Drawn To Light
2008, oil on panel, 26″ x 28”
BEAUTY In the of midst uncertainty, and fear. My daily post of one image of beauty to counter the currently overwhelming fear narrative.
Today I’ve decided along with an image of a painting, I’m also posting the text from my 2007 exhibition titled THE SECRET LIFE OF PRAYER. A few of the previous images that I’ve posted were from that show or related to it. That prompted me to hunt down the Artist Statement and reread it. I was so glad to do so. I needed to hear my own words from 12 years ago. They were the experience of beauty I needed today. The painting is DRAWN TO LIGHT.
The Secret Life of Prayer
Recently, as I entered yet another period of introspective contemplation and personal transformation, I found myself, as has often been the case, engaged in a ritual of prayer and meditation. For the first time in my life, I began to examine what prayer was to me, how I prayed, and the very mechanism of prayer as a physical act. Though I was already aware that as my spiritual beliefs had evolved, so had my prayer method; until then, it had been an unexplored behavior in which I engaged. I asked myself, if prayers were tangible objects, what would they look like? How would they behave? Where would they go? How would they become manifest? Most often, my prayers have been requests for guidance, wisdom and clarity, healing and soothing, nourishment and strength, freedom, love and compassion, and for my growth and evolution. It is in these questions and requests that my most recent body of work resides.
Not surprisingly, my canvases have been a place where I’ve experienced the answers to my prayers. In fact, I’ve come to recognize that the very act of painting, itself, is a form of prayer. Within the experience of painting I’ve found I must seek wisdom and guidance and that I find the soothing, healing, nourishment and freedom that I’ve requested. On the canvas, I see tangible evidence of my evolution as a creator and spiritual being. I’ve come to recognize my paintings themselves as prayers. Each painting holds within it accumulated moments of my surrender, my hope and my expectation, and, like my prayers, I release them into this Universe to return whatever they will into my life. It is on the canvas that I establish a dialogue with that which cannot be seen, the mystical nature of life. This is the most elemental nature of prayer, to communicate.
Through this practice I’ve become aware of a very personal vocabulary within the paintings. Butterflies, orchid-like shapes, disembodied hands, Calderesque weavings of lines and points, celestial bodies, falling petals from unraveling flowers, water, mandalas, luminescent chandeliers, and alien yet recognizable scapes have all emerged, inhabited and embraced within this world. They imbue each painting with allegorical references to a journey of perpetual transformation and transcendence, and the powerful nature of the soul to be known.
Finally I think the most essential thing in my creative life is a belief that something larger than me is guiding it all. When I see my life through that lens, I feel more comfort in the face of uncertainty and it seems this life is filled with such uncertainty. There is uncertainty in the act of creating a painting, and exploring a new way to create, and becoming willing to reveal more of myself in my work. Exhibiting a new body of work can be a pretty anxious experience. Just walking out the front door is filled with uncertainty. After living this way for awhile, coincidences start looking like miracles, then miracles become predictable outcomes, then you have something called faith. And as with my work, I strip away all the excess and try to keep that as simple as possible.