A Man

of  Zen


Acrylic on vinyl
22 in. x 28 in

Price: U$ 500.00


Painting: the desert will bloom like the rose

          The first painting of this series was “The Seat of Virtue.” In this painting, serendipitously, a middle-aged woman finds, even if so tentatively, her sexuality blooming at a mature age like a second adolescence. It is a courageous decision to grow and expand like a fragile flower blossoming in the desert. Maybe, it is not even a choice. It was just where the seed fell. But here she goes, pure against all odds even if only a feeble stem. Its beauty in its strength and, at the same time, in its vulnerability.

          Stem – steam – esteem. Art and dreams come from the same source. Therefore, I feel compelled to talk about my paintings as I would interpret a dream. My major in college was Psychology. And, a great part of my education, therapy, and self-discovery has been dedicated to understanding dreams. One method used to interpret dreams is called free association. That is why I started this paragraph with the sequence of words “stem – steam – esteem”.

          It is almost incredible how these homophone words say so much about this painting. The steam of the flower is a symbol of the second steam (second wind) of a middle-aged woman. And, how that is intimately connected to this woman's self-esteem and her love for life and living.

          The name of the painting (The Desert Will Bloom Like the Rose) was inspired by a passage from the Bible:

          “The wilderness and the land will be glad; the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose. It will bloom profusely and            rejoice with joy and singing.” -  Isaiah 35:1

          This passage is closely associated with another passage:

          “Let the fields exult, and all that is in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy.” - Psalm 96:12

It also reminds me of a song that I learned many decades ago in church:

As the Sun rises at dawn
From Mary will be born
The one whom the dry land
In a garden will turn.
Oh Bethlehem
Open your arms
To the shepherd
who is coming to you.
Emmanuel, God is with us,
Come into our world

          Of course, the song refers to Jesus Christ. Emmanuel is the name that the prophet Isaiah used to refer to Messias. However, this is not the case in my painting. My painting is about a woman who is daring (or is being pushed) to resurrect, to resurge from herself. Mary is the woman and the reborn is not Emmanuel, the reborn is Emmanuelle (see the French song by Pierre Bachelet), a woman who is in pursuit of love. In Bachelet’s song, the pursuit is for the love of men. In my painting, the pursuit is for the love of herself. It is the pursuit of becoming, resurging as the sun of her own life and the center of her universe.

          The root word of Emmanuelle is the same as ‘emanate’. The fragile flower in the painting is a woman flowing out from the desert she had become into new lively possibilities, all included, from her sexuality to her divinity. Her navel is the Blood Moon, her left nipple is the Moon, and her right nipple is Lilith, the black moon. The desert that she had become will bloom as the full enjoyment of the bright colors, perfume, and nectar of her sexuality.

Não creias, Lídia que nenhum estio
Por nós perdido possa regressar
Oferecendo a flor
Que adiámos colher.
Cada dia te é dado uma só vez
E no redondo círculo da noite
Não existe piedade
Para aquele que hesita.
Mais tarde será tarde e já é tarde.
O tempo apaga tudo menos esse
Longo indelével rasto
Que o não-vivido deixa.
Não creias na demora em que te medes.
Jamais se detém Kronos cujo passo
Vai sempre mais à frente
Do que o teu próprio passo.

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Antologia (Porto 1985) 235.


Don't believe, Lídia, that any summer
Lost by us may return
offering the flower
That we postponed harvesting.
Each day is given to us only once
And in the round circle of night,
There is no pity
For the one who hesitates.
Later will be late and it's already late.
Time erases everything but this one
long indelible trail
That the unlived leaves.
Do not believe the delay in which you measure yourself.
Kronos never stops, step his step
Always goes further
Than your own step.

Busy, curious, thirsty fly,
Drink with me, and drink as I;
Freely welcome to my cup,
Coulds’t thou sip and sip it up.
Make the most of life you may:
Life is short, and wears away.
Both alike are mine and thine,
Hastening quick to their decline;
Thine’s a summer, mine no more,
Though repeated to threescore.
Threescore summers, when they’re gone,
Will appear as short as one.

Vincent Bourne (1695–1747)
C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.