Spiritual Art

Henry David Thoreau famously said that “this world is but a canvas to our imagination”. I agree, but would go one step further. 

I’d also say that what lies beyond this world - the realm of the spiritual - is as much of a well to draw on for artistic inspiration. 

The Oxford Dictionary defines spirituality as “connected with the human spirit, rather than the body or physical things”. 

I find it incredible that something so vast, so far-reaching can be summed up in just a few words, when my brush barely seems to find the edges of it. 

Art and spirituality

For centuries, artists have attempted to capture the divine on canvas. 

From the anatomical accuracy of the Renaissance and the emotional, theatrical style of the Baroque period, to the Romantic movement, which was always in awe of nature’s power and the cosmos.

Contemporary artists too, have incorporated spirituality into their work, even as some parts of the modern world shifted to a more secular view. 

I think the same mystery is at work behind Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling as in Lindsay Kokosa’s Cosmic Gold series. 

As artists, we strive to remain true to our own voices, while at the same time trying to create something that is often bigger than us. 

We hope audiences find something within our work they connect with, fall in love with. The message and meaning go far beyond what is depicted on the canvas. 

For me, that’s what makes spiritual art so joyful. 

Life and death 

Of course, no discussion about spirituality and art could happen without taking into consideration the natural order of things. Death is every bit as much a part of life, however unwelcome or emotionally upsetting. 

Through my art, I try to demonstrate that there is a world beyond our earthly plane and perhaps what we experience now isn’t all there is. 

One of the best examples is my painting Just Call Me Diana. The name was inspired by something she said to photographer Mario Testino at her last photo shoot. 

Whether you admired her or not, Diana’s profound empathy and gift of being able to deeply connect with other people has left a beautiful and profound legacy. 

She is buried on an isle on her family’s estate that used to be a pet cemetery, and her beloved cat Marmalade rests nearby. She was also very fond of a Shetland Pony called Soufflé, so it seemed obvious to me to depict them all in such a lovely setting. 

I believe there is an afterlife and imagine Diana is continuing to spread her love around the universe, while also watching over those she loved.

Nature and spirituality 

I’ve always loved the natural world, especially during my NYC and LA days, when greenery and space and stillness were thin on the ground!

The Scottish Highlands are part of my DNA. Being in that space makes me feel so much closer to that goddess energy that keeps me moving forward. 

The natural world, in forms both real and imagined, is a major theme of my work. In Highland Girl, I evoke the mystical forests and heather-clad mountains that appeared to engulf me as a child. 

But I’m also aware the natural world can be ruthless. Swan is based on the family of swans that lived on our lake. Every year, the male would kill his beautiful mate and all their cygnets - apart from one. 

We did what we could to protect the birds, before a younger male eventually won over the surviving daughter. The older male finally left, but I was heartbroken at the loss he had caused. Swan remains unfinished…

Angels and spirit guides 

My belief in the existence of another plane of being allows my imagination to take flight and populate it with all manner of wonderful people and creatures. 

Some are inspired by myths, some jump, almost fully formed, into my mind’s eye. My painting The Healer was created at a time of enormous emotional stress, when my faith was at its lowest ebb. 

Eager for guidance, I undertook an angel reading and had a vision of my spirit guide, a Native American Chief/Medicine man, scooping up a lifeless little girl and returning her life force to her. 

Of course, it’s clear now the child was me, but at the time, painting the vision was a profoundly emotional and sacred experience, and included a My dear old friend and extraordinary Sat Nam Rasayan healer, Guru Dev Singh Khalsa, who left this life in the spring, appeared to me. 

Female spirituality 

There have been many important women in my life who have gone on to inspire my work. My mother is one: she’s the driving force (literally) behind Lifted, and Marilyn Monroe continues to delight and fascinate me. 

Femininity and spirituality have long been twisted threads in art, my own works included. I am drawn to strong women, as depicted in The Lady of Love Moments, who loves her own space, her alone time, as well as her many beloveds.

My warrior princess, The Lady of Living is a path clearer, a fighter, a teacher, a liver, a giver, a lover, a partner, a mother, a sister, a strength and determination to make life better. Everything a woman can and could be. 

My first-ever completed painting was The Lady of Beginnings. I see her as a trailblazer, crusader, lover, mother, daughter, sister, niece, princess, queen, goddaughter, wife, girlfriend, godmother and grandmother!

Then there is Ladies of the Forest. Inspired by a self portrait snapped in the Scottish Highlands, it’s a celebration of my roots, both past and present, and feeling the glorious love of the free-spirited animals roaming the forest with me. 

Religion and spirituality 

I couldn’t explore spiritual art without a word about religion. Many people consider themselves spiritual, but don’t follow any organised religion or church. 

Others can’t understand how a person can possibly understand the divine without accepting God. 

It’s not for me to say which is wrong or right. I can only walk my own path, my own way. But I will say this: there is real strength in spiritual diversity. 

The ethereal women depicted in Papa Don't Go, Death of the Patriarch, are representations of real people, while the painting also includes religious symbols, as well as those of love, rebirth and a songbird. 

It was inspired by the death of a close friend’s father. The service for him was beautiful, heartbreaking and all-encompassing. 

Those who attended came together from different upbringings and beliefs, all bonded by a higher love and respect for this profoundly loved and cherished gentleman, son, father, grandfather. 

Explore my spiritual art

My art aims to open doors between worlds; to show there is more beyond our understanding, and, even when things seem at their most overwhelming, there is always a safe pair of arms to hold us and make us feel loved. 

I hope my work will give you the same strength, joy and insight they gave me while painting them. You can browse all my art on my website, as well as a selection at TAP Galleries

I print everything on acid free archival paper, standard paper and archival canvas. Each one is hand finished, completely unique and signed and with its own ID number. 

If you want to discuss a commission or have any questions, don’t hesitate to fill in this contact form and I’ll get back to you straight away.

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