Titling paintings can be a challenge as it was when I finished the pieces that are in The Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist show. It wasn’t until the last piece was finished that the series started to make sense to me. Others may look at the pieces and see something totally different. This is art.

I define myself as an intuitive painter, which is a method of creating art that aims to explore and uncover aspects of the inner self. It’s the practice of freeing your creativity. As I started the series I had no idea what it was about. There was something emerging from my inner being onto the canvas. I’ve been experimenting a little with different ways to depict the human form, in this piece I used the head and body.  My mentor discouraged me from using them the way they were laid out. Soon after, I attended an art show at Temple Beth El. As I was getting ready to leave the synagogue a display of pottery drew my attention. It was a cluster of human forms shaped like the ones I was working with. I almost blurted out loud, “You want to be in my art.” In my studio I gathered the figures together muttering “Denis, I respect your opinion but these must stay.”

The aha moment came when I was considering the title for the artwork, ”Deliverance From Suffering.” While I was working on it I thought the painting was called Trapped. Somehow that didn’t feel right. I thought for a few moments, maybe days. Those people are being delivered from difficulty, some of them found freedom while some are still entangled in the web.8

They move “Into the Light” the second in the series. The colors, shapes, and sizes represent our differences. Like people in constant motion. The light shines on us equally giving each of us opportunities of awareness, perhaps to see life differently.

“Everyone Is Gay,’” are happy transformed people. I’ve used these cutouts in my work for many years. It felt right for me to use them again as a remembrance of Mary Todd Beam who was an important influence on my artistic expression. They remind me of children laughing and playing. We bring those memories with us throughout our lives. The gaiety comes from being in the light like a rainbow of colors.

“Bodhi,” or enlightenment, is about our spiritual growth. “Rooted in Buddhist traditions, this name is synonymous with the concept of nirvana and the final goal of Buddhism.” Collectively and independently many spend their life seeking awareness. I believe it is a continuous process unfolding like a beautiful flower seeking wisdom and truth.

It all made sense to me after the paintings were finished. It’s a culmination of the kind of work I do with mixed media.  There is always more to continue improving my work and my soul. It’s fun watching artwork evolve without a  preconceived notion of what it will be or where it is going. It’s almost like working under someone else’s guidance. At the end of the day, I am often surprised by the final result.

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