Source of My Inspiration and My Creative Process
the story of Black Elk, he describes a vision he had in his boyhood. He tells
of standing on the sacred central mountain of the world, and as he looked about,
he saw that the central mountain was everywhere. He understood at that moment
that everything in the universe stands on its own sacred central mountain. It
is the place of the eternal, outside of time, that connects us with that which
created us. In Sanskrit, the word for this idea is: Namaste. It means, I recognize
the place in us where the entire universe resides. Or using my example: I recognize
the sacred mountain in you, and I recognize the sacred mountain in me, when
we are both on our sacred mountains, we are one.
When I am silent on top of my sacred central mountain, I connect with an incredible
force inside of me. It is difficult to describe, but it moves me to do wondrous
things. It moves me to create. And hopefully through my creations, we can connect
and become one, even if for a brief moment. Joseph Campbell calls this a mythological
experience, experiencing the eternal aspect of something in the temporal experience.
Even though I believe this completely, I am still left with the question - what
is the source of this force?
I read somewhere that the source of the temporal life is eternity. Where power
and expression manifests itself into the world. But then I ask, what is eternity?
Kant says; the thing in itself is no thing. It transcends thingness; it goes
past anything that could be though. The Buddha says; it both is and is not;
neither is, nor is not. And Jesus says; it is everything and everything is God.
Quantum physics has traced back the origin of the universe millions of years
to the Big Bang. Biology has traced back the origin of life to a single gene
living in a sea creature dwelling in the depths of the ocean. Religion abounds
with theories on the origins of God, and philosophies since the beginning of
human understanding have mused over the origins of creation. Though all the
science, philosophy and religion known to human minds still cannot explain the
origins of everything. How then, can I explain the source of this force within
me? The only explanation is that it originates from eternity itself - from nowhere
When I reflect back on my life two things are constant: a driving compulsion
to find answers and painting. This compulsion to find answers is what drives
my life. I seek out the answers to, who, what, where, when, how, and especially,
why. “Seek and ye shall find”, is a mantra I hum often. And from
as far back as I can remember, I’ve painted. It may have started innocently
enough, though recently I’ve come to understand that for me, painting
is the bridge between seeking and answers. It is the act from which all communications
manifest between my temporal life and my eternal life.
Seeking and painting are inexplicably linked in me. They define what I am -
a seeker and a painter. I seek to explain that force within me. I seek to find
answers. I seek to understand. I seek to paint. In turn, I paint to seek. I
paint to understand. I paint to find answers. I paint to explain that force
within me. When I remove one or both of these links from my life, the depth
of my despair is immeasurable. When both are present, I experience the heights
of pure joy. How can I not conclude then that the origin of that force within
me springs forth from eternity? But where’s the proof?
A single finished canvas is only one product of the journey. To the viewer it
reflects a brief moment of my will and my talent. To me, it tells an entire
story of a time in my history. The image on the canvas is what I choose to say
to the world about that time and how I choose to say it. The rest of the story
is hidden from view. I find more and more that the finished canvas is the least
important element of the artist’s journey. For it is in the creative process
itself that a seeker and a painter finds answers.