It is said that artists are the visionaries of the future. While many artists explore diverse interpretations of seen subjects using the external eye, visionary artists utilize the inner eye for the exploration of the vast, inner terrain. Both approaches involve the wonder of the imagination, but the creative process of visionary art is very different. A visionary artist goes beyond the seen world, and infuses the seen with the unseen, thereby bringing the unseen into a seen reality.
The definition of visionary art
Visionary art is the ultimate artist journey into the uncharted territory of the imagination and the soul. It is the magical blend of both the seen and unseen realities into a world of its own. It is the visionary expression of an artist’s ability to journey inward, and combine inner visions with what they see before them in the external world…and make new sense of it from the soulful, imaginary perspective…free from cultural conditioning and the linear normal.
Visionary art creative process
All artists are trained to see the exterior world perceptions with new eyes. Landscapes become the subject of fresh color combinations while they demonstrate an interest of light, lines, shapes and textures. While many artists, myself included, enjoy painting their own expressions of the rolling hills with sensuous shadows cast by the early evening light, visionary artists allow this landscape to inspire an inward response and subsequent journey into inner realms of their being. The landscape before them with open eyes may suddenly alter with an infusion from this inward trek. Such an artist is no longer just painting what they see before their eyes wide open, but also seeing what appears with their eyes wide shut. Have you ever wondered with what eyes you are seeing the images in your sleeping dreams? These are the inner eyes which speak to us equally as much as the outer eyes do…if we can listen while seeing with those eyes. The visionary art creative process relies on these inner eyes which grant intuitive, soulful visions which can make no sense yet, simultaneously, make all the sense in the world. Exterior subject matter becomes a tool for the inspiration and expression of these visions. Visionary artists transcend the landscape around them with new vision and meaning. Visionary paintings reflect an inner process, and an inner journey of the artist. In essence, these are paintings of the soul which the artist is experiencing, living and expressing. They are messages to the soul of the viewer.
I had my first experience with inner visions while traveling through Peru and Bolivia with a Peruvian shaman. I began paintings of women to signify the loss of the sacred feminine in our world. Though I still paint the simple beauty of the world around me, the gift of inner eyes changed me forever. Now, I see the woman laying along the hills of the arid landscape with her long, red hair weaving about the land. I feel the scared feminine voice of the Earth calling for much needed rain.
I paint my dream of ghost dancers singing and dancing around me while I sleep on the open terrain beneath a sacred mountain and high desert full moon. I connect with the ancestors in my dream.
I watch the Mexican jungle come alive with a colorful multitude of butterflies as I feel myself grow wings to become my own butterfly. The butterflies speak to me of new life and transformation…not just now, but always. It is a natural state of being.
Sometimes the landscape is quiet. Other times it speaks, and stirs an inner voyage into the domain of unlimited imagination, into the very heart of creativity and possibility.
The significance of visionary art
We are living in extraordinary times of crisis and hope. The global issues we face are the result of the limited visions enforced by the energies of greed and domination. The hope we carry is for better change, and herein lies the significance of visionary art which can provide us with not only new visions, but the power of the imagination critical to creating a better world. When an artist paints the female body in the landscape, it is a reminder of our Earth as a feminine energy which offers us beauty and nourishment. It strengthens our vision to respect and care for the land. When we are inspired to become a butterfly, we are embracing our willingness to be open to our own metamorphosis and change. When we dream of those spirits who have come before us and walked this same land, we are opening to their wisdom and guidance. In short, our survival and evolution depends upon the infinite cultivation of new visions for ourselves and our world. Visionary art gifts us with the boundless power of the imagination, the power of the Creator itself within us with which to tap the living waters streaming within us and around us in all life. The world surrounding us presents the mirror in which humanity can view both its shortcomings and mistakes as well as its capacity for greatness and creative solutions. Our creative virtue demands a voyage inside to the vast internal space of time where we connect, quietly and peacefully, with what is beyond this world in order to bring it to new life in this world. If we can imagine heaven within us, we can create it here on Earth. In this way, we are all visionary artists standing before a blank canvas, ready and willing to create a heavenly painting from the inner depths of our imagination. It is time to dig deep, and create from the hidden light of our souls. Visionary art reflects the artist journey in us all, a journey we must take if we are to remember who we truly are.
A riveting, raw, honest look at our culture and the need for the imagination.