inks, gesso on w/c paper

And what do YOU see?  I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.  This is one of my folded paper ink and gesso (thin and thick) blot pieces.  After opening up the paper I painted in about five different subtle elements of detail.  Can you guess where they are?

Well, here’s what I see. . .a woman’s body from breast down to thigh.  Looking into the body I see the lungs or ribs perhaps, the life force in the belly in the shape of a candle with a single straight flame illumining the interior and rising up along the sushumna or subtle pathway of the kundalini.  . . the uterus, fallopian tubes, and birth canal. . .a lace slip and garter belt/stockings(added). . .and a little man with a top hat and tails in an interesting spot between. . .

Quite shocking!  I mean the part about how all that was there when I opened up the paper and looked for a few moments – looked with an (at least momentarily) quiet mind.  How long would it have taken me to paint such a thing on purpose?  Would I have dared?  Could I have achieved such a lacy effect, such elegant symbolism?  No way. I would have unconsciously censored it and lost the power of the image to give a direct meaning.

So what is the deeper meaning of this image?  Some message hidden in the recesses of my primitive mind or should I say rather “our” primitive mind?  Yes of course, and those of you who love to write are welcome to try it out or splatter your own ink on some paper and fold it over.

I’ll be doing more of this ink and gesso fun in a workshop later this month in my studio in Sebastopol, CA, September 25 , titled “Freedom in Painting with Inks and Gesso”.  There are still a couple spaces  if you’d like to give it a try.



  1. This cracks me up ! I can just hear all the giggles… what fun to open up and see this ! It is quite extraordinary… I see all the same things of course, and I just love the little man with the top hat… all proper…


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