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Spirit Boat Series

Spirit Boat Series - Jennifer Ewing
Green River - Mixed Media Painting - 2012

My ever evolving series "Spirit Boats" gives me a chance to explore the form of a boat as a vessel imbued with personalized spirit.

Spirit boats came to me as a vehicle to relieve grief after loosing my father Paul in 2004. His death was the birth of my new work using the boat as my vehicle to navigate change. At the outset, my work incorporated my fatherís notes and numbers in my collage paintings as a way to keep his spirit alive. Being very close with my father, it was difficult to see him fail so fast after heart surgery. He died of a broken heart.

As the months passed Spirit Boats grew becoming alligned with a universal journey we share as humans. Spirit boats hold us as we travel. Canoes, kayaks, row boats, sail boats and rafts can get us safely to our chosen destinations. It is magical to envision riding in a symbolic vessel that can been taken as an extension of us. Each boat is a body, unique from all other bodies. A boat is timeless and is relevant to all cultures, creating a powerful archetype as a symbol of passage.

Spirit Boat Series - Jennifer Ewing
Open Studios Prints - 2013

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina provided many powerful images of little row boats, kayaks and canoes that people used to rescue stranded folks in the aftermath around the New Orleans area. These life boats saved many living beings. My body of work was also supercharged by the passing of my mother Mary in 2007, giving me the chance to also honor her in my art.

Real life events dovetailed with my metaphysical journey work. I was fortunate to be guided by Tereza Iniguez, my friend and curandera teacher, as she introduced me to a time honored practice of consulting and feeling my way to my inner spirit and wisdom. This opened a whole new vibrational experience that connects me to people, places and things that were not accessible before.

In my very first drum journey, a boat came to me and has been a major spirit guide ever since. I know it is a gift from my ancestors for me to explore and find my true calling. The boat takes different shapes but is always an invitation to go deeper.

During Shamanic drumming, my brain uses theta wave cycles as a route to an altered state. I am amazed at how much I continue to see and feel in my journeys. Being an extremely visual person, this practice expands my self investigation and helps keep me in tune with my purpose via a highly developed inner vision. The heart does not lie but the ego does. I keep this as the guiding principle when I do my art.

As a life long artist and extreme right brainer, meaning I am good at seeing the big picture and often disregard linear thinking, I have been able to pull the pieces of my life that have been most beneficial and combine them into a collection place, my own spirit boat. Each decade has brought me many gifts and they are all supporting me today. I feel fortunate to have boats in my life. If you have such a vessel, it can help you too.

Spirit Boats have taken their own journey along with me. They began as paintings and collage working with mixed media. Soon I found a way to use recycled water bottles and shopping bags to make sculptural boats. The 3d boats were grouped as installations that signify community. I am constantly exploring with work on paper, making drawings and prints. They are exhibited and offered in various venues. To share the process and my journey, I invite others to Spirit Boat Making Workshops and events.

Spirit Boat Series - Jennifer Ewing
Northern Lights - Mixed Media Painting - 2013

Jennifer Ewing
Developing Environments
540 Alabama Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Images appear courtesy of Jennifer Ewing.
Photos by Leo Germano.

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