Tuesday, June 1, 2010

green thought in a green shade: painting an ode to Marvell

greenthoughts 003
6x6" wood board painting with acrylics, fabric, paper

Andrew Marvell wrote in The Garden:
Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness :
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find ;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas ;
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.
I’ve always been puzzled and intrigued by this idea of a green thought in a green shade. I’ve studied this poem many times in my life and while I understand the rest of the poem, this particular line is an enigma to me. And yet, this stanza, out of all the poem (which is basically about god creating the garden) draws me the most.  So I took a few of the verbs from those lines, combined with the last line of the stanza, and added it to my thoughtful green lady.

Find, create, transcend. I couldn’t think of words that are more fitting to this time in my life. Just as I am seeking to nurture hope in my darkest hours, I am also trying to find my way, create a new path, and transcend (to where and what remains to be seen).

This was the first time I've ever painted on a wood board canvas and it was fun. I've only ever really played with paint on a surface other than paper. Next up, an actual canvas surface. I'm excited. It's like I'm a real painter now! Woo hoo! Ok, yeah, yeah, I'm a dork who is way to excited by her playing with paint time. (I can't bring myself to calling it just painting or being an artist cause I don't want to jinx myself and enrage the gods and artsy muses with my lack of humility and daring... ). Maybe I should preface every painting/creation I make with a prefatory apology for daring to create and think that my humble art worthy of your consideration like English Renaissance writers before the rise of Humanism?

If I go back to what Elizabeth Gilbert said about art in her TED talk and consider artistic inspiration as being something that is given to us as a gift from the gods as opposed to our own, perhaps then I should be thinking of the artistic process as something I should be expressing gratitude for and seeing as not entirely my own but rather, in part, a gift given to me from that divine something out there (whatever you want to call it) :

Sometimes I think that because we live in a very individualistic society, we tend to view our creations as being entirely our own, and with that comes the double edged sword: our successes are our own, but so to are our failures. We cannot fully claim our successes without being narcissistic and full of ego, nor can we admit failure without shame attached to it (instead of seeing each failure as the essaye that it is, which can lead to success later, after all for every success there are a 100 failures before it).

I know, I know. I'm totally intellectualizing creativity. But it's something that I spend a great deal of time thinking about these days. (Shocker, I know...)

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