A Man

of  Zen


Acrylic on vinyl
22 in. x 28 in

Price: U$ 500.00



Painting: the desert will bloom like the rose

2nd in the series: “The Four Desires that drive all Human Behaviors.”

     The first painting of this series was “The Seat of Virtue.” In this painting, the middle-aged woman grasps opting, even if so tentatively, to let her sexuality bloom. It is the depiction of a second adolescence. It is a courageous decision like the decision of a fragile flower to grow in the desert. Maybe, it is not even a choice. It was where the seed fell. But here she goes, pure against all odds. Even if only a feeble stem. Its beauty is not necessarily in its strength but in its vulnerability

     Stem – steam – esteem. Paintings 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 was 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 who the dry land
          Into 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 of the love of men. In my painting, the pursuit is of 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, he left nipple is the Moon, and her right nipple is Lilith, the black moon. The desert that she had become will bloom through the full enjoyment of the bright colors, perfume, and nectar of 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.