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the watershed

DOROTHY FAGAN




I've been praying with my paint brush, painting clouds for nearly fifty years. Yet I never gave a moment's thought to what the the Chesapeake Bay Watershed  landscape I'd been painting might be trying to tell me. 


the

watershed

It's a cold rainy December solstice. Moon rose with not so much as a whisper. Yet I am moonstruck.



When I came here to this marshy landscape of the estuaries, I knew nothing of sister moon, or her connection to the power of my divine feminine creativity.


I didn't know about blue heron either.  I didn't hear her message showing me of one's ability to wade in emotions, whilst keeping one's feet on the ground with clear vision. Only now can I feel emotions ebb and flow as a kind of pulse ~ reassuring me that I am indeed still here, still human. 


I see her outside my studio windows, wading along the shoreline as she pokes her neck out above the reeds, her feet sinking deeper into the mud. I recognize myself in her slow, awkward footsteps wading through mud, keeping an eye out for something that looks like dinner. I laugh at the Creator's whimsy, oh yeah, that's me.

Marsh Moonrise
original oil on canvas, 24" x 24", $1800

canvas edition of 50, from $395.

Set of 4: Sunset, Moonrise, Sunrise, Daybreak

First Landing

Bloom my joy, and light

my way, immigants' meadow

knows thy heart of peace.

First Landing

original oil, 36" x 60", $20,000

I've gravitated toward painting untouched landscapes since coming to Virginia in 1974. I took my easel out to paint en plein air, the mountains, streams, and farms here and visiting family in West Virginia,  Pennsylvania and New York. I relished breathing in salt air along the coast, mixing my colors to match the sky and sand, like a puppy synchronizing her heartbeat with its mother.

Painting and repainting this landscape for fifteen years, First Landing became a kind of time capsule, evolving with me as I came to own the essence of the Creator that lies within one's own heart and soul as uniquely mine. 

Painting First Landing, I began with a series of memory sketches in pastel. The land is said to be first landing sites ~ before immigrants settled in Jamestown. Indeed the land felt pristine, no sign of mankind seemed to have touched it.

This got me to wondering, how it must have felt to immigrants arriving here?

Break of Day

original pastel, 16" x 20", $1200
canvas edition

Did they wake up and give thanks just to be here? 


Did they know they were entering the largest estuary in this New World? 


Did they grasp the meaning of  such a flow beneath their feet?

New Morning

original pastel, 10" x 10", $900

Did they feel the brilliance of this new morning?


Did they feel the cleansing flow beneath their feet as they stepped onto this sacred ground?

Soaring

Lift me up away

Fear not flying soaring high

Let emotion flow

Soaring

original oil on canvas, 60" x 36", $8500

Were they fearful? Or were they relieved to put their feet down on firm soil? 

I feared having doing being enough and so I prayed. I prayed with my paint brush, painting and repainting every canvas until I could feel a visceral kind of peace. 



And still I wondered, 

did they sense the symbolism of the River? 

Did they wonder about its Source high on a hill?

The River

original oil, 24" x 36", $3600
Canvad edition of 50, from $495


Approaching twilight

Stillness in me ebbs and flows

River of d'Light




I wondered about my own great grandmother who'd come from Poland through Ellis Island, a new bride only 17, to make a home for the family she'd create here. I can still see her standing in her garden, joyfully celebrating all her great grandchildren arms outstretched in a wide embrace.

Land of Milk & Honey

original oil, 36" x 48", $5600
Canvas edition of 50, from $495


Milk and Honey oh!

Nothing more than Splendor, please

Be my heart and home.

Trickling down from high in the hills of the Appalachian Mountains, eastward through West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia ~ the Chesapeake Bay Watershed seeps through soil and roots beneath 18 million people living over 64,000 square miles.

Rising heart, know thyself

trust, believe, have faith in me

hope floats only dreams.

Rising Heart

original oil, 24" x 56", $5200
canvas edition of 50, from $397



And so the answers to my questions seeped up through my mud and roots. While painting, I heard all their voices in silent wavelengths of each color. Mixing pigments to match earth, sky, water ~ the Creator's light within me aligned to radiant jewels of the rainbow.

