The Icon Prize

I'm truly honored to have had The Unfastened Heart chosen as the inaugural selection of The Icon Prize. Thank you to Catherine McFarlane, Helen Hanne, and the Icon committee for choosing the novel to launch this award. And thank you to the artists the world over who have responded with such abiding gifts and enthusiasm to Icon's call for art. Whether from the U.S., continental Europe, Canada, Australia, South America, New Zealand, Africa, the UK, Sri Lanka, India, the Middle East or Africa -- you have humbled me by the sharing of your generous talents. May 2011 shine a bright light on your wonderful works!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Winner of the Icon Prize

Miguel Martinez' painting, Mi Corazon, spoke to the judges compellingly. They returned to view this work again and again -- in a desire to fully appreciate this magical portrait of wisdom, serenity, hope undiminished. Surely Anna de la Senda would view the world through a gaze such as this. Bravissimo.

(Mr. Martinez is represented by the Michael McCormick Gallery in Taos.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

The White-throated Lily

Here sits Mariela, brought to wise, contemplative life by finalist Monica Vanzant. Our subject grasps the white-throated lily -- yet, at the same time, she herself becomes the lily -- removed from us in her reverie, other-worldly, eternal.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Icon in the Garden

In seeing this work from Christy Boyer, Icon finalist, I immediately feel the sense of otherworldly peace pervading Anna de la Senda's garden. From the doves in her arms to the luminous rose, the blue tears of sorrow to the glowing carousel, the painting becomes one of miraculous discovery for me, rich with the secrets of a narrative I once imagined. Jewel-like, faceted, the myriad elements of this work flow together with a stunning confluence and harmony, and I find myself, quite simply, transfixed by this portrait of Anna's bountiful kindness.

Ms. Boyer offers, "I made the painting heavy in redemptive imagery, because that is what I loved most about The Unfastened Heart. This painting went through many changes as I struggled to integrate the rich metaphors of Ms. von Herzen's writing. I enjoyed the entire process immensely."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pale Revelation

Something iconic is happening within this photograph -- a mystery, a revelation, a secret about to be told. What does this young woman know that we don't? Does she know the narrative of beauty in which she is taking part? Is she readying herself for a wedding, a waltz, a lover, a debut? Whatever the answers, we lean in to decipher them. With a beauty bordering on the sacred, this interpretation of Mariela exists as a timeless testament to a woman's spirit -- her translucent hopes, her fragile preparations, her fate.

Mariela wore white like the template of her soul.

What a privilege to have these words translated into this shining image.

The artist, Lina Brazauskaite, lives in Lithuania.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Wise Innocent

Icon finalist Mr. Ken Min created this revelatory portrait of Mariela as Mona Lisa, a classic redefined by a landscape both lavish and whimsical, with birds escaping the borders of the frame. Surely, this wise innocent will transcend her two dimensions at any moment!

Mr. Min was born in Seoul, South Korea -- and now works for Lucasfilm as an artist. He created this oil painting on a cryptic panel, with vintage victorian fabric and an old door hinge and frame.

Thank you for this beautiful piece, Mr. Min!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy 2011 to my talented friends, far and wide, who have painted and sketched, stitched and sculpted and photographed their way into the world of The Unfastened Heart! I will be waiting, breath held, this month, as the committee decides on the finalists. Best of luck to all of you -- and thank you for adding so much vibrancy and vision to my literary world. You've enriched my days beyond measure.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Artist Juliette Montague sends us this fantastical collage, in which Mariela levitates across the landscape of her life. Spellbound, she is captive to forces outside the boundaries of her known world, floating toward her fate with a willingness that borders on rapture. Thank you, Ms. Montague, for this mystical work.