I've loved Michael Whelan's art for over a decade... I first saw it on the cover of Tad William's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series. I was blown away by the beauty of the Sithi and hunted down all of the Michael Whelan images I could find. His illustrative work is amazing (partly due to the fact that he always reads the books before painting the cover!) but it's his personal work that inspires me the most. Some of his paintings are so important to me I feel they must be decorating the interior of my heart-home.
One thing that captures me is his use of symbolism. Two of his personal symbols are repeated in various paintings; a red glass heart on a red cord, usually carried by a person, and an orb or bubble with a flame inside. To me, the heart represents the true self (it is often being gazed at by the person) and the flame-bubble represents spirit, or life force. Also, he often illustrates the connection between human and nature, in a wonderfully beautiful way.
Please do check out the gallery -- I'm only featuring the ones that have greatest meaning to me, but there are so many others that I love and are definitely worth looking at.
this one makes my heart hurt, remembering how much I identified with this trapped, listless girl.
There is such unity between the person and the tree ♥ I love this one so much! It reminds me of Emerald, the tree friend I used to sit on just like this, and be comforted by her presence. I love how her heart is hung on the tree -- to me that symbolizes trust.
I don't know what it is about this one, but the second I saw it I thought to myself that's ME and have felt deeply fond of it ever since.
Flowers and Weeds
I love how the child seems to be honoring the small patch of nature in a wasteland of concrete.
long before I read the artist's explanation I felt the meaning of this ♥
To me, this says that the only way we can journey safely through life is by knowing our true self, and using that to guide us.
The End of Nature I
I cannot express how much I love that setting. it could easily be from my dreams.
I myself call it 'Jill and the Beanstalk' ;-) To me it is about the journey of life -- it's not about getting to the top as soon as possible, it's about searching for the stars and enjoying the journey. (notice there are no stars below her, because she has gathered them and hung them from her belt) It also represents to me a person who is full of hope, believing in magic and looking for those experiences that build faith. and it feels very meaningful to me because the treasures are stars, which are a symbol of mine. He could have chosen hearts or flowers, but instead he happened to choose a symbol that suited me. ♥
It kills me that I don't know the title to this, because it means SO MUCH to me.
The woman is in the embryonic stage, yet fully grown -- symbolizing to me the human contradiction of having perfect spirits in an immature outer self (mind, heart, soul, body). She's nude, representing openness, transparency. She is held gently, lovingly by water, the force of life -- to me, God/dess, a loving omnipresent being who is always protecting me. The moon is in the background, representing to me the beauty of night. The only way this could fit me more is if the bird were a dragonfly. I love it so much ♥