"It's almost there," has been my painting mantra for the last month. I repeatedly imagined being a mere 3 to 6 hours away from completion of the 30" x 40" canvas, only to find after another 13 hour day or all-nighter that I've logged something closer to an additional 60 hours wedged in and around the requisite holiday preparations/activities... and then I saw it: Creative proximity is spirallic in nature, the linear distance to be traveled to the next turning is far greater than the visible gap between them. Just gotta keep putting one foot--or brush stroke--in front of the other...
Did you hear that? The pop and fizz of cheap champagne punctuates completion of a painting that has evolved out of a vision received during a meditation in Alex and Allyson Grey’s visionary art workshop 3 and a half years ago. I wasn’t too surprised by the female tree being at the time; the third breast, on the other hand, pressed a quizzical wrinkle into my forehead that persisted until, in the course of drawing it, I got the full download.
This image expresses the wisdom of a book that had a profound impact on my thinking, “The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World is a nonfiction social sciences and sociology book by sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson, first published in 2000. The authors introduced the term ‘Cultural Creatives’ to describe a large segment in Western society that has recently developed beyond the standard paradigm of modernists or progressives versus traditionalists or conservatives.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cultural_Creatives . (Asheville Magazine has an excellent article, Cultural Creatives Q & A: http://newfrontier.com/asheville/cultural-creative-faq.htm)
The idea echoed here is that beyond the either/or push and pull of polarized beliefs-- whether the political schism between conservatives and liberals, or the warring philosophies of religion and science, lies a third possibility: Mutual respect. Cooperation. Unity.
The flexible and expansive cultural creative mindset embraces paradox. It acknowledges the necessary balance achieved through seeming contradiction as left AND right, above AND below, light AND dark transcend the rigid dogma and limitations of EITHER/OR judgments and nourish an alternative paradigm that preserves worthy traditional values, while allowing human rights and planetary quality of life to evolve for the greatest good of all.
The idea is not new. Taoism expresses the dualistic nature of physical reality in the symbol of opposing and mutually defining yin and yang, receptive and assertive life forces unified in the classic taijitu symbol, here embedded in a mandala over the heart. After all, as Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
The title announced itself after our trip to Bali in the spring. Damai is the Indonesian word for peace. The Damai Divina expresses the divine peace possible when we view the contrast that makes not only equilibrium, but growth, possible through the eyes of love that acknowledge the value of every perspective on the infinite spectrum of creative possibility.
This was a learning piece (the biggest lesson I learned was not to dry the canvas outside subject to grit and flying insects of a Texas summer *Sigh* but I was too far in to abandon the project when I saw my error...), and one that owes a debt of gratitude to my instructors in the mischtechnik, Amanda Sage, Laurence Caruana, and Maura Holden, and to Timea Tallon and Daniel Mirante who introduced me to the properties of various pigments (saving me a great deal of drying time as my deadline loomed). I’m thankful also to my fellow artists whose painting continuously inspires me to keep reaching higher and deeper.