As I was painting this piece, I became interested in South Pacific and South American cultures. I feel strongly attracted to those atmospheres of mesmerizing tropical illusions. Maybe it comes from an awe and adoration of mysticism, of all the invisible power and the structures of nature. I want to loosen more of my feelings and let them flow around until they find the right place to settle or connect to, and wait until a certain landscape gradually emerges, which goes beyond my limited thoughts and intentions. This is one of those landscapes. Maybe she (and the beast) is the last person to protect the sacred place down inside the heart, where we can really feel that we are related to nature's structure. I think, sooner or later, the time will come when people have to decide whether to land on this place and go deep inside this dark, unknown forest alone by themselves, or to just row their boat off shore and leave it behind. But even if you choose the latter and try to go as far away as you can, it will remain in your head and you will always know that it will be there, waiting for you to return ashore.
Illustration Next published by Thames & Hudson (2013).