So over the past few months I have been developing ideas in the form of maquettes for new directions in my studio work. There are a few groups of ideas and this month I began developing studies from one of them. This first group of images are portrait based and use as a starting point the Rorschach tests used in psychotherapy. A couple of the primary themes I’m developing is multivalence and emergence in the context of, of course, painting. I’ll write more about them in the coming weeks but for the moment, just to introduce them, here are the first of many. They all share a working title of Rorschach Portrait and each have a number to identify which they are in the group. These are 18×24″ charcoal, graphite and chalk on grey velvet paper. I will develop a selection of these into oil paintings.
So I have finished the third of three still lives I have done over the past three months. In the last post I mentioned how much I’ve enjoyed the time doing them. I set up a black box beside the easel and each of the SL works from this year have been identical in terms of the environment but increasingly complicated. You can see what I mean in previous posts Fallen Angel, Courage, Ancestors and now this one. The last two are almost double the size too. The lotus flower is a candle holder that is sold in New Age shops, it is blue, symbolizing Vishuddhi the throat chakra, which has under its rulership communicaton. For a long time the skeleton has been to me a symbol of the material aspect of being human and not, as it seems to be in op culture, of death. Let me see if I can explain; one of my most powerful personal meditations has been to quietly sit and visualize the image of a skeleton- bones with no life or way of movement to them. Once I have this clearly I imagine the skeleton begin to animate and move. Almost instantly it brings the experience of wonder that a pile of bones can move on it’s own. The last step is to then, while still in meditation, bring my attention to a point where my own skeleton is obvious, like the jaw or brow bone and direct the sense of wonder of a moving skeleton to my own experience of self. For me this has the effect of delineating the material and spiritual(conscious) experience of being human and the skeleton is a central character in this mystical sense of being. I don’t know if it would work for anyone else but for me it cultivates an awareness of these two aspects of being, and to what end? Why would one try a meditation like this? It isn’t necessarily deep relaxation, in fact it may seem creepy. For me it has been a “bottom-line” kind of exercise-the experience of matter/the experience of spirit- powerful if you have as one of your goals self awareness in a spiritual sense.
So here in this image, the skeleton(the material human) has a white flower on it’s head, maybe symbolizing a revelation or an enlightenment of some sort as it gazes down into Vishuddhi. The organza fabric tied up with the purple ribbon are like clouds, suggesting etheric setting and the ribbon banner behind is a scroll type image that I am developing for future works where words from the spiritual characters will appear.
Don’t quite know what to make of all of that but it might have some sort of emergent meaning for you.
And thank you for stopping in to read!