30x30 Acrylic 2010

Jasmine is a painting that was commissioned by my husband, Ross, in response to a poem he wrote in 2000. Together we spent time discussing the poem, getting back into the feel of what was going on in his life when he wrote it. We discussed what size and shape he wanted the painting to be and why. His desires helped to form the background for my own meditation on his words. (Ross's poem is included below.)

The first step in the process of creating this painting was to write the poem in its entirety on the canvas using a transfer drawing technique. I chose this technique because of the unpredictable nature of not being able to see what is happening on the canvas. I covered an old piece of sheet with paint and laid it face down on the canvas. Then my husband and I took turns writing the text on the sheet with a stick, which we chose because of the uneven lines it produces. It was important to intermingle his handwriting with mine since the poem is his own. This technique creates serendipitous blotches and words written over other words, which happen unconsciously, and these formed an underlying pattern or structure for the paint to follow. When the sheet was finally pulled away there were indistinct words, splotches of paint, and places where our hand prints were visible.

Once that layer was dry, I began adding color, working in cooperation with the paint smears and words to guide the progression of the painting. I also used artist tape laid in lines for the first layer or two of paint before removing it, to form a hint of pages. This creates the illusion of a manuscript or palimpsest (a document written on, imperfectly erased, and written on again, layer upon layer). The result is diaphanous, ethereal, and in keeping with the waft of fragrance from a jasmine blossom.

It was a delight to work with my husband, bringing to life a poem close to his heart. The process of working in collaboration with others to bring their words to life is so fulfilling that I have accepted various other commissions. Each commission is unique and the process of painting changes with each work because these commissions require that I interact with poems, pieces of music, sacred text, or even anotherís original work, as was the case with my husband.


  I am the shadow of the morning mist.

 You are Gibraltar; no, much more.

 You are He who founded worlds on
 your hand.

 My life is tenuous.

 Driven by lifeís winds; easily dispersed.

 You are He who never changes,

 He who is, He who said and it was.

† I am the delicate perfume of jasmine

 Yet jasmine gives pleasure.

 May my life give pleasure to Thee.


Creative Expression