Inspired by The Lotus - A Symbol of Renewal

by Glen Rogers

Some say the origin of all art is spiritual; it was a way for early humans to commune with a higher and unseen power through mark-making. Many ancient cultures embraced the lotus as a powerful image and spiritual symbol. The Egyptians used it in their art and architecture to symbolize rebirth and regeneration. They considered it a sacred flower and used it in rituals, ceremonies and medicines for its restorative qualities. In the Kamasutra, an ancient Hindu text about human sexuality, the lotus is a symbol of the source from which all life arises.

My spiritual journey has coincided with my infatuation with the lotus. It was in Bali that I first saw the pink lotus in its full glory—the most sacred color of the lotus flowers. Floating on a small pond, the lotus blossoms in various stages of unfolding captured my heart. This had a profound effect on me, as if I was seeing the Buddha himself reincarnated. In both Buddhism and Hinduism, the lotus is a sacred flower and refers to spiritual awakening and purity of heart. It’s the cycle of the lotus that provides the metaphor for rebirth—with the bud emerging from muddy waters each morning and gradually opening with perfectly clean petals. Each lotus bud represents potential, and with the fully formed blossom comes Nirvana. In my meditations, the image of the lotus unfolding is my heart opening to Spirit.

The image of the lotus continues to be popular in our contemporary culture. Graphic logos offering tranquility and peace can be found on candles, yoga mats and clothing. The simplicity of form and power of idea elicits a universal message.

Incorporating the lotus into my artwork is meant as a spiritual metaphor, not just the image of a beautiful flower. Using simple graphic strokes, I try to capture the hidden aura of the plant and reveal an ethereal side of nature. Carl G. Jung said that the symbol (any symbol) is the psychological mechanism for transforming energy. Through this simple form, I attempt to transform a blank canvas into something mystical, giving the viewer a spiritual connection through my art.

Jung in his book, Man and His Symbols, referred to certain symbols as archetypal—images that all of us can tap into through our unconscious mind, dream states and the creative process. He believed that “the greatest and best thoughts of man shape themselves upon primordial images,” and that archetypes—symbols from the collective unconscious - are metaphysical in nature. On my travels to sacred sites around the world, I learned firsthand that there truly is a universal visual language that connects us all.

I consider the process of art-making a meditation, a communing with a higher power. I let the work evolve and allow it to flow, working from the heart, not from the head. As a guest artist at the Ex-Colegio Jesuita in Patzcuaro, in 2013, I had the opportunity to create large-scale monotypes—stretching my skills as an artist and a printer. The Monotype is a one of a kind print where you apply ink to a sheet of acrylic and manipulate the surface. Working intuitively, I allowed the lotus image to emerge from the inked plate just as the lotus blossom emerges from the muddy waters in its natural environment. The resulting prints were 42” x 55”. My paintings evolve in a similar manner, with little pre-thought or planning. In the creative process, my studio is a temple, and my art a prayer.

This text is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Symbols of the Spirit: A Meditative Journey Through Art due out in January.

www.glenrogersart.com

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On Sunday, December 9 from 2-5 pm, I will open my studio to the public to share a body of work, paintings, monotype prints and and metal wall sculpture, that focuses on the lotus. Studio address: 28 de Abril norte, #56.

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Glen Rogers is an internationally exhibited artist whose work includes paintings, prints and public sculpture. Her work is inspired by visits to sacred sites around the world and the artifacts left behind by these ancient cultures, chronicled by her book, Art & Sacred Sites: Connecting with Spirit of Place. She offers monotype workshops from her studios in San Miguel de Allende and Mazatlán and offers Art Vacations to Peru and other exotic locales. Visit her website: www.glenrogersart.com and her blog, artandsacredsites.com, an artist’s journey of travel, sacred sites, and creating art.

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