Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Too Close To See The Meaning

Often, my life seems meaningless. Here is one explanation, which occurred to me after finishing a session with my current oil painting.

I make my paintings by peering very closely at the details of a reference photograph and then trying to get the paint on the canvas to resemble what I see (or, think I see; I've been known to get it wrong) in the photograph. I spend a lot of time looking at the canvas very close up, like this:

I push the paint around until it looks about right, but I never think about the pattern it is making - I am too close up to see that. Instead, I have a slavish sort of devotion (or "duty") to the Reference Photo (an analog of Holy Scripture). And I have to admit that, pushing the paint round ... does get old. Why does that old Reference Photo have to be so bloody complex?! It is tedious sometimes, and still I see no pattern or meaning, only abstract shapes and colors.

Finally, when it is time to go to bed, I step away from my easel and take a longer view of what I am working on. Today, it looked like this:

I wonder if, when my life is reviewed from the long view of eternity, there will appear some sort of pattern that pleases the Artist. I do hope so.