The Story of "Padaram"

Our next door neighbor Leslie is an interior designer. She has a client named Nooshin.  Nooshin’s father passed recently. My wife's dad did too. This painting is a result of their collaboration. It’s a tribute to great, well loved fathers. 


Is it possible a well loved father is like an eagle in the eyes of his daughter? Soaring, strong and majestic, but still a bit of a wild animal? Well, no matter. Only she knows. There he is, a gift from the right hand of god. 


That said, the colors of the canvas are earthbound, aren’t they? It’s real: green grass, trees, blue skies, all where they belong. This father’s life really happened. His branches reach everywhere. His life sweeps across the painting with the wind, left to right. 


Like rain, small blossoms (in Farsi this is called shekoofeh) fall from heaven, a tribute to the Father's springtime birthday, May 31st. “Rain of love” is written next to the tree where it branches out. His kindness, like the fresh sent of spring after a shower, is in the air. 


Moving across we see his favorite colors: the tiny, bright red heart, the playful curl of purple. In the bottom right we see the family playing, frolicking on horseback. I bet that was a nice childhood, like a May 31st picnic under the father’s branches. 


On top of the painting written in white, the wisdom of the Zoroastrian (traditional Persian) philosophy: “Good thoughts, Good words, Good deeds”. Nooshin knows her father lived that wisdom. The biggest Farsi script that cuts across Nooshin's whole life/painting, top center right to mid center left: “Padar” (Father)


Farnösh’s aunt wrote a poem for, now on the painting. The phrases are scattered in Farsi. Here are a few translated lines: 


Your love stays in our hearts and never ends

The warmth of your hands are in my soul 

My path is the loving deeds you did

What can I say about your good name?

Even though you are not by us (we are by you)

Your pure kindness lives in our memory 


I thought my dad was great. I hope yours was too. Here’s to “The Father”.

Childhood Dreams

She's inside her head. The teen adventurer is her future. That's her brain on top. Do you see it? This work is "young": colorful, innocent and challenging. Everything's in front of her. She's dreaming of being a hero. We all did that, didn't we?

Persian Rock and Roll

Farsi script and musical notes have something in common, don't you think? These words seem to literally dance accross the painting right to left. All sunshine and happiness with a little red for passion. 

Beatles fans, the word on this painting spells LOVE. Micheal Jackson might say, can't beat it. That's Persian Rock and Roll. 

Hang this above your stereo and turn it up. 

Shakarchi (The Hunter)

Have you ever seen those fox hunting paintings the English seem to like? I think of this as the ancient/modern Persian Fusion version. 

You see the hunter center bottom. His arrow has just scored a hit, a splash of red blood (he's a lefty by the way, like her son). You see the doe and the ram center left, making their escape. The woods are sunlit, top right, but still a bit dark, dangerous, amorphous. 

If you like action, adventure or history, this might be for you. Maybe it's a little inspiration for your lefty son. I know it worked for hers. He's fantastic. Life is Hunting. 

Persian Rock and Roll

Farsi script and musical notes have something in common, don't you think? These words seem to literally dance accross the painting right to left. All sunshine and happiness with a little red for passion. 

Beatles fans, the word on this painting spells LOVE. Micheal Jackson might say, can't beat it. That's Persian Rock and Roll. 

Hang this above your stereo and turn it up. 

The Game of Hijab

You see the tic-tac-toe game, yes? One of the O's, kind of heart shaped, center bottom, circles a Muslim woman in a Hijab, the traditional covering of the hair.  Do you see the other ladies looking over her from the left? A whole population of women represented. Do you see the dark person center top, reading the rule book? 

Every year women in Iran "get away" with wearing less and less of the traditional Hajab. How much can they get away with? It a messy game, but now you see it. Like a photograph that tells time. That's "The Game of Hajib". 

If you care about women's liberation, this little gem might be for you. 

The Story of Celebrations

These two smaller mixed media works are the last of her "story" series. A diptych I think they call it in art.


And here's the quote that sums up her offer: "Out beyond the ideas of rightness and wrongness there is a field. I'll meet you there"



By combining Iran and America, the old and the modern, the man made and the natural, our ideas of rightness and wrongness, she has created a field beyond, where we meet.


The last one with no writing is for you. It's your blank canvass. See things differently, make new combinations, create your own field beyond. Thank you. The world will be a little better.


Jack Birch

The Story of Unencumbered

In Iran, March 21st is New Year’s day. This makes sense, doesn’t it? Everything’s new in the spring and this painting evokes springtime.

The warrior (bottom right) you may have noticed in “Trust” has dismounted (horse, center left) to slay the dragon. This painting looks like it splits diagonally bottom left to top right, maybe like my wife’s life.  The warrior stands firmly now behind the English in the painting; it’s springtime in her new life. Her old life (top left), innocent and blue sky under Farsi poetry seems to be fading away.  

This looks like a decision to me. The Latin root for decision means “to cut away”, and she’s cutting away at the mythical dragons that have been part of her past life. This is inspirational. Yes children, dragons are scary but they’re a myth in your mind. You can slay them. Be brave.

Afterwards, you will feel “Unencumbered”.  You will feel like it’s springtime in your soul.  

Jack Birch

The Story of Equanimity

Notice please the Farsi script, almost like musical notes in a symphony, sweep around the flesh of equanimity and become the masked woman’s hair. Unwinding her heritage is something that’s always on her mind. Brilliant.

I see geometry being introduced: a red ball (top left) waits on a straight yellow line ready to find its ultimate balance point in the bottom of life’s natural arch. The light red squares center left tilted ever so slightly, like we’re looking into her humanity. It’s seems calmer, more mathematical and rational.

The Farsi haired face is made up of many pieces. A mask yes, but they are geometrical and clear. Maybe she is understanding how to “wear” the pieces of her life that make her who she is. Maybe the flesh colored ghost of equanimity is whispering in her right ear, “this is who you are, where you’ve come from and where you’re going. Be at peace with it”.

When do we give up trying to fix ourselves and become happy with who we are? When did we stop looking for something to happen that would make life what we think it should be? Making peace with reality and becoming our more integrated selves: that’s Equanimity.    

Jack Birch

The Story of Transition

I look at the white crown on the dancer’s head. The gold over her heart, swirling up from the kind universe (bottom left) and wrapping itself around her. There’s a voodoo like white, black yet sunlit smoke that floats above her head. The sky is in transition. Birds take flight over her head. The background is deep blue. Are you a little confused? Aren’t we all sometimes?

My wife has two younger sisters. When her mother was cooking dinner, the girls would play music and all dance together. Her body is in transition, her head thrown back, her torso moving one way, her hips another. Life is always in transition. It’s frequently a little confusing.

Keep your thoughts pure (white). Keep your heart golden and optimistic. That confusing feeling, once you accept it, is part of the fun. Everything happens for a reason. Keep your faith in the golden universe as it moves to wrap itself around you.

I feel like this is my wife’s recommendation? Are you feeling like your life is in transition? That’s okay. Crank the music, get your sisters, let’s dance.

Jack Birch

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