Sunday, November 18, 2018

The River of Forgetting

The River of Forgetting, Monotype print with 24k gold leaf by Brian Fisher  (22 1/2 x 29 in. )

In early Greek myth, Lethe was one of five rivers that flowed through the subterranean kingdom of Hades.  Souls who passed into Hades had need to forget the suffering they had endured, or perhaps, the torment they had inflicted.  So, if a soul were ever to achieve peace and reincarnate, that soul would drink from Lethe, the River of Forgetting and be cleansed of memory.   

My original print, "The River of Forgetting" will be on display during the VIVA Holiday Art Studio Tour, the first two weekends in December 1-2 & 8-9, Saturday & Sunday from 10am-4pm.  Maps are available at Vashon Island businesses and online at VIVArtists.

Thursday, November 15, 2018


Enkidu, mixed media monotype print on vintage linen over panel, Brian Fisher

“Dat ain't a mythic memory of pre-civilized humanity, dat's a song!”
Jimmy Durante sings Inkydo!

When Enkidu was a living myth, he and his best bro Gilgamesh were described and inscribed as cuneiform writing in clay.  Their story, The Epic of Gilgamesh, first written c. 2100 BCE recounts a king’s struggle with his fear of death, and his foolish quest for immortality.

Enkidu was created by the gods as match, equal, companion and (thank the gods) solution to the extreme passions Gilgamesh exhibited as ruler of the Sumerian city-state, Uruk.

Enkidu, a child of nature, roamed the plains of Mesopotamia (land between the rivers, modern Iraq).  His friends were beasts and he protected them by thwarting hunters and destroying their traps.  Gilgamesh eventually sends a priestess of Innana (goddes of love, sexual desire, fertility, war and justice), to tame him, resulting in a prolonged sexual encounter. Enkidu’s loss of innocence is quite unique in early writing and describes a moving journey from "child of nature" to “civilized” being.

Above is my mixed media rust monoprint, Enkidu. He will be on display during the VIVA Holiday Art Studio Tour, the first two weekends in December 1-2 & 8-9, Saturday & Sunday.  Maps available at Vashon Island businesses and online at VIVArtists.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


"Gilgamesh," mixed media rust print on vintage linen, Brian Fisher

The Epic of Gilgamesh, regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature,  is an ancient Sumerian poem describing the life and ambitions of Gilgamesh the demigod, hero and king of the Sumerian city-state of Uruk.

The story first describes Gilgamesh as larger than life, beautiful to behold, with an expansive imagination and passions.  He’s the epitome of the civilized man.  He’s a builder, a dreamer but as it turns out, he’s also a despot.

His abused and oppressed subjects pray to the gods for deliverance.  The gods respond by creating an opposite, a match, for Gilgamesh.  His name is Enkidu. He’s a natural, a wild man who's friends are the beasts of the wild.  They brawl when they meet but learn quickly to respect each other. It’s a twenty-seventh century B.C.E. bromance.

With Enkidu’s tempering influence the great city of Uruk is finally ruled by a just and wise King.  Gilgamesh however is not content. His burning ambition for fame and immortality lead him and Enkidu to another adventure.

I’m leaving the story of Gilgamesh here for now.  I’ll write more as I share the Gilgamesh related images I am working on that depict this earliest recorded Hero’s Journey.

Check out my mixed media rust monotype print “Gilgamesh” during the VIVA, 2018 Holiday Vashon Island Art Studio Tour, December 1-2 & 8-9. 10-4pm!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Night Sky

"Night Sky," Brian Fisher, monotype print, 24k gold

I've been thinking about SKY and making art about it for several years.  In the VIVA Holiday Art Studio Tour, December 1-2 & 8-9, I will exhibit at least 10 images that are related to sky myths, sky gods and the cosmos.  This is "Night Sky". 

“I know that I am mortal by nature, and ephemeral; but when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies I no longer touch the earth with my feet: I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia”
― Ptolemy

Claudius Ptolemy wrote Almagest or Syntaxis, his influential treatise on the apparent motions of the stars and of planetary paths, in about 150 AD. He postulated an incorrect though influential cosmology that would become the basis of our understanding of the cosmos and our place in it for the next 1,200 years.  However wrong his geocentric treatise, it included and kept alive ancient Greek trigonometry that is essential to current, scientific, explanation of our universe.

