Saturday, March 8, 2014

Vibrations of the Infinite


Using the outer light, return to insight.  ~ Tao Te Ching


Diane McGregor, Vibration II, graphite on paper, 2x6 inches

 
 Those spaces between, 
however narrow, 
finite but possessing 
the clearest sense of infinitude, 
they reverberate, 
separate, 
clarify. 
The spaces between seconds, 
in negative rhythm, 
the substance of time. 
Those moments between 
glances,
 between the connection 
and the shuttering of eyes.  

~ Michael Boiano


Thursday, February 13, 2014

True Meditation

Diane McGregor, Meditation I, graphite on paper, 6.5 x 3 inches

"In true meditation the emphasis is on being awareness: not on being aware of objects, but on resting as primordial awareness itself.... Silence and stillness are not states and therefore cannot be produced or created. Silence is the non-state in which all states arise and subside.... Silence itself is the eternal witness without form or attributes. As you rest more profoundly as the witness, all objects take on their natural functionality, and awareness becomes free of the mind's compulsive contractions and identifications, and returns to its natural non-state of Presence." ~ Adyashanti, from True Meditation.

 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Surfacing

Diane McGregor, Surfacing I, graphite on paper, 2.25x6 inches



Diane McGregor, Surfacing II, graphite on paper, 2.25x6 inches


I am working on several new series of panoramic abstractions.  Although the image says to the viewer's brain, "This is landscape," in reality these images are coming from deep within me and don't reference any landscape objective. These two drawings are part of a series of 10.  I'm also working on several oil paintings within this panoramic format.  One series currently in progress consists of 5 oil on canvas paintings measuring 12x36 inches each.  I'm very excited about the spiritual and psychological potential of this work. I am allowing the images to emerge from a still point of concentration. Continuing with my exploration of the grid,  the images are built up from horizontal and vertical strokes of graphite. A friend called this work "silent grids," and I rather like that definition.  The underlying structure of the imagery is a grid, yet the end result is very fluid and organic. I am using the same technique with the oil paintings as well -- each layer of paint is added by applying vertical and horizontal brushstrokes, evoking light and shadow, form and substance, without leaving any boundary traces or definitive edges.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Poetry, Time, and a New Year

 
Emanation III, oil on canvas, 29 x 22 inches,  © Diane McGregor


What we look for beyond seeing
And call the unseen,
Listen for beyond hearing
And call the unheard,
Grasp for beyond reaching
And call the withheld,
Merge beyond understanding
In a oneness
Which does not merely rise and give light,
Does not merely set and leave darkness,
But forever sends forth a succession of living things as mysterious
As the unbegotten existence to which they return.
That is why men have called them empty phenomena,
Meaningless images,
In a mirage
With no face to meet,
No back to follow.
Yet one who is anciently aware of existence
Is a master of every moment,
Feels no break since time beyond time
In the way life flows.

                ~ Lao Tzu, Number 14, Tao Te Ching (translated by Witter Bynner)


I enjoy collecting different translations of the Tao Te Ching.  I am always interested in how various scholars reveal the hidden gems in this widely published classic. I recently came across this translation by Witter Bynner, and I loved it.  I was surprised to learn that he was a Santa Fe poet.  He was famous for hosting large parties attended by artistic and literary celebrities such as D.H. Lawrence, Willa Cather, Ansel Adams, Georgia O'Keeffe, Robert Frost, Aldous Huxley, and W.H. Auden, among many others.  His historic home is now open to the public as a bed and breakfast inn located in downtown Santa Fe.

Wishing all of my readers a transformative 2014!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Simplicity

"An artist makes a spiritual evaluation of the essence within a thing and then he[she] gets it out; that is the outer appearance of the inner essence and, it is the point. Sophisticated materials and complex systems are not necessarily good media for art because art is a simple thing and, the more simple the medium, the less you have to get over to get to the fact of the piece." -- John Chamberlain


Graphite drawing from a 2013 sketchbook, 3x3 inches







I have always loved the simplicity of my materials.  I have not wavered from my use of traditional oil paints on canvas for over 20 years. I always use Schmincke Mussini oil paints on primed canvas -- no fillers, waxes, driers, complex mediums or varnishes, just oil paint and mineral spirits. Graphite on paper is also another favorite choice of media -- and you can't get much simpler than a pencil and a piece of paper.  

I think Chamberlain is correct in stating that there is sometimes a disconnect between the method and materials and the essence of a piece of art, especially in today's art world, where beauty and refinement are often marginalized, and gimmicks and poor craftsmanship seem to get all the attention.  I am honestly perplexed by and frustrated with much of the art that is being produced and treated seriously in today's art market.  Alas, I continue to plod along on the path toward beauty and essence, and I refuse to give up on the spiritual nature of my task.