Friday, October 11, 2013

Controlling what we echo

In the nine months I've been painting, I've been putting together a folder of paintings by other artists whose work I appreciate, and every once in a while I attempt to emulate their work.  But to my occasional dismay (although why this surprises me I have no idea) I can't seem to paint like any of those artists; I can only paint like me.

So -- realizing my general color preferences, and my tendency to prefer strong horizontals and verticals to the curves and diagonals I love in other people's work -- I looked at the photo I posted yesterday and thought, "I should paint that."  The problem is, and I've observed this before, that when I try to paint from a photo, no matter how abstract I'm trying to be, I tend to get caught up in the details, and the end result  is more a failed attempt at realism than an abstract painting.

This one, I think, came out better than most, but still... I can see I got caught again.  Which is a really deeply embedded part of my personality: I think my mirror neurons work overtime.  By the time I was in my early twenties I was already conscious that I was having a very difficult time figuring out what parts of my personality were uniquely my own, because the tendency to reflect back the needs and demands of those around me was so strong.

It happens at a physical level, too -- and I have other friends (and a daughter) who have this issue as well: we become aware of sickness in someone nearby and feel echoes of their symptoms in our own bodies.

It seems, given that tendency, that it should be true that if we were to put ourselves in an environment where really good spiritual stuff is happening, that, too, would rub off on us; the echoes would reverberate somehow in our souls.  (I think that was what church was supposed to be; I'm still sad that it didn't quite work out that way for me.) But it does mean we reflector-people might want to pay more attention to how we spend our time, what we surround ourselves with and expose ourselves to...

In the meantime, I've decided I want to spend today creating a more abstract version of this painting.  Away from the original photo. With colors I love.  It's got to be possible... 

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