James Ellison
"Spiritus Creätor"
oil

image size: 20 in x 30 in
frame size: 24 in x 36 in

For years I have taught my students how to interpret art and communicate their feelings through the psychological use of color, line and shape. Spiritus Creator was done at the urging of my advanced students who, in critiquing my paintings, brought to my attention a foreboding darkness that always occurs somewhere within my paintings. They challenged me to explore this darkness in one of my psychological self portraits. In response to their challenge I painted this, the third of such surrealistic portraits in the last six years. This one is unique in that my face is actually seen within the dream imagery.

To explore the darkness in my soul I began with a black canvas. The chair is in the birth corner (lower left) and my body faces out toward the corner of the goal of life (upper right). This stands for my struggle to be whom I was created to be. Thus I painted myself sitting in my Koi pond with my groin submerged in the primordial waters of creation. The water lily is a symbol for the first life to emerge from the waters. It moves out of the death corner (lower right) in a curvilinear pattern of joy for I am experiencing a resurrection of my artistic being. This curvilinear pattern is repeated in the position of my body, the cat tails, and the self portrait I am painting. I have painted my clothes in chromatic value scale to convey my love of color. Starting at the knee the colors move down the cool side of the Perceptual Color Corona from yellow-green to blue-violet. Then they continue up the warm side from violet to yellow on my left shoulder. I face the canvas, as does my reflection in the mirror. The reflection in the mirror is not dressed the same, for what appears there is "Pastor Jim" rather than "Jim" the artist. The mirror hangs in the air for it is the dark mirror that the ancient Judeo-Christian Mystics used to see spiritual reality. Paul alludes to this in I Corinthians 13:12. Like the mirror, the canvas is on an invisible easel because it too reveals a spiritual reality. Thus I have not painted a portrait of "Pastor Jim" nor of "Jim" the artist. The image is about the struggle between my call as a pastor and my desires as an artist (the darkness within my soul). Thus the colors are in discord. Around the neck of the image on the canvas is the medallion I wear of the Spiritus Creator (Creative Spirit). This medallion is like a seed from which a root has come forth. The root is divided in color and line. The right side, as in a mirror, is red-orange and curvilinear for the creative side of the brain. The left side is blue green and angular for the analytical side of the brain. The two are complementary but remain separate until my brush touches the canvas. Then the skin becomes transparent and you see the color of the brush begin to transform the lines within me. From this point on the angular and curvilinear lines appear on both sides. This means that there is an increasing integration of both sides of my life. These roots feed the Tree of Life that rises from my head. This Tree of Life has in its branches the full integration of the left and right thought processes. The bark of the tree is charcoaled. The tree has been burned by life. Yet, like the live oak of California after the fire, it bursts forth in new leaf. As you look at this portrait it takes on a life of its own. It floats before the canvas, growing beyond it toward the blue of hope, the dawning of a new day. This three dimensional effect of the painting was not part of my original design but developed as I worked on the painting and with my struggle over my call by God. Over this self realization the leaves of the cat tails bend in an act of blessing. There are three cat tails for the triune God. One has a mature bloom, another a green bloom, and the third is going to seed. The light shining on the three faces comes from the divine corner (upper left) dispelling the darkness of my soul.

$30,000 + shipping for original
Taking requests for future SNLE.
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