Skip to main content

Daimons and Myths







vas Hermetis: 1, 2 3 each 4'x6" encaustic on panel ©2009 Janice Mason Steeves

I've named this series, vas Hermetis, after the Alchemical term for the symbolic Grail, a universal vessel of transformation. I'm reading two books at the same time right now. One is The Grail Legend by Emma Jung and Marie Louise Von Franz. They say that, "in nearly all mythologies there is a miraculous vessel. Sometimes it dispenses youth and life, at other times it possesses thee power of healing, and occasionally, as with the mead cauldron of the Nordic Ymir, inspiring strength and wisdom are to be found in it. Often, especially as a cooking pot, it effects transformations; by this attribute it achieved exceptional renown as the vas Hermetis of alchemy." From the Jungian school of psychology, these two women present this legend as a living myth that is profoundly relevant to modern life.

The other book I'm reading is The Demon and the Angel, Searching for the Source of Artistic Inspiration by Edward Hirsch. Hirsch writes about the concept of duende, "that mysterious, highly potent power of creativity that results in a work of art"....and describes writers that 'wrestle with darkness" such as Federico Garcia Lorca, Yeats, Emerson, Blake, T.S.Eliot and painters like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell, among others.

"Yeats", says Hirsh, "was powerfully attracted to the notion that, as he expressed it when writing about Shakespeare, the Greeks 'considered that myths are the activities of the Daimons, and that the Daimons shape our characters and our lives.' He fancied the idea that for each of us there existed one archetypal story, a single explanatory myth, which, if we but only understood it, would clarify all that we said and did and thought."


These paintings will be available at Linda Lando Fine Art in Vancouver at the end of November.

Comments

  1. Janice, I super enjoy your paintings, but I enjoy even more the thoughtful way you can describe your process. I am learning a lot from you!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Vulnerability in Art and Life

I taught a cold wax painting workshop in abstraction this past week at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, Ontario. I've never had so many beginners in one class before. Two had never ever painted. One hadn't painted in 4 years. Three made art using other media. Only two painted regularly in landscape and abstraction. What a challenge! In our morning discussions, I gradually came to understand that the main challenge each artist had to face, was their vulnerability. Of course this is the case in every class. I suppose I was more clearly made aware of it though in this workshop. 

As an artist, you come up against yourself all the time. There's no way to hide who we really are. "I suffer as always from the fear of putting down the first line. It is amazing the terrors, the magics, the prayers, the straitening shyness that assail one." John Steinbeck

I've written many times before about vulnerabilityHere, and here. Yet it still comes back into my life, not only in…

About Place: A painting workshop on the Camino

Rebecca Crowell and I are staying in a gorgeous retreat centre on the Camino de Santiago called Flores del Camino. It's in the small stone village of Castrillo de los Polvazares with a population of 100.  Voted one of the most beautiful villages in Spain, the streets are cobblestone and each of the unique earth-coloured stone houses is joined to the next in rows that wind through the town.



There are no yellow arrows or brass shells embedded in the village road marking the way of the Camino, as there are in larger cities. It basically consists of one-street and the  Camino resumes at the edge of town.  Paying attention to the moment doesn't stop though when you come into the village because walking the uneven cobblestone streets is an exercise in mindfulness itself!



The owners of this retreat centre, Bertrand Gamrowski and Basia Goodwin are committed to supporting pilgrims who are walking the Camino, offering them a place to stay as well as offering dinners (payment by donatio…

A Case for Coming to Art Late in Life-Part 1

There are a lot of us out there who have come to art later in life. My workshops are filled with women (mostly) who are between the ages of 50 and 75 (The baby boom generation). Probably most are between 60 and 75. And what interesting people they are! They bring their life experiences with them to their art––their heartaches, joys, achievements, worries, and gratitude. And they are, for the most part, committed artists. They are embracing art like it's finally their time. It's what they've been waiting their whole lives to do. They come with their souls on fire.

"and there was a new voice 
which you slowly
recognized as your own, 
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do––
determined to save
the only life you could save." The Journey by Mary Oliver

 It doesn't matter how old you are if you have passion for life.

That passion can carry us a long way. And while recognition is important in the way…