Thursday, September 24, 2009

Journal Series: What is it that transforms you?

"It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question." -Decouvertes

And really it is a question... a deep, deep question. The answers I am sure can vary from person to person... on one level it can be a daily renewal with something routine like a simple cup of coffee in the morning, a quiet time involving prayer, meditation or study, or physical activity.

But maybe something more interesting to explore is something "transformational" like a conscious shifting of the mind or some personal cataclysmic event that changes ones view of life.

In this installment of my Journal Series, the journal pages below were done around 2003. (you can click on them to enlarge if you wish). I was involved in discussion about a particular scripture*: "be transformed by the renewing of your mind".

The first page spread has a bit of chaos in it. I believe there is always some form of personal internal or external battle (or at least discomfort) that preceeds the desire for personal transformation or renewal.

Note: The page above was done while working on my painting "Man in the Arena" which takes as it's main text a powerful statement from a Theodore Roosevelt speech*. The color and movement speak of the "dust and sweat and blood" of the struggle, and can be seen in that painting as well.

In calligraphy, and specifically in book design, there are rules. In page layout, there is a "canon of page construction" (shown below) in which the blocks of text are arrived at geometrically with only a straight-edge and no measurements. The result of this excercise is that there is equal space on the top, sides and middle (or gutter) of a page spread. The text is then written inside these "boxes". In the case of this particular artwork, it is symbolic of "staying inside the lines" or thinking "inside the box". Being safe. Doing it like it has always been done.

In the page spread below, these lines are visible, and on the lefthand page, the guidelines for the text are left visible as well.

On the righthand page of this spread, however, there are no guidelines and also the box is then mostly left empty. This is to symbolize the "emptying" of the old ideas and making room for the new. Freedom. There is also "light" in the box... the precursor to an enlightening if you will... a thinking "outside the box". In addition the large text is written larger than the page to symbolize a wider focus or expanding worldview instead of a narrow viewpoint or focus.

The final page-spread, below, is then left to illustrate renewal... not only is the "box" on the left hand page empty, but it is now open at the top, and the right hand page shows no more boundaries going to the right, or forward into the "future" of the book. Freedom.

Obviously, we all come from differing backgrounds, faiths, morals and ethics. The concepts above will mean different things to each reader.

So what is it that transforms you? What is it in your life that needs attention, renewal, and focus?

It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question...

Authors note:
The text in the pages above is written with a broad edged nib in a 15th cent. hand derived from "Bastarda". The large text is written in a freeform style using a ruling pen and building up the letters from their initial "skeleton" form a la Michael Clark.
Text references:
1 Romans Ch. 11- 33 and Romans Ch. 12: 1-4 (New testament, The Bible)

Theodore Roosevelt - "Man In The Arena", taken from the speech titled "Citenship in a Republic" from 1910

1 comment:

  1. I am so enthused about your work. I have been painting a little, but I really desire to give some sort of encouragement to others. Someone may be going through a lonely time, and because of hurts or deep wounds of some kind, truths can turn twisted and muddied into ugly distortions. False perceptions are the only awareness.
    Your artwork and wonderful caligraphy opens new avenues of encouragement, color, and purposefulness which brings HOPE. Thoughts that are bleak, gray and hopeless turn into colorful possibilities and new adventures to explore. Usually when there is some deep sadness or awareness of my shortcomings and failures, I am driven to God's scriptures. If I seek and pray choosing to look up at Him, instead of looking down, light begins to filter in through the murkiness, and somehow hope takes root and grows. God's Grace, (He is so patient!) and the knowledge that He Loves me lifts me up and out of the pit. Hope's So lovely. It breaths life into my soul, and I pray God to use me, make me 100 percent his follower in time it will be Him living through me. Love will come without effort, forgiveness will be as natural as breathing. For now, I thank Him for what He did for us. He can breathe life back in where there was none. Look up at Him. Continuing in the light of His Word. He begins to show me he has purpose in store for me. Well, I had wanted for years to learn calligraphy and paint. The purpose was to give enlightenment any one who needed encouragement. Breathe a prayer onto the canvas for whomever needed it. I believe in prayer and art can move a soul to encouragement, as you have done. Thank you
    I hope God will have me become an artist who will paint for Him, and be used by Him to encourage others also.