There are two ways of looking at my paintings for me. During the process, I view it as an assemblage of parts, a series of decisions to be made and obstacles to overcome. It feels very much like it is part of me at that point, like I hold all the cards and determine where it will go and what it will inevitably be. I feel a bit like a mechanic or a surgeon in that time.
But there is a point just after it reaches completion where the piece stumbles to its feet and moves away from on its own volition. It has its own power, its own forward moving force and I am left powerless to influence it at that point. I no longer see it as parts or pieces to be adjusted. It is whole and seems to only be mine in only a familiar way, like a father looking at his child and seeing the resemblance but not understanding how and why the child does what it does as it grows away from him.
I don’t mean that in a negative way though I have to admit it could be taken that way. I was thinking of a sort of gratification in seeing their child do things they never imagined for themselves. In a moment that is both prideful and sad when he realizes that he has created something that he will never be himself, something that exceeds his whole.
I thought of this the other morning while working out with a number of newly framed paintings within my sight. Only days before some of them had still been just parts and pieces,still problematic and with little life. Yet now I was looking at them and they felt whole and away from me. I recognized them as mine in that moment but I could see that they had their own things to say, their own feelings to express.
It was a moment that caught me off guard. I have spoken of the work taking on its own life many times before but in that instant it seemed so much more palpable and concrete.
It created a sense of wonder in me.
This new piece, a 10″ by 20″ canvas, carries that phrase, Sense of Wonder, as its title. I think the Red Tree conveys that feeling of gratification and wonder that I felt in that moment. Looking at it now, I see that it is mine but it expresses feelings I have yet to feel and truths that I have yet to realize. And that sense of wonder is created again.
I guess it’s only fitting that this Sunday morning music be a song from Van Morrison called A Sense of Wonder. Give listen and have a great Sunday. Hope you find your own sense of wonder…
FYI: This painting, Sense of Wonder, is included in my show at the Kada Gallery which opens next Saturday, October 29.