Drawing on the aquafer of Light within, I grew content with the ebb and flow, and stopped trying to make it be anything more than it is. Stillness found me. And in its reflections a mirror, and a rising heart.

Protected within

twilight colors eternal

love's essence awaits

Oyster & Pearl

Canvas edition of 50, from $495


Two oystermen raking the river bottom caught my eye, silhouettes against a red sunset sky. From memory of such a striking vision, I painted them years later. Dark shadows with deep cobalt violet and vermilion red filled my canvas, as I pondered oyster's life beneath the river. 

And with the tides my vision ebbed and flowed, as if I too had scraped bottom with grains of sand inside my shell, until the pearl of my essence be formed within. 


Wash away tears and grit

effervescence radiates

colors from within.

Pearl Essence

original oil, 36" x 48", $5800
canvas edition of 50, from $495

Repainting my red sunset, I washed away the dark shadows of past lives. At first the lights were oh so bright! In time, I was able to glaze and stroke impasto clouds to express radiance I feel glowing through the veil. 

When the final row of tiny ultramarine clouds settled in along the horizon, a shimmering white thread of the sparkling river appeared, still flowing through my marshy meadows.

Paddling briefly

Faith's passion takes flight on high

Eagle's prayer tonight.

Taking Flight

original oil, 36" x 48", $5800
canvas edition of 50, from $495


Painting and repainting, I strove to make brush marks as honest and authentic as my signature. In such a moment with deep violet paint, my calligraphy appeared as two kayakers floating in the middle of the river. 

Stepping back to look again, I spied a row of clouds appearing as birds taking flight along the horizon. And then it happened.

In the opposite direction I saw the eagle, soaring spirit winging her way home.

as the

heavens open




We tip-toe into fertile meadow among wildflowers. Feet sinking into soft earth, fragrance of freshly mown grasses lead us inward on the spiral pathway. Bees buzzing among daisies, cornflower and coreopsis, 'the sky opens, slicing heaven's brilliant turquoise blues between stalk and stern.'


On a Happy Day

original oil, 30" x 40", $5600.
canvas edition of 50, from $495.


I spied the meadow

on a happy summer day

quiet bloom in me.

Glorious New Day

original oil, triptych, 48" x 108", $20,000

canvas edition from $495


On this Glorious Day

Grant me Peace upon this Earth

Blessing be my way.


Visiting my son I feel inspired, as he expresses delight in how only one season of pasturing chickens and sheep have restored lush green meadows of their family farm. Hickory Hill Farm, like many American farms had been over fertilized. Too many chemicals had been used to grow and kill crops on cue, interrupting Mother Nature's process. Their organic chicken, eggs, and lamb are available through the family's farm website

Garden wisdom art prints are available through the Hickory Hill Gift Shop.


.

High on a Hill with a Cloud and a Prayer

original oil, 30" x 40", $3800.
canvas edition from $495.



Bloom everlasting

My cloud and a prayer, lift me

into your meadows.


Every time I visit my grandchildren, I feel so flush with love! Their spirits capture me, my heart, my paint brush hand. I cannot help but express the joy I feel inside. High on a Hill with a Cloud and a Prayer says it all, in ways words could never touch. 

I have wished and prayed for a way to leave a legacy for my grandchildren. Without a clue as how such a thing could be, the Creator grants my prayer with joy in such a garden as this!

Paradise Found

original oil, 36" x 48", $5800.
canvas edition from $495.


Drenched in Light

original oil, 36" x 48", $5800.
canvas edition from $495.


visit the
watershed

Exhibition 

JANUARY 8 - MARCH 1 2021

CROSSROADS ART CENTER

2016 Staples Mill Rd, Richmond, VA 23230

HOURS 10am-5pm Monday - Saturday
Noon-4pm Sunday

Hickory Hill Gifts

Restoring Harmony with Mother Earth

Landscape Art Prints

Wall Decals & Totes

from $45

Haiku Posters
& Wall Decals

from $45

Garden Wisdom Prints Wall Decals & Totes

from $45


© Copyright 2021 DOROTHY FAGAN

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