A brief pause in both of my “core” studio pursuits, the sonnets and the Rembrandt study.
I woke up this Monday uncertain whether I will return to the study of Rembrandt’s old man, or to the eighty second sonnet painting, and the first though that crossed my mind was that I need to paint something from life. The first idea was a still life with fruit, but then I remembered I had irises, a friend’s gift. Hence, irises — not an easy subject to deal with even in the best of times, with the memories of Van Gogh to add to their intrinsically challenging form. I didn’t want to make it small — so a 20”x24” canvas, and a bouquet of irises. This first decision has changed all the plans I had in mind for this day. But that’s, after all, is how I’ve decided to live my life now — to listen to emerging impulses, rather than to plan and control.
And then another thing happened, in the midst of the morning meditation: a wave of deep, incredibly bright-blue sadness; a wave of insatiable longing for parental love. It was as though some inner dam gave wave, and let in an ocean of sadness and longing. In retrospect, I believe this was another wave of emotions unblocked by studying “The return of the prodigal son”. Had I realised it right away, I would have probably returned to this study with this sadness inside. But I didn’t — so this sadness was poured into painting irises instead.