"What you can plan
is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly
will make plans enough for the vitality
hidden in your sleep.
To become human
is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden
as a give to other. from David Whyte, "What to Remember when Waking"
Paying attention to the dialog between our conscious and subconscious worlds is where our true voice moves from barely audible to understood and embraced; dreams, just waking up, the three o'clock flash of brilliance you have to write down before your forget. This is one of the reasons I move between representation and abstract painting processes. Sometimes I am several paintings in before I start to notice patterns, subjects, colors, marks that are recurring subconsciously. Recently I need to just get painting again after immersing myself in the digital experiment. I painted an abstract purely by instinct, trying some new things as they come up. It sold so fast, I didn't have time to figure if it was saying something to me. Then I started another and something about it resonated with the poetry of David Whyte I was reading. Both paintings had a horizon of sorts...between contrasting worlds. Now I let Whyte's words and ideas influence some conscious decision in the second painting. It sold still hanging in my studio area. I started a third,forth and fifth painting together as I some times do, not know whether they remain separate or not. I got to a point of wholeness on each panel and began to play with them together, different orientations, combinations but keeping the horizon line horizontal. Moving the lines to vertical seems to suggest a dialog or a time sequence. Each section moves some things forward, as new elements, leaves things behind. Life is a living process not a once and done plan. What you can plan is "too small to paint" whether it is representational or abstract. This is part of my voice, "painting as dialog." This may not be part of your voice. The important thing is to notice how your art emerges from you, to pay attention to way you feel about your artistic process, to see what gift you are imparting to others.
Tom C. McGee, Jr.
Musings about mystery, art and spirituality.