Just finished my latest painting, Ahoy Sleeper. Please Re-blog and comment if you like :)
Oil on Braced Baltic Birch, 36” diameter, 2014
I began thinking about painting an aquanaut, or deep-sea diver, when we were in Florida and some friends suggested we meet at Tarpon Springs, an old Greek settlement known for its sponge industry. On a boat tour I became fascinated with an antique diving suit donned for a demonstration of how they collected sponges. I was drawn to the brass surface texture of the helmet, which was even more interesting with the emergence from water. Once home, I did further research on lighting, wet rubberized fabric and brass with photos of myself, first in my studio and later emerging from Lake Ontario wearing a round brass planter on my head!
The choice of using a circular panel was intentional. In viewing a rectangular piece, there is a left-to-right beginning-to-end, whereas a circle is cornerless, resulting in a type of timelessness and unity. This set the stage for a painting that would come to carry peculiar metaphysical weight.
Over the years I have been intrigued by Ephesians 5:14, which states “Awake, O Sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” When reading it, I would always have a strange picture in my mind of a diver rising upon a seaweed shore with a bird flying above. Suddenly, this verse in Ephesians and the visual idea for this painting converged. As I conceptually developed this piece I began to see the metamorphosis of the aquanaut emerging from the depths of the ocean into an unknown light, with an illuminated Common House-Martin ascending into the sky. By excluding the face and skin colour, the figure becomes a metaphoric archetype for spiritual transformation, arising from deadness of soul into new life in Christ, which is available to everyone.