Dream, Breath, Mist

I have just completed the newest of a group of paintings I began over a year ago. You can read about them here, here and here.  With this piece I am continuing the themes of meditation, contemplation, mindfulness and deep awareness and this time I’ve explored the experience of what the “inner” space feels like to me.

Dream detail

When I first conceived the idea behind these works I was considering how one image could morph into another based on the subconscious projection of a viewer the way a Rorschach inkblot is meant to work. I described my interest in the multivalence of an image and of the emergence of meaning that might come from interacting with the paintings that I had not expressly put there.  Specifically it was interesting to me that the image of the portraits facing each other might, more than just “flip” to the image created by the negative space in between them, but combine with it in some kind of third composite image in a viewer’s mind.

Dream detail 4

The first ideas behind these works may not matter so much to you at this point, except to notice that the idea of three levels of the image- one element, a second element, and the third element that comes from the combination of the first two-is here in three layers of the painting. There is the “back” layer upon which everything else happens, the layer of the portraits and a third atmospheric and abstract layer on top of the other two; a back, a middle and a front layer.

Dream detail 3

As I said, with this piece I was more conscious of the experience of inner space, which for me is very colourful and full of texture and movement. These rich colours and mistiness is what I might assume others experience in a meditative space as well.  In this painting  I think of the three layers described above as follows… first, the blue in the back being the “field” of inner space, the colour that registers after one’s eyes have been closed for some time. The second layer, the portraits, is the subject of one’s thought which is has form and description. And the third layer, the mist, is the abstract activity of colour and movement that comes with having one’s eyes closed for any length of time. It is this layer on top of the others that symbolizes to me the third composite image that might arise from the combination of the others.

Dream detail 2

By the time I was finished working I was deciding between three titles for the piece.  Dream (being in the blue ground of a dream), Breath (the portraits and the pink breath between them) and Mist(the abstract level of inner mind activity).   In the end I think the most appropriate title given the rhythm of three that is present might be Dream, Breath, Mist.   It is 24×30″, oil on canvas and you can see it now at the Jarvis Hall Gallery.

 

Thank you for reading!

 

Peace

Hi everyone.  Welcome to my first post of the year and I hope that you having a great 2016 so far.

I have finished the first painting of this year and the second in a group of pieces that I have been developing for some time. Here I described how I came to create these images and some of the ideas behind them. In that post I summarized my intent for the work as “metaphor for meditation and contemplation, for mindfulness and deep awareness and hope that the experience for the viewer will be of the peace and balance that comes from these things.”  The title is Peace and it is oil on canvas, 18×24″.

 

It has been said that all conflict in the world is, in truth, man’s inner conflict that is projected outward. This is the idea I was most thinking about while painting. There are many wise people who speak about the antidote to struggle and strife in the world is the cultivation of peace inside of individuals. As I worked, this painting came to embody the moment when, at long last, one gives up looking outside of themselves for peace and gives in to the realization the only place to achieve it is within themselves.

Peace detail 1

As well, in this piece I moved away from using naturalistic colour.  I want the paintings to speak about inner psychological space and to that end I am experimenting with palettes that have as a priority emotional and dreamlike moods, deliberately unnatural by materialist standards.  Of course, as always, more about these ideas to come in future work and posts.

Peace detail 2

I am very excited for the opening this month of the new Jarvis Hall Gallery. He has moved just south of downtown Calgary and you can find all you need to know about finding it here on his Facebook page.   This painting will be there on display for the next couple of weeks.

Congratulations Jarvis Hall Gallery!

 

 

 

 

If you look to the light in the centre all else fades to the periphery…

 

This work represents themes that have been developing in my private creativity for many years. It is the first finished piece in a group of paintings in development. I first mentioned them here in the blog when I showed you a couple of the drawings which were also seen at Jarvis Hall Fine Art last year. They are related to a thread in my creative vision that runs right back to my earliest days of painting. Being an introvert I have always been very involved with my inner world which is filled with rich visionary experiences and since art school, when I have been able, I have expressed aspects of this inner world in my paintings. This current work is where I have picked up the thread most recently.

This interior experience I mention above has fueled exploration in personal spiritual development, spiritual philosophies and depth psychology. As creativity demands, I keep watch for a visual form that will well express treasures found in these explorations. I discovered one and this is how this work began. What follows are the basics of how I understand what I am doing with this work.

A core tenet of my spiritual learning has been that all of the world -our reality- is a kind of illusion and our perception of it is really a projection of beliefs that are deep within ourselves.  When we deeply contemplate our experience as such then a completely new reality and vision arises. I look at you;  I become aware that you are really me; us two together, then, is something completely new. The two become one or where two or more are gathered I am in their midst and a new perception of reality is available.

One day, during a time when I was becoming familiar with this idea I fell upon the Rorschach test used in psychotherapy and realized it could be a perfect visual metaphor for what I was discovering. I saw that as the abstract inkblot pattern transforms to a representational image based on the viewers perception, conversely a symmetrical representational image could “flip” to an abstract one. This would represent the shift from conscious literal thinking to the unfamiliar indeterminate one that leads to questioning beliefs, revelations and new perceptions.

LofSR detail 2

So I began to compose images of faces facing themselves in the spirit of contemplation.  Not wanting to bring into the images any personal stories and to indulge my own spiritualist tendencies, I went completely out of my time to find the subjects.  I went into databases of public domain portrait photography from the last half of the 19th century for images to work with. I did not collect the names or location of the persons so they could remain anonymous and I could work with them objectively. The only thing I did notice about this subject when I chose it was that it was of a young Christian Nun.

Light of Self-Revelation detail1

I composed the images so that they are as symmetrically as possible so that you could experience the self-facing person as that, but then “flip” to the Rorschach-like abstract image which represents the new consciousness that may come from self contemplation.

LofSR detail 3

The final element to talk about is the abstract patterns that appear on the surface of the image. The old images I was working with had damage and dust sprawled throughout. As I was composing my pieces, mirroring one face into two, the “noise” of the damage made beautiful symmetrical abstractions.  This other layer of pattern grew to perfectly symbolize for me another layer of thought or energetic activity that is always present no matter what level of thought you are engaged in.  The interruption of random literal thought, the revelations that drop down in deep contemplation or meditation or some transcendent “rips” in our fabric of reality.

So simply this piece is a metaphor for meditation and contemplation, for mindfulness and deep awareness and I hope that the experience for the viewer will be of the peace and balance that comes from these things. I will expand on these ideas as more pieces come to be finished.

This painting will be on display at Jarvis Hall Fine Art in his newest exhibition Sought After. It is currently titled The Light of Self Revelation, it is 30×40″ and oil on canvas.

Thanks so much for reading, it was a lot this post, I know, and I truly appreciate your time and attention,

Janine