I had decided that I needed a vacation and that Sedona was the place I wanted to go and unwind. Sedona Arizona is known for its natural beauty and spiritually oriented community. Shortly after that decision the universe responded and sent me a client commission for a Kokopelli painting. Kokopelli is a common flute playing figure in Southwestern Native American cultures.
My client asked that I include Red Rocks and to tell the story of Kokopelli in the painting. The piece was intended to be hung in their new Arizona home.
I had a great time doing the research for the “Kokopelli Nights” painting. The more red rocks I looked at the more I couldn’t wait for my trip. I read several stories about Kokopelli from various tribes.
Kokopelli was a spirit responsible for agriculture and fertility. There were many interesting stories that gave me ideas for images to paint.
In the painting Kokopelli stands on top of a cliff overhang playing his flute. His music drifts down to the adobe village below where its residents celebrated his yearly return. Kokopelli’s coming signaled the end of winter and the beginning of spring. He carried with him a backpack full of corn seeds. As he traveled from village to village he would spread the corn seed and plant crops for the villagers.
In one version of the story Kokopelli grows a giant cornstalk and leads some of the people to a new world in the clouds. Sound like any story you are familiar with? Jack and the beanstalk comes to my mind. The leading of people into a new world is actually quite a common story in shamanistic cultures.
In the lower left of the painting I included my version of a traditional native american blanket weaving pattern. Below Kokopelli I made petroglyphs with various animals and symbols including Kokopelli himself. The spiral was also a symbol of growth, evolution and fertility in many Native America cultures so I included it as a giant vortex in the sky.
My Client was very pleased with the painting. A few weeks after delivering the painting I finally got to go on my Sedona trip.
I enjoyed several hikes through the beautiful red rock valleys carved out by the ocean many centuries ago. I went on a vortex hike with a local spirit guide named Rahelio. If you are ever in Sedona and want to do some light hiking with guided meditations Rahelio is the best. He leads you to some special places not on any tourist map. During the meditations among the red rocks he plays his drum and flute creating a truly spiritual experience. You can check out his website at Rahelio.com.
Sedona was a great place to visit and I know I will be back. I felt a connection with that place. People also responded very well to my art work there and I made a few connections to get my art prints into a few stores in the area during the trip.
Going to Sedona and seeing the amazing red rocks will definitely inspire a few more paintings in the future. They are a beautiful subject to explore with endless possibilities on the canvas.