The Illuminated Swamp


As I continue to develop my aesthetic, there is a feeling that it’s a moving target. I try to hold to an ideal, an image in my mind’s eye about the layering of patterns within the landscape. Each piece of that scene will pass in and out of shadow. How the movement of that light will illuminate a surface here and then move to another is the core of my personal fascination. The materiality of the scene is not a source of derision but to a wonder to watch the way in which light fleetingly interacts with a flower, a leaf, algae or even a dead stick. That moment can be captured and time slowed down for the simple pleasure of its exquisiteness. It is by contrast that these objects seem to glow from the inside out, when sunlight brings them into the foreground. But their preciousness is momentary and dependent on the surrounding murkiness. It is in that recognition that we resonate to a sense of inner harmony. We know in our bones it is real and our perception of this sympathy is important.
The sketch in the middle demonstrates the long slow process of building up layers of complicated color combinations. I stretch the variety by challenging myself with, “And what more do you see?”  Everyday I return to my drawing and my powers of observation. The work will continue this way until I can’t  envision anything additional. Then the most crucial part enters into the image, it must now be unified. It is at this stage where the freshness can be lost in overworking or tightening it into another perfectly skillful photographic representation. But it has become lifeless and nobody’s interested. The delicate balance of child like expression and sophisticated rules about pictorial space is the artist’s tightrope.

So here I am, umbrella in hand, half way across the chasm and trying to stay concentrated.

Hope you enjoy the results,



Art as a Contempletive Practice

Noise, in all of its forms, both auditory and visual, bombard our hearts and minds with the desires of the multitudes. We buzz with purposeful activities in compliance and consequently lose touch with the deepest part of our own harmonies. This song held in the beingness of each individual is our link to Creation. Yet, we find no value in this gift. This is a plea to return to sanity through quiet reflection and to nurture that connection through a practice( personal preference is of the utmost importance).

This is the place from where I create. It begins with a perception, a way of seeing my world. Everyday there are moments where time slows and a curtain is pulled aside. It is a form or a view that is numinous. For a millisecond, objects will shine with an extraordinary light as if it is a sacred language and I’ve just learned one sound. The external reality falls away and learning the next note is the only thing that counts. It is a journey that competes with no other person. It is for me alone. Other artists may have depicted these thoughts and feelings through their own lens. They speak from the shadows of history a secret language that whispers in my ear hundreds of years later. They are my teachers. And what I draw becomes part of a conversation through time.

This insight is the foundation of artistic expression. And as the eyes of the generations change so do the forms of interpretation. How are we cultivating the Sublime in a contemporary form? Are there new translations of our relationship to The Sacred? In the midst of plenty we are deaf and hungry. How do you nourish your soul?

Light in StructuresThe field on Rte.138, across from the graveyard in Stoughton, MA. Continue reading “Art as a Contempletive Practice”

First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

As creators, we dance through time and space. Each brush stroke contains the emotions that flowed in your hands the second paint touched the paper. The truth in an artwork is the ability to maintain the focus of mood. A childish wonder belies the years of preparation it take to achieve this consistency. It is the difference between a computer playing jazz and a master like Eubie Blake, whose fingers express subtleties of playing the silences between the notes. One heavy note in the wrong place and an insincerity is detected. Too much color upsets a delicate balance and the feeling is lost. Only time spent in practice and contemplation can develope intuitive sense of harmony. The work above, called “Still Waters” is the beginning of an unique personal style of painting. In future posts I’ll try to communicate my most ernest efforts so you’ll enjoy experiencing The Orange Universe.

Sarah Feragen