The Poetry of God

There’s a hypnotic quality to painting the morning glory that is quite pleasant – time passes differently when the focus is so closely confined to a small area of canvas. Hours can pass by without mark, quietly slipping into the past, while leaves and flowers accumulate on the canvas, slowly building a mass of gradually crafted work that, when the painting is exhibited, will be glimpsed by visitors to the gallery in a momentary flash of vision, then perhaps studied by some with greater attention. I wonder if the amount of work will be understood, or if the work will simply stand on its own as a beautiful material artifact.

I’m perfectly content in the studio. It’s a haven. It’s a workplace and a cloister. The closest thing to it that I know is the garden, where the work of tilling the earth helps produce the beauty of life.

Plotinus said that “the world is the poetry of God” and I think that painting is very much inspired by paying attention to nature, whether that’s as simple as making pictures of people, or capturing short-lived morning glories. But I think art (obviously I’m particularly interested in the workings of paintings) improves upon nature by making possible things that have never actually been, creating worlds that we have never seen, and arranging the imagined landscape and the events captured in it for its audience, re-affirming their understanding of life or guiding them toward a new appreciation of it.

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