Antevasin – Living at the Border

June 15th, 2007

"Betwixt and Between" is 12"x12" with collaged elements and acrylic paint on cradled clayboard. I was up late last night working on this one because sometimes once I get started it's hard to stop. I even got up ridiculously early to finish it, varnish it and take a picture. I need to get into a better rhythm with art-making, so that I'm not always up in the middle of the night painting. Perhaps it has just been the feeling of the last few paintings that have made them want to come out at night. The fiansor calls the last three women (Winter Moon, The Lighthouse, and this one), Castlevania I, II, and III because the shape of the figure reminds him of a character on an old video game that he downloaded for his x-box awhile ago. Oy. But they're not at all related to that character.

I had a funny bit of synchronicity with this one. I was in bed sketching this image that kept popping into my head and then I opened up Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (which I finished this week. Great book.) And there I read about the word she had chosen for herself, "antevasin," a sanskrit word meaning "one who lives at the border." Apparently, in ancient times this was a person who left the bustling city life to live at the edge of the forest where the spiritual masters dwelled. Gilbert relates to this word as one who is between worlds. And I laughed thinking of how the woman in my sketch was there at the edge of the forest, in between worlds.

In a comment regarding "The Lighthouse", Tammy mentioned the divine feminine, which she relates to "having gone into dark places and brought back what you found." This made me think of the story of Demeter and Persephone and resonated for me as I looked at that painting. Here in this new painting, the feeling is similar, of a guide that leads the way through the dark forest. She is an in-between figure. The idea of being betwixt and between reminds me of a passage from Rumi:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
    Don't go back to sleep.
    You must ask for what you really want.
    Don't go back to sleep.
    People are going back and forth across the doorsill
    where the two worlds touch.
    The door is round and open.
    Don't go back to sleep.

The crow appeared in later sketches, as I was thinking about Jessie's question regarding a crow that speaks to me and my response. The crow is also an in-between worlds sort of character. And because the crow gave me the world "trust" I included that word in the collage near him. Oh, and Tammigirl, I used some of your collage elements in this one! Thank you! :-)

Tonight, I'm off to NYC for the fiansor's brother's wedding. I'm feeling totally anxious about it for some odd reason. I'm nervous for them (it's going to be a really wild wedding) and then there's just the general anxiety around travel and family events with large groups. But I also know it will be lots of fun. I hope your weekend is a wonderfully creative one! 

18 Responses

I love when you tell the story of your creations…I always see so much more then.

I hope you have a wonderful time at the wedding.
Family events usually cause me anxiety too.
Try to relax and have fun (easier said than done!)


ooh. A new word. And one I really really like. One word to cover all that meaning – I’ve been looking for this one for a long time!

I love this series of painting – the night sky, the spirals, the lanterns, the crows. They’re all evocative, dreamy, leave you wondering what’s next.

Have a great weekend!

I swear, I don’t think anyone has such a spiritual understanding and respect of trees as you do. It’s reflected in everything you paint. I love her lantern by the way.
Have a great weekend. I wish I was headed to NYC!

Oh Wow Leah….this acrylic is beautiful!
Try and have a great time at the wedding.
A huge crowded event like that in a place like NYC would have me breathing through the anxiety attacks, let me tell you!
I know how you feel.

Yet another gorgeous piece, Leah. So evocative, and so rich. I just adore your work.

love it. love the glow of the lantern and the texture…

don’t go back to sleep
is advice I want to take…must remember…
I also want to get better with real sleep ….
checking with you tonight, I find double the personal meaning…
have a fun trip!

I just love all your new work so much!
Also wanted to say “Congrats” on the launch of your new site. It’s beautiful, and I can tell that much hard work went into creating it. The name is also wonderful and very fitting.
xxxooo Amy

Hi Leah-
I love your artwork (I hope there isn’t a limit to how many times I say that!). Make sure you take some ‘me’ time for yourself when you get back from the wedding/trip so that you can re-energize.
be well~

Beautiful artwork. I get anxious about large groups too – I love people, but I can never wait to get back home to my own calm little haven. Antevasin – great word!

Each time I see your paintings, a storyline immediately forms in my head. I think great art does that to a person; allowing their internal symbolic language communicate with external stimuli and mythology unfolds. :D

as always, i love this painting and the story behind the work.

This is so etheral! I love it. Glad I found your blog. :)

What a wonderful piece! I love it! I think that if I could create art similar to what you create, I’d be up until all hours doing it too. What fun that must be!

I recently finished Eat, Pray, Love as well. Good read.

Have fun in NYC and travel safely!


KB :)

Leah, you are sooooooooo talented. I love your creations mostly because I have a strong connection to women and to trees…and you have so many of those in your paintings. Your art sounds like my writing; the best stuff always comes in the middle of the night when your mind is free from worry and strife. May you be blessed with more day creations! Have a good week my dear.

I cannot tell you how your post has touched me – or rather “spoken”
to me – your enchanting art – the Rumi poem – the “between worlds”
- that is exactly me – I do not go back to sleep but i am filled with
trepidation – yet am drawn surely forward…

thankyou for this perfect post – a gift:)

Gorgeous, gorgeous picture Leah – I love it!

And I hope your weekend went well.

Your wedding is Oct 13th isn’t it? My birthday!

Leah, how this piece speaks to me right now!

thank you for fitting into a quiet place in my heart, that needed your art.

[...] that it is only a made up concept and not my reality.  I think I can better describe myself as antevasin, a Sanskrit word for someone who lives at the border, neither fully a villager/householder (living [...]

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