Phi: Infinity, unity and beauty



Day 01 01, the start of a new circle around the sun through the space-time continuum.
“Phi [ϕ]”, spirals us to infinity beyond and within. Based on the Carina Nebula, we are brought to the inner chambers of the heart; light and energy generated millions of years ago, breaking through the shadows and darkness of outer and inner space. Painted on copper with hand-mixed paints formulated with mica, copper and other earthbound stardust.

Named after the Greek alphabet representing the mathematical golden ratio 1.618 that represents unity. Unity – oneness, nothingness and everything at once, pure beauty.

I ask that you first look at the image of my painting before reading this document. I don’t want to influence your initial impressions. I want you to experience it as I did, as a slow revelation, an unveiling.


Golden Ratio Spiral Overlay of earlier stage painting

Fibonacci Spiral_painting_3 crosses

Fibonacci Spiral_painting_3 crosses earlier stage painting

Painting with 'Fruit of Life" overlay

Painting with ‘Fruit of Life” overlay earlier stage


As with all paintings it began simply enough, a gorgeous piece of scrap copper 8′ in length by 3′ wide. My colleagues suggested I cut it into smaller, more digestible pieces to create reasonably sized paintings that would sell. But I had my eye on larger things, the universe to be precise, specifically, the Carina nebula that has been imaged from the (Hubble) (spell check auto correct-Heart bible) Telescope. Because of the predominance of copper color in the nebula I felt it would be suitable to make the most out of the semi precious metal.

One cannot paint the universe without feeling the divine nature within.  As an artist with interests in science, theology and philosophy, I began to ask God for clarity. Sometimes when we ask we get answers. The messages that I received are very personal, I ask that you take what you please and leave the rest. I am merely sharing my experiences over the last six months, all which seem to be a part of the journey of this painting. For me they came in symbols and signs that I tried to interpret to my human best. Over the course of several months, while painting, I was also contemplating quantum theory and infinity.

As I painted the heavenly body I felt the presence of spirit and God draw near while at work as well as during the course of my day to day life. Nebula gases and light/energy took on shapes under the brush. One shape that took form was that of a heart. It was as if the pulse of electro-magnetic energy pumped through the heart dispersing it into arcs. As I painted the chambers of the heart I received a message that it was the heart of Mother Mary. Shooting out from the heart chambers,  at the right, an arc of energy took on the shape of a dove, the Holy Spirit.

In late summer, I received a text about the condition of a dear friend’s heart while browsing in an antiques shop and viewing a painting of the Mother Mary with the Immaculate Heart. The heart had blades protruding from Mary’s chest cavity. The heart is depicted as pierced with seven wounds or swords, in homage to the seven sorrows of Mary.

I continued painting in the basic shapes, experimenting with colors and ways of applying the paint, including steel-wooling areas to reveal areas of copper. Then bringing in a photo of the early stages of the painting into Photoshop I began to create overlays. I set about finding the golden ratio(s) within the composition. I realized that if I put a square at either side I wound up with a near perfect golden ratio rectangle in the middle. By overlaying the spirals I found that the center of the composition became infinity, unity. In setting up a grid to follow across the center lines I realized it had created the three crosses of the crucifix. I also found that the seed of life in sacred geometry overlay the middle ‘cross’/’unity’ center.

Interesting bits of information became more cohesive on a clear October day in New York City, shortly after I had created the grid in Photoshop. It started with a text from my sister, she had found at her feet, while in church, the program from the Easter service two years prior. This was her first return to the church after we had attended the Palm Sunday service together that same year. I walked up to the Guggenheim and viewed the works of Agnes Martin, “Beauty and Truth”, whose abstract grids represent concepts. On my way back to the train I saw a sea of purple parading through Times Square, with a picture of the Crucifix held high in the air.

When I asked what the parade was about I was told it’s about the miracles. The miracles are about a painting, Señor de los Milagros, painted by a slave from Angola in colonial Lima, Peru. Christ is shown enduring the pain of crucifixion. Above the cross is the Dove-Holy Spirit and God the Father. Below and to the right of Jesus is his mother, the Virgin Mary with her heart pierced by a metaphorical sword of sorrow. Its name originated in the 17th century during an earthquake, which destroyed most of the city leaving only the painting standing. Every year in October, hundreds of thousands of devotees from all races and economic backgrounds participate in a religious procession honoring the image through the streets of Lima.*

In November, after a Rembrandt lecture by John Walsh, at the Yale Art Gallery, by happenstance, I was privileged to view some Rembrandt etchings without the glass obscuring any details. One etching depicted the scripture from the Easter program that my sister had found, Christ at Emmaus, Luke 24:31, “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”

In December, I completed the painting, putting on the last strokes, just before surrendering my studio to my sons for their Christmas visit. So is this a modern day version of the crucifixion or more akin to spirituality or perhaps just a thing of beauty, a reverence to science? Just perhaps it is all of the above. Thank you for being a part of my journey. Wishing you a year full of unity, of pure beauty!

*Information found on the Internet, Wikipedia.