Daily I am driven to paint by a deep need to participate in beauty.
I engage in my own quiet battle against negative and destructive forces
with deceptively gentle paintings where I urge the spirit and the material to meet on my canvas.
“Clash” required a lot of time and concentration and followed the same process as all my paintings must. The vision spends a few months in my imagination before daring to step out onto a scrap piece of paper. A small, rough design is the first thing to materialize. A large drawing follows which gradually fills up with detail and is then transferred to my canvas. Days are spent adhering gold leaf in a soothing process similar to prayer and meditation. Next comes the delicate process of painting the goddess and ornaments that adorn the golden sections. Then is the realization of the tiny flowers that float nearby. There is something about the careful and silent work of forming and giving them life before they are embedded in the thick, white background that is inexplicable. It is when I touch stillness and all that matters are these tiny flowers entrusted to my care. Each one announces itself and needs my attention. This is when I make contact with something higher. Then comes the surrounding white space where the result I seek is in extreme contrast to the intricate and graceful work applied so far. Using multiple layers of thick, oil paint applied solely with a palette knife, I begin with darks and build until I reach white. The final coat selectively covers up the prior layers using a reductive-style process that results in a cracked, decaying and broken-concrete appearance. The artistic vision in my work is directly inspired by my fascination with ancient and medieval ruins, iconography, illumination and art. I crave not only the visual beauty but also the spiritual connection and wisdom that these times embodied.
In “Clash”, the goddess and the golden paradise she inhabits represents the presence of God and all things spiritually good, beautiful and virtuous. This beauty is contrasted by the surrounding damaged and decayed space that symbolizes evil, sin and negativity.
A battle between these two extremes ensues as Evil attempts to bury and silence Goodness with a deceptive white covering. Goodness pushes back against the encroaching and smothering Evil. As they clash and Goodness surfaces, Evil’s white veneer cracks, shatters and splits open exposing chunks of its dark and corroded underside thus revealing its true, ugly identity while Goodness is free to shine its magnificent, golden light.
Small, determined flowers that signify hope and fortitude break through to stand in solidarity with Goodness in the spiritual battle.
This painting centers on the moment that Evil is defeated and the golden treasure of Goodness is unearthed and set free to purify, bedeck and heal Mother Earth and humanity.
Michael Deborah Skoff-- sole creator
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