Oil on canvas

24″  x 30”



In a store that sells handmade crafts, I found a small wooden icon of “Our Lady Undoer of Knots.” I was not familiar with this version of Mary and was intrigued to see her in some other form that was not in attendance – swaddling, holding up for adoration, feeding, lamenting – upon her somewhat troublesome child Jesus.
Many find sanctuary in communing with Mary. In many ways she is the western equivalent of the Hindu god Ganesh. Her goddess-like stature in the Catholic faith is unparalleled. Mary hears our troubles. However, in the understanding of Mary as “Our Lady Undoer of Knots”, she is a capable and intelligent being who is active, not simply a sweet and humble ‘vessel’ who is passive.
Mary, in undoing the knots we find ourselves in, supplies us with a sanctuary from our own mental and emotional turmoil and our seemingly unsolvable predicaments. Through her actions, Mary becomes the ultimate alchemist. In this painting, I have Mary undoing a large and heavy rope of gold and transmuting it – after all, what actual good is gold? – not back into lead, but into dancing color and light that restores individual peace and aids the world in spiritual healing.
I typically begin my paintings with landscapes – characters come into these landscapes of their own free will. In this case it was different: Tomales Bay, which has always been a sanctuary of sorts for me since early childhood, was where Our Lady Undoer of Knots wanted me to place her; in this case I was the one listening to Mary.

“May the Grace of Our Lady Undoer of Knots free you from any obstacles you may be encountering and restore peace in your life.”

-Jo Ford