These paintings are inspired by my trip to the Abbey of Gethsemani, a very peaceful and spiritual monastery in New Haven, Kentucky. The monks there have made a beautiful contemplative nature trail full of hidden treasures. It was serendipitous that on one of my visits to the abbey, the lotuses in the pond on the nature trail were in bloom. I snapped some photos and found out when I got back that one of our most supportive clients wanted me and Evan to make some lotus paintings for him and his wife 🙂 This seemed like divine timing!
It’s interesting to me that the bible mentions the lotus in the book of Job, a story of suffering, loss, and also of renewal and restoration. I wonder if the monks know that the lotus is able to endure incredibly harsh conditions, even severe drought. Just when the lotuses in the Jordan seem to be dead because of the water drying out, the rain comes and their enormous rhizomes seem to resurrect and come back to life at the first sign of water. There’s a wonderful explanation of the Judeo-Christian symbolism of the lotus in this blog.
So Evan and I were commissioned to make 3 paintings that are 8 feet wide each. The paintings were created specifically for their dining room, which has a cathedral ceiling. Here’s a sketch I did to prepare for two of the paintings that are a kind of horizontal diptych (you might recognize the lotus above on the right side of the top sketch):
We also did a collaborative painting to study the kind of techniques we wanted to incorporate for this commission. (This is a 3 x 4 foot study for the 6 x 8 foot commission. The study is hanging at Bromwell’s and is available for sale.) The study was a little too dark for the space and we decided that on the big painting, we would make it brighter. (Scroll to the bottom of the post for the final 6 x 8 painting!)
This client has been incredibly gracious to us–they have bought several of Evan’s abstracts and also our collaborative painting of the Life Cycle of a Monarch:
Here is the final version of each painting! We are so happy with how they turned out!