41st Entry - 2013 Past Life Series, Part Three

 The heart can be moved by virtually anything if it is aware of it. Easily we are surrounded by the most magnificent of dynamic beauty in our own bodies and back yards ranging from the sub-atomic to the planets and stars themselves. The trick is to simply become aware and acknowledge that beauty then just allow ourselves a moment to be moved by it.

Admittedly I don't understand people who claim they're never curious, to me its impossible not to be interested if not distracted by one thing or another. I see the world differently I suppose, I'm just so fond of life, which in part is why I'm so fond of the saying  'Totus res decorus' which is Latin for 'All things Beautiful'. I think life can be quite beautiful and I celebrate the quality of life, its so very brief and rare after all. Its easy to feel this way, we don't need millions of dollars to take a moment and be able to appreciate something attractive or well made.

One of the most common questions I'm asked as an artist who uses natural inks stains and dyes is "don't the colors spoil or fade??" well being that they are natural, yes of course they would IF they weren't protected. Ever take a bite out of an apple and leave it on the counter for a few minutes? The same thing happens with some of the colors, they oxidize and even change pigment the longer they are exposed to air. This is why creating these colors is as much a science as a refined art in and of itself. Sadly its become rare that people use home made colors around the world, even the fabric dye masters of India are feeling this effect of easy technology transforming the popularity their craft.

Each painting is sealed with a uv blocking topcoat that is as hard as nails, blocking it from exposure to air and making the colors look as if they were freshly painted. Of course exposing the piece to direct sunlight for long periods of time is not recommended but when caring for ones art in any capacity this is a standard. The sun bleaches things in time so its important to reduce the paintings exposure as much as possible.


For me nothing can compare to the natural color of a rose or blade of grass these colors of nature are just beautiful to me. As detailed in my previous entry, I use a lamp black ink made with egg and honey. However not all pigments require this, sometimes the element just needs to be dried, ground and re-hydrated so it flows. This is one of the techniques on how I use a few herbs and spices like coffee, paprika and cinnamon. The white porcelain allows me to see the thickness of the pigment effortlessly. One might wonder when they walk into my studio if Im an artist or a chef, ramekins, pots, whisks, mortar and pestle, peelers next to brushes.

Often people will swear Im making cookies or pies when I'm rendering pigment from cinnamon bark or brewing fine coffee. From strawberries to pumpkin and dandelions I love that but i would never recommend eating a painting haha, there are other pigments that aren't so anatomy friendly and I have to use precaution even preparing them
 
 Here in my little dishes is a combination of paprika and cinnamon with powdered coffee. Im just adding water and the result is this fantastic ox blood tone that I can alter to appear in tones ranging from rust orange to oak brown. On how to attain the right thickness and color just try and try again, practice makes perfect. My formulas and recipes are something I keep a trade secret, someday I'll either publish them or give them away to a loved one, there are so very many it would be a gross undertaking. Even still there are others I have never written down and know by heart. Kind of like how my grandmother makes her wedding cookies from scratch or my mom makes her meatballs, after awhile you just know what to do. A career chef can measure a teaspoon with their eye, and taste an ingredient approximate how much of it is used, know how high to set the temperature as to not burn things or bring them to boil; this is in its way the very same but with a visual voice.

Each ingredient the gift of potential, a spirit waiting to be freed in my mind, and a force of nature. I under stand which get along and which conflict and how to use those. Alchemy in a way and in a way a discipline, because mastering these techniques dont happen in a single effort most of the time but I've always felt them worth it.

Once a piece is started it will paint itself, I just have to be there to record it happening. I think allot of people have felt that kind of flow, from writers to composers, dancers and clothing designers even interior decorators to engineers. Like a mathematical formula it comes together on each set of palms. How strange an idea to compare art to math, I'm not the first to do so, have you ever heard the song of Pi? As an interesting aside you can, just click here The Song of PI its beautiful, inspiring and expresses a loving awareness.

This is the way I work in my world. I am not painting anything that isn't in some capacity there already, I just have these eyes that can see it. For example see the pointer finger of this subject, dont just look at the color of it, think about it and allow it to make an impression, the mind will create a semblance of logic mixed with imagination and this is where for me at least, the faces form and show themselves. I just sit there with my brush in hand and wait for it to happen. And though through recipes and the expectation of relative constants assembled together behaving in a relationship with a calculated outcome like magic the end result is different each and every time. This was the first of ten pieces created and its already at home with its new owner, the second piece is on her way to her's as well, and the third and fourth are at different stages on the drying table and easel .

'The Past Lives of Lenardo Damsa' part of the 2013 Past Lives Series
I am so very happy you've chosen to follow up on the blog and read this entry. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have in sharing it with you, that to me would be a fantastic compliment to my efforts. Please be sure to check back next week when I reveal more on my process and method with the second piece 'The Past Lives of Esme Barde'. Til then  may your world have 'Totus res decorus', more later :)

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