Oil painting, 102 x 102 cm
This artwork is part of my series “Communing with Creatures”. This series is significant and ongoing in my arts practice and based on important areas of my life—my conservation work with endangered species and my interest in the mythic bond between humans, animals and the natural world.
The exuberant women in my artworks are placed in landscape inspired settings; their interactions with wildlife are indicative of my personal relationship to animals and also of my idiosyncratic interpretation of the Jungian anima and animus (accordingly, the proportion female/animal is often non-realistic and personal); their nakedness is a visual metaphor with several aspects: devotion to and oneness with nature; freedom; openness, sharing and reveal; surrender to the environment; vulnerability in the face of natural forces; the ideal relationship between humans and animals: honest, close and caring. The female figures in my artworks represent me and therefore can be assigned to the genre of self-portraiture.
I record my dreams in a journal and decode each of them following the instructions of Robert Johnson in his book “Inner Work”. This dream work leads to my dream art. “Crossing Over” is part of it, featuring a crocodile. These animals are an important part of my ‘dream art’. Please see my linoprint “Are They Waiting” and my linoprint “Joyriding”, both in the print media section.
My task as the dreamer is to draw analogies between my waking and my dreaming life and to figure out whom the elements and characters in my dream are representing. I can also consider the mythology of animals and their symbolism in different cultures, religions and art.
Crocodiles are attributed with different qualities in different cultures: the spirits of important people in Aboriginal Dreaming; evil in Christianity; strength for native Americans; knowledge in ancient Egypt. In the practice of divination: creativity on one side, excess on the other.
For me, the crocodile is the incarnation of courage and strength, creativity and wisdom. In my dream, depicted in this artwork, I am able to ride this ferocious creature—he is my helper, my animus. I am at a juncture and he carries me across the river. Taking the crocodile as symbol, this dream shows me that I am able to use the process of creation and access my resources and abilities; that I am in transistion to new shores, a new phase in my life.
Please find the full artist statement for the series “Communing with Creatures” in the painting section, under “The Rescue”.