My friend Michael requested a painting with only one requirement: that it have to do with humanism. He asked that for inspiration, I look at Alexander Pope's An Essay On Man. So I started thinking about what exactly humanism is. From our conversations on the topic, I gathered that something of particular importance to Michael is the idea of human accomplishment. I sort of narrowed everything down to that focus and decided to see if I could explode that in a painting. I'm still not certain where I'm going with it, but the idea of the infinite possibilities of human achievement stuck with me. Human imagination, human capacity to push every boundary and sometimes even transcend human limitations with boundless grace and courage and intellectual fervor can be pretty damn astounding. And after a few weeks of thinking, I just thought, DA VINCI. Da Vinci lived and breathed at the cross-section of art and science, and his inventive sketches and theories were way beyond his time. I think that, with this painting, I'd like to channel some Da Vinci. So I started off layering loads of paint and acrylic medium to achieve a patchy, old, weathered, parchmenty look. That's how it was around Thanksgiving break. And then I got stuck. Until today.
I want this painting to be chock full of layers upon layers of thought. I want it to look like it's a page out of an inventor's sketchbook, with notes and sketches and technical drawings and doodles. So I started off with the original inspiration: some lines from Pope's poem that stuck out to me. There's another reason I like to include text in my paintings. Mostly, it's my own poetry and randomly lyrical thoughts, but this time, Pope seemed an appropriate choice. I think that adding text adds another layer of richness and meaning to the art, because it infuses it with the feeling of the words, and as the artist, as I paint over the text, the words I am glazing over stick in my mind and sort of get sucked through the paint into the brush, in through my hands and into my bloodstream until they become a part of me and I become a part of the paint which is a part of the art and it is just this lovely cycle of connected-ness and this probably makes no sense at all...
But it needs more.
So I flipped it and kept writing!
I started painting over the writing. This is a somewhat really crappy picture, but I'll have better ones tomorrow as I paint and paint and paint and paint allllll dayyyyyy! Yes, I sung that last part.
Also, I'd just like to include this picture: