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Week 16: Day - To - Day Painting Light is Everything

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift. Mary Oliver

All of us experience frustration at some point, some of us desperation. At times, it is the slow unfolding of the every day that we feel a need to transcend, other times we face a serious setback and must focus our energy on what we can control. I often think that only the disruption that comes from outside of ourselves, one that is beyond our attempts at control, can challenge us to change. As Mary Oliver states above, what seems to us sheer failure and catastrophe, is a gift. I know it does not seem like a gift at the time, we must take a step back form our usual way of thinking to understand what is offered to us. When this happens, whoever we are and whatever our circumstances, we must undertake a personal journey searching for a meaning only we can find. Everyone else’s answer will not work for us. When we we seek the correct response to our personal challenge, and make the choice to pivot, the changes we undertake will spur growth and new patterns will emerge. These benefits, these graces, will only come to us after we move away from the known, the comfortable. When I undertook this daily painting process, I did not know where it would lead. Here I am seven months later still painting daily and blogging about the paintings created a few months ago. It does not escape my notice that writing about these pictures is an odd exercise, after all the whole point of making paintings is to communicate in a nonverbal format. ​ I hope the paintings communicate something beyond what I can express using language. The three pieces I created on October 7th ,8th, and 9th look like three variations on a theme. The theme of these mosaic-like structures is one of density and light, air and space. Within each painting, warm and cool colors are synthesized into an equilibrium. Orange color provides punctuation in each painting: setting up perimeters in the first two pieces and causing a swirl in the last painting. In the first piece there is a variety of size and shape of marks and the white spaces between the colors contribute to the bouquet as much as the colors, like pauses in a piece of music that contribute to the effect on the listener. The marks are distributed in an overall pattern, however, the bottom and sides become weightier with larger marks while the cluster of smaller marks flurry in the upper right hand quadrant, draw the eye. ​

We think in generalities, but we live in detail.
  • A. N. Whitehead "The Education of an Englishman"

The colors are more vibrant in this piece, as greens and smudgy violet and dark alizarin crimson are introduced. The weight is again at the bottom of the piece, then the concentration of compactly massed strokes open up at the top as if a pod is rupturing and dispersing seeds to the air. The dark, dusky marks on the right side, and lower left anchor the overall form, pressing the colors in, preventing them from spilling out onto the edges of the paper and causing a sense of a concavity to form.

For some things there are no wrong seasons. Which is what I dream of for me. Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

I wish I had kept a journal while I was making these pieces because maybe I’d have some insight into what I was thinking at the time but as I write about them now I’m really looking at the pieces as anybody else would and I’m writing about what I see. We come to this last one where the calligraphic marks create a lovely, loosely woven composition, swirling round a focal point in the center. The celadon light blue and acid green marks play off the orange flashes. Looking at this painting with you, I read those orange flashes as koi swimming around a pond. I stress this is my reading as I look at the painting now, it was not consciously in my mind when I was painting this.

I hope these words serve you well. “Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled-- to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world. I want to believe I am looking into the white fire of a great mystery. I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing-- that the light is everything—that it is more than the sum of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.” ― Mary Oliver, House of Light

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