Some ideas for my mosaics have come from spiritual inspirations and wildlife. I love the thought of having an animal totem in my life. My mockingbird "Chopra" came to me almost two years ago and has been my real life totem every day since. It is said that Mockingbird teaches you the power of voice. "He will help you realize your inner talents and act on them without fear. Follow your own path. Learn to take what you can and apply your own creative imagination and intuition to it and your life will be in harmony." Chopra has appeared in three of my mosaics.
I have done a series of three large mosaics depicting Quan Yin, the deity of compassion and mercy. For many years I have been a fan of Asian art. Also known as Kwan Yin, Guanyin, Chenrezi, and Kannon, her name is translated to mean "one who hears the cries of the world". It is said that as a true enlightened one, or Bodhisattva, Quan Yin vowed to remain in the earthly realms and not enter the heavenly worlds until all other living things have completed their own enlightenment and thus become liberated from the pain-filled cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. She is most often depicted in feminine form, but there are also sculptures and paintings of Quan Yin in masculine form. Though often associated with Buddhism, he/she is not confined to one religion.
The first of my mosaic series is called "Guanyin". It is the deity in masculine form, which was inspired by a favorite sculpture of mine, Guanyin Bodhisattva, dated 907-1125, which resides at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. The background of my mosaic is of the Chinese wall painting, Paradise of Tejraprabha Buddha, dated 1279-1368.
The second in my series is my interpretation of "Quan Yin And The Dragon King". My version of Quan Yin presents considerably more feminine in form than most interpretations. Quan Yin is shown pouring a stream of healing water, the "Water of Life," from a small vase. With this water devotees and all living things are blessed with physical and spiritual peace. In my mosaic, she is with dragon king. As the story goes, she saved the dragon king's son and is rewarded with a precious pearl.
The third in the series, "Jewel In The Lotus", is my version of Quan Yin as a modern day woman. I have given the dragon a loveable dog-like quality. My spiny lizard Marco was the model for the dragon's eye. "Jewel In The Lotus" pertains to Quan Yin's mantra, "Om Mani Padme Hum". It is the universal mantra of love and compassion. It is translated as, "Hail the jewel in the lotus".
Other inspirations for my mosaics came from my artist friends. One friend in particular, Anna Ivanova from Uzbekistan, gave me permission to interpret two of her beautiful paintings in mosaic form. I have also drawn inspiration from Frida Kahlo's work in three small mosaics. I have depicted Frida in the way I'd like to think she is now-free from pain and in a more peaceful place. In my mosaic "Frida with Mockingbird and Cat", Chopra, my mockingbird, and Bronnie, my cat, lovingly surround her. Ceramic silver milagros border the mosaic representing protection.