I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness that characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction. – Saul Bellow
By stilling the mind, and forcing out unreasonable thoughts artists open themselves to potential futures. It seems inspired choices will make artists of us all before this pandemic demon is driven off. These days of chaos have created a new timeline for our futures, and we must adapt adroitly. With our lives knocked off kilter, we must discover a new axis around which to revolve. In chaos theory so much depends on the initial condition. No one chose our initial condition, and yet we all find ourselves in this alternate future.
When oil painting, many teachers tell their students to paint from dark to light. Paint in the shadows and shades first, in a thin application of darkness. Then work your way out to thick layers of lighter colors. This gives depth to the painting. Leonardo da Vinci said an artist should give the entire canvas a wash of darkness first, because colors are seldom vibrant in real life. The artistry comes in however in the interpretation of the subject. That is where we all are right now. How do we interpret this new landscape into which we have been thrown.
I had a friend growing up who was a wonderful artist. He could create incredibly imaginative works, but his mind became overwhelmed by turbulent thoughts and summoned demons to torment him day and night. Heavy drugs perhaps were the catalyst that snapped his hold on reality, and so a terrible psychosis took root in his core. He became lost in the chaos and was institutionalized. The saddest part of all was when his artistic eye dimmed and he faded into the tempest. With tempestuous turmoil all around, we artists must repaint our lives from the dark to the light.
In the midst of all the distractions and unknowns, we must direct our attention towards the light and follow it through the chaos. Each of us has the spark inside that was lit by unique inspirational circumstances. This is the timeline in which we now must go forward. In moments of stillness, recreate yourself into a masterwork of light. Stay safe. Stay healthy.