"may you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung."   Bob Dylan

Ladders of Light began as doodles during boring junior high school classes. It became a whimsical, mystical painting series in 1986 when I moved to Santa Fe, with homage to Georgia O'Keeffe, William Blake, and Joan Miro.. My ladders appear in imaginary scenes of Morocco or the expansive American Southwest and Santa Fe, the area where I lived for thirty years, with mountains and unbounded blue sky. Ladders symbolize the pathway to communion with the divine: Jacob's ladder in the Judeo-Christian tradition, Horus' ladder in Egyptian mythology, the seven-runged Mithraic ladder, the shamanic pole.  Some are available as limited edition archival pigment prints.

Ladders of Light. Sherri Silverman. Pastels and pencil on sanded pastel paper. 1987. Private collection, Chicago. Archival print available.  

Ladders of Light. Sherri Silverman. Pastels and pencil on sanded pastel paper. 1987. Private collection, Chicago. Archival print available.

 

Ladders of Light 3: Kali. Sherri Silverman. Pastels, oil pastel, and pencil on paper. 1990. 42" x 31". Original painting and archival prints available.  Kali, whose name means "time," is the Universal Mother. Downward pointing triangles are an archetypal symbol of the Feminine Divine. Concentric triangles express how the Unmanifest emerges into the physical world in ever-increasing waves of manifestation from the bindu point, junction between the unseen and the seen. The Kali yantra is the abstract form of the goddess.  

Ladders of Light 3: Kali. Sherri Silverman. Pastels, oil pastel, and pencil on paper. 1990. 42" x 31". Original painting and archival prints available. 

Kali, whose name means "time," is the Universal Mother. Downward pointing triangles are an archetypal symbol of the Feminine Divine. Concentric triangles express how the Unmanifest emerges into the physical world in ever-increasing waves of manifestation from the bindu point, junction between the unseen and the seen. The Kali yantra is the abstract form of the goddess.

 

Ladders of Light 4: Root Chakra. Sherri Silverman. 1990. 42" x 31". Original painting stolen. Archival prints available.   

Ladders of Light 4: Root Chakra. Sherri Silverman. 1990. 42" x 31". Original painting stolen. Archival prints available. 

 

Ladders of Light 5: Crown Chakra. Sherri Silverman. Pastels on paper. 1990. 41" x 29".  The crown chakra represents balanced, harmonious integration of Masculine and Feminine Divine, depicted here on a prayer flag or flying carpet, the alchemical marriage: mystic union of sol and luna, sun and moon. This emblem is from an eighteenth century Nepalese manuscript of the Sahasradala or Sahasrara, found in Ajit Mookerjee's fabulous book Tantra Asana: "The symbolic lotus with the thousand petals (sahasradala) located just above the crown of the head is said to be the halo of the cerebral cortex. When Kundalini rises from the cardinal circle (Muladhara chakra) piercing through the other five chakras in the human body, she ultimately unites with her Purusha in the Sahasrara; thus ends all duality. The red triangle represents the female or active force and the white the male or static element."  

Ladders of Light 5: Crown Chakra. Sherri Silverman. Pastels on paper. 1990. 41" x 29". 

The crown chakra represents balanced, harmonious integration of Masculine and Feminine Divine, depicted here on a prayer flag or flying carpet, the alchemical marriage: mystic union of sol and luna, sun and moon. This emblem is from an eighteenth century Nepalese manuscript of the Sahasradala or Sahasrara, found in Ajit Mookerjee's fabulous book Tantra Asana: "The symbolic lotus with the thousand petals (sahasradala) located just above the crown of the head is said to be the halo of the cerebral cortex. When Kundalini rises from the cardinal circle (Muladhara chakra) piercing through the other five chakras in the human body, she ultimately unites with her Purusha in the Sahasrara; thus ends all duality. The red triangle represents the female or active force and the white the male or static element."

 

Ladders of Light 6: Red Hands, Green Ladder. Sherri Silverman. Pastels on paper. 1992. 29.5" x 30.5".  When I completed this pastel painting, I spray-fixed it as usual and then touched up a few areas of the sky. When I resprayed it, the touchups showed; so I had to redo the entire sky. I never had to do this before. When I refixed it, the original touchups still showed through. So I put yet another coat on the blue sky and did not spray fix it. All the layers gave the blue sky its intensity.  

Ladders of Light 6: Red Hands, Green Ladder. Sherri Silverman. Pastels on paper. 1992. 29.5" x 30.5". 

When I completed this pastel painting, I spray-fixed it as usual and then touched up a few areas of the sky. When I resprayed it, the touchups showed; so I had to redo the entire sky. I never had to do this before. When I refixed it, the original touchups still showed through. So I put yet another coat on the blue sky and did not spray fix it. All the layers gave the blue sky its intensity.

 

Ladders of Light 7: Pollen Hands. Pastels on paper. Sherri Silverman. 1992. 29.5" x 30.5".  

Ladders of Light 7: Pollen Hands. Pastels on paper. Sherri Silverman. 1992. 29.5" x 30.5".

 

Laldders of Light 8. Pastels on paper. Sherri Silverman. 1993. 35.5" x 29.5". Private collection, Maryland. This was originally in the collection of Wingspread Communications in Albuquerque, Don and Pamela Michaelis. Their niece adored the painting; they gave it to her as a surprise gift for her grad school graduation. 

Laldders of Light 8. Pastels on paper. Sherri Silverman. 1993. 35.5" x 29.5". Private collection, Maryland.

This was originally in the collection of Wingspread Communications in Albuquerque, Don and Pamela Michaelis. Their niece adored the painting; they gave it to her as a surprise gift for her grad school graduation. 

Ladders to the Moon. Pastels on paper. Sherri Silverman. 2001. 24.5" x 24.5".  

Ladders to the Moon. Pastels on paper. Sherri Silverman. 2001. 24.5" x 24.5".