This first image is from a small (about 20" x 30") oil painting on canvas called Desert Heart. Don't forget that you can click on the images to see them enlarged. It 's my perennially-unfinished piece, begun around 10 years ago, with some lilies and jewelry still waiting for finishing touches. I did it because I wanted to see just how far I could push the detail on the technical end, but it was inspired by Spanish Colonial religious art and the work of Van Eyck (mainly). Pre-Raphaelite, Symbolist, and any lovely, old-fashioned painting has also inspired my work for years. And I wanted to create a kind of contemporary madonna which incorporated all sorts of spiritual symbols from all over the world, sort of a blessing piece for a home altar.
Closer in, you can see her face and halo in greater detail. If you click on this, it will enlarge to about the actual size it is in the painting. The halo was directly modeled after Renaissance European art, but most of the stones are in my own collection. Her opened gown reveals a heart space that is a fusion of the rising sun and an x-ray image of a beryl crystal. I was really pleased with the way her hand turned out (the one holding open her gown). Hands and feet are awfully hard, and this one just went down so beautifully!
It's a larger piece, around 2' x 4', oil on masonite. The sky was laid in first, and worked up with many very translucent glazes of pure color. The effect is like stained glass, because the white ground beneath the colored glazes reflects light back through them. You can't do this with anything other than oils. Some kind of ceremony or ritual is taking place with the land and with stones, and everything is luminous, revealing its inner light, or life force.
Detail showing the center of the painting. Like Desert Heart, I fought the nubbly canvas texture every step of the way and afterwards returned to working on masonite. The idea behind the piece is to try and capture a sense of immanence, of an otherworldly or sacred something about to be revealed as one journeys toward the horizon. That's how it feels to walk out in the desert places.