When Victor made his first trip to Maui from Russia, he began an extraordinarily creative phase in his artistic development. The bright tropical colors of Maui inspired a whole new palette of colors in Victor's paintings. The lushness of the foliage and the presence of the ocean inspired new themes. Being on Maui also provided Victor with the opportunity to interact with people from many cultures, including the Hawaiian culture, and these interactions also began to influence his artwork. "Priceless" is one of the paintings created during this period of Victor's life.

Victor painted the basic landscape of Priceless, including the sky, the island, the ocean, and the beach (with sand all the way down to the bottom of the painting) within a few weeks of his arrival on Maui. The view shown in "Priceless" is the view seen when looking toward the ocean from the front door of Sargent's Fine Art gallery. The island shown is the island of Lanai'i, the "Pineapple Isle." The colors of the sky and ocean are those of a typical midsummer day on Maui.

Victor left the painting in his studio in this unfinished state for about a year before he was ready to add the following details completing "Priceless." On the beach a lovely Hawaiian woman exults in the magnificence of the day: the ocean, the sky, and the islands. The stacks of rocks are an offering, representing Hawaiian spirituality and ancient wisdom. The pearl necklace and the fish unnaturally ripped from the waters represent the exploitation of the gifts of nature and the Hawaiian culture itself in order to fill the cash register built into the beach.

Toward the center of the painting, we see one of Victor's ladders representing the elevation of consciousness, leading to a door which is open just a crack. The implication here is that if we are able to elevate our consciousness, perhaps we will get to a place in our minds where we realize that the beauties of nature are not to be bought and sold, but are to be celebrated and respected in their own right for the sacred gifts they are. It is presumptuous of man to try to put a price tag on nature - which truly is "priceless."

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 by Victor Bregeda

VICTOR BREGEDA - Priceless - 20 x 24 inches - Giclee on Canvas