My palette like a mantra
under the light of the full moon…
I was slogging through a stretch of intense loneliness. It felt too big to bear, too big to paint. I knew I was avoiding what needed to be painted, what needed to be felt. Even though I remained consistent in my studio practice, I steadfastly denied this painting. Canvas size and colors had been set for some time. I knew the ground; the first layer must be yellow, a rare choice for me. But still I could not put paint on the canvas and the empty canvas mocked me.
…for the first time I painted outside with only the light of a bright full moon.
Communication was finally birthed in the wee hours of the night when for the first time I painted outside with only the light of a bright full moon. I stood under the moon for a long time meditating on the blank canvas, pulling up creation from the essence of my being. I chanted the color locations on my palette like a mantra so I could remember them. Because of the low light, all the colors were muted. Painting this way supercharged my mind’s eye. I gestured on the canvas what was deep inside me until I stepped back exhausted and brought the work into my studio to dry. I barely looked at the painting, I had no energy left.
The next day, I woke up way too early, eager to return to my studio. As I viewed the work, I had an epiphany. I was not alone; I had created friends on my canvas. They were talking on my canvas, not with their mouths, but with their insides. Yes, I felt (feel as I write this) a little crazy thinking my painting was talking to me without words, but I was comforted by my new abstract friends.
I chanted the color locations on my palette like a mantra…
I eagerly set to work on this new series. I have never worried that I would ever become so obsessed by a particular work that I could not stop…but I could create these paintings for the rest of my artistic life and still have more to paint. I continue to work on this series and I am not sure it will ever be finished. It feels soul-deep in its universality.
I eventually did find room for other creations, but still I am drawn—oh so strongly—to my abstract friends whose insides are showing on my canvas.
I have so many words for this piece, but I am hesitant to color your experience. What do you hear from the inside? Leave a comment below.