About the Artwork

The paintings that follow are a sampling of the work I've done over the past forty years. They are in oils and acrylics on canvas primarily. There is a section devoted to other mediums. The photos of the paintings are published in small size, but detail shots may be enlarged.

These pieces have been organized into the Four Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Each blog entry will present another element.

I do have prints of many of the pieces. Please contact me by email at www.moriainsantafe@yahoo.com regarding purchases of originals or prints. Some of these pieces are also available on t-shirts, canvas bags, and other objects on my Cafepress website (see sidebar).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Earlier Paintings

In this post I cover the time from attending the University of California at Santa Cruz through my years in upstate New York, and into our time in Pennsylvania, when I was immersed in running a bookstore and raising twins. 
These paintings share a common frontal approach which related to medieval altarpieces. The tend to be heavily symbolist. In my younger days I thought a lot!

The Circle of Life

This small oil was one of the first things I did when I went to UC Santa Cruz. It reveals my interest from an early age in the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Later this became central to my spiritual path.

Oil on Canvas, 8" X 10" 
NFS/Personal Collection


Intertwinned is a self portrait I did in college around 1972. It contains very personal and significant imagery regarding my relationship with my closest friend, and my art. All tied together...

Oil on canvas, 30" X 40"
NFS/Private Collection, California

The Rape of Mary

This is a portrait of one of my college friends. A virgin, she was being pressed by a male friend to have sex. All the peer and societal pressure of the time (1972) was on this young woman, who had only her own will to hold up against it. This situation led me to think about the patriarchal idea that the Virgin Mary would have been thrilled to learn she was being impregnated by God. Maybe yes, maybe no.

Oil on Canvas, 32" X 48"
NFS/Private Collection, California


This oil, painted in my studio in Ithaca, NY, was my first serious attempt at painting after a long hiatus. I had spent the years following graduation first traveling in Latin America, and then pursuing a back-to-the-land lifestyle with my husband to-be, Steve (We've now been married 32 years!).
This piece harks back to Intertwinned. But whereas that piece dealt with an outer relationship, this one delves into the chthonian realm of my subconsious to try to recognize and reclaim a part of myself which had long been buried.

Oil on Canvas, 30" X 36"
Prints Available

The King Must Die

This piece relates to one in the post titled Fire, the painting of the antlered being in Willing Sacrifice. I grew up as a Christian, but my spiritual quest led me down other, older paths. I learned that the concept of a sacrifice made for the benefit of the people was an ancient and wide-spread idea. I examined it in this painting, identifying both with the sacrificial king, and with the loving hands pressed against his breast in farewell.

Oil on Canvas, 24" X 36"

Monday, April 5, 2010


The joy of having pure water in the desert cannot be imagined if you haven't experienced it. Agua Es Vida say the people of the land...water is life! Water as a mystical element is the symbol of the West. It is the carrier of our emotions, our deep feelings. The paintings in this section reflect these meanings.

Water in the River

We built our home right on the Santa Fe River. Unfortunately, this is the same river which last year was designated the most endangered in the US. When water flows, it is a beautiful place. In this vision I free the river to be it's natural self. A lucid dreamer soars beneath the clouds, dreaming it into reality.

Oil on Canvas  24" X 30"
Prints Available

details of Water in the River

In the Box Canyon

If you have seen my blog Exploring Around Santa Fe, you know that I love to explore rarely visited locations in this area. Often I'm accompanied only by my dog. This canyon is one I discovered not far out of town. The skull was there, the water was there, the coyote, if he was there, made himself invisible. But I felt his presence.

Oil on Canvas 48" X 60"

details of In the Box Canyon

Animas Creek

Animas Creek flows west out of the wild Gila Mountains in southern New Mexico, until it reaches the Rio Grande. Driving across the mesa you would never know of the magical place just a few yards away, until you came right to the lip of the canyon. The road drops precipitously into a deep V carved out of the dry slope by the creek. The bottom land is a verdant oasis. Here are to be found the largest Arizona sycamores East of the Continental Divide. Thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers, the creek has been channelized to protect the farms and homes in the valley from floods. Unfortunately, this also prevents the conditions necessary for new sycamores to germinate, guaranteeing that this will be the end of this remarkable grove. Unless...
Oil on Canvas 30" X 40"

Agua Es Vida

Again, the sacred element of water in the desert, this time based on a trip to Nambe Falls. The colors are exaggerated, the feeling is not.

