Calligraphy box breakout

December 6, 2008


This is the companion piece to ‘Enchanted Vessels I’  which appears in a previous post.

Both pieces are based on the following quote from ‘The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life’  by Thomas Moore:

    ‘Enchantment arises whenever we move so deeply into anything we’re doing that its interiority stirs the heart and the imagination’.

They were done in the context of an oil pastel series, so inadvertently solved a problem I’d been having with calligraphy:

As  result of working in the field of calligraphy for most of my adult life, I had become enclosed in a box I couldn’t see my way out of.  That box was ,’ Calligraphy is making beautiful legible letters to express a quote you like’.  When starting a calligraphy piece I would simply reach for my calligraphy materials, and somehow also my calligraphy mindset.

Though I’d done a lot of abstract calligraphy where the emphasis lay on the markmaking and expression, I’d not yet been able to find a satisfying way to respond to the many literary quotes that continually inspired me.  I’d end up ‘doing a piece of calligraphy’, and it was more of the same old same old.

So this piece, saturated with the magic of Moore’s quote, resolved my dilemma. Snatches of the quote are legible, but most importantly the essence of what touched me is expressed in this piece, and only in part by the calligraphy. The colours, the  monoprint, the handwriting and more formal letters, the  collage and drawing and stamps all work together to form a whole.

Shining through form

April 15, 2008

Continuing on from  the previous post- ‘Old Calligraphy, old territory’, I want to explain what it is I look for in a work of art.

I want to be moved, taken out of the ordinary, jolted into a new perception, given the key to a new world. I want to meet someone at heart level, at soul level through their work. I want to be returned to myself to know who I really am at my best and deepest. I want to be given an experience of wholeness and solace. I want to be opened, pried or blasted, it doesn’t matter. I want to be left with the feeling of, ‘It is a beautiful world after all, despite everything’.

Pretty high demands, one might say, but it has happened to me repeatedly, with music, theatre, painting drawing, poetry, etc. 

But here is a paradox: The artists that create work capable of giving this experience aren’t necessarily making ‘beautiful’ things in the conventional sense of the word. I find that what moves me, whether it is a drawing by a child or a painting by a master is something ‘true’ shining out of the work.

Eckhart Tolle, author of ‘The Power of Now’  and  ‘A new Earth’,  puts it this way:

Pseudo art is clever minds trying to be more clever, manipulating old forms. Nothing new has come in.

Nothing in that kind of art can lead you back into the formless which is the original reason for art—to be a portal, an access point for the sacred so that when you see/experience it you experience yourself.  In it you see the formless reflected, shining through form.     -From a talk given at Findhorn in 2004

He goes on to say that true art always contains another dimension than just what you see or hear. It is always more. And the ‘more’ is the energy that emanates from the work. He says too that this kind of power comes from a place of stillness.

And that leads me to a whole new thread, to be continued.