The term ‘Lumen Naturae — the Light Within the Darkness of Nature’ refers to the Middle Age idea (Paracelsus c.1493–1541) that knowledge springs from the Light of Nature. This light in Nature illuminates the consciousness and allows inspiration and intuition to rise from human subconscious. This is the core of my study; this is what I want to capture with my paint. Not paintings defined as ‘seascape’ or ‘landscape’, but paintings so powerfully about nature that an open spirit responds with human emotion and an intuitive understanding of the immensity and power of Nature itself.

This is a kind of alchemy, translating the raw material of my experience of the ocean and field, to unite the opposites — to integrate the conscious and the unconscious. To see this light that is hidden in the darkness is to become conscious, which frees the spirit that is hidden and trapped inside the materialized world. “Speak to the Earth, and it will teach you.” I want to look intently, listen and paint this ocean, this land, for what it can reveal to my spirit.

I stand quietly and listen, look and feel in all kinds of weather, day and night — then come back to the studio to paint. Marks are made intuitively, paint hovers between abstraction and reality. My paintings have two levels — pure holy paint, and then a pull to the land or water without a second thought. A painting is successful if it reveals more than what is visible, and summons the essence of a place.

My canvas is covered in one go, alla prima. Intuition and experience, not rules and principles, guide my response to what I feel and see on the canvas. Paintings by Ryder, Kahn, Turner, Soutine, deKooning, Doig, Freud and many contemporaries are referenced. It is important that I paint with respect for art history. I want my work to be more than regional expression. My painting is successful if the paint astonishes first with its physical presence, then summons the essence of place.

When we look carefully at the land or sea, we come to the heart of who we are and connect with the earth. I want my paintings to have first a memory of ocean, water, air or land — then connect us with the spirit, and leave us an awareness that we are all Nature.

Sheryl Budnik, 2/2014

Emerald Blue

Desire   55 x 48¨   oil on canvas