Wheaton artist shares mindscape painting, perspectives
Creative Educator: 'It's an imaginative, beyond scape'
Dr. Rebecca Decocq Burrell, a Wheaton native who resides in Springfield, recently made a trip to Cassville to visit sister Jeanie Decocq, of Wheaton, and shared her painting, "Ethereality: A Vision of Beyond," which is part of a series of paintings that focus on ethereal reality and envisioning landscapes and the world beyond.
The medium is acrylic/collage on canvas. The image and thought is representative of a body of work called mindscapes, which Burrell says, when engaged by the viewer, is intended to be a place "remind-full" for those whose loved ones have made their sacred transition from this life. The word 'beyond' in the painting title is meant to provoke the thought of transcending the everyday, in an effort to see the landscape-above-the-landscape.
"It's an imaginative, 'beyond' scape," said Burrell.
The individual jewels that stand out throughout the image represent the souls of special patients and friends who have passed, Burrell said.
"The first three jewels, lower level, represented my idea for soul symbol," she said. "Then, when shared with a former patient's family, the idea seemed to communicate so well that, eventually, a friend brought additional and specially-selected jewels."
While the painting is one of a series in the mindscapes body of work, this piece is the only ethereal mindscape dedicated to inclusion of the symbols.
Burrell has a unique talent for using the medium of art to bring unique insights to life circumstances, sharing her gifts in classes with graduate students and community seminars, programs and settings to inspire deeper thought, motivation and personal and community evolution.
Her painting has a special connection to her work with a hospital program at Cox she developed, and the reality of the passage of this life onto the next realm.
"It connects in a gentle, ARTiculating (Burrell's emphasis on art) way with our hospital program, CoxHealth, Partners in Creative Care," Burrell said.
Since 2015, Burrell has served as volunteer coordinator for the program, which she implemented in 1995, creating paper angels and making visits to encourage recovering oncology patients at Cox South Hospital in Springfield.
The program received the Extraordinary Program Award in 2000 from the American Society of Directors of Volunteer Services for the nontraditional methods by which it applies the arts to comfort patients' spirits. Burrell uses simple materials like Christmas wrapping paper and tinsel to make the 13-inch tall angelic symbols, which she says inspires patients and brings them hope.
Burrell's sister still lives on the family farm the pair grew up on. Burrell credits her small-town education in a one-room schoolhouse near Wheaton, with all ages of students, with her unique insights and abilities, referring to it as a "rich, multidimensional learning environment, that people often underestimate."
Burrell shared a personal Artist Statement with her painting:
I invite you,
in this moment,
a visioned reality
transcending your "everyday"
to an "ethereal" quietly
which I vision
— Dr. Rebecca Burrell
Artist and Creative Educator