Through prayer, we come out of the mine shaft, open our eyes, become receptive to enlightened presence, the omnipotent love and compassion that exist for all beings. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
I’ve been trying to write this blog for two weeks. I’ve written a lot of words that I can't use. I have a friend who is dying. She’s been fighting cancer for 10 years and the time is drawing near for her to stop fighting. The time is drawing near for her to transition. My thoughts are with my friend and her family and questions of life and death as I look back at the work done between 2/26 and 3/12. During this time, we were all faced with questions about how we should protect ourselves and our loved ones from the Coronavirus. I am posting more paintings than usual in this blog as they all fit together for me. On 2/26, I had moved the daily painting up into my main studio where I worked on larger pieces over long periods. This daily painting reflects the looseness of those other paintings I was working on in the same space. This is the eternal origin of art that a human being confronts a form that wants to become a work through him. Not a figment of his soul but something that appears to the soul and demands the soul's creative power. What is required is a deed that a man does with his whole being.
Martin Buber This piece is so different from every other painting presented in this blog. The many marks have coalesced into larger areas defined by the overarching color. The picture plane is taken up by this big hulking presence pushing its way into a field of color, which is pierced by a light source. Or is the peachy colored mass being contained by the green and blue force pushing it down? Every man's foremost task is the actualization of his unique, unprecedented and never-recurring potentialities, and not the repetition of something that another, and be it even the greatest, has already achieved. Martin Buber
Borrowing colors from yesterday's piece and once again creating a field of color, I am painting orbs that seem to emanate and then get re-absorbed by the ground. Such is our life, we emerge and grow and then fade. The first poet must have suffered much when the cave-dwellers laughed at his mad words. He would have given his bow and arrows and lion skin, everything he possessed, just to have his fellow-men know the delight and the passion which the sunset had created in his soul. Khalil Gibran
When confronted with life's bigger questions, I question why I paint at all? and why do I discipline myself to work daily? It is a question without a clear answer, except that I know that my life will have less meaning if I stop.
The first day of March was a good but long and eventful day. By the time I could work on this painting I was very tired. I rested a bit and through force of will, went into the studio to work. This is what emerged. It is kind of joyful, isn’t it? It is almost banal to say so, yet it needs to be stressed continually: all is creation, all is change, all is flux, all is metamorphosis. Henry Miller Here again, are symbols of life’s seasons and the ongoing process of change and letting go. Beginning at birth when as an infant we move from our warm, secure confinement to a colder, open environment, we continuously move into and through phases that in due time we must relinquish. Death is the last in this series begun at birth. Every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you, Walt Whitman I was thinking about the paradox of the coexistence of light and dark during the time I was working on this piece. When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Khalil Gibran
I can almost hear the whoosh of a wing as I look at this. Is it an angel's wing? This two-day effort was completed on 3/5/2020, as I was worried about how much longer I could safely continue to move among other people who could be contagious. I both hesitated to relinquish my "freedom" and sought protection. like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft. Deuteronomy 32:11 I detect a "God moving over the land" vibe here. We are given an image of God moving or hovering over the land twice in the Old Testament, once in Genesis just before creation and again in Deuteronomy where a mother eagle is described as first causing an uproar, then hovering over her young and beating her wings to teach them how to fly and ready to catch them if they fall.
I guess I am hoping for the mother's love to bring order back from the chaos of our current lives. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. .... Khalil Gibran The contrasting colors of the staccato marks create a maelstrom. The movement of those same marks and colors provide an inner haven.. For even as love... And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart. Khalil Gibran
Begun on 3/9, continued on 3/10, and finished on 3/11/2020, my focus seems to be on a peaceful interior within a great tumult, as in the painting done the previous day and the one I would do on the following day. Death, is just where your suit falls off and now you're in your other suit. George Harrison Intellectually, we know that all things including our physical life must pass. But unless we are confronted directly with our mortality or the mortality of someone close to us, we go about our business pretending that we are in control and will go on forever.
The early days of the quarantine stirred up fear; fear for those we know who might be susceptible to the virus, and uncertainty as to how severe this pandemic would be and how long it would ravage the population. We each sought shelter and hoped our loved ones would be spared, even as we mourned the passing of people we knew, whether we were close or only knew them socially.
And we felt great sadness hearing about the loss of many lives in the big cities, This painting reflects the turmoil surrounding the center of stillness. I’ve been trying to write about what I believe to be true - that we are not our bodies. I’ve been examining how my practice of Centering Prayer/ Meditation has transformed my ideas about death.
When you practice meditation of any kind, you go into your center and entrust yourself to a deeper aliveness. We drop into a place beyond thoughts, emotions, and our physical being. We access the place of our spirit or soul. This is where I go to pray, as I am now, for an easy transition for my friend and her family.