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...feed your soul with art & creativity!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Question of God

I seem to be skirting all around this theme.  Yesterday’s blog, Blue Print, alluded to it.

Now, I don’t want to lose those of you who are Atheists or Agnostics or Scientists or Pagans or whatever terms and labels you might choose, but let’s face it, whether or not there is a God, there are many artists who have tackled God and religious themes in their artwork.  My own art has a metaphysical bent to it, in that I believe that God, or to use one of my favorite terms, the creative spark, inspires me.  Much of my artwork has been driven by my many-years exploration of my personal beliefs and experiences I’ve had that have shaped those beliefs.

©SZing, Microcosm
For example, in my “Door to Eternity,” I was questioning what happens at the end of life.  Is there a bright light and another realm and another and another on a journey to reconnect with God? Do “we” float around in space? Or, as some of my rather staid scientist friends believe, are we simply worm food?  Frankly, I don’t know.  I can speculate.  I can hope and wish.  But knowing isn’t as important as the exploration itself, at least for me, in creating these types of art.

©SZing, Door to Eternity
Another of my pieces,
©SZing, Characteristics of God
is an abstract piece that was one of those “in the zone” paintings for me. I was thinking about as many different characteristics as I could of what my creative spark or divine inspiration would embody.  This piece hangs above my bed.  My sweetheart says it is his favorite painting of mine because, “no matter what, Love always comes out of the chaos and is right side up.”  I hadn't planned it that way while painting it.  It's one of those coinkydinks I don't believe in.  I truly felt that Zen-meditation sense that I talked about in The Art Zone on the day I painted it.

Then there was this picture.  It was done while I was attending a painting retreat.  It was the last evening and I knew that in the morning we wouldn’t have time to do much of anything except wrap up business.  I had just completed an enormous Amazon woman who was astoundingly intricate in her embellishments.  It was 9 p.m.  I was tired.  A part of me wanted to go have a drink and relax or just go to sleep.  It was a beautiful evening, cool, just on the verge of fall and there was a full moon.  The retreat center had a labyrinth walk next-door to the building where we were painting.  So, thinking I was “complete,” I walked the labyrinth.  I was feeling an enormous gratitude and joy at being so blessed to be at the retreat, to have completed the paintings throughout the week, and just really satisfied and happy.  I walked the labyrinth and suddenly was inspired to go back in and paint.
In 20 minutes, I had completed “God Creates.”

©SZing, God Creates
I remember painting the picture.  I was, at the time, very fond of wearing three or four jangly bangly charm bracelets.  As I moved my brush and picked up more paint, the bracelets were quite noisy—enough so that another woman painting in the corner commented on the noise.  I remember drawing the blue—I thought it was going to be a pond or lake or something for a landscape.  It certainly is.  But before I knew it, it was a world and everything else was in place. 

Twenty minutes flew by and I can say, I had never finished a painting in that short a time.  (For a baseline,  the first painting I did took an entire year and was the only artwork that I did the entire year.)  Of course, I don’t know what planet it is being viewed from (the flowers and trees in the forefront), perhaps it is a starship with a great arboretum on it…I drew the infinity symbol and somehow immediately knew it was a mask, the eyes showed up.  It asked to be “haloed” somewhat, and there was a moment in my mind when I remember asking, Is that God? Or is that me, as God, looking out on the creation of everything?

I promise.  I had not had that drink I’d thought about.  Nor was I under the influence of anything other than the labyrinth and the nighttime.  It is one of my favorite paintings, because for me, I feel a deep connection with…something.  Even in my modern primitive style, I feel that I captured that relationship to God as much as any of the very old school painters may have in their own unique exploration.

I believe that spiritual beliefs and exploration and the artist’s connection with God (again, whatever label works for you) are themes that have been explored for ages and will continue to be explored.  Each artist has their answers and their experiences are uniquely their own.

As for myself, it is my belief that that creative force, spark, or intelligence is every where present, every when.  It is in me, as me, expressing and experiencing through me.  I am not saying I am God.  I am saying that we all are god and god is all there is.  It is a theme I love to explore and which inspires so much of my artwork and projects.  Even writing this makes it all sound so inadequate and mundane.  But there is something about painting and spirituality that can be transcendent.  The fact is, God, or the remnants of God, show up in an astounding lot of artwork over the centuries.  He/she/it and the artists’ may be on to something.  We are all microcosms.