By James Donahue
A story in a Rotorua, New Zeeland newspaper noted that a local artist painted an image of a woman
floating face-down in water just prior to her own death by drowning in a public pool.
The story suggested that the artist, Joanna Paul, somehow foresaw her own death. When she was found,
Paul was lying face down in one of the decorative pools in a Polynesian Spa complex in May, 2003. The story said attempts
to revive her failed and she died at a city hospital two days later.
A sister has rejected suggestions that Paul had any kind of premonition of her own death. She said
there has been a swimming theme in her work and at the time of her death, she was working on a series of more than 30 paintings
depicting the Government Gardens. The sister said she believes the picture of a woman floating face down in water in a work
done prior to her death was "simply coincidental."
Many people refuse to believe that humans can actually see the future or possibly foresee our own
deaths. Yet an examination of the Paul painting, as published by the Daily Post, appears to show a woman clothed in shorts
and a pull-over shirt floating face down in a bluish setting with small fish around her. The bare feet are extended straight
outward, although the arms are in a somewhat swimming position, with one extended overhead, the other by her side. That there
are no bubbles depicted coming from the mouth suggests that the woman in the painting has drowned.
There are many stories about people who have "premonitions" of impending events. We have all heard
of the ones that turn away before boarding an aircraft destined to crash, or board a ship before it sinks. It is said that
both Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy had premonitions of their own deaths prior to their assassinations.
That Paul was a well known artist gives us insight into her creative right-brain abilities. Creative
people are known to have psychic abilities, often glimpsing visions of future events. Thus it might well have been natural
for Paul to have not only foreseen her own death, but the image was so powerful in her subconscious that it was expressed
in her art. If she painted herself floating in the pool her consciousness may have blocked her awareness so that she understood
what she was expressing.
Had she been fully conscious of the warning in her vision, Paul may have been able to prevent the
event from occurring.