Saturday, February 19, 2011
the saturday after
Those are the sounds of a Saturday morning to myself after a week of icon-writing. Ah... Isn't that bliss?
I really enjoyed Gabriel. We bonded well, in spite of the fact that I messed up royally in a few places and didn't have time to complete a couple of sections or fix the messes. Meh, as my friend The Bug would say. It's all good. He doesn't hold it against me, and I don't either. In fact, thanks to a style commentator on NPR and a comment shared by another painter, I had a flash of penetrating insight.
The gist of the style commentator's remark is that what we wear reflects who we are (in the sense that we choose what we want people to see). That's hardly a new thought, but she stated it in a way that got me thinking anew about what my wardrobe says about me. (We won't linger there!) The comment by my classmate was in regard to how spending time with a work of art gives us deeper and deeper appreciation for what the art communicates. And no matter how you want to spin it, what it communicates depends not on the artist, but on us. Those two things went to work in my mind and what emerged was this: we don't interpret art, art interprets us. With that perspective, my less-than-desired outcome with Gabriel made everything okay. I don't know if any of this makes any sense--I don't want to subject you to the peculiar wanderings of my mind that led to this epiphany--but it served to let me off the hook in terms of aspiring to create an icon that is "just right."
This is one of the wonderful things about art. It is organic, relational and transformative if we allow it to be. All art opens a window into our souls, and if we are likewise open to what it can tell us, it has the power to teach and transform. Then, when we see it with transformed eyes, it continues to reflect back to us what we see and know. With an icon there is an added dimension of holiness whether we apprehend it or not. I know this to be true for one simple reason: my own efforts to guide the paintbrush in an attempt to write Gabriel's name on the icon were disastrous. Only when I invited Gabriel into the effort did it go well. Just sayin'.
On that note, with thanks to the blessed Teresa (teacher) and Sandra (assistant), and the whole communion of fellow-writers, I offer my icon with humility and love.