The Message

The Message


As you know, I’m not one for making abstract art…usually.  But I did give it a try last summer.  See my post on Expressionist painting.  Somehow I ended up with another one!  This one came about at a birthday party at Painting with a Twist.  If you’re not familiar with this place, let me give you a quick explanation of how it works.  You show up and they supply all painting materials for a fee.  The honored guest chooses the painting style from hundreds of themed paintings (everything from Monet to modern).  Did I forget to mention you can bring food, music, and wine?  Who doesn’t want to eat birthday cake while painting?  Just don’t get the cake (or the wine) on your work of art 😉  Anyway, my friend chose an abstract painting of the French fleur-de-lis.  As you can see, I didn’t quite follow the instructions…but luckily, that is part of the fun.

I guess I was feeling ethereal.  It started with the light blue and white wispy cloud puffs.  The feather sealed the deal.  But then it was time to make the fleur-de-lis.  I contemplated leaving it out, but wasn’t sure how much of a rebel I wanted to be.  Then I started searching for symbol variations.  When I saw a pair of wings, I knew I had found my muse once again!  I went straight to work with the gold paint and didn’t stop until I was nearly finished.  I stepped back to admire my creation.  Apparently another guest was admiring it too.  She said, “Looks nice.  Isn’t that the health symbol?”  Yikes!  I had not intended that at all.  Where had I gone wrong?  Well, that’s a question many artists ask themselves upon completing a work of art.

But the story doesn’t end there.  Not content to leave things as they were, I began a search on the healthcare symbol.  The results were quite interesting.  It turns out that the symbol I painted was the caduceus and goes back to mythology.  It’s the staff of the Greek messenger god Hermes, a trickster who is associated with trade/commerce, negotiation, traveling (including transitions and boundaries), literature and poets, and invention.  This staff was also carried by Iris, the messenger goddess of the sea and sky as well as rainbows.  The staff is said to send the awake to sleep.  As a chronic insomniac, I like the sound of that 😉

Statue of Mercury at National Gallery of Art:
Mercury (akin to Hermes) is the Roman god of poetry, communication, travelers, and luck!

So how did this symbol come to be associated with medicine and healing?  It’s actually a case of mistaken identity.  The true medical symbol is actually known as the Rod of Asclepius.  It depicts only one snake wrapped around a rod and never includes wings.  Funny how symbols evolve over time…

I’d like to think I was meant to create this caduceus to guide me in my pursuit of becoming a published author and illustrator of children’s books.  But the truth is as mysterious as the origins of this symbol.  One thing I know for sure is that the subconscious mind is more powerful than we can ever imagine.  And art is a great way to channel this boundless energy.  But you have to be willing to take chances, and you must be open to signs from the universe.  What message will you be open to receiving today?

One final note.  I had food poisoning (not from the party) while painting this.  So perhaps the message was health related after all 😉


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