Here’s what used to look like a wounded bagel, condition now stabilized. The orange is actually Indian Yellow, a beautiful color that I’m still trying to adopt. We might need just a bit more Alizarin red here.
I’m trying to depict a conversion, a turning toward something unexpected, a grace of light blue. Originally, I was thinking about the narrative of before and after — I was lost and now I’m found. But that seemed too simple. I remember what Joan Didion said: “I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.”
Aside from the portal at the center, I’ve left just a few edges here. While I was painting this, I was thinking about all the discussions in art classes and art books about edges, how to “steal” the edge, either from the figure or from the background. But I was also thinking that mystics see beyond the edges. That’s a part of what they do. I’ve been reading The Night of the Confessor by Tomas Halik — excellent book — and he says “Love is the only force that unifies things without destroying them.” Yes, I thought. That’s what’s I’m trying to do here and with other paintings these days. Unify things — soften the edges — without destroying them. Be on nodding terms with what I used to see.