Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Transcriptions #14: Om Mani Padme Hum

Om Mani Padme Hum 18" x 18"
Transcriptions #14

Prayer: Om Mani Padme Hum

This is the second painting with a focus on Om Mani Padme Hum but I'm sure it won't be the last. The first painting was a small 12" x 12" canvas. This larger 18" x 18" canvas has two cutouts for the handmade book to be inserted within the top opening and a smaller cutout, below, for an additional element.

Om Mani Padme Hum
In Process

I set out with the goal of including 108 repetitions of the mantra within the canvas surface (not counting the text in the attached book). The number 108 is considered sacred by Hindus from the time of the ancient yogis. In Transcriptions #11 I repeated the "So Hum" mantra 108 times in the flowing lines of text.

Transcription #14
In Process

What's included in the attached book? Om Mani Padme Hum is written in Sanskrit and in the English transliteration, along with the following words:
"Loving kindness and compassion for self and others."
"Love and compassion are within us.
Love and compassion are within us.
Love and compassion are within us."
When trying to figure out what I wanted to insert into the small opening at the bottom of the painting, I ended up creating what I'm calling a "prayer pocket." It's a tiny 2" x 1-1/2" folded piece of canvas cloth with a prayer inside and out.

Transcription #14
Closeup of inserted "Prayer Pocket"

As I look at the finished painting, I am so very happy with the textures from the layer of paper beneath the paint and how I highlighted those textures.

For more on 108 as a sacred number, visit:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Transcriptions #13: Phoenician Shalom

Phoenician Shalom 18" x 24"
Transcriptions #13

Prayer: Peace Prayers 
Transcriptions Series

I loved working on the Phoenician Shalom. It was such a fun challenge. The original inspiration for the painting was an image I had seen of The Copper Scroll. The copper scroll was found as part of the collection of Dead Sea Scrolls. The corroded metal could not easily be unraveled without it being destroyed. So, instead they sliced the sides, cutting strips that could be laid out and read.

Although the original text on the scroll was written in Hebrew, I thought it would be fun to use ancient Phoenician in this painting. I took up the project of translating a couple of Hebrew peace prayers into Phoenician. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to learn the Phoenician alphabet.

Phoenician Shalom
In Process

After transcribing the prayers, I wrote them in pencil on the 5 strips of canvas cloth prepared to resemble the copper strips.

The primary prayer is from the words of Shalom Aleichem and each of the four stanzas are written on four of the cloth strips. Translated, the intro to each reads:
  • Peace be unto you...
  • May you come in peace...
  • Bless​ me with peace...
  • Go forth in peace...

In the center strip is the Phoenician translation of the following prayer, Oseh Shalom:

   "He who makes peace in his high places
   He shall make peace upon us
   And upon all the world
   And say Amen"

Phoenician Shalom
In Process

I really got a kick out of working with a language that is no longer used and rarely ever seen. Did you know that most of our modern alphabets have their roots in the ancient Phoenician language? The alphabet developed widespread use because of the extensive maritime trade of the times.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Transcriptions #12: Lokah Samastah

Lokah Samastah 12" x 12"
Transcriptions Series #12

Prayer: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

I love the sound of this mantra, the sound of the chanted words, and the meaning behind them. The first painting in the Transcriptions series focused on Lokah Samastah. Now, after completing the 11th painting, I wanted to return to this beautiful prayer.

"May all beings be happy.
May all my thoughts, words
and actions contribute in
some way to the happiness
of all beings."

Painted background with a layer of
thin textured paper on top.

Some of the text included on the attached book:

•    Lokah – The location of all universes existing now.
•    Samastah – All beings living in this location.
•    Sukhino – Centered in happiness, joy and free from all suffering.
•    Bhav – The divine state of union.
•    Antu – May it be so.

The above YouTube video is a version of Lokah Samastah performed by Jane Winthers.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Transcriptions #11: So Hum

So Hum 14" x 18"
Transcriptions #11

Prayer: So Hum
Transcriptions Series

I loved working on this painting! I had loads of fun creating with the lines of text and playing with the colors. I felt a deep peace as I worked on this canvas.

The So Hum mantra symbolizes our oneness with the Universe, the constant support available to
each and every one of us, and our connection to the Infinite Source. We are all connected.

“I am one with the Universe
and all of creation.”

Canvas Cloth Layer in Process
Transcriptions #11

When translated from Sanskrit, So Hum means “I am that” (so = “I am” and hum = “that”). It is referred to as "the breath of life" and reflects the sound of the breath. “So Hum” can be used in meditation by having your mind recite the phrase:
“Sooooo…” when inhaling.
And “Hummmmm” when exhaling.

So Hum
In Process

There are two scrolls tucked into the folds of the canvas cloth. Hidden within these scrolls is much of the text found above on this post.

I had the above YouTube video playing while I painted the So Hum canvas. I felt so much peace with the sounds of the So Hum chant in the background as I experienced the creative flow. In addition, during that period, I found myself chanting this in my mind as soon as I awoke in the morning and before I fell asleep at night. 

My new business cards were designed with
 the image of the So Hum painting

Friday, July 7, 2017

Transcriptions #10: Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu

Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu 12" x 12"
Transcriptions #10

Prayer: Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu (Peace Mantra) 
Transcriptions Series

I fell in love with this Peace Mantra when I stumbled across a Youtube video of Tina Turner beautiful interpretation of it. I immediately knew I wanted to use it in one of my paintings. So, I went in search of the meaning or English translation and the Sanskrit or Hindi writing for this mantra. I found what I was looking for and the above painting is the result.

