of the peony
Just how I feel after diving into a painting and emerging only after the nectar has been consumed and the painting has gained momentum. And I am almost staggering because the energy that pulls you in is intense. It falls into the category occupied by dark chocolate, sex, designer shoes, etc. You are definitely in another zone, on another level, around the bend. It is a space where your Self is forgotten and you see only the golden thread and without hesitation you follow that divine impulse of delight. Because it is mysterious and alluring. Einstein said there is nothing more beautiful than the mysterious. And it is this dazzling beauty that you are led by. It is intensely personal and at the same time universal.
Mythical stories chronicle the appearance of ancient super intelligent beings that interacted with humans gifting them with a payload of cyber-cerebral effects that enhanced and accelerated their creative ability. In Greek mythology Prometheus was a legendary god with a sense of humor and a soft spot for the adorable innocent neophyte human: he tricks Zeus into eternally claiming the inedible parts of cows and bulls for the sacrificial ceremonies of the gods, while conceding the nourishing parts to humans for the eternal benefit of humankind. Not only that, Prometheus gave mankind fire stolen from Mount Olympus thought to be symbolic of creative power. For so favoring the lowly human race he was eternally punished by Zeus but eternally adored by artists of all stripe thankful for the super charge.
Still in existence today are ancient and profound planetary monuments, auguries of awesome acts of pure creativity, a facility considered to be so important for future understanding that these signifiers were forged as stone monoliths and left all over our blue green planet. Consider the 3 recently discovered stone blocks in the ancient stone quarry of Baalbek, in Lebanon. It has been concluded by archeologists that they are the largest known stone blocks ever carved by human hands. Irrespective of function or purpose, their ‘worker bee’ creators delved deep into the peony. They created something. They made an indelible mark. It was important. Creation of a monolithic block surely had to be worthy of the effort.
The act of creativity specific to our species on earth has essentially lead the evolution of human civilization. Most religions say mankind was created. But were we a protoplasmic recipe created in a petri dish by drooling aliens in white lab coats or did we naturally evolve from a distant foggy past where we slithered on a beach and eons later communicated in grunts? Fast forward to the most sophisticated brains of today: mathematicians who write formulas that fill a blackboard or summarize a universal law in three characters, scientists who understand neutrinos, musicians that write great symphonies even if they are deaf… All were seduced in the creative mindspace which is expanding at an astonishing rate as most easily perceived in the field of technology, so rapidly advancing since the Industrial Age . For the most part, what is being ingeniously expressed in modern civilization is a benign and healing energy that could ultimately save us all.
On the other side of the coin there is the dark force that causes indescribable harm and malice potentially leading to catastrophic self-annihilation or destruction. Unfortunately for some, it is also a powerful intoxicant creatively manifested in some form of war in ever new versions: hot war cold war crazy war.
“Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;”
-W.B. Yeats from An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
Will we stand steadfast on the side of the peony and be thoroughly UN-radicalized by it, stripped of all desire to dominate and control through force. Will we throw down all our weapons in one great pile to create a new Atlantis. Will we drink the nectar fall in love with life find ways to express negative emotion harmlessly create new lasting wonders that will remain marvels forever. Why ever not?
For me as a relatively ineffectual little person, it is the experience of being inside the peony that is the motivation to paint. It is the falling into freedom that both intrigues and sometimes confounds my creative spirit beckoning me to put down my wobbly ego and trust in the spark. The spark of pure inspiration has become more important and powerful than any pedantic image I could make so I have eliminated most recognizable elements in my paintings. Painting in the abstract genre is an opportunity to preserve the mystery that is there before a painting becomes something and tells you everything about itself without your consent. In order to assimilate the effect of an abstract painting it is necessary to allow it to be initially felt on the level of sensation rather than on conceptual terms. Maybe this explains why viewers know they either like or dislike a piece of abstract art but cannot say exactly why.
Heaven and earth and the spark that made them. Or if you prefer it is a landscape containing a serpent. The serpent/spark was pure accident resulting from a spontaneous pouring of paint across the canvas with the intention of spreading it into a thin film but surprisingly it was the perfect finishing touch that completed the painting in an unexpected way.
The creative impulse is like catching the tail of a comet. There is such power to fuel your flight you just have to buzz off to the next peony regardless of life’s provoking irritations.
Creation of Adam – Wikipedia Commons
Hand Made Stone Block Weighing 1,650 tons – Deutsches Archäologisches Institut
All other Images © Wendy Skog
Wendy Skog Artist Bio Canadian abstract artist, Wendy Skog studied art at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. She is known for her unique, minimalist canvases rendered in a perfect balance of space, color, form, line, and color field. Recently she has captured the attention of a growing audience for her digital monoprints or artist proofs.
Influenced by the New York School of painters, Skog has been an abstract artist since the late ’80s. Her artistic growth and development in the mediums of acrylic on canvas and pigment ink on archival papers and metal was initially enhanced by attending the prestigious Emma Lake Artists’ Workshop in Canada and the Triangle Artists’ workshop in New York. Skog has had the great benefit and privilege of studio critiques by Karen Wilkin, the notable New York critic, and Ken Carpenter, Chair of Fine Arts, York University, Toronto. Skog has frequently traveled to Toronto, New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles to study art in major public museums and private galleries. Her studio is located in Victoria, British Columbia.
Skog’s work is a wordless meditation creatively expressed as energy moving in space. The paintings are manifestations of the spirit, confusion, surprise, excitement, tragedy, unpredictability, drama and innocence collectively experienced through human lifetimes. The work draws from the vulnerability and consciousness gained through these experiences without their explicit portrayal.
The paintings of Wendy Skog have been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows in Canada and the United States. They have been internationally included in both corporate and private collections.
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