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Posts Tagged ‘Lightning’

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I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies.

–eden ahbez

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The painting shown above is a new piece, a smallish 6″ by 12″ canvas, that will be going to the Principle Gallery on Saturday for my Gallery Talk there. Its title is And the Sky Cracked and is part of a small recent series that features my interpretations of lightning strikes. How accurate they are in a realistic or scientific way, I can’t say. That doesn’t really hold much sway for me, at least not as much as capturing how the lightning feels to me.

Lightning is an amazing thing, a natural wonder that inspires awe and fear like it was some sort of god. No wonder so many religions give their main gods the power to wield lightning. It can destroy yet can also illuminate, bringing clarity to a course of action. Being struck by lightning is how we often describe moments of the revelation of great truths, of moments of self-discovery that alter the lives of those who experience these moments.

Like the finger of a god pointing the way and giving light to the path forward.

Powerful stuff.

Walking through my woods I often see the traces of past lightning strikes etched in the bark of the trees. Some have splits that run from their tops all the way to the way to the ground, blackened by the heat of the electricity that surged through them. In the case of some recent strikes, the ground at the base of the tree is burnt where the cracked bark of the trunk runs into the soil.

We had one strike several years back that was like a multitude of shotgun blasts going off outside our door, so close there was not thunder to give us warning. The next morning I saw that an old, large white pine down our driveway had been hit by the lightning. A deep crack ran down one of its thick upper branches down into the main trunk.

About forty feet away I noticed a chunk of pine the size of a large brick laying in the grass. Looking back at the trunk I immediately saw the spot where it had been blown away from the tree, no doubt the boiling sap of the pine finding a weak spot there in which to explode.

About a year later, that large branch, the size of a mature tree in itself, came down in another storm. The power to destroy.

Here is another in this lightning series that will also be with me on Saturday. It is called Real Power and is an 18″ by 18″ canvas.

The quote at the top is from eden ahbez, perhaps one of the earliest hippies back in the 1940’s and the man who wrote the song Nature Boy, most famously recorded by Nat King Cole. I wrote about ahbez here back in 2009 and Nature Boy remains a favorite of mine. Below is the Nat King Cole version.

Hope you can make it to the Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria on Saturday. It starts at 1 PM and there is at least one painting to be given away along with some other goodies. Oh, and some good conversation. See you there!

 

 

 

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SOWING LIGHTNING

Seize
Bolts of lightning from the sky
And plant them in fields of life.

They will grow like tender sprouts of fire.
Charge somber thoughts
With unexpected flash,
You, my lightning in the soil! 

― Visar Zhiti, The Condemned Apple: Selected Poetry

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This is a newer painting that I’ve been looking at for a while now here in the studio. With its many lightning bolts, it’s obviously different from most of my work even though most of it falls in line with the body of my work.

Most of my considerations have to do with whether I feel there is more to be done on this piece. That’s not uncommon when a new element is added. It takes time for me to accept this new thing being interjected into my quiet little world.

I guess that can be said for most new things.

I can see where a lot of people who know my work might have mixed feelings about this piece that seems so much like an anomaly. It has a feeling of an electrical shock in it, shiny and sharp and harsh. If you’ve ever been zapped by a strong jolt of electricity, you know what I mean.

I know that feeling.

But for now, I continue to consider this painting. It may change in some way before it ever sees the outer world again.

Or may be not. For now, I am calling it Sowing Lightning after the poem at the top from the Albanian poet Visar Zhiti. The idea of lightning planting itself in the earth with each strike is an intriguing one.

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