Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bowling in heaven

I've always loved storms, especially the way they make everything look so fresh after a good wash of rain. Today was an amazingly bright day considering the rollercoaster change of weather over the weekend when Toronto was showered with hailstones the size of icecubes on Saturday. One of my fondest memories of home was staying in watching a thunderstorm through the windows of my grandparents' house in the country. It was like getting a free special effects show from nature.

As a child, I was very inquisitive and often asked many questions. Fascinated by nature's theatrics of thunder and lightning, I wanted to know what caused them. I remember I kept asking the same question over and over again until someone simply explained, quite matter-of-factly, that St. Peter and the saints were having a bowling game in heaven. I knew I was given that quick answer just to make me stop asking too many annoying questions (it didn't work). However, I never forgot the amusing mental picture I had of winged souls wearing long white robes and halos running around on clouds to bowl a few rounds. I never listened to thunder the same way again.

Speaking of nature, I had a pleasant afternoon dropping by Gallery 402 on King Street East to pick up my pay for a painting of the elements which sold during the Bare Naked Truth art show last month:

Air, Fire, Water, Earth
Theme: The four elements of nature personified.
Acrylic on canvas 24”x 30” 2009
The four elements of nature are depicted here as female elemental spirits each with their own unique attributes. Air rules the winds and takes flight above the ground. Fire rises up and spreads its wings. Dynamic and a powerful natural catalyst of change, her flames rise up as smoke spirals around her symbolizing the past (smoke), and nature’s constant spiralling cycle of change. An equally powerful dual-natured nurturing or destructive force, water stands beside fire maintaining balance. Mutable under various circumstances, water is the softest of things yet can wear away at solid rock. By yielding to harder matter, it gains power over it. As it can cultivate the land, so can it destroy everything in a single flood. Beside water stands earth. Solid, grounded and dependable, she is like a mother carrying new life. The butterflies which are often symbolic of life, transformation and the human soul, emerge from the hollow womb of her trunk symbolizing life springing forth.

Despite their differences, all work together in the circle of life. Air feeds fire, fire sets a balance with water, water nurtures the fertile earth, while the earth fuels fire and its trees sway to the wings of the wind. In the end, all are rooted to the earth metaphorically in the painting as they are literally in life.