Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Distracted by the cross

I'm not sure I like this painting very much; it feels like it's reverting to some previous stage.  But I've decided to keep it for now because it has a lot to teach me.

First and foremost of its lessons is one Christopher Mathie taught me over a year ago, though I still find it's a very hard bit of advice to follow.  So here's the deal: You can't get too attached to what's already on the canvas.  You need to be willing to let go what went before in order to successfully move toward completion.

... And I just couldn't do that with this painting.  That golden cross-like figure came into being and, boom, suddenly everything else had to revolve around it -- and I think the whole work feels constrained as a result.

I can't help but see parallels in life  -- both in the ways we humans hang onto the things that hold us back (mostly self-definitions, I think, but still...) -- and in the ways we cling to the image of the cross (yep, I'm going there) as the central notion of Christianity.  As a symbol of the divine interweaving of the vertical and horizontal dimensions of life, the cross is a superb reminder to keep living  -- as best we can -- in that vital intersection.

But I think believing that the death, not the life, of Jesus is the central fact of Christianity is a notion that holds us back, that keeps us from fully realizing the divine potential Jesus spent his whole life preaching about.

So keep talking, painting.  I'm trying to listen and learn. 

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

I like it, but then too, I am in a different place in my journey. I saw it more as a destination on the horizon, like a star to guide me in along the path.