wanted to paint Satan as effeminate, purple and lavender, and holding a narcissus flower, alluding to his vanity, while he reclined on a cliff overlooking a grotto and contemplated dissenting from God. According to the legend, Lucifer was originally a beautiful angel, according to some, the most handsome, and in Greek myth was a bright star and guide. Lucifer means “the bright one”.

Over time though as I worked on it, the painting was less of a lark and became more serious, and more of a commentary on human action, folly, blame, and responsibility. The cherubs above represent forethought, and thought they play and frolic, they hold a garland of skulls, as warning to humans, to think ahead and of the results of their actions. They also try in vain to warn Lucifer, who is not even aware of their existence, who is not thinking ahead or of the consequences of his actions, but only of his fine self. The figures in the cliff rock represent people who are suffering and become entrenched in blame and do not take responsibility for their actions. They are caught up in their pain but push it down and say “the Devil made me do it” The rock represents how they are caught up in a cycle of blame and blame everything and everyone else, but in reality, did not “look before they leap” so to speak, and only when they let go of blame and despair will be able to truly embark on a healing process.

This painting, while itself evolved during the process, also is a comment on the changing nature of symbols. While Lucifer has his roots as a Greek god of light, he also originated from the Druid/Wiccan Green Man, a nature protector, and Greek and Mediterranean nature god Pan, who was a “satyr” – a goat from the waist down, had cloven feet, sported horns and a tail, and was sometimes, like Poseidon, depicted holding a trident, an ancient warrior’s weapon later misinterpreted as a pitchfork. Pan was a protector of nature, especially the forests, and should anyone disturb him or the forests while he rested, would let out an immense and powerful cry to send terror into their hearts and cause them to flee, and is also from where the word “panic” originates. The purple in the painting as I mentioned was in point of the ironically feminine nature of ‘the big bad’ but also holds a regal and mystical quality to it – all symbolic of feelings I wanted to swirl in this painting – power and loss of power, the unknown, the beyond. The top of the painting is more purple, but the color drains out to more of a greyish hue toward the bottom, as it reaches more despair and to more suffering depths, and the color is drained and flattened out of life.

I painted this while very in my “Michelangelo phase” and I still love painting images from the expressive face and the rigorous musculature of his figures. Some of the cherubs and beings in the rocks were after or inspired by other Renaissance artists’ paintings, including Botticelli and Raphael. Props go out to my cousin Jake Trammell, who posed as just a tot (well was a restless toddler can hold a pose), for the cherub to the far right of the painting – Jake is now in college and looking at this painting reminds me just how much time has passed!!! I can’t believe my little angel baby is all grown up.

Portrait of Renaissance Lady | Oil on canvas | 16” x 20” | Collection of the artist

Portrait of Renaissance Lady

Oil on canvas, 16” x 20”, 1993 Collection of the artist
This was the first painting that I ever did, and was inspired by my love of Renaissance portraiture, especially the work of Da Vinci, Rafael, and Botticelli. I later saw the beautiful oil painting, Girl with Cherries, by Italian High Renaissance Painter Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, and was struck by how similar it was to my vision. I used a Pthalo green underpainting and glazed warm colors over it, to achieve the luminous quality of classical Renaissance technique. I wished to express power and wisdom through the lady’s eyes, and I believe my perseverance and determination in creating this painting, in the end, is reflected in her aspect and her stare.