Art does not have to make sense. Art fills the space left by the rational mind and completes it.
Drawing Down the Moon
Although I usually sketch in a dreamlike state, uncritically following where the composition leads, it is often interesting and illuminating to interpret the image – after the painting is completed – as if one is interpreting a dream. When this is done, often surprising coherent meanings can arise; meanings that I was not aware of and that were not consciously intended.
Drawing down the Moon is an ancient ritual performed by a Priestess invoking the Goddess (symbolised by the Moon) to enter her body and speak through her. It is a wish for a divine influence to inspire her work.
Here the Priestess is holding the moon (as both sickle and full) in a loving embrace. Together they are three. Around her is water, darkness and reflection. The glass globe by her side represents the transparent globe of prophesy and the empty receptive mind of meditation. Behind her comes a flow of inspiration in the form of symbols from above, below and beyond. Her eyes are closed, as she is lost in another world.
But art is not a story, nor is it a science. It is not even a craft, although it may incorporate elements of all. What gives art it’s extra power is because it is beyond all of these. A scene is set, a story told but who knows what the story really is? It does not have to follow logic, grammar or the rigid confines of number. When the artist is close to her muse strange things can happen. Unintentional things, irrational things. Art does not have to make sense. Art fills the space left by the rational mind and completes it. Words are knives that cut, divide and define but Pictures are webs that weave associations that are vast and complex. Meaning is therefore relative, vague and subjective. To confine an image to a narrative is to cage it’s vast meaning, separating it from it’s potential. To describe a painting in words therefore will never do justice to a work that embraces suggestion, association and symbolism. It is like light set in stone.
For me painting is not about the product. It is about the exploration, the process. Like alchemy, it is the process of turning mud into light whilst dissolving the artist into the work; it is a transformation of matter and labour into love. So the painter sells his soul for a living; begging for alms for the wealthy in return for a little piece of heaven.
If you were to ask what is this painting about, this would be my answer: it is my soul capturing a little piece of heaven so we can all hold it in our hands.
What do you think? You can leave a comment below.
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