Friday, October 24, 2008


The Release of Psyche. Etching. 6 x 9"

The depiction of a butterfly in a jar, and releasing it has been an idea which has compelled me more than once. In those instances picturing a child freeing the butterfly, as a Black child seemed appropriate, because our culture has imposed such harsh limitations, especially upon Black children.

Even though the myth about Psyche is thought to be Greek in origin, she supposedly was incarnated as a butterfly, which in many cultures represents metamorphoses.

In some stories, Psyche represents the soul, and the theme of freedom of spirit and the ability to transform and transcend bonds or limitations is a positive metaphor for difficult times.

It is also a wonderful symbol for an artist seeking freedom of expression. At this particular time, it also becomes perfect for me. For several years I felt my way of working had become disconnected from my Source... the images no longer expressed the joy I once felt while working, and I thought the art reflected what I was feeling. Rather than go on making stilted images that projected distortions, I turned to other media and techniques to stimulate a fresh approach to creating. It helped, but I still could not draw freely, as I once had.

This side trip took several years. I would furtively try to express an idea, only to find I was still too impaired to do it well. Last year I did a drawing of a powerful figure of a Native man I had once photographed as a news reporter. My freedom had partly returned, but it wasn't there yet.

Finally, recently when trying to draw the Phoenix, I felt as if I had been released from the old restraints that had bound my mind, and the drawing came easily, like a flood, almost as if a dam had burst. It has taken a decade, and I am glad I was able and willing to follow other directions in the meantime. I have learned a lot. I really believe one has to honor their own best process in the quest to the best work possible.

A California artist, Mary Beth Rapisardo speaks of the "Art of Allowing Art" for the artist wanting to enable his or her connection to Creative Source. Her beautiful paintings express Visions along this Sacred Journey. I recommend visiting her inspiring web site, at

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