The Japanese Call it Forest Bathing

The Japanese practice something called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” So shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses.

This is not exercise, or hiking, or jogging. It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world.

According to Dr. Qing Li, author of Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, a “two-hour forest bath will help you to unplug from technology and slow down. It will bring you into the present moment and de-stress and relax you. Numerous studies I’ve conducted have shown that shinrin-yoku has real health benefits.

I have been doing a lot of sky gazing lately, more than usual. I’ve always thought that if emotion were to be painted, it would be in the form of a sky.

The colors, the clouds and all that space in between evokes so much feeling in me. Nature is perfect, it doesn’t question, it doesn’t consider, it simply is.

I am my happiest when I am surrounded by nature. It is my sacred place.

Seascape I, 2019
20” x 20”
Oil on canvas

 

A Cardinal on Rue Masson

This gorgeous red cardinal is seen all over our Canadian landscape, from the countryside to the urban playgrounds in our cities. I chose this particular bird because of what it represents – according to Spiritual Astrology, Tarot & Metaphysical Studies, the Cardinal represents renewed vitality and the recognition of self-importance.

Another element to my design is the flowers. All flowers have meanings associated with them and are a part of the most important occasions in our lives. They are conspicuously present on birthdays, funerals, graduation, weddings, etc. forming an integral part of our lives. Some flowers have religious significance too. In this case, the flowers I chose pertain to the spirit of Rue Masson – The Daffodil symbolizes regard and chivalry. It is indicative of rebirth, new beginnings and eternal life. A bunch of daffodils indicate joy and happiness. The Iris symbolizes eloquence and is symbolic of wisdom, faith and hope.

All these elements are framed and gathered while not restrained within a triangle. The design of a triangle is meant to guide your eye from left to right and upward. In a more spiritual significance, the triangle here is a symbol of strength and courage, elevating you, sending you upward toward the sky – rising above all!

My Last Painting in Florida ’18

Finished my last painting here in Florida (Feb. 2018).

I took many trips to the east cost driving through the Everglades – the flat landscape and massive open skies that surround you inspire me. Anyone who has taken that drive with me will tell you how I’m constantly being taken away by the birds and skies there.

This painting is something I hope will take you there- visually at least!

My first painting of 2018.

My first painting this year – Black & Gold II, 2018

Also, the first of many in a small collection I’ll be doing for Judith Liegeois Designs in Naples. Florida.

I am beyond happy to be showing with her. I encourage everyone to visit her website at http://www.judithliegeoisdesigns.com and if you are in Naples, Florida, please drop in and visit her gallery. You’ll love it!

 

Wow. I’m in British Vogue Magazine.

This is HUGE!! VOGUE reached out to me for a feature on their Gallery Profile page in the October issue.

I am ecstatic over this…to be noticed by such a high profile magazine such as VOGUE has truly exceeded my wildest expectations. WOW!

My art is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m sure happy it’s theirs!! Straight up EPIC. Thank you British Vogue for this fabulous opportunity.

Sacred Geometry

I was very excited to submit this piece (36″x36″/ oil, gold enamel & silver leaf on canvas) for the FamaArt Fair during this year’s Mural Festival Élémentaire II, 2017

As an artist, I have always been fascinated by sacred geometry. It’s all around us, in nature, in architecture, in art, etc. It’s always there. Subliminally, we all see it. It defines our sense of what is beautiful. Our subconscious sees it; even if we don’t.

I have started to incorporate it in my paintings and murals in a visible, conscious way to show our eyes what our soul really sees. This new direction has been a kind of refuge for me.

The alchemical symbol for air is an upward-pointing triangle, bisected by a horizontal line and I have included this in my paintings. Painting these landscapes with wide-open skies has helped me to release emotion in a way that is particular to painting. It’s just you, some paint and a canvas. I love that alone time I have created for myself while painting. It’s my blessing, my refuge, my happiness…and I hope that the viewer feels that energy.

I hope that the viewer will ‘Stop’, even if for a moment to take a good deep breath. It will slow down your racing mind and soothe your pounding heart, I promise.

STOP and take a good, deep breath

Revisiting the elements in this piece I painted for @mumtl – Encan Soirée Bénéfice.

The alchemical symbol for air is an upward-pointing triangle, bisected by a horizontal line as seen here in my painting.

Given my current state, I felt it was important to paint something that reminded me to stop and just breathe. 
Life is hard at times, messy and complicated… I am notorious for never stopping and always pushing through it all without taking a minute for me – I thought we could all use a little reminder to STOP a second and take a good deep breath.

In fact, much of my work has focused on this recurring theme – the stillness of my birds, symbolizing awareness hopefully inspires reflection and reminds us all to stop and take the time to deal with our own thoughts, emotions, awareness and the blessings in our lives.

