Cactus on Electric Orange
The Cactus is king of the island plants. It reigns over hot and arid lands. It contains the vital juices of life within it's thick skin. It brings green to places where green has left. I contemplated the essential nature of the cactus as a provider of life and hope and I interpreted it into a perfect image. On an electric orange background (symbolizing the scorching heat of the desert) the plant majestically rises with it's multicolored leaves - to symbolize it's multiplicity of roles in the cycle of life. Cactus on Electric Orange (100x80cm, oil on canvas, 2017 - Private Collection)
The theme of the cactus is not random and has more to do with the intrinsic symbolic power of the plants: a rugged plant family full of spikes that is adapted to survive the harshest of climates. Thus, these plants are built like fortresses of the desert - spikes and thick skin protect them against the arid climate and against predators.
These fortresses harbor precious water - the essence of life and, in so doing, they become a real Oasis for the thirsty traveler or the lost soul limping through the desert.
An oasis of physical and symbolic presence, for water is knowledge and knowing is power. This piece is part of a series of plant-paintings based on the cacti family and is based on photographs that I have taken personally while on residence in Tenerife, Spain. My fascination with the Oasis was spurred by the aridity of the volcanic landscape in the Canary Islands.
Noting that this landscape has a mostly uniform color-aspect, I have made it my endeavor to bring color and modify it through re-coloring of the different cactus plants that I depicted. A range of Psychedelic-Cacti has thus been brought into existence and depicts, to some extent, the hallucination that one might see when extreme dehydration (or extreme hopelessness) kicks-in.
On a more practical level, I have decided to use Oil colors because I am interested in maintaining the vibration of the color and also an aspect of "thickness" and saturation that only this technique provides.