To persevere in one’s intentional habits is to walk the fine line between being a bulldozer just to get the job done, and of being constantly open to that quiet voice of inspiration.
My deadline to finish this painting was last week. It wasn’t a commission, just a gift — sometimes more pressure than a commission! As you probably have seen, dear readers, I’m not quite there.
Here’s where I was about two weeks ago:
And then the middle of last week:
Almost done, right? Well, yes…..
….But then a little voice said, as I began to detail the arches , “Turn the arches and your plain gold pillars into ones with capitals.”
That voice, I’ve come to know, is the Holy Ghost. He’s the little, subtle breathe of inspiration that whispers to your consciousness and waits for your to freely choose what he presents.
I’ve struggled a lot in giving into that voice, and know now that it’s foolish not to listen to it. The Monk in the previous post is a good example of that. So, I listened to that voice. “You know best,” I said back to Him. But it wasn’t easy.
And on the afternoon when I had hoped to finish off the illuminating monk, I put some clumsy capitals there instead.
It was hard, let me tell you. I was almost done! So close to being finished! And then to leave the painting for the day looking like below?! Agh!
But this picture is all about the Fiat, so I was more happy with having listened to the voice than ignoring it and betraying that Inspiration.
The next morning, I got right down to business. Bialetti was my hero who helped me through the building of the pillars with his strength of caffeine.
I got out my travel journal and photos of the cloister of St. John Lateran’s in Rome, and played around till I was confident that I could get the pillars I was thinking of.
The above is pretty much what production looked like for many hours.
See the pillars on either side of the deer? That’s probably mess-up number 2. By the end of the day there would be about 5 or 6 layers of ‘discarded’ -painted over- pillars.
Below is one that started to work out, but it just seemed like it would really take away from the point of the work. Very weavy and rope-like.
After 5 tries or so, and a lot of prayers and patience, the right shape of the pillars began to form under my brush. Deo Gratias!
By the end of the night, the pillars went from gold to looking more like stone.
There’s still a lot of refinement to be done, and I almost like the simplicity of the gold more, but I learned a lot internally by moving with that inspiration.
While working on the project that day, I was able to be grateful yet again for my travels -food for imagination – and for a good ol’ friend who showed me a twisting Byzantine pillar, inlaid with mosaics, in St. Clement’s Basilica in Rome. He unknowingly started me on a love of finely crafted, winding yet supporting, pillars of stone.
I was also grateful for the following thought:
Art requires a delicate dance. The discipline gained through perseverance is the foundation and structure which allows the birth of a creation, and that new creation is conceived first from a Voice of Inspiration. One just has to be aware that the Voice is speaking, and choose to listen to it.
Definitely a chin-stroker and a head-scratcher.
I hope and pray that these pillars -and the whole project- turn out. But if they don’t, at least there’s a few things that came out of it. The thoughts and Fiats along the way would have never happened if I hadn’t responded to that movement of inspiration!
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