I research a long time, before and during my painting and drawing work. I’ve shared lots of that with you. I sort of traverse time and space looking at both ancient and modern culture. I’ve studied pagan ritual, yogic practices, and various Christian religions, and specifically Catholic symbols and rites. The latter is most familiar to me, because it’s part of my personal history. I am still drawn to rituals of Catholicism, especially those mixed in with the Native (US and Mexican) Indigenous Peoples.
I’m working/reworking the life-size figure/self portrait…painting I thought I’d completed, for next month. Today I redid the entire solar plexus area of the composition, yet again. The whole area is slightly off and it bugs me. I’d been working on small sketches of body organs and was realizing more and more, the large figure’s anatomy is off in some places. Though I lean towards abstraction in general, cause I don’t want realism. Right now, I do want precision because human anatomy in its simplicity and complexity is pretty wonderful. It really is like a little miracle.
While re-working the kidneys this afternoon, I’m reminded of milagros (Spanish for miracles). Milagros are small religious charms, used in Mexico and other areas of Latin America. They serve to petition saints for guidance, help and protection. Milagros are made in many symbolic forms, from ears and eyes, legs and arms to angels and animals. These religious charms get tacked on to the surface of altars and statues of saints, crosses…etc. They act as prayer reminders or as thanks to a particular saint for prayers answered.
I have a few wooden crosses with many milagros attached to them. Here are a pair of silver kidneys. And beneath it is my study of the kidney.
It appears to me, despite my research and wondering out into other cultures and studies, I come back to what is most familiar. In this case…folk art familiar. And then I put it out again, with a significant personal twist.
Above is an ear milagro and beneath it is my inner ear drawing. I call the little work Oido, Spanish for ear. Check out that ear drum and cochlea…such great shapes. I added the little form to the face of my large painting as an after thought. I couldn’t, after really looking at the intricate parts of this mechanism, leave it out.
Despite all the intellectual research and connection that I shared some of in an→ earlier post, here/now I make one very direct and simple visual association. I know I saw it before, but why didn’t I think it was worth mentioning?
The tie-in to the sacred is key. The body = The Sacred.
These milagros, little miracles, are the ground work, probably for most of the art I have made in the last couple of years. I realized this so clearly today, I had to make note of it.