Monday, July 13, 2009

The Alchemy of art....

"The painter should not paint merely what he sees in front of him, but also what he sees within him. If he sees nothing within him, however, then he should refrain from painting what he sees in front of him." -Casper David Friedrich

I love the spring and summer time, because I can spend more time out in my studio painting, reading, ruminating and envisioning how to bring out into the light, what I see in the dark. Words, Scriptures, themes, thoughts, feelings, longings and prayers are all part of the artistic summoning process. I realized that in the last month I've been able to hatch 5 pieces. This process is an illuminating one, it reveals just how long it takes someone to emerge into the role of artist . It takes a lifetime of becoming and its ever evolving. Skill develops, perspective and mood deepen and change, discoveries are made that shape the work or unlock creative doors...it's all very alchemy like.My studio becomes more than an alone space...it often becomes holy ground...kind of like Jacob's ladder...a stone turns out to be the very gate of heaven. A natural space is a mix of angels descending and ascending...the old pagans called these places or moments..."Thin Spaces" where the eternal and the finite are close to each other. I would say they are not "spaces" but Divine revelations...moments when God not the "Muses" is actively expressing Himself in and through the artists. Creating a spot where these realities can take palce easier is critical for me. I need images, icons, sights, materials, canvases, paper, tools...all kinds of scraps of experiences, art, statues, paintings, words, quotes, books and pieces of nature that provide a type of sacramental environment. My art studio and work spaces facilitate this.

"I like to have pieces of fine handicraft around me - old violins, vases, wood carvings, silverware. And, when I am fed up with the wranglings of spellbinders, diplomats, and reformers, and when the preaching of the sectarians seem empty and childish, and when the clanging and clashing of strikes, lockouts and wars make my head ache, and when radio commentators commentate and announcers announce with too much zest, then I like to go among my treasures, and catch the quiet spirit of the artist who created them. What patience and loving care is reflected in these works. How far removed they seem from the sound and fury of the power-mad world......" Tony Won

Sometimes the process is one that seems inhabited, not in a spooky devilish way but in a supportive one. I feel lured, prompted, poked, stirred and wooed. Sometimes lighting strikes in a illuminating way that is like a rush of revelation...or it's a quiet process of coagulation of dismembered elements.

It's in these moments and in storytelling or preaching that I feel most alive...and it's also when I feel that at any moment..,I might slip away like Enoch...I was there...and then, I was not.
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