Tuesday, November 4, 2008

postscript (maybe)

Can't be a postscript on a blog, can there? Since it's a letter that never really ends.

I posted some artwork over on True Companion (see the links here at right). The two-page spread I finished last night is titled Now is the Time/A Bird in the Hand. Both are mixed media collages, about 6 by 8 inches in size. I wasn't able to post them as they would be viewed in my sketch journal -- Now is the Time, the leaf piece with the two birds in the center, goes on the left; A Bird in the Hand goes on the right. I'm right-handed, but conversely it's my left hand that is seen in the image -- so each knows what the other is doing, obviously (heh heh, a very small joke there.) Anyway, here's how it happened:

I started with the torn page pieces from a small-sized journal I was keeping in early 2007. I chose two pages that resonate for me now, and still -- one talked about a funeral I attended shortly before Easter 07, which came at the tail end of an alarmingly, crushingly long string of deaths that befell friends, family and acquaintances. The reverse of that page had to do with the metaphysics of NOW -- the moment of reckoning awakened to each day, the call to act, the instant of first perception and the apex of experience. Now. Kairos. Some notes about all that. I spent a late evening tearing them up, rearranging my words a little and glueing them down again. I tried to mix the two texts in order to see what revelations would come from the new juxtapositions. Word-association games, played to unlock other thoughts that might have evolved in the many months since those first words were written down. Then I layered the torn pages with a bit of tissue paper.

I fell upon the word hands, and others like communion bread, laid to rest, comforting, cellist, etc. I thought about the hands and where they factor into the moments of Now -- ritual, music, creation, communion, destruction, etc. And so a hand appeared there.

The rest happened over the next 36 hours, off and on; much of it completed while I was watching TV, talking to my son, entertaining a friend. The birds didn't make their appearance until late in the process, and the leaves were affixed during Sunday's sermon earlier in the day. A bird in the hand (and two in the bush.) The bird in the hand is NOW. It's what we have now, it's all there is. And by comparison, the 2 in the bush (leaf) cannot both be captured -- they're unattainable, what could be or might have been. Alternatives, fleeting and irrelevant.

But I didn't know that until the end -- that's the great thing about adding and reducing, layering a collage -- it's a discernment, not a map, and the message emerges on its own with time.

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