What If?

What if you slept?
And what if,
In your sleep
You dreamed?
And what if,
In your dream
You went to heaven
And there plucked
A strange and beautiful flower
?
And what if,
When you awoke
You had that flower in your hand?
Ah, what then?

~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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I am not much of a poetry reader or lover, but when I stumbled across this poem by Coleridge the other day, it resonated so deeply within me that I actually found myself holding my breath when I’d finished reading it. I’ve since read it dozens of times, and have committed it to memory — not purposefully, but just as a result of repeating it to myself so many times. I think it touches me because it speaks so simply — yet so eloquently — of unlimited opportunities and boundless possibilities. “What if?” Such a little question…yet it opens so many doors to endless potentiality. What if you never asked “What if?” Can’t you just hear all those doors slamming hard in your face?

Pilgrimage - 6" x 6" (SOLD)

Pilgrimage – 6″ x 6″ (SOLD)

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“What if?” has always been a silent but ever-present question in my life. I think it must have been conceived in my heart as a little girl when I started to read fairy tales and imagined myself to be the beautiful princess or the jealous stepsister or even the wicked witch. I wanted to be a part of their magical worlds so badly! As an older child, I was often at my happiest when exploring the fantastical lands of Moonacre Valley (from The Little White Horse, which I read over and over again), Oz, Wonderland and Narnia (Oh, how I loved Narnia!). As a teen, a much more active social life lured me away from my books, but I found them again as an adult and shivered in terrified delight at my discovery of a more sinister type of magic in the dark lands of Shannara and the beautiful realms of Middle Earth. I lost myself in the romance of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon and Camelot, in the punny escapades to be found in Piers Anthony’s Xanth, in the exciting adventures to be had in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and in the treachery and unexpected horrors that lay in wait in Martin’s kingdoms of Westeros.

I recently discovered that The Little White Horse was made into a movie called The Secret of Moonacre! The full movie is here on YouTube…I can’t wait to watch it!
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As an adult, and particularly in the last almost 20 years, I became especially curious about religion and about spirituality. “What if?” I wondered. “What if there’s more to what I’ve been taught? In fact, what if everything I’ve been taught — about God, about heaven, about the devil, about sin — what if there is something more to it all?” The question fascinated me. “What if REAL magic exists? What if there’s just more to it???” I couldn’t resist that “What if?” all those years ago, and it set me on a journey of discovery that continues to fill me with wonder and fascination still. I expect that, for me, it is a journey that will never end 🙂

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More recently, I have started to share some of my feelings about spirituality and the journey I believe we are all on, through my art. I taught myself to paint using acrylics last year, and almost from the first, I had a desire to express myself very differently than I do in my drawings. I draw in a very detailed, realistic style, and usually depict “real” things on my paper, most often people and animals. However, with my paintings, I felt a need to speak intuitively, from my heart, and so, almost from the beginning, I have used my paintings to try to convey some of my own spiritual journey and beliefs through the exploration of a surrealistic and slightly whimsical fantasy world where the trees are sentient (what if they are so closely connected to us, that they are us?), the skies are filled with light (what if, no matter how deep the night, there is always a light to guide us?) and a gentle sense of wonder and mystery inspires an urge within the viewer to wander farther, to quest deeper to find…something? (what if, what we are looking for, is already within us?).

 

No Escape

No Escape – 6″ x 24″ (SOLD)

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The positive response my paintings have received have given me the confidence to start exploring more fantastical themes in my drawings.  Over the years, I have tended to stay away from fantasy in my drawings because it seemed that fantasy themes were never as well received in my drawings as more realistic subject matter was. That has left me rather all over the place with my drawings, as I have always felt at a bit of a loss for subject matter. In trying to appeal to the “market” with my drawings, I think I lost a bit of myself.  The truth is, fantasy is my first love, and though I do enjoy drawing portraits of people and animals, and sometimes even a still life, those subjects just don’t  excite me like fantasy-themed subjects do. That is why I have finally decided to park myself firmly in the fantasy niche for most of my future drawings.

Not too long ago I wanted to test out a paper I had not used before with graphite. It was a very different experience for me and I ended up not overly happy with the technical results — the paper I used (Stonehenge) has a much more  textured surface than the paper I usually use, and so I found it difficult to get the smoooooth, subtle shadings I am used to, and prefer.  Nevertheless, I was extremely pleased with the actual concept, and I plan to redo this particular drawing on my usual paper as soon as I have time. I am looking forward to exploring a lot more similarly-themed drawings in future. 🙂

What Dreams may Come...

What Dreams May Come…

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But first, I need to get some more paintings done for my upcoming festival in June! More about that next time. 🙂

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