Douglas as Hephaestus

HEPHAESTUS IN THE FORM OF DOUGLAS,  24" X 48",  oil on panel, 2008


Quantum physics tells us we are more energy than matter; we are kinetic electromagnetic beings. This thought caused me to wonder what a portrait would look like if I were to emphasize the energy over the physicality of the sitter. I also began to wonder what the source of that energy might be. Are energy and spirit the same thing?

Karl Jung said we are under the influence of what he called the collective unconscious. Joseph Campbell (THE POWER OF MYTH) agreed with Jung and encouraged individuals to use contemporary culture and personal symbols to define one's own myth and thereby live by it. Campbell used numbers, cosmology and nature as metaphors to inspire one's connection to the energies of the natural world (THE INNER REACHES OF OUTER SPACE). My own Eskimo heritage includes the shamanic practice of Inua (Spirit) masks to portray or invite the influence of animal power and spirits through an individual. Astrology may be more than a faddish practice, but a real energetic influence from the cosmos at the exact time of birth and incarnation.

The contemporary mystic Carolyn Myss (ANATOMY OF THE SPIRIT, SACRED CONTRACTS) insists each of us incarnates at birth with 12 unique pre-packaged archetypes (universal symbols and themes that are part of the human psyche) from the myriad of archetypes that make up the collective unconscious.

The enneagram, as defined by Don Richard Riso (UNDERSTANDING THE ENNEAGRAM: The Practical Guide to Personality Types) is an enlightening and powerful tool that clarifies the energetic forces steering personality--often times against our conscious will.

Other writers who have explored mythic and symbolic influences on the psyche, and who influenced me, are Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.  (WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES) and Jean Shinoda Bolen, Ph.D. (GODDESSES IN EVERYWOMAN, GODS IN EVERY MAN).

To produce HEPHAESTUS IN THE FORM OF  DOUGLAS I considered the writings of Joseph Campbell and many other authors on myth, archetypes, metaphysics and symbolism. I devised a questionnaire, used photographs, studied household collectibles, and listened to his stories to discover his personal symbols and imagery that might meaningfully symbolize his mythology--his energy. I consider the results to be a portrait of what might possibly be the sacred view of Douglas.

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