In Finite

#58 In Finite
Unlike infinity, finite is the measurable, the limited.  This painting speaks to the belief that we are trapped 'in' finite, thus keeping ourselves from the infinite that we truly are.  Another one of my favorites and part of my personal collection, I have both this finished piece and the original sketch  framed on my studio wall. The interpretation is more a 'felt' one as I look into the whole of the painting, yet as I examine the individual aspects within it I see the connections between the evolution of man's quest to illuminate the spiritual.  I see religions across time, earth based and modern interpretations, guru's and god's representing our attempt to reach both. We are one story woven with many threads.  Pull any one and hopefully we can unravel the mystery we have unknowingly spun around ourselves.


#74, Invocation,Otherwyze series.
This is another one of those pieces that does not remain static for me.  It's as if it doesn't hold still in my mind long enough to pin it down with words.  I am drawn to the colors and the imagery within this painting as separate things rather than a cohesive tale easily telling itself.  It's as if I know there is a story there, waiting but I haven't yet found the words to relate the spell it casts.


#53, Elevated, Otherwyze series.
Moments of epiphany and the sudden elevated states of consciousness that accompany mystical experiences are what this piece speaks to for me. Often such spontaneous experiences bind individuals to the impetus that they associate it with.  Other times such experiences ensnare individuals into the quest for endless states of expanded awareness, believing that to be true spiritual oneness.....when actually it is a natural product of our metaphysical nature.  Having had my share of these wonderful, magical states I understand the pull they have and the desire to connect them to a tangible source.  But the truth is that, by their very nature, they are intangible and can not be contained within dogma or belief.  They are born out of no-thing and as profound as these experiences are, they must remain just  All the teachings in the world that have any truth, teach this.

Cupi Dolls

#52, Cupi Dolls, Otherwyze series.
I love the colors in this painting and the juxtaposition of child-like doll imagery and wise, bearded sages.The blossoming lotus imagery at the base and the stylized dragonfly at the center are repeated themes in this series, lending spiritual references while maintaining ambiguity. 

Into The Mystic

#44, Into The Mystic, Otherwyze series.
Not every painting in this series conforms to the limitations of language.  Some are never more than the image stories they evoke beyond words.  Such is the case with this piece.  While I am often told of the elephant imagery that strikes some viewers right away, it refuses to take me to that place, though I see the reference.  This is one of my favorite pieces and remains in my own collection.  But it is the subtle imagery; the clowns tucked into the rabbit's ears at the bottom of the imagery, the whispering muses at the top and the 'inner-self' at the center that captivate me. Entitled, Into The Mystic because of the magical qualities it ignites within me, this painting carries me to foreign landscapes and non-existent memories.  

Family Affair

#68,#68a,#68b, Family Affair, Otherwyze Series
I often choose to create multiple paintings based around one foundational sketch that I alter slightly from painting to painting.  I refer to these multiple works as a 'family' of paintings.  In this way I can expand on an image-story...and it allows me to create original works of art centered on some of my favorite imagery.  In fact, most of the paintings in this series will have 'family' pieces simply because I like to both sell and own original works based on my favorite sketches.  These three paintings are an example of one 'family' of paintings. 

Surely You Jest

#70a, Surely You Jest, Otherwyze Series
Entitled, Surely You Jest, this painting was an inevitable part of this series.  The role of the archetypal Trickster is profound in any personal journey.  Ready to trip us up if we get too serious, too pompous or too off track, I had a blast creating this dark aspect of the otherwise jovial character.

Child's Play

#73 Child's Play, Otherwyze Series
A hooded serpent is symbolized in the outer imagery of this painting.  In many cultures this is representative of immortality, eternity and guardianship.  Looking within this serpentine image we see that the lower half is in the shape of a child's spinning top. The very bottom of this figure is adorned with leafy imagery symbolizing the grounded nature of the child, while the top of the head depicts a wide open crown chakra. This speaks to the inherent ability of a child to more easily access enlightened realms while remaining connected to this world. The wing-like imagery sprouting from behind the child represents his ability to ignore the chaotic spinning that this world generates and sustain balance by connecting to that which truly serves him. The playful image of the child's guides enfolded in the light and bright colors juxtaposes the muted, serious tones of the world in which the child has incarnated. This points to the wisdom in the phrase "lighten up" used to address those caught up in seriousness, in that when we let go of being overly serious we do indeed access more 'light' or enlightened thought.  Closer inspection of the child's face, reveals the imagery of both a young boy and an old man. This symbolizes the journey from childhood through adulthood that this child has embarked upon and the opportunity to carry our early openness with us into the life in which we have been born.  

