I treasure this image of me, created, staged and photographed, one bitterly cold, February afternoon, by my talented, artist friend, photographer, and trusted, fellow pilgrim, Pat Halsey.
I think my essence, as an artist and transformative, sensual being, are captured, and reflected back to me, in Pat's image
My true, inner self is my biography. To intimately, spiritually know me - is to know my art. It is, 'the more about me,' that is revealed in my artwork. A spiritual journey, my inner journey, is reflected from within me. Through my dreams, and in moments of meditation and reflection, my mystical self is brought with: paper, ink, paint, and canvas to become infused into, and expressed in, my artworks.
Pat had asked me to pose for her; she needed a subject for an assignment in a photoshop course that she was taking at a local college. Her assignment was to photograph a person in nature. I was that fortunate person.
We traveled to nearby, Sandy Hook. Pat selected a spot, among the reeds and boulders, near Fort Hancock. She had brought along some props to make, 'moi,' soon to be the seated Gautama, comfortable while perched upon a low, footed platform adorned with an ancient, Persian rug. Jettisoning my: gloves, coat, shoes, socks, and wool-knit hat...I was, shivering and, 'Oh, so, ready for my closeup! Brrrrr!
We had agreed that we must get this picture taken quickly, as the light was fading, and the cold was bone chilling.
Pat had instructed me to wear black; she draped a saffron, silken cloth over my shoulders and posed me like the Buddha: barefoot, seated crosslegged, thumb-to-middle-finger, in the Lotus Position.
MAGIC!! I was, in that moment, transformed. For those next few moments I was unexpectedly, enraptured into the serene majesty of the Buddha.
I remember feeling suddenly warmed by the sunlight. I felt a gentle wave of ease, and contentment, wash over me. In that instant, I wasn't the least bit cold. In my concentration in the pose I felt the the shafts of sunlight stream against me, and felt as if the light was passing through me. I was illuminated within. I was, in that brilliant moment, at peace.
Pat snapped her camera's shutter.
Her wonderful talent for assessing just the right blend of hard, late-in-the-day, February light and shadow, falling diagonally on her, by then miraculously, no-longer-shivering subject; she composed an image of what she does so beautifully...her special blend of visual magic. That afternoon there was no, 'do-over,' no, 'shoot again,' no, 'just one more shot.' In one try, Pat had gotten the image she wanted.
We were both delighted with the successful outcome of her staged shoot. I believe her professor was, likewise, impressed with her photography skills.
More, for me, was the lingering contentment, that I believe we both saw, in the expression on my face and comfort in my pose.
Pat had captured, not me, in her atmospheric image, rather she'd captured a reflection, an emanating glimpse of the Buddha's composure of enlightened contentment.
I am the grateful, recipient of Pat's gift to me; not only of a unique, perhaps my favorite image of myself, but also that powerful experience that I felt radiating from within me of: inner peace, compassion, and, 'at-one-ment,' she so artfully captured in her image.
I strive daily to recapture, to re-experience, that contentment through: meditation, study of the heavens, my art making, and the practicing of Buddha's instruction: of kindness, of compassion, and of love.
"Namaste, om shanti shanti shanti.'"
'Gautama In the Marshes'- by, Pat Halsey. Welcome to mysticism and desire. I treasure this image.