Mary Jane Volkmann: A Short Biography
A bit more….
“My parents instilled in me a sense of wonder. One of my earliest memories as a little child is of my father waking me from a deep sleep and carrying me outside on his shoulders to see a big rainbow. I couldn’t see the rainbow but I do remember the strange green light emanating from the sky. Just next to our kitchen my mother had placed a little table on which was a lamp, plenty of paper and my own special box of colored crayons. While she prepared dinner I would sit and draw, making up stories and imagining different scenarios. When I would ask her how to draw something she would answer me with questions and then take me outside to look. Family trips were full of explorations and observations about the world around us, including the old “I spy something…. blue…crooked….ragged…” – or whatever. Our attic, including the ceiling, was wallpapered in travel posters from around the world. I particularly remember one long one, an advertisement for milk, which was a photograph of the children of the world in traditional costumes stretched out and holding hands across a high meadow. Not only did these experiences instill an insatiable curiosity within me, they ignited a passion for looking at the world around me in all its varied expressions, whether the silhouette of a tree twisted against the evening sky or the hills and valleys etched upon a human face. I find the greatest delight in being amazed at how a landscape can be transformed by both the time of day and the sudden changes of light and color when the weather can’t make up its mind and sets up a dance between the sun and the clouds. When I paint a face or a figure I ask myself so many questions about what it might be like to be that person, wherever in the world that might be.
There is a lovely passage which reads: “O my friend, listen with heart and soul to the songs of the spirit, and treasure them as thine own eyes.”* When I pick up my brush, I find myself inspired by these words and metaphorically listening for those songs, wondering where my process will take me and what I might discover on the journey. ”
“Upon the inmost reality of each and every created thing He hath shed the light of one of His names and made ita recipient of the glory of one of His attributes…” ~Baha’i Writings
*Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 37