Monday, December 20, 2010

ArtTraveler explores inner spiritual depths as Jesus comes to life on canvass

This my Byzantine version, oil on canvass, 46 X 32 cm.

This is my painting I gave Juan, our vet in Competa, who gives us most generous discounts for our cat neutering program in Canillas de Albaida.

But I wanted to share with you my philosophy of oneness.

I am a great believer in oneness, that is, the central pathos and ethos of all major world religions. OK, when you get all the men and women in cloth playing spin doctors, weaving their own somehow discernable, if not irreconcilable differences, Baptists vs. Catholics; Sunnis vs. Shias, Christian Crusaders against Islam and so on, we seem to lose sight of this oneness. OK. Enough of preaching.
Goya inspired me to paint this portrait of Jesus. Oil on canvass. 65 X 54 cm

In the summer of 1963, as a 19-year-old Macalester College sophomore out to see what the Middle East and belly dancers were all about, I hitch hiked from Belgrade to Beirut and then to Jerusalem (Jordan) and then finally to Israel, working on a kibbutz above Haifa, recently ravaged by fierce firestorms.

I suddenly found myself drawn and I mean really compelled to see all the Holy  sites (all religions) in and around Jerusalem (this was 1963), the  12 stations of the cross on Jesus' walk to death, Golgatha, Dome of the Rock and on and on.

I even explored the inner depths of a  winding tunnel leading to the claimed grave of Lazarus.

Well, maybe all this is nuts. I cannot explain it. I'm a cultural Christian, not a dogmatic one; I respect and admire Islam, Judiasm, Budhism and other world religions I have studied and/or observed.

I lived three years in an Islamic state (1977-80), in Tripoli, Libya, and have great respect for mainstream Islam. And I lament the growing Islamaphobia sweeping Europe and the US born out of ignorance, media brainwashing and insular thinking that has created huge rifts between peoples and encouraged the madness of Jihad.

But lately, I've been drawn to start painting a series of Christian paintings. It helps to live in a Catholic country steeped in Christian rituals and traditions. This helps bring me back perhaps to my basic roots.

I show two of them here. The earth pallette of the portrait of Jesus inspired by Goya II recently gave to my very good friends in Mammendorf, Germany: Mitschi and Lothar Heppner, devout Bavarian Catholics and absolutely beautiful people.

Be good to one another and remember, all major religions are fused together by oneness, a common nexus of values and principles.

Happy holidays to all!

Rock on and practice peace. Please check out ArtTraveler's funky videos at:

Stefan, the ArtTraveler(TM)