"Sanskrit is a language specifically developed to bring out various powerful sound vibrations. Every letter in the Sanskrit alphabet has some beautiful, cosmic vibration.... Sanskrit is considered to be the most ancient language in the world." -- Sri Swami Satchidananda
Beginning with 2010, all of my paintings will carry Sanskrit titles. This decision has come about after a good deal of soul searching and listening to a higher calling. My paintings, as they've developed, have embraced a sort of universal openess and freedom, and a title can sometimes limit the boundaries of the image. I want more poetry than "Untitled," however. Joseph Campbell called Sanskrit "the great spiritual language of the world." I agree. Sanskrit words have a lilting, floating quality that I admire -- the sounds of the words themselves have a certain beauty and poetry to them. If a viewer digs a little deeper and finds out the translation of the word, perhaps he will come away with an even deeper appreciation of the imagery. But it is not necessary to know the meaning of the word in order to spiritually connect to the painting. I choose the words as much for their musical quality as I do for their meaning. I want to leave an air of mystery surrounding the work, and the title is just a furtive guide to the relationship between the image and the title.
I chose "Rishi" as the title for the painting above. A "Rishi" is a saint or guru, of which the Hindu and Buddhist cultures have many, each with their own individual symbols and names. This piece is actually one of a series of three that I'm working on.
I selected the word "Sandhya" for the title of the painting below. It translates as "twilight." I was thinking about twilight -- the delicate, resonant light of the early morning and the early evening -- as I was working on this piece.