Acrylic on Paper 18" X 24"
Prints Available

Red Vein/Green Vein

Another waterfall, this one in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains above Santa Fe. A layer of bright red rock ran diagonally through the matrix, echoed by the green line following the water course. It was an indelible image. My mother dislikes my inclusion of nudes in the landscapes. I can only say that that is how I have always love to experience these special places, and it feels quite right and natural to me to have them there. Sorry, Mom!

Acrylic on Paper  18" X 24"
Prints Available

Creation/The Goddess Runs Amok

I once painted a grand portrait of Astarte, having just discovered her existence by selecting and opening a book at random in a huge college library. This smaller version contains many of the elements of the earlier painting. Creative abandon!

Acrylic on Paper 18" X 24"
Prints Available

Gathering Wild Leeks

This little oil, although it was a self portrait from my days in the hills of upstate New York (yes, I actually did go into the woods, took off my clothes, and dug ramps), was painted soon after our move to New Mexico. Impressionistic in style, I think it was an attempt to reclaim that sense of moisture in the air. The ramps only grew in wet seeps on the north-facing slopes. It was as different from the arid Southwest as one could imagine.

Oil on Canvas, 16" X 20"
Prints Available


Fire is the element of high energy, beyond the physical plane. The paintings I've placed in this section take a step beyond the physical as well. The cardinal direction ruled by fire is the South. It is the direction of high summer, of passion, of the full rich joy of life. Fire is the spark which drives us.

The Willing Sacrifice

This painting came directly from a vision I had during a particularly intense shamanic drum circle. I found myself in a cave during a ceremony, where a figure with a deer head offered himself for the well-being of the people. His Christ-like attitude was branded into my mind. I felt I was bearing witness to the true birth of the sacrificed god, and I had to paint the scene. 

Acrylic on Paper 18" X 24"
Prints Available
detail below

Thought and Memory

This image, of a volcanic eruption in cruciform, blazed in my mind's eye for weeks. The only cure was to paint it. The title comes from the names of Odin's two ravens, which brought him the news of the world as he hung on the tree to attain wisdom. Another sacrifice. This painting actually contains all four elements, interacting.

Oil on Canvas 24" X 30"
Prints Available

Hail Bopp!

This loosely painted impression was created immediately after returning from a trip to the Gila Mountains of southern New Mexico. There we spent time at the City of Rocks. This was at the time when a cult committed mass suicide, believing that their space brothers would carry their souls away on the newly discovered comet, Hale-Bopp; remember? My mind drew the images of the clustered forms in the tufa formation together with the huddled bodies of the cultists, and came up with this.

Oil on Canvas 18" X 36"


Subtitled The Goddess Dabbles In Her Favored Medium, this painting is a kind of surreal self-portrait of my inner artist. My Tibetan Buddhist friends tell me it depicts something called "putting on the rainbow body". That works, too.

Oil on Canvas 24" X 30"
NFS/Private Collection, New Mexico
Prints Available

details of Iris

These details, I think, make rather nice abstract compositions!

Inner Space/Outer Space

Painting without plan or attachment to results, I drew from deep and personal realities to bring this image to light.
Oil on Canvas 30" X 40"
details of Inner Space/Outer Space below

Note that this is one painting which can be hung in any orientation!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


In the category titled Air, I've place some of the more ethereal of my paintings. Here in the high desert the skies may be even more entrancing than the landscapes. The most powerful climactic spectacles tend to occur during our monsoon season, when awe-inspiring thunderheads fling lightening across the sky, and pummel the land with pounding male rains. Not all of these paintings are strictly about the atmospheric references to air, as you will see.

Air is the element of the East, of the gentle breeze of dawn, of springtime, new beginnings, and hope for the future.

Storm Runner

Storm Runner is perhaps my most popular painting. It was inspired by close encounters with the powerful summer monsoonal storms of this part of the country. In the lower right hand corner you can just see the curandera, hurrying home after gathering herbs in the hills. Overhead a hawk soars on the updrafts of the storm front. Which one is the runner?

