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I’ve always been interested in dreams,"says Marja. "And in myth, mysticism, and symbolism. Through the useof color, line, the symbolic nature of garments, objects, patterns, flowers,I attempt to create pictures that work on many levels, marrying this realitywith other levels of realities, of dream and intuition. Painting, to me,is soul work, healing work. It’s a kind of meditation. I begin each picturewith a ceremony, asking for the picture’s theme, and for symbols to representthat theme. It’s important to stay ‘open’ as I work, to let the imagescome through me, the shapes and colors emerge intuitively. This processcan often take several months — slowly working out the composition,the colors, doing numerous watercolor sketches first. Every part of thepicture must be right; each element has an individual meaning yet mustalso be woven into the rest of the design. I often use Celtic patterns,for instance, which represent the way things weave together in life, andthe way life here and now weaves into other dimensions of consciousness.Flowers, animals, stones, all these elements have symbolic meanings. Thespecific flow and movement of a garment, for instance, can represent differentaspects of spiritual awareness. I use Celtic symbols, or Eastern symbols. . . whatever the picture calls for.