A tabula rasa born. Blank slate on cream colored canvas. It waits for its life to unfold, woven by the brush strokes of a man. Lines, smooth curves, deep hues, an underbelly whose remnants may be unknown at fruition. And so it begins…
A focused eye, a steady hand, a mind I don’t doubt keeps much unsaid. How he sees the world, a perception that teeters on youthful imagination and nostalgia. And the hint of make believe is wondrous, prompting pause to linear conditioned minds. How do we not see the world like he? Wonderlust. A sincere longing in the dot of an eye that permeates down to the hue.
The journey of his hand isn’t always known. He marks the canvas, reads the strokes, begins to see. And with each laying down of color, he reads, until the curves reveal a shape, an idea, a path to take. Soon a skewed outline of face appears, long strokes down to the torso, arms outstretched, but holding to what? Her hands puzzling, purpose unknown, and this is the obstacle that almost brought her end. But with a slip of thumbs, she is found and embraced.
I ask him how he sees this reality, what in this world inspires the paintings. A simple answer: Everything. I almost think him unaware of the imaginative filter innate in him. And what manifests before us is nothing I’ve seen of this world, but surely he found her in someone.
“My parents thought I was deaf.” And this comment makes me smirk. A boy lost in imagination, art, creating, and even now as a man, this part of him seems unchanged.
Several days. Twenty hours. Early evenings or late nights that somehow find early morning. Us in a small studio apartment. He paints. I photograph. We talk. We are silent.
This is his marriage, he tells me. Everyday, he comes home to his colored oils and canvases. This is his eternal commitment. And what does it feel to go too long without painting? Withdrawal. Something within goes a bit stir crazy. But is assuaged, kept at bay, with a sketchbook that remains on his person. And on long trips home, he finds another set of paints and brushes waiting. I find this to be at the core of an artist. The struggle. To refuse the call, the longing to create, is painful. But trust that there is great pain, frustration, angst, questioning, vulnerability, even insecurity entailed in an artist’s journey. A double edged sword bearing no promises.
And this woman of no name before him…so unsure of her was he. At moments of pause, he’d lean back in his chair or walk to the kitchen and stare from afar. His painter’s apron splattered in blues, yellows, reds, and greens. Pondering. What did he see?
He chanced her life, the outcome of the piece. First with a color of background he had never stroked. Originally, he was inclined towards a more sedated palette, and I silently hoped for a layering of burnt reddish hues. But the shade of pallid blue, a softness, such subtle beauty, was more befitting than either of us imagined. This left the purpose of her legs, the waterfall around her. Again he thought, wondered if another risk should be taken, a technique he hadn’t yet tried. It could ruin her, take much time to cover and repair. But wasn’t this what she was for? She seemed a muse designed by his hand. And so he pursued unchartered methods, to reveal beneath the waters. Delicate detail, an attentive eye to the curves of water, painting depth into a flat canvas. With it, she was complete.
La Vida De Una Pintura…