Have a great solstice day, everyone. Here we are at the turning point of the year: warmth, springtime and relief returning as the days grow longer.Â
A couple of days ago I shot pictures of one of my students for the Indian Lady portraits, with lighting from above and her hair spread out around her head as she lay on the floor. I’m not entirely pleased with the results though, because I think she needs to be lit from behind as well so that there is a halo of light about her, but I’m sure I can easily add this in the paint. I’ll work it out when I start looking at it more seriously. I’m pretty excited to get started on the project.
The gilded ravens piece is drying in the studio, and I’ve made arrangements with Chris to install it on Wednesday. Monday I have to get to the studio to finish the tree panel and get all of the pieces ready for hanging, then lay out the composition on the floor. I asked Chris if he would like to join me to get the arrangement figured out; I think he’ll enjoy being involved in the creative process.
I’ve been enjoying a couple of days to take care of buying a few clothes and a couple of gifts, so there’s not much to report from the studio. We’re staying in a small apartment in Santa Barbara for the holiday week, with not much space for painting, but I think I can get a start on the Indian lady here.Â Mitchell and I need to get together to start talking about the Peaches piece, so I must make arrangements with him to get together, and find the time to read the script in its present form.
In direct contrast to the commercial nature of the season I’m continuing to reflect upon the material end result of my creative practice: painted panels, canvases and sculpture. On the face of it the products conflict with my desire to reject material culture and pursue a spiritual path that avoids materialism. I talked to my friend and advisor Dave Mavity about this problem, and he pointed out the difference between the Western and the Eastern mystery tradition – in the East the practice of divesting oneself of material is still a respected part of society, whereas in the West it has become part of the almost forgotten old ways of the traditional church in the form of monastic life, so it is extremely difficult to practice this way of being. Divesting myself of material seems to have reached an impasse, and perhaps that’s okay – perhaps I’m where I should be. Making and teaching art is what my service is, and lead people toward both a creative and spiritual life, my books feed my mind and art, and I have to wear something to keep warm (although I do like the idea of wearing a robe and sandals). I wonder if I can get rid of my car, but I think that it would be very hard to live without transportation in Southern California.Â