For the sake of experimentation, I’m taking some risk by showing a work in progress, though I have modified it for this application. There has been the experience of not being able to finish work exposed prematurely. But the painting and the situation illustrate well something I want to communicate about in the spirit of inquiry.
The image illustrates a turn taken in my visual language out of necessity. With the visualization and layering of this work I am exploring techniques that will soon be applied on a major commissioned painting I am making preparations for presently. It will be large – 6’x4’ – tempera, alkyd and oil on linen. As I research and prepare the materials there is an awareness of the subject matter because by its very nature it demands careful attention to every detail. Pigments made of lapis lazuli and hematite and genuine gold leaf will be applied to this piece which will hang in the beautiful meditation space at the Tayu Meditation Center.
The subject matter of both the work in progress you see here, Prophetic Memories I, and the piece I’m about to embark upon is delicate and esoteric. And I face yet again what I’ll call a mystic’s dilemma for lack of a better term. What beckons revealing/concealing, from whence does it come, this beckoning, and how do I do the job I’m being asked to do?
Prophetic Memories I is my first exploration into a profound voyaging experience I had through a lucid dream. This was a real event that impressed me deeply. I was given an extraordinary view of a piece of what P.D. Ouspensky would have called Fourth Dimensional art. It was a very living sculpture at the center of a courtyard in a remote monastery – clearly all of this took place in another dimensional, perhaps a parallel reality. I was given the experience of zooming way into the sculpture where my eyes took in the different parts of its complex structure. My body simultaneously was in a room and I was looking out of a window onto the courtyard. The sculpture was made of living material – can’t possibly describe, it was astonishingly beautiful with a beauty of completely different character than anything I’ve ever encountered. Like living tissue with the most extraordinary colors like polished gems of emerald and amethyst, mingled with pink plasma, at the same time smooth and shiny like polished porcelain, so alive, solid but unlike anything here, infused with light. See what I mean?
There were components of it – beautiful heads that resembled Kwan Yin, hands and other body parts entwined, lotus like leafing that had the most extraordinary substance growing upon it – these few recognizable elements of it that I brought back with me seemed like a good start for documentation. But tried as I did I could not produce a painting. I knocked on this door more than once over a two year period but met with no answer. Then one day I prepared a canvas by using a pouring technique to produce the texture I always start out with for the purpose of visualization. I propped the piece up and stood back to begin what I thought would be a long period of staring until the canvas spoke, but immediately I saw it, I saw not only the outlines of the vision, but the manner in which I could document.
It is impossible to convey the special effects I encounter in my voyaging. But synergistic juxtaposition of elements can sometimes convey an essential aspect of the experience. The collage work of Romare Bearden comes to mind when I think of effective conveyance of multidimensional reality and mood achieved by gracefully weaving collage and painting techniques.
You will see his influence at play in this painting, still in an underpainting stage. Several facets of the dream are being exposed and interwoven at once, demanding a lot of my diffused vision and attention. Somewhere in the process of resolving these facets an essential element will be communicated to the viewer, a trigger point.
I will apply this multiple faceted approach to the commissioned piece allowing adaptation to a different mystical event. This new journey is of a more expansive nature and I bear the weight of obligation differently here, as it must communicate in such a way as to encourage the viewer’s inner work. There is a necessity that is not just my own and the subject matter is of a more universal relevance. But from the start, as I have been gathering and researching my materials it has occurred to me that documentation of this journey will be useful to more than just myself.
This is a start of that documentation. Too much exposure is not useful, too little is not useful, it must be just right. I am curious to see the effects of my communication here, this exposure. Every act I do around the production of a piece feeds that work energy. We’ll see the effect of gamma rays on this man in the moon marigold painting you see here. I will keep you posted.