It is the imaginative mind searching for explanation that I celebrate in "Night Sky" my monotype print with 24k gold leaf. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Lethe and the River of Forgetting

In early Greek myth, Lethe was one of five rivers that flowed through the subterranean Kingdom of Hades.  Souls who passed into Hades had need to forget the suffering they had endured, or perhaps, the torment they had inflicted.  So, if a soul were ever to achieve peace and reincarnate, that soul could drink from Lethe, the River of Forgetting and be cleansed of memory.   
Check out "Lethe and the River of Forgetting" now and during the VIVA Holiday Art Studio Tour at Gather Vashon Gallery, 17600 Vashon Hwy SW, Vashon, WA 98070.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Pazzi, Sacred Circle

"Pazzi, Sacred Circle" by Brian Fisher, original digital print

Filippo Brunelleschi designed the Pazzi Chapel, part of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, Italy as a perfect space, a circle within a square with harmonious vertical proportions, for Andrea de’ Pazzi in 1429.  The vibrantly glazed terracotta dome beneath its portico was created by Luca della Robbia and is the inspiration for my original digital print Pazzi.  Today the chapel is used as the chapter house by Santa Croce friars.

Monday, November 5, 2018


Beltane, by Brian Fisher, monotype print with 24k gold, 14 x 14 in.

Today, acknowledging the change of Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time, I thought I’d post work about seasonal change.

My print Beltane, (the return of the sun) was originally created and exhibited at the Tacoma Art Museum in response to artist Doris Lee’s “Maypole" in the TAM print collection. Beltane will again be exhibited for sale during the VIVA Art Studio tour, Dec. 1-2 & 8-9, 10-4 pm at Fisher Studio, stop no. 21, at 23520 147th Ave. SW.

Beltane or May Day celebrates the beginning of summer and is halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.  It’s one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals including Lughnasadh (beginning of harvest in early August), Samhain (celebrating the end of harvest and the beginning of winter at the end of October) and Imbolc (meaning in the belly or womb, and the beginning of spring in early February). These seasonal rituals were celebrated and performed to encourage fertility, bounty and protect people, cattle and crops.

Beltane was ritually celebrated in Scotland, Ireland and on the Isle of Man with bonfires where flame and smoke were thought to have protective powers and all household fires were extinguished and relit from the Beltane bonfire.

The celebration of Beltane was already an ancient tradition when Rome conquered Gaul in 58 BC and the custom was assimilated into Rome’s Festival of Flora, a five-day ceremony, in the same season, to honor the Roman goddess of flowers, vegetation, and fertility.

This holiday continues to be one of the most popular customs in Europe and Mayday celebrants hold colorful ribbons and dance around a maypole, changing direction and repeating the step, creating pattern around a pole, symbolizing the lengthening of the days as summer begins.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Borgund, Sacred Circle

"Borgund" Sacred Circle, Brian Fisher, original digital art

Scientists who look at the spiral building blocks of nature, our DNA, find stacked interlocking circles. From the whorls of our fingertips, the irises of our eyes, to our cells and the egg that gave each of us life, we are manifestations of the circle.

My images about circle reflect it’s symbolic nature. Their names reference the sacred sites, temples, cathedrals, that more often than not were built and built again upon already sacred sites. 

My print Borgund references a medieval wooden church located at Borgund in Lærdal Norway beside the Sognefjord.  It is one of the best preserved stave churches in Europe and combines Christian motifs and Viking themes. Related to timber framing, a stave church is built with post-and-beam construction and it’s wall frames are filled with vertical planks.

The walls and doors of Borgund church are heavily carved with runic inscriptions.  Near an entrance column one carved inscription translates, “Thorir carved these runes on the eve of Olavs-mass, as he travelled past here. The Norns (Fates) created measures of good, evil, and great toil before me.”

The Norns that Thorir described are of pre-Christian, Norse myth and are the dieties of fate present at every birth. Their names are Urd “What Once Was”, Verdandi “What Is Coming into Being”and Skuld “What Shall Be. 

I like that the Borgund church, built as a Christian place of worship, included other ways of seeing because we are never one thing or another but always we are all things. 

Check out Borgund and my other Sacred Circles during the VIVA Art Studio Tour, Saturdays and Sundays, December 1-2 & 8-9, 2018.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The West Wind, Zephyrus

"The West Wind"  Monotype Print with 24 k gold leaf by Brian Fisher, Image 14x14 in.

Zephyrus was one of the four Anemoi, (Wind-Gods) representing the cardinal points of the compass.  A son of Titans Astraeus and Eos, Zephyrus personified the West Wind.  His brothers were Boreas, the North Wind, Notus, the South Wind, and Eurus, the East wind.

In ancient Greece the West Wind, Zephyrus, was thought to live in a cave on Mount Haimos, (Balkan Mountains) in Thrace.  He was worshiped as the gentle and fertile harbinger of Spring.

My Aunt Fern first told me of Zephyrus when I was 12 as we traveled West aboard the California Zephyr, the scenic and historic passenger train, named for him, that ran between Chicago, Illinois and Oakland, California via Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Reno Nevada.

