Tag Archives: art

Paint in White

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I painted this using a pocketknife and white paint on white paper, in very dim light. Its inspiration was a suffocating, grey, bitter cold day not unlike the long stretch of days prior to it. In an effort to find beauty somewhere, anywhere, I extended my mobile phone out of my front door and captured an image. This one:

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I chose white because white can be terrifying, and I needed to feel something, anything, amidst the dismal winter. I used a pocketknife because it was near and I couldn’t be bothered to search for a brush. Chipping away at this tree, scraping paint, and building texture, I remember losing myself in the cello and Radiohead and then the cello again. Had the day been filled with yellow sun and blue skies, I wouldn’t have learned the beauty of white on a bitter grey day.

I keep this painting displayed alone on the large grey wall of my office to remind me how to manipulate what is near and transform it into something beautiful. It teaches me to just sit back and absorb the everyday.

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Does Everything Become Ordinary?

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I am consumed by the question, “Why do we tire of things?”  We tire of music, however shocking and original it was.  We tire of people who were once the brightness in our day.    Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring will never produce another riot.  A mini skirt lost the ability to offend.  We don’t notice art after being subject to a masterpiece for any length of time, even a terrifying Calder.

Alexander Calder painted a seven-legged dog with furious red teeth and eyes.  When I first positioned this animal adjacent to my couch, I had trouble sitting still.  While trying intently to read a page or nap in the sunlight, my eyes were pulled in the direction of this primary-colored dog. Always conscious of it, terribly afraid of it, I ended up abandoning the living room and took my reading and napping to the tiniest room in my apartment which, not coincidentally, was the farthest room from the Calder beast.  To avoid crossing its path, I began exiting my apartment through the back door, just in case.  Just in case of what I’m not sure, but since I’m incredibly reasonable, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Arriving home was a different story.  I’d carelessly bounce up the flight of stairs, let the door fly open, flick on the light, remove my coat and shoes, walk thoughtlessly halfway into the living room preoccupied by this or that, and stop dead in my tracks.  There it was.  The sneak attack.  That damn primary-colored snarling animal floating on my wall.  This happened for weeks, until I outsmarted it.  I learned to leave a nightlight on, to peek around the corner before disarming myself of my coat and shoes, just in case.  Just in case of what, I still wasn’t sure.

Gradually, its pounce began losing its punch.  I began exiting through the front door without fear, arriving home without a nightlight.  I napped deeply on the couch after particularly tiresome days, waking without fear.

I’ve since moved, and the Calder dog followed me.  There it hangs in my living room where I nap without hesitation.  I go days without noticing it.  Somehow, its teeth are not so sharp anymore, its eyes with earthly depth, its primal nature quelled.  I miss the terror I once felt of this now tamed creature.  I miss the mystery of such few colors and crude shapes.  I miss the ridiculousness of avoiding the beast.  It was exciting and new and unpredictable then, and because of this, I ask, does everything inevitably become ordinary?

Clever Clouds

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This clever little thing.  There are days when the clouds look like unicorns and puppies and there are days when they are made of devils and dragons.  I wonder if we see what we want to see, or if we see only what we’re told to see.  I wonder if we will ever see what’s really there, and if we can know it when we do.