Radially Radically Outward

Radially OutwardThis is the mate for the painting of David’s Eagle, for of course, David’s wife, Diane. I didn’t have this painting completed by the time I gave David his painting in late October (it was still in my head), so these 2 paintings arrived 6 weeks and one trip to Siberia apart from each other.

David and Diane are two of my most favourite beings on the planet. I have always admired and revered their relationship, and they way they interrelate with the world around them. Thankfully, Diane’s symbol didn’t take nearly as long to come to me as David’s did. David’s Eagle took over 5 years to come to me. Diane’s Dolphin just kinda showed up on my proverbial doorstop one day when I wasn’t looking and said, “Yo… paint me.” I then sat down, grabbed a pen.. and there it was. I wish all my paintings came to me so easily! But like David’s painting, I don’t even feel responsible for creating this. It just sort of came through me one day, as though I was taking Divine Dictation. That’s exactly how it feels. Someone else (or something else) gave David and Diane these paintings. I just wrote down the message.

The Dolphin (and Diane) represents Joy, Harmony, Life Force, Rhythm, Breath of Life, Intelligence, and The Connection to Self.

Because David and Diane are so intrinsically connected to each other, I wanted to show the significance of their relationship, the depth of their commitment, and the gravity of the love they share for one another through opposing principles. I wanted to show how alike they are, by painting them completely different. David’s symbol is of the air, Diane’s is of the sea. David’s Eagle’s point inward, Diane’s Dolphins point outward. David’s painting is more angled (Eagles are in a square), and so I painted Diane’s more circular (Dolphins are in a circle). In fact, while painting this I had circles and swirled sophistication on the brain, which David must have known when he sent me the following information:

From The Force of Character and the Lasting Life, James Hillman, Random House: New York, 1999
(127) Plotinus says that the forward path is characteristic of the body – the body tend[s] toward the straight line. The soul, however, moves in circles. It circles towards itself, the movement of self-concentrated awareness, of intellection, of the living of its life, reaching to all things so that nothing shall be outside of it, nothing anywhere but [what is] within its scope. Because of these different kinds of movements, the soul restrains the body forwardness, says Plotinus. This restraining power of the soul shows up in those subtle intervening moments of hesitation in the midst of the business of life.

THANK YOU… exactly what I was looking for. There are 2 pairs of Dolphins in the painting, each pair sharing the same tail, not only keeping a similar theme of David’s painting with Connection, but moreso used to epitomize the Connection to Oneself (as the Dolphin symbolizes self-connection). So really… while visually there are 4 dolphins in the painting, technically, there are only two. Two on the top, and their shadowed selves underneath.

As for the border, I wanted to capture something I once “saw” in a photo David took of Diane at their ranch on Summer Solstice a few years back. I can’t remember the exact details of the photo, as what Diane was “gleaming” in the picture eclipsed the actual memory of the image itself. Diane was standing in a small clearing with some rocks strategically laid out, and her arms were stretched outward (or upward) “radially as far as may be” (see below). What I saw in the photo is what I have attempted to emulate here. I wanted to show how one can radiate Joy, Harmony, Life Force, Rhythm, Breath of Life, Intelligence, and The Connection to Self outwardly in all directions. Thus the African arrowheads pointing outward, emitting grace in all directions. I just didn’t know if I could adequately explain why I chose it. Then 3 days before I gave David and Diane their framed paintings (I showed David his in October, I didn’t have both of them framed until now), David once again unknowingly supplied me with exactly the right words I was looking for, via Rainer Maria Rilke:

Everyone must find in his work the centre of his life and thence be able to grow out radially as far as may be. And no one else may watch him in the process… for not even he himself may do that. There is a kind of cleanness and virginity in it, in this looking away from oneself; it is as though one were drawing, one’s gaze bound to the object, inwoven with Nature, while one’s hand goes its own way somewhere below, goes on and on, gets timid, wavers, is glad again, goes on and on far below the face that stands like a star above it, not looking, only shining. I feel as though I had always worked that way; face gazing at far things, hands alone. And so it surely ought to be. I shall be like that again in time.

The music to this painting was the title track from The Tragically Hip’s album World Container. Something about 3/4 time that really draws me into a trance…