Water also has a long history of symbolic significance for ancient cultures and religions. It has been drawn on for this ability to signify and metaphorically stand for experiences and values that are hard to express directly in language. Traditionally water has stood for purity, healing, cleansing, and spiritual values. It is associated with life forming and life giving powers that are central to our sense of vitality and growth.
My response to waterfalls or the ocean or rain is conditioned by all the underlying meanings that water has had in my life through religion, literature, and art…from the great floods of Bible stories to impressionist views of the sea shore…probably the greatest being the sense of freedom, movement, life force, that I feel when I watch ocean waves, feel and hear the rush of a mountain stream, coming on a tiny pool of water and patch of wildflowers after half a mile on a dusty trail. It works most forcefully when I translate some memory of these experiences to the imagination in the act of putting paint of varying hues and dilution on canvas. Watching my brush make marks and constantly change the effects of the medium actually creates the feeling and sound of water. It is an uncanny but exciting process which seems to free me up from the often fussy and picky mindset I can find myself in when I paint. It is a profound sense of freedom and painting is a way to express that sense of freedom.