Naturalist Family Crest

11″ x 17″, Oil on Birch panel
(Birch panel prepared with clear size and custom frame)

This work is dedicated to the naturalist. While the scientist examines or measures nature, and the athlete conquers nature, the naturalist lives and embeds their life in nature. Nature surrounds them. They identify plants by name. The value of the naturalist to humanity is immeasurable in keeping us grounded through balance and humility.

“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.”

The bee is the symbol of wisdom, of giving and sharing (link). The naturalist helm is the bee keeper’s veil and used for their care and cultivation. In many traditions the bee is an invitation to lift the veil of nature’s inner workings. She is the goddess of wisdom and also of weaving. The naturalist is the bee keeper, the gardener, the poet; who, like the bee, communes with and collaborates with nature.

Lying beneath the Tree of life, the spheres and thin lines express chemistry and the inter-connectedness of all things. To the left the sleeping fox is the symbol of cunning and the unconscious – guiding the naturalist forward by intuition and feeling. These symbols are intended to be both literal and metaphorical. They are closer to alchemy than to religion (or science) in revealing lived connections between the self and the natural world.

The vines surrounding the shield are unique to this person. They express the literal tangled web of the Florida wilderness and, symbolically, the challenges of life that entwine us. From these tangled vines grow, unusually, maple leaves. The maple tree is a symbol of balance and longevity. As part of the coat of arms in heraldry (link), the green color of the vine and the red of the maple make up the twisted colors of the torse (link). Thus from a web of challenges and impossibility arise strength and fortitude.

The circle and blue triangle are entwined with the snake, the official symbol for healing and medicine (and also dentistry). The rod with snake is the staff held by the Greek god Asclepius of healing (link). The yellow snake symbolizes metamorphosis and transformation of the self, shedding ones skin to heal, and to become a new person.

The family crest is a beautiful and playful cat, named Rose.