Hello again dear reader:
The season has most definitely turned in Calgary and I once again have three sweaters while I’m painting in the basement. In the basement there are no windows where I paint and it is chilly and silent. There is something very magical about the isolation though and something symbolic about going down underground to do my creative work and re-emerging to engage in the rest of my life. For those of you that may know astrology the symbolic correlation of my natal Pluto (in Virgo in the fourth house 6 degrees off my IC) to my soul enhances the metaphor, describing a soul that has incarnated naturally retreating to the depths of personal space and experience-like painting in my basement perhaps? Remind me sometime, though, to tell you about the one small creative companion I have down there-
So this week was busy and very satisfying. I think that last week I suggested that I had been discovering some exciting creative experiences. The week has culminated in me having done one of the most satisfying paintings ever that has inspired expansion in what I believe is possible in paint. For some time now I have been aware of an emerging theme in my creative work that has direct correlation to my spiritual practice and study. It had been for some time that I didn’t understand the relationship of my painting practice to my deep desire for spiritual development and experience. I knew somehow that the two were related in my life, but experientially painting was less satisfying than the meditation, prayer and study that I engaged in. Over the past year I have witnessed the two disciplines in my life merging as I have realized that many of the spiritual truths I have studied are perfectly adaptable to being expressed in paint with meaning and purpose and that the practice of painting itself for me is an opportunity for great conscious meditation and connection with the divine. As painting becomes more spiritually satisfying I am gaining the courage to follow the creative urges that I would have questioned before. So, then, I believe I am beginning to experience the prime purpose of a creative life which is to experience connection with the divine and to bring that experience to an audience.
Technically what I have discovered this week is a way to use color and texture of the paint to describe matter and spirit and the relationship of them to each other. While painting on “Compass” as I was painting the mundane objects on the desk I stopped to follow an urge to paint a face. I let myself be completely free and present to the image emerging and in the resulting work is a perfect combination of color, luminosity and texture for my purposes. It is 8X12″ oil on board titled Message From the Blind King-the title has no particular meaning for me but does suggest another theme emerging of sound, silence and messaging and that is for discussion another time when your patience is fresh. There is an energetic presence here which I have perceived as missing from my work, although as I look around at the most recent things I have done I see that there is indeed evidence of these elements emerging if I really look.
So, back to the studio, back to “Compass” and to the portrait commission I have just begun. I have much to accomplish in the coming months and years. I return to the studio very inspired and I look forward to writing again next week.
Grateful as always for your time and attention dear reader,
Welcome dear reader:
Today’s full moon in Pisces finds me deeply engaged in the painting “Compass” I set the Return of the Prodigal aside as it is nearing completion and needed to rest while I turned my attention back to the other. The two works have a very similar feel to me and so moving back and forth from one to the other is natural. The very small space I work in is very crowded right now with drawings and incomplete paintings but it feels very alive.
So “Compass” has my present attention and I am very intrigued by what it is becoming. I explained early in the summer how this painting began so I won’t bore you with retelling that. The vision though, as it was in the beginning, remains strong in my imagination and little by little, as it manifests on the board, I am making some exciting creative discoveries. Here is man who appears to be experiencing anxiety as he sits at a desk littered with piles of paper, notes, books, communications, coffee, alcohol and pills. His “heart”, suffering the pain from wounds of three swords(a symbol from Tarot), is being tugged by an entity he has no apparent awareness of. While he believes that the stress he is experiencing is from the spread of information before him and the communication with his laptop, the true cause of his anxiety comes from his inability to recognize the tug on his heart. The relief from the anxiety lies in his following the guidance offered by his spirit companion that is felt deep through his heart center. As I described earlier in the summer the vision had come to offer a solution to a querent’s unhappiness at work. I recognized immediately the relevance not only to that individual but to so many of us in this culture. The relief of believing in the presence of true guidance felt in our hearts has significant healing potential. And although our conscious selves may not be prepared to accept the idea, the thought that there might be a conscious presence very close to us doing the pulling offers a deliverance from fear and emotional pain. So there it is- the two truths that this image is built upon: 1- that one true source of our modern anxiety may be in our inability to recognize and follow guidance felt in our hearts moment to moment and -2- that that there is a true conscious presence doing the guiding and in the acceptance of this lies the abandonment of fear. As in all spiritual ideas- simple but not easy.
Technically with the paint I am discovering textures and colors that are surprisingly satisfying and relevant to the (apparent)content. These discoveries speak to the fact that although I think I have planned the piece and believe that I know what it will look like, my ideas or visions are just a structure, framework or starting point for the transcendent capacity of the work. As I have chosen to surrender to the tactile experience of working in the intuitive flow the work is richer and more colourful than I had planned and I feel that I am capturing something of the juxtaposition of matter to the etheric realm from where symbols and dreams emanate. This describes a central tenant of my philosophy and creative ideas; that there is a realm beyond that which we humans generally perceive. It is as real if not more than our current perceived physical environment and that we interact with it on a moment to moment basis whether we are consciously aware of it or not. A striking recent realization has been that as I strongly believe the physical realm of matter and the etheric is built of the same stuff that painting is a completely relevant medium as it describes perfectly my belief in the sameness of everything. In my paintings whether I create a human or angel they are both made of paint. This is a deeply satisfying experience and really new creative territory for me.
So, back to painting…
Very sincere thanks dear reader for your time and interest once again,
PS: On Thursday September 18th in Calgary an exhibition of my colleague Robert Pierce will open at ARTFIRM in Calgary. He does very beautiful paintings and I’m sure he will be at the opening 6-8pm.
Welcome dear reader;
Unbelievably it is September. The high yesterday of 8 degrees has truly announced the change of seasons. Tomorrow the children will be back to their school schedules and I will be back to full time painting. Today I give you a quick look at the work I have been doing the past few weeks deep at night in my basement studio once the kids were finished with their days. It is tentatively called The Return of the Prodigal and it is inspired by a central truth in my spiritual paradigm. More on this soon but for the moment here are the pictures. For those wondering what has become of the work I was doing called Compass, it is patiently waiting beside the easel as I bring this piece close to finish. I expect both pieces to be very near completion in the next few weeks.
Thank you for your patience over the summer break and you can expect posts from me now at least once a week.