"Second to the right and straight on till morning....."
“Neverland” A Literary Series
“Second to the right and straight on till morning ….. “ With these words Peter Pan invites us to join him on a journey to the shores of Neverland. J.M. Barrie’s Neverland is an imaginary island floating on the edges of our conscious mind. It is full of mermaids, pirates and extraordinary adventures. Neverland is a unique and personal experience for each individual who encounters it. That is part of its enduring magic and appeal. I have used “Neverland” as a metaphor for the interior landscapes that literature, poetry and myth evoke. These archetypal landscapes are part of the fabric of our culture, and to me they are a rich source of visual imagery. I have imagined “Neverland” as a moonlit night in Yellowstone, the most magical landscape I have encountered in my waking life. I have envisioned The Garden of Eden as a lush mountain meadow full of wildflowers and hummingbirds.
“Neverland” would be incomplete without a cast of characters to populate its shores. After all, it is the characters of fiction that move us to tears, laughter and empathy. I have included some of my favorite characters, both human and creature. I have imagined Mowgli and Bagheera creeping through the leafy foliage of the jungle. Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennett appear from the pages of Pride and Prejudice in their proper attire, as the Black Stallion gallops along the shore of a desert island. A good book is in need of a good villain, and I have included a few of those as well: Captain Hook with his swaggering good looks, and a snarling Shere Kahn to make us tremble. I have also taken the liberty to reinvent a few characters, for instance I like to imagine Ophelia not as a hapless victim but as a strong, modern women complete with punk hair and flower tattoos. For Romeo and Juliet, I envision a pair of Sandhill Cranes trapped in an eternal courtship dance of love and longing.
Inspired by “Origin of Species” and a presentation on fossils, I decided to explore the concept of evolution as a metaphor for the process of creativity, the art of “becoming.” Drawings becoming paintings, thoughts becoming words, dinosaurs becoming birds and bones becoming flesh. As an artist, one of my primary goals is to continually evolve. My work is the physical record of that evolution.
I have used a combination of oil paint and encaustic medium (molten wax, damar varnish and pigment) to create these paintings. I chose encaustics because they allow me to work in layers, just as an author creates layers of meaning which are uncovered by the reader. If you look closely, many of these works include text, maps and illustrations that help capture the mood and flavor of the original stories. My hope is that you will read or reread some of these incredible books and visit your own personal Neverland.