Earth, Wind, Fire and Water is an original oil painting on board by Debra Keirce. The original oil painting on board measures 14″ x 11″ with the frame measuring 19 1/2″ x 16 1/2″, frame included.
Classical elements are what earth, wind, fire and water are sometimes called. Today we have the periodic table and we know there are over a hundred chemical elements. But in ancient times, there were four elements and they were all related. Earth is cold and dry. Wind is hot and wet. Fire is hot and dry. Water is cold and wet. Aristotle said so. Hippocrates took this one step further and described the human body with four humours. He described yellow bile (fire), black bile (earth), blood (wind), and phlegm (water.) For over 2,000 years, well into the 19th century, physicians considered bloodletting through leaches or cuts to balance the four humours as a primary medical treatment. In Japan, the ancients had a fifth element called the void. It was the sky, or heaven, and represented things not of our everyday life. In my painting I imagine the void as the teal green cloth. It’s the color of the sea as well as the sky, and there are folds because even in a void, I think there are marks left by those who have gone before us. The fan and lantern in this painting are from shrine sales I went to in Japan. The bee balm is from my backyard. Bee balm has the antiseptic thymol, the primary active ingredient in mouthwash. I chose it because it is a plant with medicinal uses. This painting is my way of presenting some of the ancient beliefs in philosophy and medicine in a beautiful and thought provoking way.