An artist can’t manifest their creation without support in the temporal world. In my case, it was definitely my family and pets understanding my creative sessions that allowed me to devote my time to the Divine through the medium of my artworks. Already a poet, my paintings brought me closer to understanding the devotion of a Sufi to God.
I first learned about the Persian poet Hafiz and Sufism as a young 20 year old bride of a career diplomat on their first posting in Tehran. My husband’s official foreign language was Persian and as young newlyweds who shared a love for poetry, we enjoyed reading the poems in Persian.
Rather, my husband translated the poems and we had great discussions. As my own proficiency in Persian improved, the translations stopped and I was able to enjoy the pure essence of the words of Hafiz, Rumi and Omar Khayyam.
It would be almost 15 years later in Jakarta that I would embrace art as a form of self-expression and understand the pure meaning of being in a Sufi state of mind. I hadn’t yet started using palette knives (that would happen later) but the seeds of expressing devotion to God through artworks based on nature and spirituality were sown.
In later years, I would find out how strongly my family supported me. I now know that when the girls came home from school or play, they’d find their father quietly reading his newspapers or books and a soft ‘Don’t disturb Mummy. She is painting’.
Pin drop silence while my family waited for me to come out of my painting trance and share my creation. My meditation completed, I would come out and tell them that dinner would be ready soon. Then I’d discover my family had already prepared a meal to the best of their abilities with sausages, omelets and toast or the house help had made them some noodles because I wasn’t to be disturbed. On occasion, my husband would take us out for a family dinner.
It was a trance because I would lose track of time, lost in the world of my canvas and colors and my faithful dachshund Jinnie, who would quietly sleep near my feet while I worked away.
This scene would be enacted over the years on our different postings. By now we had a family of dachshunds who would sleep at my feet while I immersed myself in colors on my canvas with the swish of my wonderful palette knives that started as an experiment in Copenhagen and became my signature tool.
There were times when I was so engrossed in my work that I’d miss out on diplomatic functions. My husband understood and didn’t interfere. Such is the power of divine communication between the devotee and the Divine.
When I look back in Time, I realize that my trance was very much like the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey or the bhajans of Mira Bai for Lord Krishna in Bhakti Yoga. In modern times, the definition of Sufism is much broader and encompasses our spirituality and is without denomination.
I was blessed that my family understood the depth of my passion for my art, supported me with encouragement and gave me time alone to engage in the conversation of my Soul with the Divine.
For the spiritual artist, self-realization comes through God-realization using the medium that is best suited to their temperament and Soul.
In my solo show Garden of Memories, the series of 6 paintings was dedicated to the gardens that I nurtured and tended to, including the painting Garden of Memories 3 where I have recreated my beloved roses from my garden in Tehran. The prints are presently available at my page on Fine Art America and I invite you to enjoy them and share in my memories.
Art Expression on other mediums