Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Fantasy" Based on Reality?


I am putting this image back up because I just had an "A-hah!" about how I created the movement of lines. This most recent of my oils was painted while I was battling a baffling combination of illnesses. Needless to say, my mind was not completely present to the needs of the painting. I was almost on automatic pilot, sorting out color puzzles and tonal questions, but not addressing content to any real depth. There's clearly a message here, but I was mostly just concerned about wanting the piece to emerge away from the raw sense of despair that it had had when I first began creating it. (That bottom area of the painting had originally been quite brutal!) When the painting claimed itself finished I stared at it as if it were a stranger, wired the back, and hung it on the wall in preparation for the next surge of visitors to the studio.

This work received a lot of attention from the incoming crowds. There was a lot of speculation about what was what, and parents enjoyed explaining to their children the images and stories they saw in the piece. The feel of inflowing lines intrigued a few and one person wondered where the idea to paint that movement came from. At the time I just shrugged, having no clear idea. This morning I found the answer.

Every morning for the past two years I've walked for about an hour, usually to the top of a steep hill. While I was ill I couldn't make it up to the crest, but today I managed the full hike again.

This walk is vigorous, and gets the blood surging. I'd been in a habit of reaching the top, stopping and turning my face immediately to the sun, and shutting my eyes. I had noticed that if I looked at what I saw inside my eyes at that moment (the expected red and yellow colors) I'd also see a lot of movement. I have no idea if its blood surging or eyes focusing or what, but it's fascinating to experience. The movement tends to start at the center of my vision arena and move with flowing motion towards the outer sides. There'd be a pause, and then the colored movement would immediately surge quickly back inward towards the center. Soon the movement would slow down and freeze into normal static color patterns. This approximately 8 second sensation is a bizarre thing to experience so I had my husband try it out to make sure it was a common biological phenomena. He made sure to climb the hill energetically before he stopped and, with his eyes closed, stared at the sun. He had the same experience as me.

After doing this hike and tiny meditation this morning for the first time in months I had my "A-hah!" I saw that there were also little spots of color and light that twinkled through the red and yellow as it moved, and here is where I recognized the basis for the imagery in the above painting.

Funny how one can create something and not really know the foundation until much later. If we keep looking at this world, we will see so much. What we learn bubbles up sooner or later, and sometimes it arrives without our being fully aware of where we'd originally taken the information in.