The Destroyer of Worlds
A few days ago I went to a film entitled: "Midnight in Paris." A line from that film haunted me. The author Hemingway is speaking to the main character, Gill, (also a writer) and he asks Gill if he is afraid to die. Because, Hemingway tells him, if you are afraid to die, you can't be a writer. He goes on to tell him that he must be fearless in all things.
I have been struggling with a mural for the past month and I had finally decided that I just wasn't going to get the effect I wanted with the painting...so I was about to give up and deliver it to the client. Over the weekend, I went Plein air painting with the Michigan Plein Air group...and my frustration with the mural seemed to have transferred to my painting there as well. I was disgusted with my work. At one point, I took the watercolor and dunked the whole thing into the creek. ...It made it better, but I decided to tear it up anyway and start over. I became a destroyer of worlds that day...my own worlds. And, it felt good. Do we have to destroy to create? It turns out that to create something new, that's often the case. Or, at least, part of the old must be changed in order to create something new. Even creating from the void changes the void....
So today, I was drinking a cup of coffee and reading a book while sitting across the room from this mural that I had been struggling with...and I happened to look up at the mural while considering what I was reading. And, to my shock, the mural looked really good! Wow, I thought, maybe I just needed a few days of looking at it for my judgement to get out of the way. So I got up and walked across the room and as I got closer, it got uglier again. Then I realized I didn't have on my glasses. I had been looking at the mural from across the room without my distance glasses on...and it looked great. I had an AH HAH Moment!
Immediately, before I could forget what I saw from across the room without my glasses, I picked up my paintbrush and began a process of what I will call "blurring" of the image. All edges were softened and the shapes took on a blurred, but logical shape. It was no longer necessary to show leaves on trees or ripples in the water...they were there, only subliminally. When we look at the world, it is not a leaf at a time, but we know there are leaves on the trees. We can also only focus on one object at a time, and all others become slightly out of focus. I know this, I just forgot about it in my desire to paint every pretty fall leaf on the trees!
When I get a final photo of the mural, I'll post it here. Right now, I'm in the mood to destroy...at least partially, some of my other paintings.