I remember images I haven’t created yet, recall paintings yet to be painted and feel nostalgic about photos I am yet to take.
In a world of images concept of time doesn’t exist, past, present and future are all blended into one and can be accessed by allowing yourself to experience them as raw emotions, sometimes “positive”: joy, bliss, ecstasy… and sometimes “negative”: sadness, longing, fear, etc.
Last year I listened to an interview with writer Colm Tóibín about “the important function of a novel’s first sentence as a catalyst for the rest of the book” and as it resonated with me I would think about it every now and then.
I’m not a writer but many times a sudden and spontaneous occurrence of a single image in my mind, an intense feeling rising in my body, a spark of a curious idea or even a single sentence would move me to create an entire art project.
Few weeks ago I realized I have fallen into a routine with my painting and needed to do something about it so I took a break to get some rest and then to try to make new, exciting paintings. While short rest period certainly helped to get an energy boost and find joy in painting again I couldn’t make a desired breakthrough.
Forcing creative breakthroughs is never a good idea so instead of working on art, one late afternoon I went for a long walk exploring the part of my neighborhood I don’t know well. I walked along a narrow street parallel to the train tracks. As the trains went by the sound of passing wagons put me in a strange mood, evoking nostalgia about my early childhood and also made me think of distant trains in de Chirico’s metaphysical paintings. I kept wondering could a symbol of a train be an universal symbol of nostalgia and longing (at least for modern humans). My thought process was interrupted by arriving to the end of the road and seeing a wide meadow with a view of open sky and mountains in the distance.
The sun was about to set and sky was colored with every tone of blue imaginable mixed with occasional strokes of deep oranges and pinks and stained with patches of dark grey clouds. The beautiful scene got me thinking: “What do we look at when we look at a gorgeous sunset or a sunrise?”
We are actually looking at colors, free of form, floating on an endless canvas of sky. And this experience of color free of form, this impression of boundless beauty moves us, elates us, inspires us, it often brings up very deep sense of awe and admiration for the the world that surrounds us and enhances our connection to it, connection to the nature and all that is.
This effect of directly experiencing colors free of form is apparent in the art world as well, for example in Rothko’s work. If you look at one of his classical “color field” canvases for long enough you might have a similar emotional experience as if you were gazing at the sky during a beautiful sunset.
As I was contemplating colors and Rothko and still in a strange nostalgic mood and enjoying a fascinating sunset an unusual sentence entered my mind “I remember images I haven’t created yet.” and was followed by another thought: “I recall paintings yet to be painted and feel nostalgic about photos I am yet to take.”
What was that? I’m not sure but those simple sentences possessed me and I could feel their potential, the potential of starting a brand new art project. I could, for a split second, indeed remember images and photographs I haven’t taken yet but I will in near future and could feel their energy and mood.
If you asked me to describe those images in detail, I couldn’t, but I can still feel them and can sense they will somehow deal with nostalgia and longing and exploration of colors, perhaps colors free of form.
So, this spring that’s the direction I want to take, live with this somewhat absurd idea of remembering the images that I am yet to create and building another series of pictures around it. Let’s see what happens next.