A viewer of the Journey to the Heart show has asked that I speak about “the workspace that arises between the painter and the canvas, or artist and medium and how perhaps that space is distinct”…and further, that I “might illuminate the unique qualities of such a workspace and touch on some of the Work insights and revelations encountered in the space.”
This is fertile, far reaching material. It is in a way difficult to distinguish my painting practice because it is so intimately related to my dance and theater practice, my perfumery practice. A chief aim for me is the exploration and investigation of perception – my interest is in the science of perception in so far as it relates to my voluntary evolution. The guidance around this is to be found in the heart. These different art forms are as perceptual tools, by means of which I have gained knowledge of self beyond the place of ordinary psychology or expression. They have also given me forums through which barriers to the free flow of creative force can be presented, confronted, and worked through. Sometimes the heart cannot be approached directly. All methods in this work tend to be indirect.
I’ll recount here an experience I’ve described in my book, Journey to the Heart of the Maker, which profoundly shifted my awareness, aligning me to a different kind of creative intelligence.
I was working at the Cloisters Museum in New York, on the northern most tip of Manhattan in Fort Tryon Park. The Cloisters houses much of the Medieval art collection from the Met. It is a beautiful place, and the quiet cloister spaces containing gardens and fountains create a contemplative setting. On this occasion I took a sketch pad with me during my lunch break and was practicing shading with a pencil, exploring the various ways the pencil could shade according to method and pressure – actually, in accordance with so much more. As my consciousness accelerated I could see that my breath, thought, my all and everything contributed to the pencil stroke, each pencil stroke mattered profoundly. The atmosphere was electrically charged but not in an adrenaline inducing way, rather I was in touch, in resonance, with a purer form of creative force. The heart was opened to the place of wonder and a tender awe. My vision naturally relaxed, diffused, and I saw within the shading that had been done “randomly”, a gargoyle like creature. This was a bit shocking but then as I rendered it a bit more everything got intensely alive, and it seemed the creature would animate if I went on. I stopped at the point of my fear. A couple of years after that, another strong experience of being on the verge of animation took place. This time when I stopped drawing once again at the fear point, I pursued the question “What am I afraid of?” with the whole of my being until there was no more What or I or anything left but a spark of light which was a prayer. Many experiences, some of which were in the realm of theater, seemed to have ripened me such that I could take better advantage of my situation the second time around.
Actually, much is illustrated by the sequence of events. There was a lot of energy present on these occasions, but it was not adrenaline based. My inner space was open to exploration. Vision was naturally altered, diffusing as an effect of the acceleration of consciousness, thereby creating new visual relationships not dependent upon consensus reality conditioning. The presence of influence was visible – I was, without intention, picking up on the visual and perhaps energetic imprint around me as some of the columns found in these cloisters featured gargoyle heads.I was open, the attention focused, vision diffused but all of this without intent during the first experience. Following the second experience I had intent such as I never knew before and I pursued the truth until I was turned inside out for one eternal moment.
Atmosphere, intention, energy, kind of energy, transcendence of identity, these factors seem to be consistently influential to transformational experiences of the nature described above. I work with these factors consciously now, they come to play in the creation of the painting space. In the realm of creative intelligence with which I wish to resonate, which is the same as the heart’s deepest intelligence, the different perceptual tools overlap and relate brilliantly. While the quality of calling and corresponding necessity that seems to pull me through these experiences cannot be produced at will, there are certain points of resonance. These seem to align one to the place of creative intelligence that can speak to a greater whole. Necessity seems essential to movement in this kind of creative work and I find the energy of necessity present when the heart is open and conscience is functioning. We will explore these matters in more depth on the next Journey to the Heart show this Thursday, March 7 at 6 pm PST on JustinTV/GorebaggTV.