|"Walking the Dog - early morning after the snow" Oil on canvas, 20" x 24"|
Painting is a complicated activity. At least my kinda painting is. I say this because I consider my self a visual expeditionary ... an explorer and by explorer I mean someone who is not a tour guide and by that I mean I'm someone who goes where he hasn't gone before and by that I mean I often don't know what the hell I'm doing. And, it must be said, when I don't know what I'm doing then I'm frustrated yet content: I know I'm on the right track.
This process of delving into the unknown is, for me, where the hidden treasures lie. And I'm not speaking of valuable monetary investments or Swiss bank accounts or rubies and diamonds (although those are nice) but, rather, the treasures of the heart and soul. Finding these things is often a process of fumbling and stumbling around in the dark ... it's the only way I know how to get there.
Joseph Campbell, a master scholar, teacher and story-teller of the 20th century, connects the discovery of spiritual riches with personal hardship and seeming misfortune:
“Mythology tells us that where you stumble, there your treasure is. There are so many examples. One that comes to mind is in The Arabian Nights . Someone is plowing a field, and his plow gets caught. He digs down to see what it is and discovers a ring of some kind. When he hoists the ring, he finds a cave with all of the jewels in it. And so it is in our own psyche; our psyche is the cave with all the jewels in it and it’s the fact that we’re not letting their energies move us that brings us up short. The world is a match for us and we’re a match for the world. And where it seems most challenging lies the greatest invitation to find deeper and greater powers in ourselves” — An Open Life: Joseph Campbell in Conversation with Michael Toms (1988)
My kinda painting is a complicated activity because it's not exclusively preoccupied with the finished product. Although, I can tell you as much as the next painter, there's nothing quite like gazing upon one's own creation. The deeper meaning, perhaps I should say the discerning feature, is the process. "Discovery through exploration" is my mantra and I try, oh how I try on a daily basis, to be lost, to be confused, to be wrapped in a shroud of mystery but also importantly, to examine, listen and learn from the undisclosed secrets within the darkness.