Monday, February 4, 2013

Escape to freedom

It's like this terrible curse: I go in there with my palette knife and a simple photograph, planning to use it to just inspire a sort of abstract image, and it's like some demon takes over my paintbrush and tries to make a copy.  Not an exact one, mind you, just a sort of odd, childish approximation. It's embarrassing, really; this is the third time it's happened.  I'm beginning to suspect that until I can train myself to ignore all those little details I'll need to just work mostly free-form, away from any suggestion of an image.

We humans are just so desperate for rules and for structure; so eager to do it "right," so terrified of breaking away from the accepted way of seeing or being, of making a mistake or coloring outside the lines.  Which echoes -- yet again -- the beauty and wisdom of that incredible scene in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, in the chapter called The Grand Inquisitor.  The Inquisitor is talking with Christ (who is mute) and tells him that the freedom He offered His disciples with that one simple commandment to love was just a burden; that believers will always prefer the complex rule-based certitude of religion.

All the more reason to view painting as a spiritual practice: it's a perfect opportunity to practice embracing freedom...Of course, my husband tells me the solution may be simply to turn the original image upside down so I don't get so caught up in forms.  Do you suppose that concept translates into religion and/or spiritual practice as well?


Anonymous said...

I just have a blank 8x10 canvas peacefully propped up here. It even transforms the look on my husband's face. It gives us both a peaceful blissful easy feeling to gaze at.

That blank canvas in and of itself is enough art for us here these days. After years of appreciating art and collecting and creating art, its refreshing freedom to be aware that I can have and act on- or not - a neurotic compulsion to make a statement so I can feel appreciated or admired.

Even creating & posting my post here expresses a neurotic need to help you relax and just be happy. If we got to contemplating this even more, this blog may not even be what is truly needed. Its just more of the same ol same ol spin on the wheel of samsara.

Anonymous said...

Ya know when you talk about painting, you almost always wind your way around the point where the image you set out to render becomes something else. Then you seem to go about beating yourself up because you were not able to focus enough to do what you set out to do, like it was wrong or bad. Two things come to mind when you start down this path: 1) Let the unconscious out that wants to paint and then try painting what you wanted to. In my experience, if I try to shut off the voice inside that wants to do something else all the time, eventually, that little voice takes over when I truly do not wish it at work when I say something that I wish I hadnt. I have been told it is the unconscious that wishes to have a bit of a say in the process and to ignore it is foolish as it will eventually have it's say. 2) I'll have to find the quote again as when I read it, it made me think of you.

Anonymous said...

This is in reply to what happens when we set out to paint (or sculpt, perform, photograph...)

From my years of experience doing art, I've observed that there is a disconnect between what I originally imagine and am inspired to create and what I eventually do end up creating. And that's okay with me right now.

I've come to realize that -- at least for me -- this disconnect is natural. It happens because the spiritual/mental communication does not translate well enough through my body. Therefore, what I originally was inspired to create in my mind cannot be accurately portrayed by and in the physical world.

This is like how when we photograph those beautiful sunsets but the images just don't do the sunsets justice. What has changed? What has changed is that the freedom to look and move all around is not there. Neither is the feeling of the sun in our eyes, or the smell in the air and of the ground. And what we heard is not there. All that stuff is just not in photos of sunsets. Even the color in the photos of sunset is often duller than what we actually saw and felt.

With this kind of info in mind, its to be expected that photos of sunsets will not capture what inspired us in the first place to photograph them, which is the full-body, present moment of joy and appreciation of being alive to witness such beauty. How can THAT be translated accurately onto a computer screen or photographic paper or canvas or into clay?

The physical or mechanical equipment of brushes, lens, hands, paper or a stage are just unable to create the whole full body spectrum of what goes on in our imaginations and also when we are physically in the moment experiencing beauty spontaneously.

To capture this beauty on canvas or print or in clay is like freezing ourselves in time when we are at that exact moment of feeling GREAT eating a delicious bit of food or having an orgasm. The joy of It, the sheer pure bliss of It is deadened. Its numbed.

We will not experience looking at a painting that attempts to capture what is uncaptureable. The two actions of looking & creating at art and living life have different energies. It is the beauty of knowing we are experiencing the present moment that is beautiful.

When we're looking at or creating something, we're much more analytical. We may even be detached & doing something else while looking at (or creating) art. We could have something else on our minds that distract us, like the barking dog next door or we're thinking of a bill we need to pay, or the last argument we had with someone. But when we're living an actual experience of beauty it has our full attention. We're part of it. We're humbled by it. We're one with it. How can we re-create that?

So whenever I set out to create an exact replica of my imagination or attempt to capture a real live beautiful moment, there is still a part of me that still believes I can do this, but then I wake up from my sleep and realize I just had another good dream.

And I'd rather be dreaming and imagining I'm creating divine beauty, than having nightmares of destroying it.

~ Sweet Dreams ~

Anonymous said...

I found the quote that made me think of you in the Mindful Magazine April 2013:

Nowhere is uninteresting to an eye that's wide awake.

Diane Walker said...

Oh, wow. These are simply the best comments EVER! So much juice here! And I love that quotation; wonder if I can put that in my lead line somehow... How can I thank any of you if I don't know who you are?

Anonymous said...

You just did!