This painting was inspired by two of my very favourite paintings: Le Rêve by Henri Rousseau (The Dream, 1910), a post-impressionist Naïve artist, who like me did not have formal art school training and Botticelli's Nascita di Venere (The Birth of Venus c.1484–1486). Living near Paris, I have had the privilege of seeing Le Rêve many times at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris and when I was a student in Florence (Italy), I saw the Venus at the Galleria degli Uffizi, home to so many masterpieces. In 2020, during the Covid pandemic, the lockdowns gave me the time to paint my own tribute to the two paintings, Venus In The Jungle II, which combines my fascination with flora and fauna with my desire to celebrate women.
78 x 103 cm
Venus in the Jungle
My goddesses in the jungle are always accompanied by animals, the most recently completed Venus In The Jungle II, is with a lion and a toucan, a bird that I have always admired, but rarely seen in real life. These impressive, colourful and vociferous birds, which are often carved on totem poles, represent communication and showmanship. According to texts about animal spirit totems, the toucan's colorful appearance and large bill indicates a strong desire to be seen and heard. Also when the toucan appears as a totem it is likely time for you to step forward out of the shadows and stand in the limelight for a while. While I haven't been dreaming of toucans, my attraction to the bird's symbolic essence, may mean that I now feel safe enough or old enough, to reveal my childhood dream.
78 x 103 cm
Toucan in the Jungle