It began as a suggestion. Several years ago, a friend and fellow artist suggested to me that I might like the art of Gage Taylor, an artist from the 1960s and 1970s who created wild, imaginative scenes of delicate and fierce detail so fine that one glance would never be enough to find all of the amazing creatures in his works. The book that was embedded in that suggestion was called “Visions” and was published in 1977, a long time ago in the eyes of the younger generation, those of you who now dominate the work force.
I found the book on Amazon.com and immediately ordered it since it was well within my budget. When it arrived, I was mesmerized, to say the least. I browsed it and flipped through the pictures again and again, populating my own imaginings with pictorial meanderings of ‘what if’ and extrapolations on the scenarios within the artwork presented on the slightly discolored pages.
Then, as it does with us all, life happened. A whirlwind of moves to different locations, acclimations to weather and community, adjustments to living space, treatments for arthritis and other ailments got in the way of many things, including my inspiration and the creation of my own personal artwork, much to my dismay. My Muse seemed to have gone on a very long vacation.
For about a four years the world seemed to dull around the edges, except for the bright spot of finding the man I married and as things will do once we accept where we are in life and settle down in mind as well as body, I could once again focus. After months of adjusting, pieces of the puzzle that had been blown out of the bigger picture were again drifting back down into place. The Muse began knocking, whispering, singing…insisting. It felt as if my heart had started to beat again. I could feel the energy coming back into my ragged fingers, flowing from the Sun, from the Earth and from that unseen realm that houses the Muses and the Goddess. Unpacking the last of the boxes from our final move was becoming rather a welcome adventure, something akin to having a birthday and opening gifts two or three times a week. What was once a tedious task had become a very enjoyable part of my day. And that’s when I found it again.
The book, ‘Visions’ appeared within one of the boxes, tucked in where I had packed it. I put it in a stack of other books, planning to review it again when I had the time. But, my Muse had other plans. It was as if the pictures within that book were demanding my attention. So, I took just that book with me and sat in a comfortable spot and began to read the introduction, something that I had neglected to do the first time I opened it. Introductions are boring some of the time and I don’t always give them enough credit. In this case, I should have and went about correcting my mistake.
Once the introduction was read and my mind was full of all kinds of quotes from the artists in this book, I began to turn the pages, seeing the art in a new light, with new understanding of each artist and the ‘why’ of their creation process. Not just the end result. It was so much like my own that I felt that kinship you sometimes feel when you can relate to a protagonist in a great novel in such a way that you have trouble putting the book down to eat lunch (I don’t read books while I eat for fear of damaging the pages).
One of the plates within this book simply reached out and grabbed me. I know that analogy is over used. But, what can I say? I saw it, and it seemed to see me through dark eyes that held no iris, white or pupil. The detail was poured out on the canvas in what I would call a stream of consciousness progression. There were no mistakes because all brush strokes seemed to have been used to morph an idea into another idea, another shape, another morph. It reminded me of my dreams and of some of my meditations in which I become immersed in the journey and not the destination I had in mind when I started. Seeing this painting, plate 21 entitled “Untitled” in the book, but later given the title “Bethann”, I knew I had to try to get permission from the artist and visionary Nick Hyde to use this image. For me it did not represent any person here on Earth as I see those that populate this mundane world. Instead, I saw a perfect representation of one of the faces of my Matron Goddess; The Morrigan. So, I fell instantly in love in a way that one could not fall in love with anything tangible (Before you start thinking that I have totally lost it, think about how you feel about that perfect sunset or that song that makes you float on air-It’s love). I knew I had to try to obtain permission to use this image at least on my blog, so I would have it with me, in some way, for the rest of my life. Ideally, I would like to have it hanging on the wall near my bed so it is the last thing I see at night and the first thing in the morning and that may happen soon. But, for the moment, I set my mind on contacting the appropriate people.
I emailed and received a reply from a publishing company to contact the artist. I found the artist’s website and emailed again, only to have my email be sent back undeliverable. So, I called the number available on the artist’s website and in just two day’s time, I received a call back and through a two part conversation was granted permission by the artist to use this incredible painting.
So, I would say to those of you who are artists and who enjoy a good mental vacation brought about by one who has painted something out of at least one person’s dream world, go! Look! Click your mouse button and go see what else this artist has to offer.
But, first, taste this.
© NICK HYDE 1970. Used with kind permission.
(Thank you, Mr. Hyde. I am grateful and honored for the permission to use this image.)
Find him and his works here… https://www.smockingbooks.com/nickhydeartist/paintings.html
(A word of caution and a side note: Do not use any art, anywhere, whether it be online or offline, without the permission of the artist. It isn’t difficult to track down most artists. All it takes is a little time and energy. Use without permission is theft, plain and simple. I wouldn’t want that karma chasing me down…would you?)