Threshold 3 – Transitions, translations, transformations

Although I usually sketch in a dreamlike state, uncritically following where the composition leads, it is often interesting and illuminating to interpret the image – after the painting is completed – as if one is interpreting a dream. When this is done, often surprising coherent meanings can arise; meanings that I was not aware of and that were not consciously intended.

Threshold 3 speaks to me about transitions, translations, transformations. It is a about a metamorphosis from A to B. This makes it about a journey, a goal. She is traveling, moving, reaching for something. She knows not what the goal or journey is, in the same way that the viewer, who is drawn by the imagery, cannot see where it leads … 

I see the threshold in this work as a border, a barrier through which the feminine figure is moving.

In the form of the wings drawn behind her, she has the seed of freedom. But the wings are not yet developed, not yet crystallised into full form. She holds the key to get across the threshold, and she follows the charm or the ribbon, which is a thread to the other side.

The dreamer – for indeed she is asleep, blind to the outer light – cannot read. The symbols therefore suggest meaning but remain obscure.

She travels the three worlds, the three major divisions in the painting, stepping from the physical into the abstract. Or is it the other way around? With birth or death we travel this road from one state to the next. The Shaman and the Priestess travels this road – this gate – while yet living. Who can say which is the real and which is the dream?

Her halo – here in the form of the Vesica Piscis – is itself a doorway through which we all pass. It’s tripartite form hinting at the three worlds of lower, middle and upper; the dominions of the Goddess and the path of the soul.


There are of course other interpretations possible. A collector recently paired this image with a quote from Clarissa Pinkola Estés:

“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.” ~Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

I believe we all have a story that can be found in the images and one is as good as another. What do you see in this image? You can leave a comment below.


Jake Baddeley


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Threshold III - oil on canvas - 95 x 65 cm - 2004 - SOLD - available as limited edition art print

Threshold III – oil on canvas – 95 x 65 cm – 2004 – SOLD – available as limited edition art print

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