Dispatch 19: Follow the Pull
Interview JEFFREY ROEDEL Photographs and Paintings ISLA MOON
"Hopefully I’m aware enough to paint with a spirit of life..."
Isla Moon probably sees paintings differently than you do. She can look upon them and, more often than not, see the future. Or at least a future. Sometimes hers. Sometimes it is for others. The Louisiana-based designer and painter served as artistic director for Wonder South’s Spring 2017 Look Book shoot on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain last year. More recently, the spiritually-minded artist who works in oil and watercolor ventured to Queen Creek, Arizona, to follow her muse, her “flow” as she describes it, and investigate the meaning that may arise when the things she renders with her brush emerge in her life away from the canvas in mysterious ways.
Going into the workshop, what was your goal? And did it meet your expectations?
I am really interested in the spirit realm and in prophecy, and I had noticed over the years that things that I would paint would sometimes come into being, as if I was painting my reality and maybe even foreshadowing it. I would get visions and paint them and not really connect the dots between what the Divine was actually inspiring within me and communicating to me. My intent going to this workshop was to find someone who could explain to me what this was. I had experienced it with myself but I had never heard of anyone else speak of it, so when I found the course being offered—through 'random' circumstances—I knew it was a pull from the Holy Spirit telling me to follow. So I just got in the car and followed the pull all the way to Arizona to find out. Following my flow in that way kind of makes my life like a fun treasure hunt for Divine Understanding and I am always met with things that exceed my expectations because that's how God works. I am always surprised by how the Universe chooses to speak to me and through me and show me it’s beauty.
It looks like you made time to stop at some scenic places along the way.
I pulled over on the side of the road a few times to catch the rainbow sunsets that occur in the desert. It’s like every single color stretches across the sky, even green hues can be seen which are very rare in a sunset. I loved seeing the dry landscapes and the mountains. The cacti were some great spirits to see, being from the wet bayou and all the water here, it was a beautiful juxtaposition of plant life.
For those unfamiliar, describe your work. What inspires your art the most?
My work is inspired by self healing. I am interested in all forms of healing, and I use art as a way to express, release, decipher, and administer healing to myself and others. I’m interested in color therapy and the emotional and spiritual bodies that we all have, how color and imagery affect us. I’ve been creating abstract 'SOULSCAPES' that I have been inspired to create that use color to heal individuals. I paint what I see necessary for a person's soul. After connecting with my client, I feel into what colors they may need that would lend them healing, and create an artwork for them that will lend healing and inform, encourage, and speak to the eternal connection within them.
"Everything in Nature speaks."
What is your strongest connection to Nature? By that I mean what in nature speaks to you and to your artwork the most?
Everything in Nature speaks to me, everything in nature speaks. If I had to choose, oh, its a hard choice, but I would have to choose animals. I think each animal has so much to teach us about how they live and interact with each other. Also trees are completely beautiful and wise, the stories and advice I have received from trees has been life changing. Next time you have a moment, go sit under a tree and begin to wonder. You will be surprised by the answers that come to you. All of God’s creation literally is exploding with radiant joy and bliss, wanting you to be healed and know that you are loved and limitless.
How do you feel about the new work you created at the workshop and what you've been working on since?
At the workshop, the art piece I created really blows my mind. The entire process, our instructor Elli Milan, kept saying “Stop thinking, don’t plan it...let the spirit move through you and create what It is wanting to create…get yourself out of the way," which was so freeing and also interesting because through my art education, there is so much emphasis put on planning your work, being intentional, sketching plans, really being very ‘left brained’ and analytical about your process. This approach was much more free-flow ‘don't think about it’ type of creating through which the actual Divine Source can flow through you. So you aren't necessarily spreading a message that you are contriving, but letting the Holy Spirit create a message through you. You, the artist, as the vessel.
Hopefully I’m aware enough to paint with a spirit of life, speaking light and love into reality. Being able to decipher the symbolism and message that an artwork is saying, is like reading a prophecy.
In what direction is your work headed?
I would like to start leading these workshops here in Baton Rouge and in New Orleans to awaken and educate people on their innate ability to hear from God, to be in communication with that Source. I believe it is very empowering for each individual to realize that God is always speaking. And to educate people on the different voices in our heads, which ones are life giving and the others that may be something different. There’s a connection that we all share and a power that truly resides within us. Love is always the answer.
Moon has a bachelor’s degree in painting and drawing from Louisiana State University, and has studied at the Burren College of Art & Design in Newtown Castle, Ireland, and at the University of Hawaii.
"There’s a connection that we all share and a power that truly resides within us. Love is always the answer."