about Ragin’ Odin

Here the chief god of Norse mythology, Odin, thunders across his heavenly home of Asgard, on his eight legged steed, Sleipnir. Odin’s constant wolf companions race across the golden clouds beside him. The spear that never misses, Gungir, is clutched in his raised fist. The ravens, Huginn, thought, and Muginn, memory, circle overhead reporting information gathered from their daily flights all over the world.

Odin is the god of war, but also the god of wisdom, magic, poetry and prophecy. He sacrificed his eye in exchange for the wisdom of ages. J.R.R. Tolkein’s wizard character, Gandalf, was patterned after Odin.

The heavenly clouds are golden from their proximity to one of Odin’s three residences, Valhalla, the golden hall of the fallen. Strong female warriors called Valkyrie gather heroic warriors who fall in battle. The warriors reside in Valhalla preparing for the final doomsday battle led by Odin. The great hall has 540 golden gates allowing 800 warriors to exit at once for the wild hunts and for the final great battle. The doomsday battle will result in the deaths of Odin, one of his many sons, Thor, and his brother, Loki. The world will then be submerged in water, resurface, and be repopulated by two human survivors.

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about Barbegazi’s Glacial Playground

Barbegazi are beings from Swiss mythology that look somewhere between gnomes and Abominable Snowmen. They live in tunnels in the alps between Switzerland and France. They love to frolic in deep snow in the coldest winter months, but sleep away the warmer months.

Their massive feet are their most notable feature, which they use like snowshoes or skis. They love to surf avalanches and often start them for the fun of it. Though they are known caretakers of the mountains, humans rarely see them since they can dig themselves into and out of massive piles of snow in seconds to hide or play.

Despite their reluctance to be seen, they do communicate with St. Bernards, leading the dogs to rescue climbers trapped in the freezing snow.

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about Imaginarium Aquarium

Psychology and art design both explain seeing images in random patterns. Pareidolia, in psychology, explains why we see animals in clouds. Gestalt, in art design, explains that the mind supplies the missing pieces in a composition to deal with a complex visual world.

This is my first collaboration with my granddaughter, Georgina Allan, 3. Together we painted the background, then looked for images. Pareidolia and gestalt might explain why, but we thought of it as seeing mermaids and dragons a deep ocean. As a controlling adult I have a nearly irresistible urge to pull out and describe every image I see, so I made some of them more obvious. But the longer I look, and resist , the more I get lost in the depths of possibility.

The title, refers to it’s aquatic feel, but also to it being a children’s version of think tank with no agenda. A place to jump into and swim around in possibilities. But no harm can come to you here. The aquarium is safely on a shelf in your mom and dad’s house. Childhood should be a safe place where your imagination is allowed to roam at will. A place where mermaids and dragons are scary fun, and never truly dangerous.

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about Universal Witness

There’s a perception that God lives in the heavens somewhere above the clouds. Light escaping over the edges of the clouds implies His physical manifestation is too brilliant to be contained, and the sight would be too much for mortal senses. The rays, streaming so powerfully to earth, are God’s benevolent attention.

A recent trend refers to the “Universe” hearing and responding, almost another term for God without being tied to a defined religion. The vaporous nature of clouds further suggests the “there, but not there” nature of God. “God” is contained and defined by organized religions, but is limited by our understanding. You can’t get a cloud into a box.

Sun and clouds are the same the world over, silent witness to all events in the world. They’re a uniting force that implies the need to care for a larger neighbourhood than what we see by stepping outside our own door.

This piece is a “prayer”, if you will, a hope, for universal compassion. That’s all.

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about Chase of Days: Artemis & Apollo

According to Greek mythology, Artemis and Apollo were the twin children of the god-king, Zeus.

Artemis is the chaste goddess of young girls, virginity, childbirth, and wilderness. She is also the Greek goddess of the moon. Apollo is the god of prophecy, medicine, the arts and of the sun.

I’ve chosen to paint the heavenly twins in a playful game of chase, eternally traversing the sky with their chariots of the moon and the sun, and incidentally giving mankind day and night, the seasons, even life; just another fun game for the gods.

I’ve used the primary colours of red, blue and yellow, giving Apollo as the sun god the warm side of the spectrum, and Artemis as the moon goddess the cooler colours.

And the Chase is on!

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about Dance of the Aurora

Auroras can be scientifically explained by solar particles colliding with earth molecules. But Algonquin and Inuit traditions suggest aurora are ancestors dancing around a ceremonial fire.

We Canadians are familiar with sub-zero wintry nights that make their own silent symphony with only the cold snap of the air istself making music almost outside the audible range.

Majestically, the glow of the Aurora Borealis lends an impossibly colourful blue mantle to the inky night sky. Like the near silent symphony, it’s colour exists only in the periphery. There … but not there.

The ancestors bridge worlds with messages of reluctance, peace, and tranquility in a language of movement and spiritual connection.

The dance will continue with or without our participation, or even existence.

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about Artemis Moon & Beyond Orion’s Belt

A nebula is a sort of star generator. Orion’s nebula, located just beyond the constellation Orion, is one of the most beautiful and colourful. The nebula is painted as a triptych to give some sense of its immensity.

This painting is mostly about the beauty of the cosmos as represented by the nebula, though the story of the Orion constellation is how we humans sometimes try to understand our universe. Apollo, jealous of the time Orion spent with his twin, Artemis, arranged to have Orion stung by a scorpion. Artemis intervened causing both Orion and the scorpion to become constellations. Orion hunts eternally, his punishment/reward for befriending the goddess of the hunt, Artemis.

We humans are self-centred. But when we consider the vastness of space we get some sense of how small our role is.

Artemis/Diana, the artist’s namesake goddess, is the Greek goddess of the moon, who watches over maidens as well as her friend, Orion. In these paintings she is independent of, yet somewhat watchful of, her friend.

On a more personal level a small part of me also likes the idea of a story connected to brother and sister twins. It makes me think a little of my own brother, Life, who though not my twin, was born on the same day as me. Like Apollo and Artemis we were a little yin/yang simply because we were Life/Di. It gives me a warm feeling to include some good thoughts about him and the rest of my late family members.

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