Monday, February 4, 2013
Making Friends with Ideas
Several years into my adventure with art I began to make pictures of a man lying on his back. The image came to me the way images most often do. The images simply comes into thought, or even feels its way into my thought. A good image comes with a feeling of fascination or love or deep meaning. Very often the image comes without my really understanding why I should make it, but with a feeling that I should.
This is what happened with this image of the man lying on his back. When it first came into my thought it came with a feeling of such love and depth that I immediately began to follow that path. Usually when this happens, I explore the image for a while, make a few paintings to figure out what it is and what it means – to learn what it has come to tell me. Then after a while it usually transforms into a different idea or peters out and a new idea takes its place.
In this case, however, the image became stronger and stronger to me as I worked on it. My fascination with it grew and my desire to explore it was undiminished. After a year I found myself just as in love with this image as I was when it first came. In that time though, I had discovered some of its identity. It told me some stories about itself, what it meant, and what it was saying. The paintings continued to come out. For another year, and then another, and even another! It was so clear to me that he was teaching me about things very spiritual - things that were beyond my knowledge. He didn’t come speaking in words, but just in feelings and ideas. And those were things I could understand way down deep.
For about 4 years I worked with this image. The man lying on his back became to me the sleeper, the dreamer, the soul, the innocent – on and on! My understanding and love for him grew. At one point I was struck by the fact that I was having a relationship with an idea. This idea had come unsolicited. Then, when I was interested in it and explored, the idea shared new ideas with me. There was back and forth, like a conversation.
This was like a bolt of lightning. Don't friends need to be… people? But here, I have a friend and it is not a person. It is an idea. From this friendship I am being made stronger, more sensitive. My life is richer for it. I feel actual real love because of it. Yet, this is relationship is not with a person.
But, as I let the idea unfold in me further, I came to the resolution that made me thank God. It was this: in fact, all my friendships are with ideas! There is not a difference between my friendship with this idea and my friendship with a person! I am simply surrounded by ideas. My interaction with ideas is what creates my life, gives me joy, causes me to progress.
So, the gift of the man lying on his back is a spiritual gift from the Infinite Good just as are my many friendships with people. They all are surprising to me. They all cause me to grow, force me to get better, show me my need of God, show me His glory, color, fascination.
We are surrounded by ideas!