Archive for September, 2010


Who was Cleopatra and why are we so fascinated by her? Historians tell us she was not very spectacular looking but really who knows? She had two of the world’s most powerful men as lovers. There must have been something extraordinary about her. Perhaps it was her nobility. We moderns are always looking to reclaim our innate sense of nobility, our deep desire to feel that we are important and that our lives matter. We read books, go to movies, enjoy art depicting mythical and contemporary superheroes, kings and queens. We love this stuff, gobble it up. Why?
Karl Jung seemed on the right track when he said we all have archetypes within us that need to be acknowledged, perhaps to be tapped into, lived out as much as possible. We can’t really be super-beings and monarchs, but we can discover within us a part that is noble, spiritual, valuable, true and virtuous. It is our birthright.
Last spring I became fascinated with studying the birth charts of Vivien Leigh and Lawrence Olivier, their great, yet tragic, love life together and I watched some movies they made.
I wanted to portray nobility, beauty, “love”, sensuality in a portrait. All of these currents came together in this portrait of Vivien Leigh, based on a photo of her in the movie “Caesar and Cleopatra” with Claude Rains as Julius Caesar. A great movie it is based on George Bernard Shaw’s play of the same name.
Giclee prints available at my website

Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra

Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra

Karl Jung Portrait

Karl Jung Portrait

Forever Jung#mce_temp_url#

I have been thinking a lot about Karl Jung lately, especially after seeing the fantastic illustrations in his newly published “Red Book” which has caused ripples in many realms other than that of psychology.
Creating the book apparently led Jung to reformulate how he worked with his analytical patients. One especially profound example appeared in a self-published book written by a former client, in which she recalls Jung’s advice for processing what went on in the deeper and sometimes frightening parts of her mind.
“I should advise you to put it all down as beautifully as you can–in some beautifully bound book,” Jung instructed her. “It will seem as if you were making the visions banal–but then you need to do that–then you are freed from the power of them. . . . Then when these things are in some precious book you can go to the book & turn over the pages & for you it will be your church–your cathedral–the silent places of your spirit where you will find renewal. If anyone tells you that it is morbid or neurotic and you listen to them–then you will lose your soul–for in that book is your soul.”
I would add that in my own life I have experienced a symbolic journey of the spirit from self to no-self, from form to emptiness and back to form. Meditation, therapy, journaling, painting and my work with Tarot & Astrology are all interwoven in my own sacred “book”.
Here is a recent painting composed of hundreds of abstract shapes in various colors that are distinctly different from skin tones. I like to think that Jung must have had moments of joy and I wanted to portray that feeling in this work.