Here is the Tina Turner video of Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu I found on YouTube.

The following words are repeated on two of the hanging strips of canvas cloth (on the right and the left). They represent the mantra's meaning.
"May there be happiness in all               
May there be peace in all               
May there be completeness in all           
May there be success in all"
And the following English transliteration can be found on the attached open book.
"Om sarveshaam swastir bhavatu   
Sarveshaam shantir bhavatu       
Sarveshaam poornam bhavatu     
Sarveshaam mangalam bhavatu   
Sarve bhavantu sukhinah       
Sarve santu niraamayaah            
Sarve bhadraani pashyantu       
Maakaschit duhkha bhaag bhavet"

Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu
In Process

I look forward to incorporating this prayer into a larger canvas in the future.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Transcriptions #9: Peace

Peace 12" x 12"
Transcriptions #9

Prayer: Peace
Transcriptions Series

I knew when I was working on Transcriptions #6 that I was going to to be revisiting the Western Wall in other paintings. With #9 I am getting to play with the concept of stuffing prayers into spaces within the canvas to represent the cracks in the wall.

As in the first painting of the wall, I textured the back canvas with sand and textured paper before painting it.

In Process

When thinking of the wall, I wanted to choose a prayer that people from all around the world would have in common... Prayers for Peace.

I cut the painted canvas cloth to create an opening in which to insert the small scroll-like papers, half in and half out. Besides gluing them in place, I sewed the opening shut to keep the "prayers of peace" secure.

In Process

This is not the last of the Western Wall paintings. I feel as if I can do an entire series within the Transcriptions Series just on the concept of this awesome site that attracts so many people to come and pray.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Transcriptions #8: HaTorah

HaTorah 16" x 20"
Transcriptions #8

Prayer: HaTorah
Transcriptions Series

The focus of this painting is on the blessing recited before a Torah reading (the strip of canvas cloth on the right side of the painting) and the blessing recited after the completion of a Torah reading (the canvas cloth on the left side).

These prayers are recited by the person who has the honor of being called up to stand before the Torah scroll during the reading of a portion of the Torah. This is called an Aliyah.

Transcriptions #8
In Process

The handmade book at the top of the painting displays both of these prayers in Hebrew along with the English transliteration. As a kid, and to this day, I have loved the sing-song-y nature of this pair of blessings.

Transcriptions #8: In Process
Before the final layer of color

As this series has developed, I've been using oil pastels to add a final coat of color, after all the pieces are attached. I love the addition of that extra vibrancy that the pastels bring to the paintings. Also, it brings me back to my roots of painting with oils, even if it's only for a little bit. I love spreading the color around with a brush coated with turpentine. It certainly is an enjoyable part of the process of creating these paintings.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Transcriptions #7: Om Tare Tuttare

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha 12" x 12"
Transcriptions #7

Prayer: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha
Transcriptions Series

One of the inspirations for the Transcriptions Series was the beauty of the written alphabets of ancient languages. The Sanskrit letters for Om Tare Tuttare are exquisitely beautiful.


 I covered a small canvas with mulberry bark paper that I bought many, many years ago. For a few weeks I waited to see what prayer or mantra would come forth to be part of this unpainted canvas. Once that was clear and determined, I painted over the paper, repainted the book, and added the text.

Transcriptions #7
Deciding on the layout

The following is the text that appears on the attached open book to explain the meaning of each word in the mantra:
  • Om – the sacred sound representing the entire universe, past, present and future. 
  • Tare – salvation from suffering and mundane dangers. 
  • Tuttare – protection from fears and the deliverance into the spiritual path. 
  • Ture – fulfillment of our spiritual path. We want to develop all the positive qualities and purify all our negativities.
  • Soha – “So be it.”
More information can be found HERE on this mantra and its meaning.

Transcriptions #7
In Process

Below, I've included Deva Premal's interpretation of this mantra found on YouTube. If you would like to hear Om Tare Tuttare in a more chant-like fashion, Click Here.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Transcriptions #6: Shema

Shema 12" x 24"
Transcriptions #6

Prayer: Shema
Transcriptions Series

I often fall in love with the sixth painting of a series and this was no exception. Maybe it's because I get my feet wet with the first five and by the time I get to the sixth I feel more established with the concepts and the flow. Then I am ready to stretch my creative muscle a bit more.

In preparing for this series, I knew from the beginning that the Western Wall would inspire one or more of the paintings. How could it not? It's an ancient wall, associated with a holy temple, and receives millions of visitors a year. People travel from all over the world to pray before the wall. Many leave written prayers on scraps of paper that they stuff in the cracks and crevices between the stones.

I used pencil to draw out the shape of the stones on the strip of canvas cloth. Then I painted it with acrylics and matte medium so it would be protected from smudging. I have wanted to use pencil on canvas and first tried it out by writing on Pater Noster.

Playing with the layout of scrolls and text.

I knew immediately that I wanted to use the Shema within the scrolls and on printed strips of paper throughout the painting. The Shema is the most important prayer within the Jewish prayer service and it is traditionally the last words recited before death.

Transcriptions #6

Before attaching all the elements onto the back canvas, something was missing. It felt incomplete. So, I extended the image of the stone wall onto the background. Ahhh... that did it!!

Transcriptions #6