My Birds up Close

People know my work best for my dramatic, large-scale paintings and murals of photorealistic birds. It’s a passion that I have had since childhood. However, it would be wrong to consider me a naturalist or wildlife artist. When I do a painting of a bird, I am not aiming for realism. I am trying to capture not only their image but the stillness of their souls. That stillness is meant to inspire reflection for those of us whose lives are in constant movement.

Visualization is key for me.  It is a kind of zen process. I have to see the painting as a completely finished piece, in my mind.  I establish the subject, the layout, the colors and the size… I even sometimes see it hung in a particular setting or establishment. If it’s street art, then I visualize it as part of the whole environment and everything around it.

When I do a painting of birds, I always start with the eyes because I feel like they need to communicate to me. I need to be able to relate or communicate with the subject and then it morphs from that point on. Because the bird is a single theme for me, I always put a plain background in a solid colour. I really want to emphasize the bird. I want its true character to shine through.

Birds have long been strong symbols for aboriginal people throughout the world. The crane has represented longevity, the owl wisdom, the parrot word magic, the cardinal power and enthusiasm, the canary illumination and the crow prophecy. Birds have also been symbols of spiritual growth or transcendence and man’s striving to attain that goal. Their flight has symbolized our own journey of release, renunciation, atonement and compassion.

For me, birds have always symbolized freedom and our awareness of our own forever-fleeting present. I feel that my paintings of birds not only show us the beauty of the bird itself but are also telling us to enjoy each of life’s individual moments – “Carpe diem; seize the day!”

In the painting pictured above, “The Merkaba in Flight”, I painted a Black-Capped Chickadee in flight. Behind it is the Star or Double Tetrahedron, also called the Merkaba, perhaps the most astounding geometric and all encompassing of all designs in Sacred Geometry. In early Jewish Mysticism, it was a vehicle (Merkavah) by which Ezekiel ascended into heaven. In Ancient Egypt, this primal pattern was called the Mer-Ka-Ba (Mer or light, Ka or soul, and Ba the body or reality) or rotating light that would take the spirit and the body from one world into another.

I hope that it touches you in some way.

I painted the Merkaba also in the Montreal offices of Shopify. In this high-tech environment, the Merkaba now becomes a symbol for personal and business growth and transcendence to a higher level.

To see more birds, please visit my Fine Art Gallery and my Studio Store! See the Shopify Merkaba in Commissions.

Have You Seen the Sky?

I love painting skies! If emotion could be painted it would be in the form of a sky. Someone once said that sky is a medium of revelation through which God shows himself to us.

Do you remember as a child looking up at the clouds floating by and seeing each cloud as a bird or a face or a car? Do you remember the myriad of color shades in the stormy, angry, rain clouds coming across the lake at the cottage? Do you remember your favorite, burning-red, sunset sky?

What is your favorite museum, landscape or cloudscape masterpiece – Constable, Turner, Van Gogh?

My landscape paintings are in the abstract painting style. Abstract Art doesn’t even try to look like anything from the real world. The subject of the painting is simply the colors used, the textures in the artwork and the materials.

My landscape paintings give me a great deal of personal creative expression by inputting into it emotions and feelings. By definition, paintings done in this style are intentionally different from real life – colors are more vibrant, forms carry more emotion, details and texture add life. All of this allows us to see the landscape in a totally new way, as if infused with emotion, hyper-energy and a life of its own. All of a sudden it speaks to us; communicates something. I do not add materials to my paintings for added visual or tactile texture. I allow the composition and the interwoven combination, the intensity and the iridescence of the colors themselves to speak to us.

Please visit my Landscape Gallery to see more of my paintings!

Art Basel Miami 2012

Since 1970, Art Basel has highlighted great international art in Basel, Hong Kong and Miami where leading galleries show significant work of established and emerging stars. It is the most prestigious art show in the Americas.

In 2012, 65,000 people attended Art Basel in Miami, where I exhibited artwork at the Déja vu Decor Gallery as well as at the grand opening of the Del Toro Shoe Boutique, located in The Wynwood Building.

De Toro makes great footwear that also looks great. In just a few years, it established itself as the place to go for unique footwear that you won’t find anywhere else. If you go, you may see people from the fashion industry, athletes and actors. The store in the Wynwood Building was their first brick-and-mortar shop. It had gallery-like space to display the shoes but also large-scale paintings from local artists Evoca1, Hoxxoh, and GG.

The Del Toro exdeltoro2012hibit was crazy fun. Del Toro commissioned over thirty local and international artists, including Curtis Kulig, En Masse and Alec Monopoly, to express their art on Del Toro signature shoes.

They displayed each shoe as an “installation” during their grand opening event. In the end, there were some beautiful shoe designs created. Can you guess which shoe was my submission?

Please visit my Exhibitions page to see a video of the Del Toro event.