I met Alexandra about 17 years ago in Santa Fe, New Mexico at a yard sale that she was having with our friend Jodie. I was so drawn to her, she was beautiful & dripping with style & kindness. I remember her big beautiful smile from that day & the energy of excitement that surrounds her.
She & Jody are artists & were working as faux finishers at the time. Jody gave me a photograph by Herb Ritz of Madonna that she had hand colored. It was a test print from a shoot that she had worked on in LA. I still have it & need to get it framed. I did not see Alexandra for a while after that but she stayed in my mind.
At the time I was working at Santa Fe’s Arts & Culture magazine, THE magazine as the staff photographer. For 12 years I photographed artists in their studios & in the landscape of Northern New Mexico. I still work for THE, but that’s a different story, for another time.
The next few times I was with Alexandra she was in front of my camera & I was sitting in her studio intrigued and moved by the poetry of her life & work. I have to say that in all of the hundreds of studios I have visited, Alexandra’s is one of my very favorites. Artist’s studios are their own realm. Alexandra’s realm is feminine, sophisticated, and deeply sensual. She has made it her artistic life’s processes to express from the dreamscape and mystery of her soul. I have always been very moved by her commitment to herself & the long hours spent as an artist alone, face her inner world.
In these photos we can see Alexandra’s witness bird. This bird shows up in her work over & over. The witness bird comes from her dreams & from a bird that she drew as a child.The witness bird drew me closer still to Alexandra, as I also dreamed of birds often when I was younger & wrote about these dreams in my poems. My friend Louise called me Bird when we were young.
Here Alexandra is wearing a Victorian or maybe Edwardian dress that she often wore as a young woman when she lived on a 70 – acre farm near Athens Ohio. This farm where she lived with her husband, who had been her art professor & raised her two sons when they were young was a place that based on the writings & teachings of William Blake a place devoted to art & artistic expression.
Alexandra Eldridge & her painting with a projection of her work on her back & painting ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico 1997 ~ Photo © Jennifer Esperanza
Little did I know that I had a connection to Alexandra a very long time ago. Her parents, Harry and Wende Devlin were artists who wrote & illustrated 27 children’s books. On of these books, How Fletcher Was Hatched, who’s heroine was based on Alexandra was a favorite book of my younger brothers. a book we often read together.
Over the years Alexandra & I have meet for coffee or lunch often. I visit her studio and we talk. We visit & talk about art, about mysticism, we talked about our love lives, our children, our travels & our passions. For many years we did Kundalini yoga in the same class on Sunday afternoons just off of Canyon Road with our beloved teacher Nodia Brent Luxx.
Carl Jung on Kundalini Yoga
“To activate the unconscious means to awaken the divine, the devi, Kundalini – to begin the development of the suprapersonal within the individual in order to kindle the light of the gods. Kundalini, which is to be awakened in the sleeping Muladhara world, is the suprapersonal, the non-ego,… For this reason Kundalini is the same principal as the Soter, the Savior Serpent of the Gnostics.” ~ The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, Carl Jung.Lecture 4, 26 October 1932, Notes of the Seminar, Princeton University Press, USA, 1996, Page 68/69
It is in this Kundalini class that I had my idea for my show & book Tears of Venus come to me like a transmission from the Divine.
Alexandra had been chosen as one of Santa Fe’s sexiest artists by THE magazine & on assignment for that issue I made this image of Alexandra titled Eternal Flame. This photograph of Alexandra was one of my first sensual female torso studies & was shown in my show Tears of Venus & published in my book Tears of Venus ~ it’s all the Goddess to me.
Alexandra is my soul friend, my sister of the heart. We shared some tragic time together as well as all of the beauty that we have shared. On the morning of 9/11 I watched the second tower fall on the TV at Alex’s house, sitting on a bed with her & her son Saxon, in sadness & in shock.
One of Alexandra’s closets friend the late German artist Helmut Lohr was a dear friend of mine also. He was a magic & sensitive being. I will never forget when she called and told me of his passing. He is greatly missed.
As a portrait photographer & a chronicler of culture in this human realm, I thrive on the intimacy shared with my subjects. Alexandra is one of my most giving subjects. Just as she lets the viewer, collector & fellow artist into her world filled with personal & universal symbols through her art, she has allowed me in to this world as a photographer. We create together when I photograph her.
Alexandra is one of the kindest & most giving friends. I can feel my heart when I see her beautiful work. I can feel my dreams when we share stories and we sit in her studio or in some place around Santa Fe for lunch or coffee. I am profoundly moved by her visions & ideas, by her beauty & her kindness, by her devoted & very hard work. I am moved by the textures & details of her paintings.
Some very famous people collect her work & are some of her friends. She travels to many places in the world & brings back treasures. She goes off to paint in Paris for months, or New York City and many other places. I love to see the photographs of her travels that she posts on facebook. She is always with me because knowing real friendship is the deepest treasure I have known.
Alexandra & I share a love for the divinity of feet . Last year I washed the feet of some of my friends. I washed their feet because I love to care for others. I washed their feet to express my caring & love for them. We are all the God & Goddess ~ we are all Divine ~ all elemental.
This quote is from a very beautiful Interview with Alexandra Eldridge in the Jung Journal by Katherine Olivetti.
“I paint for self-revelation. That involves finding a means to access my unconscious. If I can do that, what is created is the possibility that something amazing may happen. Every painting has a story, so many stories, but with no beginning and no end.” ~ Alexandra Eldridge
Alexandra is a gift to this world we are blessed by her mystic heart.
All Respect & Love,
Read Soul Mapping Here ~
Alexandra is represented by Nuart Gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Website for Alexandra Eldridge