In this period, the "art world" in my country is pre-occupied with "now art"... art that addresses current political and social issues. I would like to think of my work as art of the "eternal now", a state where one becomes engrossed in the experience of the moment which becomes an all-encompassing eternity. (This term is used by Alan Watts in The Way of Zen.)
Wasily Kandinsky, recognised as the founder of abstract art, spent his last years in a small apartment in Nazi-occupied Paris suffering from a grave illness and the restrictions imposed by the objective political situation. Nonetheless, his work from this period gives not the slightest clue to these stifling surroundings. Rather, he continued to draw on his highly-developed inner spiritual world and produce some of the finest, most absorbing paintings, that bring across the feeling of a highly beautiful transcendental universe.
Painting is not dead, nor should working with oil paint on canvas be considered anachronistic. The tradition of painting is a continuing and developing one. Progress is yet to be made, building on the work of the great painters of the not-too-distant past.
It would seem that the advent of the "ready-made" earlier in the last century, has usurped the value of craftmanship in art. I believe that this is a detour from the path. It is only a matter of time in which innovation for the sake of innovation alone will fall by the wayside. The true values of art will survive, as art strives for eternity.
My landscapes are painted in the open air. I prefer to walk out into the desert to work in quiet undisturbed isolation. The work progresses through the direct process of observing nature. Scales seem to be removed from the eyes as greater depths of colour and spatial relationship appear. Indeed the act of painting seems to be a form of meditation causing a heightening of the awareness. While in the field, what takes place on the canvas seems as a reduced reflection of all that is experienced. Yet when viewed back in the confines of the studio, it is clear that the canvas has brought back the vitality of the greater experience.
Sometimes I feel that it is the landscape which has painted itself, not the artist. I have been but a medium through which that which has been painted has recorded its presence.
One of the joys of painting is the endless combination that the paint, colour and texture manifest on the canvas. When successfully juxtapositioned, different colours go into vibration or oscillation with each other. Layers of paint are built up with various degrees of transparency creating unpredictable new effects.
I like a good, textured, painting which gives you the sense that there is something "to sink your teeth into."
Monet is said to have put each canvas aside, and pulled it out when the particular atmospheric/lighting effect appeared. A particular canvas was earmarked for only a certain atmospheric effect, and thus he would not work on it under a set of conditions different than those he had decided to be suitable for that piece.
I have continued with the same canvas under varied conditions, all of these conditions adding up in terms of layers of paint, one over the other, contributing to an unforseen final mood which is born from all the different painting sessions coming into harmony not without conflict having taken place between these same layers/sessions, and their traces evident along with their resolution.
Time seems to be an indispensible element of the work. Time in the meaning of a span of time from the beginning of the canvas until the realisation of its completion. Time is necessary to see all the subtleties in the work and develop the feeling for what alterations or modifications are to be made for all the parts of the painting to live together in harmony. This time is also necessary for separating the painter's seeing of the painting from the intensity of feelings that accompanied the earlier act of bringing the raw unfinished painting to be on the canvas. At that earlier stage the artist identified with the stimula outside of the canvas, and during that period, when viewing the painting, he would see more the external stimula, than the work itself on the canvas. This could be for better or for worse... The canvas could cause him to recall his private experience at the time, re-creating for him, but only for him, those sensations. Yet, the same canvas may communicate absolutely nothing to another viewer. Or the artist would still be so much enamoured of that experience, that he would be blinded to the imperfections or disharmony of the canvas. Thus, only once he has put the work out of his sight and over the course of time allowed that memory of the experience to fade, then he would be able to once again look at the work and see it on its own merits and make decisions on how to proceed.
On the other hand, during the time of the initial painting act, he may have implanted in his mind a very strong idea or feeling as to what direction he wanted the work to take. The work at that time did not live up to that ideal, and the painter felt it incomplete, unfinished. Only once again by distancing himself again from these feelings by means of the passage of time, does he view the work in a more objective frame of mind. Then he may even discover a new painting (to him) and see that it is indeed a completed harmonious work.
In both cases the passage of time was necessary to the artist to see his work more objectively.
It would seem that this passage of time is in
effect another layer of paint - in this case invisible, but not
intangible - which goes on to the canvas and becomes part of the
of the work.
It may seem from the above statements that I choose to ignore the surrounding social realities, and like an ostrich, bury my head in the sand. Of course, it is hard to evade the aberrations of this present age. There are those that in the name of the Creator and/or his messengers are willing to destroy His creatures or deny them their human dignity.
YET - if we we all co-operate, we shall turn this world into Heaven on Earth.
It has been demonstrated the the money spent on but ONE day of warfare in the Middle East is sufficient to solve all the problems of water shortage in this region. If we will it, it is no legend.
To come back to the issue of art... no, I cannot bury my head in the sand! But, alas, let there be POSITIVE VIBRATIONS!!! We shall not let those of destructive tendencies drag us down. With eyes open, we shall rejoice in the beauty of the Creation. We shall know our potential, we shall strive for the Ultimate. Let the art offerings serve as witness of the Goodness that exists around us. See the positive, strengthen it, and in the effort of making a better world, we shall strive for beauty!
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