Monday, June 11, 2012

Ancient Light: Images from a Mayan Crystal Cave

 I've discovered that Light Painting can spark exciting creative journeys.

This first image is a Light Painting done in a Mayan crystal cave in Belize, Central America. Light Paintings are long exposure photos created by moving the camera around a fixed source of light in an otherwise dark environment. You can also mount your camera on a tripod and create a light show. The three key ingredients are light, motion and a camera on long exposure.

These four images are mandalas I digitally created with the light paintings.

Then I incorporated the mandalas into mixed media paintings that meld creamy cave walls, turquoise waters and ancient light.

I shared these images at beautiful Cafe Talia on Salt Spring Island throughout May. Here is a pic of the showcard and the artist statement.

This series of photos and paintings is inspired by the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave system in Belize, Central America. ATM is known for its miles of chambers believed by the Mayan to be the entry to the sacred underworld of Xibalba. In ancient times only dancing torch flame brought this pitch black world to life where fifty foot stalactites and stalagmites inspired reverence and creativity. Clay offering bowls, painted urns and full sacrificial skeletons are housed in crystalline limestone chambers to this day.

By light painting with my Pentax Optio digital camera on 20 second exposure, I created abstract photo-graphic impressions of Mayan artifacts glowing with the play of light on textured walls. I digitally transformed these images into crystalline mandalas evocative of a microscopic underworld. Multi-media paintings marry the mandalas with a feeling landscape of creamy limestone, cool turquoise water and long loops of stratified underground chambers. These images aim to merge the ritual of ancient nature-inspired creativity with the habits of the modern day. As we line up for our lattes and sweet treats the Mayan crystalline cave world is still there- timeless, humbling and profoundly beautiful.

There are lots more images on the gallery website at

Want to try light painting yourself Get ideas and inspiration here
Want to visit ATM cave yourself? Contact Mayawalk Tours


Cayo Scoop said...

You're on the Cayo Scoop! Very creative!

Lisa Lipsett said...

That's super! Thanks so much. ATM was such a powerful experience. I'd love to be able to share these images with Belizeans.