Progress has not followed a straight ascending line, but a spiral
with rhythms of progress and retrogression, of evolution and dissolution.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I was going through some older posts and came across this quote from Goethe. I immediately looked over at this new painting, a 12″ by 12″ canvas, that I had been working on yesterday. Something in it spoke to me from this quote, something that made me look at this piece differently.
It’s one of those pieces that don’t emerge smoothly from the hand or head. Everything about bringing some of these pieces to life seems tortured and messy. Pure struggle with nothing coming easy. The paint doesn’t seem right and the message seems unclear. Every move is tentative and probing, hoping that one stroke will send it down an easier path to completion.
Sometimes that happens. A touch here and there and suddenly it takes to flight like a young bird discovering what its wings can do for the first time. Pure joy in the newly found grace and rhythm.
But sometimes it doesn’t happen and that same bird that you think should fly flutters to the ground, unsteady and unsure. Not ready yet to take off.
At the end of the day, I felt as though this bird was somewhere in between.
But seeing these words changed my view of it. To me, its struggle was its narrative, its story. It is a representation of its own evolution, its own struggle to find its own form. The sky has that rhythm of progress and retrogression and the relationship between the chair and the bare tree is a representation of an evolution of a kind.
I am still taking it in, still looking at it but am no longer focusing on the struggle of its creation. It now has a meaning that moved past that.
I think I will call it Evolution.