Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New shamanic painting of Ker Dupa

I have been working on this new shamanic painting of Ker Dupa for nearly a year.  It is the most unusual image I have ever worked with, since the source photograph was of a real place: several little upwelling mud pots in a stream near the trail to Small Inlet on Quadra Island.  Yet even as a photograph—the image made no visual sense.

 My friend Ann Mortifee joined me for lunch and picked up this print—but upside down—and said, “This is the one!” when I told her I was looking for my next painting from among the scattered prints on the table.
Back in the studio I taped together several overlapping views, still keeping the prints upside down, and that is when Ker Dupa appeared. Ker Dupa is my favorite song from the CD Entering the Circle, by Olga Kharitidi and Jim Wilson, and I have never forgotten the haunting lyrics about a giant fish that turns the world upside down.
 Ker Dupa (giant fish)
Ker Dupa
Oh my giant fish
Stay asleep and dream of the future
See us in your infinite dreams
Happy and free
Strong and forceful
Keep your tremendous eyes closed
Let your breath be calm and unharmful
Carry us on your mighty back as your children
Safe and healthy
Sleep for centuries, sleep for ages
Our speech is rest for your ears
Defenseless and trustful
We ask for your gentleness
To keep us alive, in your dreams forever

In the CD liner notes, Olga Khharitidi retells this ancient Siberian folk tale:
One day a giant fish monster named Ker Dupa turned the earth upside down.  The climate in Altai had always been warm, but after Ker Dupa changed the earth’s rotation it became very cold.  Altaiding Aezi travelled to the sky to ask the High Burchans, the most powerful spiritual beings of the time, if they would help. While he was going from one Burchan to another in an attempt to find Ulgen, the highest of them all and the only one able to turn the earth right side up again, it was still becoming colder and colder in Altai.

I now believe that this is an ancient story of a polar shift, a phenomena that apparently has happened several times, and may be coming again.

When I hung this new shamanic painting at the Old School House gallery here on Cortes Island, my first choice was to hang it with the painting in the upright position which hides the fish, but an unexpected circumstance required that Ker Dupa be visible which means the painting, Ker Dupa’s world, is upside down.  It is both alarming and exciting when art making moves beyond the known and the calculated and takes the artist and the viewer on a soul-altering journey into mysterious realms.


available as a fine art print

For more information about purchasing a print go to my web store.