Friday, May 28, 2010

Saturday Morning Ramblings...

One day last week, a few minutes early for an appointment, I reclined the seat in my car, stretched out, ahhhhhhh, and observed the ceiling.

And because this is what most people do prior to appointments, while reclining and gazing up at the ceiling of their cars, I imagined I was Michelangelo, painting the Sistine Chapel. I reached my arm up to begin a background colour wash to and could feel the immediate strain of gravity. The colossalness of someone being so inspired to paint from upside down backwards is incredible.


I'm looking at the world differently - and I'm not sure my inner conversations would be very relevant in the real life. (hence i blog them) Everything I see is singing, springing into a translation of colour & texture. I watch the clouds and analyze light and shadow and glow. I drive my car and imagine holding a paintbrush to capture a curve in the road and the subtle colour variations of pavement (pavement!) - and think, 'omgosh! how would i capture wet?'

I'm bubbling over with discovery like understanding it's all about learning to see. If you examine the details of something closely, how to reproduce it begins shouting at you. That you 'flatten' an image, and then pull it back toward you with light and dark. That it's easier to begin with, to paint from real life than from imagination. That the type of brush and the angle you hold it, completely determines what it will create. Astounding, actually.


Oooo, and art history... When Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, he was something of a novice painter, compared to his contemporaries. His love was actually marble sculpting and he resented (!) the commission of Pope Julius II, but couldn't of course, turn down the Pope. So he began the 12,000 square foot ceiling, fearing his work would be compared unfavourably with that of the other guy, you know, just Leonardo DaVinci.

Just the planning of the project was gigantic. Scaffolding had to be invented. A story line was imagined and drawn from the bible. Full size drawings were rendered & transferred to the ceiling. The paint was made specifically since you couldn't just zip down to the dollar store for acrylics in those days. And so his monumental work began to come to life.

And all kinds of crazy normal things interfered - like rain/dampness and the fresco plaster not drying & moulding, like wars that resulted in him not being paid, like sickness & emotional instability - and the constant firing of assistants, since he was apparently quite exacting, odd & tempermental. And not necessarily well liked either. He was considered arrogant by some, had unusual social decorum, slept in his boots, and perhaps was gay.

The really crazy thing is, I get all that. I can completely envision the inspiration, the preparation, the process, the not quite feeling at home in the normal world, the insecurity - and the final dissatisfaction & doubt about whether a project is worth a rat's ass in the scheme of life.

And yet when Michelangelo's completed chapel was revealed, Vasari (an art historian/biographer) said,

"The whole world came running when the vault was revealed, and the sight of it was enough to reduce them to stunned silence. '

Stunned silence. Imagine...


Well, I've pretty much stunned myself silent now too, so I guess I'll pull myself from this otherworld and back to reality...

...I love this other world...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Insecurity, dissatifaction, and wondering is common. It’s art. It’s all about the mystery of genius. It is so fasinating and it remains so misunderstood.