Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Secrets of the Angels

Back in April, I thought it would be neat to do a mixed media replica of the famous monastery Milosevo fresco – White Angel.

It was Easter.

We were in lock-down.  

What could possibly go wrong when one wants to celebrate this strange COVID-19 Easter by painting an angel idling around Jesus’ empty tomb, wondering why would anyone be looking for the Living One among the dead? 

I scoured the Internet for a reference photo I wanted to use and once I found it, went to work.

I intended - to the best of my ability - to stay as close to the original.  With that in mind, I took a pencil and I started lightly outlining the image on the paper.  The head and halo around it. The folds of the robe. One wing and the other.

I am not sure at what point in the process a human photo-copy machine gave way to an artistic libertarian with a mind of her own.  All I know, by the time I was finished what (or rather, who) showed up on the page was NOT the same angel depicted in the renown fresco.

I stare at the woman, wondering where did she come from? Who is she? Why is her face sad and her robe, her hands, even her golden halo, and all around and behind her splattered with Daler Rowney Brilliant Red mingled with gold?

What kind of messy post-resurrection messenger is this?!?!!

I step back, the words of American abstract painter Robert Motherwell, now in focus. 

In the brush doing what it’s doing, it will stumble on what one couldn’t do by oneself.

Clearly both history and our daily reality bear witness that we don't live in some kind of post-resurrection spiritual Pleasantville.

When I think of it, it's a sad thing, because we don't realize that in our insistence on being ‘in control', and sugarcoating reality we forfeit the opportunity to allow a deeper and perhaps more edgy truth that wants be revealed in all its disturbing beauty.

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