Working With Symbols

 In Art Process, Art Technique, Uncategorized

I have been working with symbols for a while and it’s so interesting to me how adding a few symbols to a painting adds to the story. I always see the story in a non objective painting more as a felt emotion, something that is completely left to the viewer’s interpretation. I guess that makes it less of a narrative and more of a sensory experience.

However, by adding symbols to the work, it takes on a new life and new ways of seeing into it. I use the symbols to bring you in. While I am not conveying a particular message in the painting, the symbols take you into story. They give an extra added layer of richness as the viewer personalizes the image in the painting and adds their imagination to mine to create a story for it.

Being in Costa Rica during the making of this painting, I felt a strong connection to the place and the people, their food and their culture. The colors poured out of me and I swayed with the movement of the ocean. So it didn’t surprise me when the people I showed it to down there, recognized it immediately as being Costa Rica. Hence, the painting is titled with the country’s slogan,

Pura Vida.

How many symbols are you noticing in the painting?


Most obvious are the sun, la mariposa -the butterfly, waves of the ocean and fronds of the palms. There are others more personal, like the man in the moon, the leaves and vine, a lock as well as others. While the story is not a specific narrative, I think the symbols take us all to a similar story.

What kinds of symbols speak to you the most?




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