36 x 96 inches
Portrait measuring 3ft wide and 8ft tall | 2019
Fuchsia is the color of her dramatic garment, but the word also sounds like “future”. This title was chosen because she is a shaman woman living in the future. This powerful and otherworldly priestess gazes down and knowingly at the viewer, her slightly glowing clothing seems to be lit from the inside. Light-Beings surround her, and an unseen fire warms the underside of her face. Could she be my great great great great granddaughter? By painting her portrait am I crossing time? Does she already exist and that is why I already knew what she looked like? These are questions that give me goosebumps and it’s what makes painting so thrilling.
Finished in late 2018, this was the first of the tall narrow portraits that are finger paintings with brush painting on the skin. The garment was inspired by looking at draped fabric I constructed in the studio out of pieces of my older work. The model appeared in my life serendipitously, cosmic forces helped connect us. I loved how her features looked a touch Egyptian, chiseled, and a blend of races. For me this painting is a scene from the future, a portrait perhaps that happens in 2300.
Since I was a young child I yearned to live like as an indigenous member of a tribe or community. Barbies and dolls were not in my box of toys, tools were. I was compelled as a kid to build tee-pees in my back yard, fashion clay pots, collect berries, sharpen spears, and address the dogs as horses. Together with my sister and friends we wore hand-made ceremonial capes (blankets) with feathers and beads, and chanted unintelligible songs for our ancestors. I do believe I could remember these behaviors from a past life and was reenacting simply what I knew. In elementary school I wanted to live off the land, and not be engulfed by modern things. Being born in 1984 I had missed that incarnation by 200 years.
As luck would have it my elementary teacher Barbara Quirie loved studying indigenous and ancient cultures and she squeezed content about Washington State native peoples into our curriculum wherever she could. I’m forever grateful to her for this important and valuable influence.
This painting is an aspirational prayer. I personally hope that one day humankind will return to living in balance with the planet and merge modern technology with indigenous world-views. I think we are on the cusp of quantum physics finding evidence to prove the existence of the soul and the existence of multiple dimensions.
Perhaps one day, a century from now, our materialistic corporate holidays will be replaced by consciousness-raising ceremonies. Could it be possible the one day we will all be more like shamans and “hear” the ancestors? I do believe that our next evolutionary jump is an activation of the part of the brain that perceives time and space outside the constraints we are limited to now. As an artist the best I can do is try to depict that possible future visually. To me, “Fuchsia Shamanka” embodies a role model to come.