I was painting this one in class with my painting students.

I had to keep leaving it to teach, but they could comment on my work, too.

This working the work was a teaching experience in itself. We’re all processing.


I can’t quite allow myself to just follow an idea when I’m working.

Unlike Raphael who alone, so the saying goes, could make what was in his head

arrive on the canvas, exactly as planned, most of us have to cooperate with the mind of the muse.


My process includes having some image from a dream as “inspiration”

and then I know enough to follow the paint. I’ve learned to let the inner muse speak or sing

and bring forth a surface with paint and color and texture…and don’t stop until I know it’s done.


In this one, I was painting my Christ image, here a kind of salamander,

and it’s trying to enter into a bright space. I was thinking of a “black hole” full of light and safety.

The pink figure looks fragile, kind of cute, and natural, lovable in a way, not quite god-like.


The bird arrived from following the paint. The rest of the canvas,

aside from the salamander and the bright box, needed to be dark

but the paint wanted something more. It became the bird.


It was almost two years before I knew what I thought my subconcious

might be trying to express. It seemed that maybe the bird with the

almost human eyes was powerful, strong, inscrutable, and a bit scary…


It’s not necessary to see this as Christ or as a Christian narrative.

It just helps me to see what might be going on inside me, in my “spiritual life.”

For someone else, it might suggest finding somewhere full of light and escaping something scary.



The Salamander and the Predator