Dylan – A Soul Portrait Memorial Commission by Christina DeHoff
24″ x 30″ Oil on canvas by Christina DeHoff
Dylan’s layers were many and this portrait is a celebratory painting of his joyful and expansive spirit.
Capturing the essence of the spark in Dylan’s eye was my focus as the painter. Once I was able to communicate the light in his eyes, the rest of the painting unfolded with what felt like guidance from Dylan. One of the most amazing and confirming moments while starting this painting was when Rasta colors landed on the canvas. Literally.
Dylan needed these colors and the symbol of Rasta culture to be a strong part of the painting. I literally talked out loud to Dylan in my studio and said something like.
“Dylan, I really don’t know where to put these colors. I’m having trouble getting over my own dislike of them in your painting. Help me figure this out so they add to your painting and communicate what you want them to”.
I was guided to create a stream of light and energy emanating from Dylan’s heart and chest area. This is where the red, green and gold needed to be incorporated.
I have a crystal prism that hangs in my studio window and sometimes reflects rainbows around my walls but the light has to be just right and my shades are often closed around it for painting purposes so this hadn’t happened in a long while. Later that afternoon as I was working on Dylan’s portrait there was one single prism refection that landed on the canvas. One…I have never seen just one reflection from those faceted crystals. AND…it wasn’t the entire rainbow of color…it was ONLY Red, green and gold!!! It hovered over the area I had already begun to paint…red, green and gold. I believe this was Dylan giving me approval with my choice and from that point on I felt he was my copilot with this painting.
The Lion Symbol-
Dylan was a fierce, protective and loyal friend. He was a Leo with a big heart. He also was deeply compassionate. The Lion in the painting is wise and regal. He stands tall and proud in the upper left as a symbol that Dylan’s soul is protected and understood and held by something greater.
The Lion’s and Dylan’s hearts are connected through the light and energy flowing between them…making them “one love”.
Sunset and Dylan as an artist-
I referred to a couple of sunset paintings done by Dylan that Kathleen (Dylan’s Mom) shared with me to create the sunlight glowing from his throat area. This is also a symbol of his voice and how much love he was able to communicate while he was here. He had a powerful ability to show love.
The wave and the ocean-
The Rasta colors pass through Dylan’s heart like a portal and turn into wings at his back. Here it turns into a giant wave. I referred to another photo of Dylan surfing shared by Kathleen with me and a painting Dylan made of the waves and ocean. He found so much joy and connection in the ocean and through surfing. Here I wanted to express the feeling that he is still up there, out there, around us…. surfing another reality. This symbolizes his adventurous side, his desire to travel and see so many aspects of this world.
He surfed the waves of this life and now he is surfing the waves of the next journey. All I could feel was his joy when I painted this part.
Heart Symbols in glass and coral-
Where his surfboard meets the sea there is light force energy sparkling into the ocean and forming hearts of sea glass. He sends these hearts in different forms to you Kathleen to let you know he is with you. You shared this with me that you feel they are messages from him so they appeared in your painting from him again. He was very intuitive and these heart messages are connected to his ability to read when you need to hear from him.
There is a cross necklace Dylan wore that you wear now that also needed to be in the painting. This may be bold of me but I got the feeling that Dylan didn’t wear it intentionally as a Christian symbol but it was more a symbol of family connection and a statement that he did believe in a spiritual world. On a deeper level it is a symbol of Dylan being the embodiment of love.
Anna – A Memorial Soul Portrait by Christina DeHoff. Oil and Silver Leaf on Panel.
There is so much I can’t put into words about this profound painting process and the act of working on a spirit level to honor Anna.
My hope is that this painting feels like a celebration of Anna’s life and her spirit. Through Anna’s mother Gail sharing stories and experiences of Anna, I was given the visual messages that became this painting.
While I painted, I kept feeling the love that was and is present between Anna and her family. There was a very strong spiritual bond between Gail and Anna. Somehow it felt like she talked me through this painting. While I painted, I listened to music that Anna danced to and loved allowing me to really feel connected empathically with Anna. I’m never quite sure what I believe about death, but as I painted, Anna’s guidance was present.
