Friday, September 7, 2012

Self, Contained

I have to admit I've been wondering about this impulse to paint -- I mean, for the most part I have no clue what I'm doing; I'm just experimenting, seeing where it takes me.  It's difficult to give myself permission to just play -- I mean, paint and canvases cost money...  And, hello -- I'm "supposed" to be a photographer.

So yesterday I was painting, and things started to get muddy -- always a risk, with this technique -- so I threw in some gesso to brighten things up a bit, and the end result was this image on the right, which I call "Upward Motility."

I'm trying to honor the work and not judge it too harshly, so I photographed it, intending to display it here, but I couldn't resist playing with the photo in Photoshop.  Two hours later, I've frittered away my morning and all I have to show for it is the image above.  I think it's time to call it quits; I'm just having too much fun!

I can't honestly say one is better than the other, or that either has any particular value.  I like the original because it makes me feel calm; the computer-generated variant feels a bit explosive.  But it IS a pretty excellent representation of my emotional state for much of the day yesterday -- so much energy!  That frame, I think, is me trying to contain it...

Which brings me to this lovely statement from today's reading: "Anyone and everyone is able to live a zestful life that spills out of the stereotyped containers society provides.  Such lives fuse spontaneity and purpose and green the desiccated landscape with meaning...  The question is: How do we encourage people to grow in excellence and to live selflessly; at one and the same time to lose the self and find the self?"

Perhaps that's the difference between the two images: the one on the right has a sort of aimless go-with-the-flow, stay with the crowd quality, while the one on the left has a sort of contained but wild and passionate roar.   Perhaps the reason I'm not thrilled with either is because each is off balance, one too selfless, the other too self-absorbed.  A painting, like a life, needs to be a balance of outward and inward, an invitation to explore as well as an invitation to rest.

1 comment:

Bob Towery said...

I like the one on the left a great deal. Vivid colors, motion, strong shapes. Like I might do if I had any talent for painting! Keep it up.