Oil on Canvas 30" X 40"
Prints available

Storm Runner details

Creation Chaos

In this painting I let go and dive deep into my imagination. This is what came out on a day of high energy. I see the big bang, the coalescence of stars and planets from cosmic dust, the beginning of life.
Oil on Canvas  24" X 30"
Prints Available
detail below

Aravaipa View

Arriving unexpectedly in Tucson at our friends' home, I was delighted to be presented with an extra pass to Aravaipa Canyon. This protected sacred place is a deep, narrow canyon of red rock, towering over a shallow emerald creek of clear, cold water. Wildlife is abundant, with the wealth of ready water year round. Looking straight up this was my view. Optimistic vultures circled my prone body, hoping I wouldn't be getting up again. It was so lovely there, I almost didn't.

Acrylic on Paper 24" X 24"
NFS/Private Collection, New Mexico

Mesa Verde Thunderstorm

We visited Mesa Verde one summer soon after moving to New Mexico. The memory of black clouds sweeping down upon us as we stood at a view point is still vivid! The lightening seems to illuminate the glowing chamisa.
Acrylic on Paper 20" X 24"
NFS/Private Collection, Israel

Sandia Sunrise

On the way to Albuquerque, early one morning, I saw the most remarkable array of various cloud formations hovering over the mountains. I memorized the display, and painted them from the viewpoint of a soaring eagle. Many see the fog flowing over the ridge as ocean waves...that's fine, too.

Oil on Canvas 12" X 16"
NFS/Private Collection, New Mexico
Prints Available

Coming Home

After visiting a native Pueblo, tucked into a protected valley in the mountains, and seeing the traditional Hispanic villages of Northern New Mexico, I created this scene. It is a melding of different sites around the state. The father is returning with his weary burro, carrying a load of firewood, just ahead of a late spring snowstorm.  His sun has run up to hasten him on his way, while the mother waves from their doorway.

Oil on Canvas 24" X 32"
NFS/Private Collection, New Mexico
Prints Available


To me this painting carries the subtitle: He Is Missing It. The figure is surrounded by sheltering rocks, forms derived from the tufa formations at City of Rocks in Southern New Mexico. He concentrates on getting a fire going, so he will be comfortable. But by focusing so intently on his physical comforts, he is missing the cataclysmic vision just out of sight beyond the rocks. I know I've been guilty of this at times.

Acrylic on paper 18" X 24"
NFS/Private Collection, California
Prints Available


These are the paintings I've placed into the category of "Earth"; they are about the energy of the land. I never painted landscapes until I moved to New Mexico, over fifteen years ago. I was moved by the powerful imagery of geological forces which are so clearly seen in the desert environment. earth is the element of the North, of the time of deep cold, of turning within. Dreams and deep wisdom, waiting and planning.

Cliff Swallows

This is a large painting of a nearby location where I love to hike with my dog, Cassidy. A flow of magma was laid over earlier sedimentary strata, resulting in these dramatic layers. You can see photos of this site in my blog www.exploringaroundsantafe.blogspot.com
Oil on canvas  36" X 36"
Original $6500
Prints available

detail of Cliff Swallows

Passage II 

The City of Rocks is the site if this sensual portal.  This National Monument, situated just beyond the southwestern end of the Gila Mountains, is an incredibly sculpted fantasyland of male and female forms, carved by wind and rain from soft tufa, rock composed of compressed volcanic ash.
Oil on canvas 22" X 28"
Prints available

Ghost Tree

On the Waldo Mesa, searching for the ghost town of Waldo (all that I found was a row of Osage Orange trees), I glimpsed this remnant of the past. 
Oil on Canvas 11" X 14"
Prints available

The Journey's Guide

Our good friend Alec was our guide on a deep journey in the arroyos that plunge off the mesa towards the Rio Grande. We hiked this canyon around New Year's, and found the vital forces amazingly strong along the water course in the dead of winter. 
Oil on canvas 18" X 24"

Place of Spirits

The Dar Al Islaam mosque stewards this land which I so dearly love. Plaza Blanca was formed by the erosion of another tufa formation, but in a way that makes it completely different from the soft curves of the City of Rocks.I have been there many times, and have always had powerful experiences within the spiraling arroyos and towering chimneys. I painted this piece immediately after visiting this magical landscape for the first time.

Acrylic on paper 16" X 20"
Prints available

Earth Angel

The Deva, the guardian spirit of our world. She envelopes the Earth as a mother does her baby, nurturing and protecting this precious vessel of life...or so I imagine.
Oil on Canvas 16" X 20"