The term 'Lumen Naturae - the light within the darkness of nature' refers to the middle age idea (Paracelsus c.1493-1541) that knowledge springs from the light of nature. This light in nature illuminates the consciousness and allows inspiration and intuition to rise from the human subconscious. This is the core of my study; this is what I want to capture with my paint. Not paintings defined as 'seascape' or 'landscape', but paintings so powerfully about nature that an open spirit responds with human emotion and an intuitive understanding of the power of nature itself.
This is a kind of alchemy, translating the raw material of my existence of the water and field, to unite the opposites - to integrate the conscious and the unconscious. To see this light that is hidden in the darkness is to become conscious, which frees the spirit that is hidden and trapped inside that materialized world. "speak to the earth, and it will teach you." I want to look intently, listen and paint this water, this land, for what it can reveal to my spirit.
I stand quietly and listen, look and feel in all kinds of wether, day and night - then come back to the studio to paint. Marks are made intuitively, paint hovers between abstraction and reality. My paintings have two levels - pure holy paint, and then a pull to the land or water without a second thought.. A painting is successful for Leif it reveals more than what is visible, and summons the essence of a place.
My canvas is covered in one go, alla prima. Intuition and experience - not images, rules or principles - guide my response to what I feel and see on the canvas. I want my work to be more than regional expression. My painting is successful if my paint astonishes me first with its physical presence, then summons the essence of a place.
When we look carefully at the land or sea, we come to the heart of who we are and connect with the earth. I want my paintings to have first a memory of ocean, water, air or land - then leave us an awareness that we are all nature.
Sheryl Budnik is a professional artist, with galleries in the Midwest and Long Island, NY. Grand Rapids' Armand Merizon and Reynold Weidennar were early mentors. She has a BFA degree from the University of Michigan and MFA degree from the Unversity of Wisconsin. Living and painting in Wisconsin after grad school, she exhibited work in New York, Chicago and the Midwest. Sheryl's contemporary, expressionistic oil paintings evoke land or sea, yet are intuitively painted — responding directly with the paint and surface. She was invited to be in three Schiffer Publishing books, '100 Midwest Artists', published 2012, 'Artist Homes and Studios', 2015, and 'Stars and Stripes: The Flag in Contemporary Art', also 2015. "For me, the act of expressive oil painting is very much alive. Gestural abstraction transforms a surface — with oils and pigments I can simultaneously evoke human emotion and experience, while suggesting the sea or landscape that we collectively share. "