As a Pagan, there are two things that are very important to my lifestyle: mindfulness and self-empowerment. I am drawn to paintings that embody one or the other. Laura Iverson is an artist in the Pacific Northwest of the United States who encompasses both within her paintings. There are two paintings by Laura that I was intensely moved by, and feel confident that others may benefit from the beauty she creates.
I contacted Laura through her website, zenbreeze.com, and got to know her a little bit. She grew up immersed in art. Her father was a painter, and she has been painting for as long as she can remember. Her art is strongly influenced by Zen meditation, a Buddhist tradition that not only strengthens your body but helps with anxiety and depression. She finds artistic inspiration in nature, from observing animals, and by star gazing. She told me that her painting Warrior Yoga Goddess in Aurora Borealis was inspired by a starry night. “The cosmic touch comes from my love of star gazing,” she said. “I like to go outside with a sleeping bag on a lawn chair and watch for meteors. That time spent with the stars gives me focus and peace.”
While the Warrior Yoga Goddess in Aurora Borealis evokes a sense of aspiration, Laura’s painting The Red Tara Goddess awakens a primal feminine ferocity within me. Laura told me that this piece was “painted with the idea of empowerment for women. I wanted them to evoke strength and joy.” I would say you have hit your mark, Laura! The bold red background, textured with shading and violet stars gives the painting a sense of endlessness, with the Red Tara Goddess in the forefront, dominating the scene. With strong legs and perfect balance, this Goddess exudes confidence and self-sovereignty.
I had briefly mentioned Zen meditation earlier, but I think it is important to take a closer look at this tradition since it is so influential on Laura’s work. Zen meditation is a Buddhist tradition that dates back to the Tang Dynasty in seventh century China. This tradition expanded from China, to Korea, then Japan and is now practised by people worldwide. The word “Zen” is Japanese for meditation. What is unique about this discipline is it focuses on healing the practitioners’ spirit. It does not dither over minor, day to day worries; the Zen meditation practitioner seeks to heal deep rooted issues through mindfulness. This traditions’ core purpose is to uncover innate clarity and workability of the mind. It teaches practitioners how to cope with depression and anxiety issues. People who practice this form of meditation have reported several health benefits, including reduced blood pressure, stronger immune systems, more restful sleep and reduced stress.
Zen Breeze Art Gallery
The Zen Breeze Art Gallery is Laura Iverson’s personal website, where she tells her story, and lists many of her original paintings and sells her handmade jewellery. Throughout all of her paintings she uses vibrant, contrasting colours and gives the paintings dimensional appearances with use of shading and highlighting. Each painting is unique, but she has an indescribable style that any painter would give anything to achieve. Her handmade jewellery is exquisite as well, and many of them hold images of her most popular paintings.
If you cannot afford to purchase original paintings by Laura, you can purchase prints from her website, or through Fine Art America or Pixels.
As a self-taught artist, I study the works of others to learn new techniques, uses of colours, and various styles. I have chosen to shine a spotlight on Laura Iverson, because her paintings do much more than teach me clever uses of colour or the best way to use shadows. Her paintings speak directly to my soul. They reach inside me and light a fire of passion. They celebrate femininity and personal power. You don’t have to be a woman for this to resonate with you — people of any gender can access their inner femininity.
If you subscribe to Spiral Nature Magazine, you can be sure you will be notified the next time I shine a spotlight on an artist.
Who knows, maybe you will be the next subject of honour!
Image credit: Laura Iverson, “Warrior Yoga Goddess in Aurora Borealis”, “The Red Tara Goddess”, “Green Phoenix in Bright Cosmos”