On Art: “Canoe” Oil Painting

Late last year, in meditation, an unfamiliar word came to me. It sounded something like wakatewa. I had no idea what the word meant, at the time.

Intrigued, a quick Google search later revealed that the word is Maori and means ” war canoe“, spelled waka taua but spoken exactly as I’d heard it. It is an important word for the Maori who consider the waka taua to be sacred.

Once I knew what it meant, I fell in love with the symbol and started looking for signs of it in my daily life. It still came as a surprise, though, when one appeared in my latest painting which came about after coming across a quote from the late Carrie Fisher:

Take your broken heart and turn it into art.”

I took it as a challenge and decided to reach into the depth of my own history and feelings around a broken heart and turn it into something beautiful.

This expressionist piece is what resulted. I did not set out to paint a canoe or a solitary figure even. I choose my palette based on feeling and added paint to the canvas with nothing but emotion guiding me. I was so excited when I saw what was developing.

So, here it is. A broken heart made into art. I call it…surprise…Canoe.

I investigated the dream symbol meaning of “canoe” recently and discovered the following quote:

“Canoes require a lot of strength to maneuver, so in dreams they often show us something about our ability to handle our emotions. Because canoes are man-made, dreams that involve a canoe also show our ability to handle emotions which are inflicted by other people.”

From http://www.auntyflo.com/dream-dictionary/canoes

So perhaps in turning my broken heart into a canoe, I was declaring my inner strength to be with that emotion and to sail into calmer waters. It’s a comforting thought.