Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Revelatory Qualities

Have you ever had an experience where time stands still for days on end? Where you have to step back every once and a while and breath deep because life feels like a dream?

My two and a half weeks on Nantucket was certainly that experience, more so than the first time.

I have been home for four days. Life has most definitely taken center stage again, but I find myself day dreaming about the revelatory qualities of the island, trying to keep my memory alive. I didn't paint as much as I wanted, but I look at my small collection, glad that I tried to capture what I was feeling rather than what I was seeing.

Just about every morning I would wake before the others, to make coffee, read, and admire how the clouds would break away to sunshine and blue skies.

On the final evening of the course, we were invited to the Art Cabinet Nantucket, now at a new location on the owner's property. It felt like a perfect ending with the sun setting over beautiful views.

Our professor had been asked to give a talk. The entire back wall of the gallery was dedicated to his work. I enjoyed hearing stories about how he grew up as a spiritual young man who gravitated to the spiritual connection he then felt when he started painting. He is a very knowledgeable man who takes pride in his position as a public university professor, as he feels he is genuinely able to make a difference with his students. I for one feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to study with him the last two summers.

Under his guidance, I think I've come a long way with painting. Before last summer I never painted. Now, I can't stop.

This summer, after the first week en plein air, where I pushed myself to be somewhat abstract, the second week we were required to be abstract. I spoke vaguely of my idea for the week here.

Here is how it progressed.

I'd like you to look at the final pieces and draw your own conclusions before I explain my ideas more completely. I wasn't really satisfied with my work until my classmates viewed it for the final time and each was able to create their own ideas and meaning. It was very satisfying to hear what they individually took from my work. 

So what's the big idea?
Home was a huge theme in my undergraduate work and I was so satisfied to work with it again, this time in a totally different context.

  • The top left is a simple 4 x 12 landscape with a transparent outline of the bird's wing and tail.
  • Below that is a 12 x 12 aerial landscape and outline of a swallow. Legend has it that sailors would tattoo a swallow on their body after every 5,000 nautical miles traveled. The swallow would also ensure safe travel home, as it returns to the same location every year. 
  • Finally on the right is a 12 x 16 panel. This also has an aerial landscape, a bit less defined, a compass, and the outline of a house that was printed with wax crayon. 

This came to me through the idea of "divine mind."
Things fell into place the last two summers and allowed me to study painting in an absolutely gorgeous location that I don't feel I would otherwise be able to travel to. I've had a great sense of freedom.
Things fell into place to allow my boyfriend and I to purchase his childhood home, the outline depicted in this piece. It's so cheesy, but I have been that wandering bird and I now have the opportunity to have my own home.

I have always identified with this quote from the 2004 movie, Garden State.
Andrew Largeman: You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your sh*t, that idea of home is gone.
Sam: I still feel at home in my house.
Andrew Largeman: You'll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it's gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It's like you feel homesick for a place that doesn't even exist. Maybe it's like this rite of passage, you know. You won't ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. I don't know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.
Sam: [cuddles up to Andrew] Maybe.

I get to start the cycle.
I just hope to slow down and still catch the revelatory qualities as I go.

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