Here is the story behind painting “The Universal Flow”. I have named this painting after Carlos Santana’s life story ”The Universal Flow – Bringing My Story To Light”.

This project started two years ago when my customer Kiran commissioned a painting from me. He wanted to have a painting inspired by Carlos Santana’s music.  At that time I didn’t have wide knowledge of Santana’s music so I begin to study it. Kiran let me know the best songs and his favourite albums. I read Santana’s life story book and listened to his music hours after hours. During that time many of my paintings were finished while listening to Santana 😀 The long distinctive guitar notes of Santana blended with my long brush strokes on canvas. I received energy and very good feeling from that music.

I enjoyed reading Santana’s life story. It was full of life wisdom. Santana’s character, his ability to go through challenges, his dedication to music and his values amazed me. I appreciate the way he gives credits to all those people who have influenced him and helped him in his life which has not been easy from the beginning. Throughout his life he has had focused to help and support other people and he has also kept his band together now 50 years. It was easy for me to start admire both Santana’s music and his life story.

Starting point of the painting:

Preparations for this painting took two years as we had to wait right time to start the actual painting. In the meanwhile Santana visited Finland and I was able to go and listen to him live in Kaisaniemi park with my husband, almost front row! I don’t remember when I have enjoyed a live gig so much. It was wonderful experience and very meaningful for the art process!

Actual painting process started during spring 2020. Yay! Kiran’s wish was to have Santana album cover feeling combined with the feeling of my paintings ”Blue” and Respected”. He asked me to paint butterfly that would remind of “Borboletta” album cover. However the wish was to have it quite abstract. I draw few sketches that Kiran commented and after that the correct direction was found. I decided to use Borboletta album cover colors and paint almost  abstract wing of a butterfly and use my feelings and intuition in order to get the correct feeling for the flowing part that would combine painting and Santana’s music.

“Blue” 2017, Acrylic on canvas, 80 x 80 cm
“Respected” 2018, Acrylic on canvas, 65 x 80 cm

Starting point of the painting


Santana album feeling is visible in my color choices. As ”Borboletta” (=Butterfly) album cover was one of the inspiration  it is now visible in blue and turquoise color. Butterfly wing shape and some veins can been seen in the central part. Gold & blue part reminds me of Santana’s music that is affecting in deep levels. Gold and blue were also the main colors of the Divination Tour visual material.  Album cover Milagro (Miracle) has also similar colors to this painting. And the music:  Long white brush strokes remind me of Santana’s long guitar notes that are flowing in air in the most beautiful way.

Finished painting “Universal Flow”, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 150 cm.  

One tone that brings everything together

When I was preparing for painting this artwork, I read Santana’s life story. In his book Santana talks about the frequency or one tone that brings everything together. Even though everything we see is different, there is something that unites everyone and everything. He talks about the ”Om” which is one of the tones that can bring all together. In my painting I feel I have wind, earth, fire and water. Darkness and light. Masculinity and femininity. And effortless flow. I sense harmony between different parts and elements.

Carlos Santana wrote about the unifying force also when he was following guru Sri Chimneys teachings in the 70’s:

”Love, devotion and surrender – that is the path of Sri Chimney. – – –  Love is the unifying force of the Universe; it is what holds us together and brings us to life. Love is the breath that flows through us all and connects us. Devotion is the commitment to living with spiritual priorities. – – – I knew I needed to surrender and do things Sri required if I wanted to get past the ego games, get outside of myself, and have a different view of my persona. It was a commitment like being in the Marine Corps.”

He explained in his book that following these principles during a specific period of his life was very important and felt very natural choice. As if it had been planned before. One change had led to another and to another and then one more. This flow turned him away from drugs and life style that was not good for him. He says it felt as if it was all supposed to happen, like an invisible realm had been working its way through him.


What he writes feels familiar to many people. There are times in life when we feel we are flowing with a stream and that is natural and good feeling. What then needs to happen happens effortlessly and we enjoy the flow. I believe that kind of flow happens when we are aligned with our values and we are following our heart and what feels right.  Flowing feeling can be reached in big or small actions of our life. Carlos Santana writes about the effortless flow in his music this way:

”One night the Santana Blues Band was opening for James Cotton. Sometime in ’67, we had begun playing regurlarly at an old movie house in the Haight that some hippies fized up and called the Straight Theater. The place was alittle raggedy, but it felt right for us. We played Albert King’s As The Years Go Pasing By” — ”There is nothing I can do / if you leave me here to cry. . . ” My turn to solo came, and suddenly it was like opening a faucet. The water just flowed out. It was the most natural feeling. I wasn’t repeating riffs. I wasn’t repeating anything. It felt like I had turned a corner.”

I thank Kiran for giving me the possibility to take part on this journey and create the ”Universal Flow” painting on the basis of Kiran’s wishes and Carlos Santana’s music and life.  I wish this artwork enhances the beautiful flow of all the important things in Kiran and his beautiful family’s life. This painting will be sent to London in June 2020.

“Marika, what a journey and thank you for making this a reality. I am looking forward to receiving this and placing this on the wall with Soul Sacrifice blasting in the background. Will send over some pics when it is up and will have many years of enjoyment. Thanks again!”

This was the story of fulfilling one of the dreams of my customer: To have a large painting at dining room that would always remind about the musician he appreciates very much.  It was amazing to feeling to be part of this process and be able to create something memorable to my customer. 

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Have a wonderful day!  

Kind regards Marika 


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