The Mother is the Mother




The Mother is the Mother, 18×24, acrylic spray paint and stencil on canvas, 2015.

A merging of two aspects of the Divine Feminine, the Marian apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Hindu goddess Kali, the work represents the ideal that all aspects of the Divine Feminine, the creative force in the universe, are the same no regardless of form.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of the Americas. On the morning of December 9, 1531, a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared to a native peasant named Juan Diego. She spoke to him in his native language and identified herself as “the mother of the one true deity” and asked that a church be built on that site, known as the Hill of Tepeyac. Juan Diego went to the archbishop of Mexico City with the report of his vision, and the archbishop instructed Juan Diego to return to the hill and ask the maiden he saw for some miraculous sign to prove her identity. Juan Diego did this, and the Virgin Mary told him to collect flowers from the normally barren hill – Castilian roses that were not native to Mexico. Juan Diego gathered the flowers into his cloak and carried them back to the archbishop. When he opened the cloak in front of the archbishop, the roses fell to the floor, and the image of the Virgin Mary was on the fabric.

Kali is the feminine force that shows fierce love and compassion for her children, but at the same time, she vehemently cuts away negativity and ego. She is typically depicted as having four or more arms, holding objects that suggest her multiple roles as bestower of boons, warrior against negativity and evil, gentle mother, and fearsome protector. With her three eyes, she is able to observe the three modes of time – past, present, and future – and her name itself is the feminine form of the Sanskrit word for “time.”


Commissioned Work – Philip’s Cross

18x24in. Water-based stain and spray paint on oak panel.

18x24in. Water-based stain and spray paint on oak panel.

My first commissioned piece. The client intended to give this as a gift and specifically requested a wood cross in the layout above with detached top and arms and a “three-dimensional” glowing sphere floating in the middle, along with the stained glass appearance in the background in shades of blue. I finished this piece in just six days, in time for the birthday (yesterday). Some time was spent corresponding with the client concerning nailing down the proportions for the cross, and once that was settled and approved, I got to work on the 18x24in oak panel, staining the cross first, then masking it before applying the “stained glass” background. I removed the tape from the cross before spraying the sphere, allowing overspray on the cross to give the appearance of the sphere glowing, then shading the circle using a tennis ball (sorry, didn’t make a video for this one) to give it a bit of depth.

Sacred Heart

We had a short warm spell here in Central Ohio last week which allowed me to get out to the garage where I usually spray. Yes, unfortunately, lacking a real studio space makes production dependent on weather. Spray paint doesn’t dispense or apply well in sub-zero, Polar Vortex conditions. The plus-50-degree temperatures lasted only two days, and I had to finish in the basement, keeping the sessions brief to minimize the spread of fumes to the rest of the house.

This painting is intended to resemble stained glass with the colors separated and applied over a solid black background on a 12×12 canvas. In one of the shots in the video above, there is an additional canvas to the side, partially painted with the background colors. I will be using that canvas for an upcoming companion to the Sacred Heart.

Good Ole St. Nicholas


Late 15th-Century icon of St. Nicholas depicting significant events in his life. Nation Museum, Stockholm.

Saint Nicholas of Myra, the inspiration for the popular figure known more commonly as Santa Claus, was born in the year 270 and became bishop of Myra (in present-day Turkey). Nicholas died in 343, on December 6th, and today is thus celebrated as his feast day.

Nicholas is known as the patron saint of children thanks to a tale regarding one of his many miracles. A butcher in a town he was visiting has trapped three children, killed them, and stuffed them in barrels to cure so that he could sell them off as ham to the starving townspeople. Nicholas heard of this crime, and through his prayers, the children emerged from the barrels alive and unharmed.

Nicholas was also known to have been a spontaneous and secret gift giver, and if children left out their shoes, he would fill them with coins.

I was working on a layout for a St Nicholas spray paint icon, hoping to at least start the painting today, on his feast day, but I have been putting most of my time into a series of commissions (stay tuned after Christmas for those). I’ll keep the St Nick layout and get ahead of it for next year, making it available for sale before the season begins. Until then, enjoy the 15th Century icon posted above!

Saint Bob of Trenchtown

Saint Bob of Trenchtown I, 2013, 18x24, spray paint on prepared birch panel.

Saint Bob of Trenchtown I, 2013, 18×24, spray paint on prepared birch panel.

Bob Marley poet and a prophet
Bob Marley taught me how to off it
Bob Marley walkin’ like he talk it


I’m unsure if Rastafarians officially canonize saints, but Bob Marley is by far the most widely, if not only, well-known Rasta on the planet. He brought musical and political recognition to not just the island nation of Jamaica, but to poverty-stricken and war-torn countries around the world.

Robert Nesta Marley was born on February 6, 1945, in Nine Miles, St. Ann Parish, Jamaica. In his teens, Bob moved with his mother to the Trenchtown, a low-income community in Kingston, so named because the neighborhood was built over a sewage trench. From there, Bob began pursuing his musical career. To read more about Bob’s life and legacy, visit the official Bob Marley website. Marley died on May 11, 1981, in a Miami hospital.

For this piece, I started with an 18×24 birch panel, mounted to a 3/4×1-1/2 pine frame to keep the panel flat and straight. Lately, I’ve been learning about traditional icon painting on panels prepared with gesso, but I neither had gesso on hand nor the desire to spend several days prepping the panel before I could actually begin painting, yet I wanted to try painting on a surface other than the raw wood which, unless laboriously sanded, tends to reveal the grain beneath the paint – a quality I like in some instances, actually.

I discovered a bucket of drywall joint compound in the basement. So I slapped some mud on the panel, let it dry a day and a half, then sanded it down enough to make it mostly smooth but with some interesting textural features. Then it was ready to paint. Above is a time-lapse sequence of the painting.

This initial Bob Marley icon is the first in a series, soon to be posted for sale.