My monotype print “The West Wind” will be exhibited for sale during the 2018 Vashon Art Studio
Holiday Tour, Saturdays & Sundays, December 1-2 & 8-9.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Quartermaster Press at Tacoma Art Museum

Pics from QMP artists Collography demonstration.
PRESSING FORWARD – Layered Perspectives in Printmaking, the Quartermaster Press Exhibit at Tacoma Art Museum’s Cheney Classroom that opened July 11 is still on exhibit until September 27, 2018.

Eight Quartermaster Press artists accepted the challenge to create new work inspired by the Tacoma Art Museum's print collection.  The resulting exhibit is a spectrum of print process with etchings, linocuts, collagraphs, and monotypes and is as visually complex and compelling as the work that was it's inspirational source.

Artists Patricia Churchill, Debi Shandling Crawford, Brian Fisher, Sue Hardy, Suzanne Moore, Christina Nichols, Jayne Quig and Deborah Taylor originally worked from online images to create their prints.  In mid July they were able to see the original artwork that initially inspired them.

QMP members have also demonstrated collography and monotype print process during the course of the exhibit.  Above and below are a few photo highlights from the  Quartermaster Press exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum.

QMP artists review prints from TAM's collection.  Artists Doris Lee, and Karen Ganz, inspired my new work!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Catch Us While You Can

Brian Fisher, "Summer of '84, Babylon Beach NY", Oil on panel, 24 x 24 in.

“Festival 25, Catch Us While You Can”, a month-long celebration of visual artists and musicians who have shaped Vashon island’s cultural landscape for 25 years or more, opens Friday, Sept. 7 at 6 PM.

The festival is hosted by Open Space, sponsored by VIVA, Vashon Events, and 4Culture.   Envisioned and curated by artist and arts advocate Christine Beck, Festival 25 embodies the wealth of creativity that is foundation to the artistic Vashon we know and love.

Visual artists each selected a work from their creative past and a piece that is representative of what they are currently making. My oil on panel, “Summer of ’84”,  painted in 1989, is one image from the Dance of Death series I was working on when I moved to Vashon.

Kat Eggleston, One More Mile, Portage Fill Big Band and Bob Krinsky perform for the opening. The party continues throughout the month with gallery hours each weekend except Sept. 14 to 16.

Salon discussions with participating visual artists are held once a week with a final weekend festival of visual and performing arts.

For complete information please visit

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Save the Last Dance for Me, the Red Shoes Show at VCA

Save the Last Dance for Me

Once upon a time “Red Shoes” were linked to status, wealth and power.  The cost of red dyes like cochineal, and madder
, used to die cloth and leather, made them affordable only to the rich. Popes, Emperors and Kings wore red shoes to symbolize a divine right to rule.  By the late 18th century red shoes had become a sign of aspirational fashion for men and for women.

When author Hans Christen Anderson published “The Red Shoes” in 1845 he linked Christian themes of sin, pride, disobedience and redemption to a Danish folk tale and red shoes took on a darker meaning.  His protagonist Karen and by extension women who wore red shoes, became cultural transgressors of the acceptable feminine norm.  Red shoes were recast as symbols of passion, as uncontrollable urges and in Anderson’s version, red shoes possessed a will of their own…to dance. The only way Karen could stop dancing was by having her feet and shoes removed by axe.  

Since Anderson’s characterization, red shoes have become a malleable symbol applied to issues of women’s agency and physical journey, to dance/dancers, role play, gender and the edges of cultural boundaries.  In 1939 red shoes were transformed in a new narrative as “Ruby Slippers” in the film version of L. Frank Balm’s “The Wizard of Oz”. 

This Oz story is a classic Hero’s Journey. When Dorothy’s house, by way of Kansas and tornado, lands on and kills the Wicked Witch of the East in a world somewhere over the rainbow, Dorothy claims and wears the ruby slippers worn by the witch.  Like Anderson’s version of “The Red Shoes”,  Dorothy is unable to remove the shoes once she slips them on, but these shoes (she will eventually discover) respect the wishes of their wearer!

Dorothy Gail,  in short order, excepts the call to adventure, makes exceptional friends while sharing a message of love and acceptance and achieves the prescribed goal.  She and the friends who have accompanied her on this journey are empowered by facing personal fears and through reliance upon each other.  They are rewarded with recognition of their innate abilities and the confidence to be themselves.  Dorothy returns “Home” enlightened and self aware.

My print “Save The Last Dance For Me” celebrates true love and being being true to oneself.  It’s one moment in a series of images exploring gender role play and same sex relationship. Leo and Lang are the characters in this personal exploration of two hearts who find each other and themselves.  

The Red Shoe Show, Curated by Kathleen Kinney, opens Friday July 27, 6-9 PM at Vashon Center for the Arts during the Vashon Summer Arts Fest.  Additional evening opening will be August 3 and August 10, 6-9PM.  Gallery hours: Monday-Friday 10-5, Saturday Noon-5