*On a personal note this painting is an image-story for my grandson, Tyler Darris.  The merging of the young and old faces also represents the great-grand father that he was named after and the grandfather he loved, both of whom now watch over him from the heavens.

With In

#62 With In, Otherwyze Series
Being one with the journey inward is the meaning behind the title of this painting.  Metaphorically this painting speaks to the 'music' that we play for our own enlightenment.  Not concerned with the making his mark on the world, the piper in this painting is inner focused for the purpose of spiritual awakening. Dragonfly imagery figures into almost every painting in this series in one way or another.  This is my own personal symbol and also represents an ongoing spiritual connection with my husband since his passing.  In this painting, the dragonfly symbol of 'the enlightened journey' ushers in the emerging shadow figures that it engages.  As the piper plays, the dragonfly coaxes the fear from its hiding place and transforms it into light, the melody which shines upward from his pipe. This 'music' creates a crown of enlightened thought, represented by the golden beads surrounding his mind.


#61 Depths, Otherwyze Series
Simply entitled Depths, aquatic imagery and soothing colors associated with the sea are predominant in this painting.  Water, symbolizing spiritual growth and the unconscious, is featured in the lower half of this painting.  A hallmark of the Otherwyze series, only continued inspection reveals the degree to which tiny creatures and strange beings lurk.  These represent both the shadow side of life and the enlightened opportunities that await should we embrace our fears and our secrets.  The predominate, central figure in each painting is the channel through which these fears and secrets are embraced and expressed.  In this painting for example, having found a way to 'breathe under water' (embrace the depths of ones fear) an opening of enlightenment blooms in the heart above giving birth to a host of seers and guides. These not only bring us into the light of day, but sprout a garden of wisdom under which to live, as represented in the crown of flora studded with nuggets of gold.

Pipers Dream

#22 Pipers Dream; Otherwyze Series
The paintings in this series are image stories and many can be read like totems. From the bottom up this piece tells a story of the trans-formative power of music, which represents the frequency we all carry within.  Notice the heart held in the wings of the piper upon which the instrument is laid, and the swirling melody that gives birth to the folded wings of the piper.  The butterfly tattoo on the forehead of the piper, symbolizing transformation, is mirrored in the mouth of the higher self who inspires the music through the meditating spirit of the piper, lost in the melodic vibration.

For me this painting speaks to the frequency that we each carry and the choices we make about expressing it through the instrument of our lives.  If our 'music' comes through the heart it will keep us centered and allow peaceful transitions through even the most chaotic times.  And, as symbolized by the swirling imagery coming from the pipe itself, our 'music' is never contained, but has an effect on the world around us.

The Wyzened

#51 The Wyzened; Otherwyze Series
In February my wonderful husband of 22 years, Phil, awakened to the world beyond form.  Taken so unexpectedly, though he is with me in spirit, I miss his sweet presence.  He was, from the day we met, the most supportive and encouraging person in my life with regard to my spiritual journey and creative explorations.  This new series is dedicated to him for far too many reasons to name.  The foundational sketches of many of the paintings in this series were actually made at his bedside in the last weeks of his life.  The tiny acrylic and pencil sketches afforded me a container for the thoughts and feelings that rose and fell inside of me as we learned his time here was nearing an end.  Working on them in the hospital as he slept his last weeks away, they carried me into a sort of timeless-ness and spaceless-ness needed in such circumstances.  Bringing them to completion as finished paintings serves me in these times since his passing.

This painting is one of my very favorite,  entitled Wyzened, is a symbolic depiction of Phil's journey through and beyond the physical world. Read from the bottom up, it tells the story of the enlightened child, born with heightened gifts of guidance, and of the love he brought to the world through the masks he abandoned in exchange for transparency. It is a painting of deep introspection, purpose, love and enlightenment, all aspects of Phil's life. Filled with personal as well as archetypal symbolism this painting finishes with the depiction of a bearded wise man who embraced the lessons he came for and shared them by example; the Wyzened.