The water element was important to be represented. The colors teal, blue, and different shades of turquoise surround Anna. These colors of the sea were her favorites.
The silver leaf represents soulful energy and other realms. As you move around the painting the light flows around Anna.
The number three is significant. The three Thistles represent a connection to Scotland, family roots, and Gail. I painted them based on a flower photo Gail sent me of a thistle that grew in the field near Gail’s home where she built a labyrinth on Strawberry Mountain.
The Wolf was an important animal spirit to be in this painting. I was moved by a painting Gail shared with me of four wolves and the quote by Matt on the program from Anna’s memorial service. The wolf in this painting is a lone wolf calling to the full moon. This wolf is meant to be a part of Anna and also a protector of her spirit as she walks in other worlds. The white light flowing from her to the wolf and eventually connecting with the swirl of energy in the universe around her symbolizes that she is a part of something bigger and more vast and interconnected than we can understand. I felt she understood this deep and powerful connection to all things and beings.
Eagle wings came through very strong. I am not clear why, but they had to be included. What came to me while painting them is a feeling that the wings are both a connection to the divine, the angelic realm, and a powerful symbol of freedom. Her freedom was connected to her passion for dance. It was important that the pose was of Anna dancing. Her gesture is one of surrender and hope. She is setting two beautiful orbs of light free. One is lavender/purple and the other is turquoise. These are meant to symbolize Nico and Skyla, her children.
I painted the suggestion of Anna’s wedding ring to symbolize her commitment and love for Matt and the life they made together. Her hand then gestures up to the child orbs that they created together.
The Inukshuck and stone circle labyrinth is all about Anna and Gail’s love and connection. Anna is dancing through the center of this spirit labyrinth based on the one that Gail built. Anna is bursting through the center of it, being held in Gail’s love by it, and also moving through it like there is an unseen veil of reality she could pass through to communicate.
The flower in Anna’s hair is the Hawaiian Plumeria blossom. Her love for Maui is represented by the tradition of wearing a blossom behind your ear. Maui was a place that Anna visited often. I received the message that Anna felt expanded on a personal and spiritual level here on Maui. It feels symbolic that I had the honor of creating this painting on the island of Maui.
Created with so much Love
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Oil on Panel | 24″ x 36″ | 2017
“Beach Walk” is a painting commissioned by Sarah Foley, the Vertical Blonde, to inspire her dream of walking again.
Sarah’s fantasy was to have a painting of herself walking on the beach. The intention I held while painting this piece was that it would inspire her every day to move forward towards her goal of walking again.
We are capable of bringing powerful change and healing to every cell of our bodies through thought, intention and dedication. I could see and feel Sarah walking again as I worked on this painting. I imagined myself charging up my paint brush with these energetic intentions and blasting them onto the panel through the brush strokes.
You can follow Sarah at www.verticalblonde.com
Oil on Panel | 22″ x 28″ | 2012
This painting came as a vision to express the feelings of surrender and gratitude. Going to the ocean to offer his prayers this gentle warrior kneels in the wet sand and feels his connection to Spirit. The light of his heart prayer can be seen in the wisps of white light emanating from his chest to the sky around him. A long shadow at his back at sunset and the soft hazy reflection of his body in the glassy sand are meant to symbolize the delicate and fleeting reality of our life as well as the imprints we leave behind.
Oil on Panel | 24″ x 36″ | 2014
Oil on Canvas | 42″ x 48″ | 2013
This painting is an example of the Memorial Paintings that can be commissioned to honor a loved one.
Margot Uceda Murphy arrived on the planet December 27th 1972. Breast cancer took her life last June at the age of 38. She is deeply missed by her husband, Mike, who commissioned me to paint his beautiful wife. Love transcends death. With deep gratitude I bow to this brave woman.
Mike chose a photograph of Margot from their wedding. Many stories were shared with me that I tried to incorporate into the painting. It was a powerful journey to work with Mike and his family. The final painting will be used as the cover image to a book Mike is writing. Working intimately with clients on this deeply emotional level is what I consider my greatest work as an artist and healer.
Oil on Panel | 18″ x 24″ | 2009