Saturday, August 3, 2013

Unexpected Outcomes

"Meditation at the Park"

We think we know where the flow goes, but we really don't. Two posts ago you see this painting partially finished. I had every expectation that the water would continue to flow forward, a continuing river of thought. Between then and now I experimented with photoshop. For the first time in my art career I manipulated the image on my computer screen, doing plan-ahead sketches, painting water into the foreground, filling in 18 different scenarios of what could happen in the painting... small rivulets, large rushes, pools, even splashings over the frame and out into the white space below. So many ways to look at this unfolding image.

Then I wiped those images off my computer screen, went back to the painting table in the other room and painted the above to completion. No water at all came forward, but if you look closely you will see that the shrubbery began to glow.

There is trust in the way that I work that has everything to do with intuition acquired from years of observation, and very little to do with cautious manipulation. I don't know if drying up all of the water was the sensible choice. It is definitely the right choice: Where is the water going? Did it flow into the foreground before and has it now dried up? Is the flow coming in anew, to a place that has never beheld water before? Why are the people unconcerned? Can they hear the water? Why do the people trust the tameness of the water when it might also be seen as totally out of control? Can we meditate quietly while the world drastically changes around us? What is flow, anyway?