Thursday, December 13, 2007

I be illin'

I'm sick and feel terribly right now, with sleep being the best medicine. That doesn't mean I'm a good patient.

So the latest painting I've been working on has been more of an experiment in process and emotion than anything else.

It's process-oriented because I'm a fan of sketches and unfinished work (Michelangelo's figures, coming out of the stone, are rumored to be unfinished rather than purposefully left in the stone as his publicists would have it) and rarely do I let myself enjoy a work as it is before "finishing" it. But this time, I'm allowing myself to savor the image as it develops on the canvas. I'm reminded of animation cels, if you've ever seen them--a character caught in mid-motion on a transparency, not even a background behind it. It's this kind of minimalism and floating-ness of figures that transports me into a place of direct experience rather than thoughts or concepts. I love the simplicity.

Perhaps it's a similar longing parents have for their children to remain young and innocent forever; a tightly curled rosebud, a Peter Pan destined never to grow up, never to change. However, a fully bloomed rose is beautiful and spectacular, as is an independent and mature person--even if they are wholly different beings than when they began.

As for the emotional part, I find myself wanting to express the more turbulent feelings. My work tends to appear peaceful and introspective, even melancholy--but this particular painting (which will be in my Here Kitty series) is moving towards something more dynamic.

I've been studying the wrathful deities in Mahayana Buddhism for inspiration and wisdom on how to channel these feelings artistically and philosophically. The wrathful deities in Buddhism were wrathful about ignorance, and their fierce visages were to scare off demons and evil spirits (such as addictions, materialism, etc.). They weren't evil or destructive in themselves, but I imagine that's from a certain perspective; separating an alcoholic from his bottle can be a painful and even unwelcome process--for the alcoholic. Anyway, I'm nearing the end of my research.

By the time I return to my easel, free of fever and fully rested, I may no longer wish to express such emotions on the canvas, and the image will develop in another direction. For now, though, I'm expecting something darker.

Take care,

I.
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