‘Self Portrait as Lakshmi’

is an acrylic and mixed media painting on stretched canvas 24”x 22”. Currently on view at the Torpedo Factory – Art League Gallery in Alexandria, VA. The reception and also closing of the show is March 1, 2020. This painting received an honorable recognition.

Only a little narcissistic, this self-portrait is more about an internal connection with divine loving intelligence and all the qualities of the goddess Lakshmi , in order to see such abundance in my own being.

I’ve drawn and painted many self-portraits that have hinted at the prevailing state of my mind at the time. I’ve wanted to paint a large self-portrait that would contain all the symbols and meaningful imagery that in an important way have contributed to who I have become over my lifetime on this planet. This painting titled Self-Portrait as Lakshmi is more of an initial study containing just a few symbols of importance.

The elephant is an important symbol for me. Wisdom, loyalty, patience and strength are inherent qualities, but starting in 1972 Minneapolis I walked into a “hippie-head shop” and fell in love with a wooden elephant nic-nac and of course bought two elephant nic-nacs. One by one, people would see and comment on my elephants and eventually give me one that they had, or bring back one from their trip to India and so on. My herd of elephants has grown into a collection. I’ve thought about eliminating possessions of stuff, but every time I go through my collection of elephants I remember the person and the place of each gifted ele.  I even had an elephant tattooed on one of my teeth. No judgement please.

In about 1991 I asked a psychic why I was so infatuated with elephants. She told me a story about a past life in which I was a least favored member of a harem and I would sit by the palace window and watch the elephants come and go from the city. They represented ‘freedom’ to me. The importance of freedom rings true to me and I accept that explanation.

I have closely admired the whole history and culture of India throughout my life and choosing Lakshmi as a goddess to emulate or personify feels good to me.  In this painting I’ve tried to balance her perfection with my own human downfalls, frailty and imperfections. Always striving to be better.

Susan and Katja visiting the gallery on 2/23/20