‘Angels’ by Sylke Claridge

‘Angels’ by Sylke Claridge

Angels don't have wings.
Maybe Angels have small little wings.
Except when they have big huge wings.
Actually they have wings and they don't

I want to tell you about angels, angels within my pictures as symbols of love and angels within Feng Shui as I perceive them.
My study of Feng Shui combined with my art showed me a way to create a symbol of an angel that can be in every house reminding us that we are not fighting the battles alone. My "guardian angel" paintings are now serving this purpose in many houses in England, France and Germany.

I was raised in Germany by my grandmother who often told me fairy-tales such as those of the brothers Grimm and Hans-Christian Anderson. I listened to the story about a hero going on a quest and on his way to rescue the princess he encounters the advice of helpers in the form of animals or wizards or old wise people or - angels.

During my childhood years I was continually influenced by these external symbols of help. There was, for example, the nativity play at Christmas with Mary and Joseph, the three kings, and the Star as a guiding source to lead the way for the kings and shepherds to the stable in Bethlehem and the holy child.

I was given a children's version of the Bible and especially loved the stories which involved superhuman help. I sat there with big bright eyes as my grandmother read the story of Daniel and the Lions.

This was my childhood, warm summers, kite-flying on the harvested fields in autumn, winter and snow, and snowmen with a carrot for a nose, playing in the wood, frozen lakes for ice-skating and apples on the open fire. Fairy-tales and religious stories were told to help us children to distinguish good from bad and give us a foundation of ethics, morality and family values.

Then in my twenties I had a wild time painting myself standing in a disco at night whilst searching to find my hero - who finally found me and took me to another country... and another country...

Painting has always been important to me to give expression to my feelings: first love, lost love, flowers in spring, holidays in Greece, people searching for something. It helped me through transitions and several professional pursuits.

It kept me sane.

My daughter was born a year after we arrived in England, and with my two year old son, who was born in Paris, I started to view my life differently.

With children, we try to have an outlook that is positive despite being constantly drained of energy because of the sleep deprivation during the early years.
We explore the values we want to pass on to our children, from our tribal roots, from fairy-tales and from religion, all these sources are drawn upon as we guide our children through their early years.

This was the point at which I gave up my profession and started to treat painting as my new profession, my vocation.

In addition, about four years ago, I encountered Feng-Shui and William Spear and started to study Feng-Shui with him and later, Jan Cisek. I applied Feng-Shui to my own life, house and surroundings.
There was no single miracle, but many small things seemed to go "my way" for a change. We found our perfect house, we sold our car and my family broke out of the "cold and flu" cycle. These were subtle changes that brought peace and calm to our household.

It worked.

Discussing with friends the role of mothers and helpers we concluded that mothers are also Guardian Angels in the way we shepherd our 'little ones' in the right direction.

I continued to paint flowers for their uplifting energy and the beautiful landscapes in order to come closer to my new environment. But the concept of "guardian angels" kept coming into my mind. My children were the seed, Feng-Shui was the water to help the seed grow into the painting of my guardian angels.

I received my first guardian angel commission from a friend in Paris. It was to paint a series of angels who are holding a house and a garden in their protective arms. The title was, "And mothers are Guardian Angels too."

Interestingly, friends saw my guardian angel as someone to protect them, not just as a symbol of the protection they offered to their loved ones.

Then I started a second approach and developed my Angel flying over a hamlet, protecting it with its love and wings. Symbols followed as my theme developed into a series where each Angel is unique in its own way, but it always carries the same message. There is always a heart for love and a fish as a sign of peace somewhere to be found. My Angel paintings have summer or winter as a background, stars or blue sky, water-colour or pastels, three or five trees but always a quirky lovely angel flying above.

Angels also have a place in western Feng Shui. Within each bagua lies the area of Heaven which is the door open to helpful friends.
This area is the door through which helpful friends, supportive staff, baby sitters, good neighbours and "angels" of the figurative and real variety may enter your life. It also indicates that we ourselves are givers of any kind of help within our power. Putting a symbol or a painting of your Angel into this area energizes this place and attracts all those helpful friends and angels you wish for in your life.

It may also give you a protective feeling.

Angels were already acknowledged at the time of the Greeks. Plato outlined in his script the Republic that each person enters the world with a calling. The soul of each of us is given a unique daimon - or angel - before we are born, and it has selected an image or pattern that we should live on earth. This soul companion guides us here; in the process of arrival, however, we forget all that took place and believe we come empty into this world.

The angel remembers what is in our image and what belongs to our pattern, and therefore our angel is the carrier of our destiny.
This myth implies that we must attend very carefully in childhood to catch early glimpses of the Angel in action, to grasp its intentions and not block its way.

For centuries we have searched for the right term for this "calling". The Romans named it your genius; the Greeks, your daimon; and the Christians, your guardian angel.

Today, despite society's tendency towards a lack of religious commitment we still look for a deeper meaning. Inside, we are still raised with (and cling to) religious metaphors and would like a guiding force to help us through real and virtual life. Why not accept our guardian angel? It's easy to attract him. Just send out some love and believe.

I painted my own Guardian Angel some time ago. It is not that I want him to give me material possessions or to help me to win at the races, but I need him for spiritual guidance and to protect my loved one.
When I look at my Guardian Angel, I know he is there and he is ready for me when I need him.

' o Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side
To light, to guard, to rule and to guide.

Sylke Claridge, now living in Sydney, Australia, has been painting for 15 years and has exhibited her work in galleries in Munich, Berlin, Zurich, Paris, London, Cambridge and Harrogate. Her work, which includes Guardian Angels, bold landscapes and flowers, can be viewed on her website www.art2enjoy.com and each July as part of Cambridge Open Studios. Sylke's email address is sylke@art2enjoy.com