I found a large empty commercial paint tin,
took it into the backyard,
started tearing pages out of my handwritten journals,
lit a match,
and unceremoniously fed the pages into the fire.
I didn’t read any of them, just let them go up in flames.
Looking back, I can see that the burning of the journals was the beginning of some important realisations that play out in my art practice.
Whenever I am creating, I am totally absorbed and present in moment – or try to be. If my concentration is poor, or my mind wanders, inevitably my painting session does not go so well.
The way that I paint is a process of embracing change. When a painting isn’t coming together, I will retire it for a while, months or sometimes years, by which time it is part of the past, so I can see it with the fresh eyes of the present. Often I will start a painting with something in mind, but the finished work bears little resemblance to original concept.
This Covid Capsule painting is an example of how the process works. It started with a painting that hadn’t gone to plan but was one that I knew it still had some potential, so I retired it.
A few months later I bought it back to the present, creating a strange bleak landscape. Then I noticed some brushstrokes that slightly resembled a face appeared on the canvas. And so idea for a covid capsule evolved.
A Map for Navigating Life
- The Universe is in constant flux and the only thing that doesn’t change is that nothing stays the the same.
- The past is gone and the future is yet to come.
- Human life is therefore a continual process of beginnings and endings, embracing and letting go.
- This requires acceptance of what is, and some insight to successfully navigate a way.
- The present is where to direct our energy and attention.
- Life culminates death, the process of simultaneously letting go and embracing the unknown.
You might find this line of thought fatalistic or bleak, but for me it is a guiding path that cuts through a lot overthinking, unnecessary worry and regret. As a result I am more productive and proactive rather than being passive, angry, frustrated or disappointed.