This week, we will begin a journey to express spirituality through art. Think about this and the upcoming blog posts as an interactive diary that you can adapt to your own work. The idea is to question and examine first and then intuitively find more truths.
Introduction to the Journey
As I wrote last week, I have got a grant from The Arts Promotion Centre Finland to create a series of paintings and write about the process.
In the series, I will dive deeper into Wassily Kandinsky’s idea of unleashing the inner sound of form (check the class Floral Freedom). I will also examine the art of the 16th and 17th centuries and get influences from there. My paintings will express spirituality, but they won’t be subject to any particular worldview or religion.
I will work both systematically and intuitively. I will create studies in my colored pencil diary that help me to build a formal language for each intuitive painting (check the class Intuitive Coloring).
I hope this 3-month project inspires you to start an art journey to your spirituality! Take a bit of time for it every week, have a sketchbook or an art journal, maybe create a few paintings too. You can also write down names, quotes, and personal thoughts. The idea is to keep ideas and associations flowing while art gets created!
I hope to hear your thoughts in the comments! If you want more social support, purchase any of my classes and you will get to my community Bloom and Fly for the rest of the year. We will have discussions about this project in the Facebook group of the community.
Ok, let’s begin!
How to Define Spirituality
First, let’s ask what spirituality is! Google replies:
“the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.”
But as artists, we don’t have to obey any general answer. Rather, it’s expected that our art expresses our personal points of view. I also believe that any word can start a journey. The first answer is just a ticket, and the answers get deeper piece by piece.
Connection, empathy, and understanding – I imagine squeezing these three words in my hands like they would be paper tokens. I want to connect with artists in the past, empathize with their shapes, and understand how to go deeper. But instead of getting overly serious, I also want to learn to play. The goal is to create a spectrum rather than one truth.
What three words would you pick as your tickets to a spiritual journey?
Meeting Sandro Botticelli
The first painting of the series will be the one that started last July. It was then black and white, an underpainting only.
This week I got back to it and brought in more colors.
Even if the painting is not finished yet, the colors took me to meet the first companion of my journey – Sandro Botticelli.
Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) was an Italian painter. I have seen his famous paintings Primavera and The Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, but many other pieces inspire me too.
Botticelli equals perfection in many ways. His shapes and lines are so flawlessly beautiful that they make me shiver. He didn’t paint alone but had apprentices. I wonder what it would be like to work in his workshop – trying to paint a curvy line that would get his approval! Botticelli was born again in the 1850s when the Pre-Raphaelites found him. The easy way to fall in love with Botticelli’s work is to look at, for example, Evelyn de Morgan’s (1855-1919) romantic ladies. After those, it’s easy to greet Sandro too.
I made this little study of Botticelli’s style in colored pencils to examine how his shapes are. It’s often good to let the hand think instead of using only the mind.
When I imagine discussions with Botticelli, he whispers out romantic mysteries. “Your stories would make great plays,” I tell him. But what interests me most is not the characters themselves, but how ornamental their speech is and how much in detail he describes their clothing and the overall setting.
I think the spiritual in Botticelli is the way he empathizes with things. For example, how a thin vail looks like the extension of the soul. Or how the flowers that are on the ground continue on the dress and fly in the air. Sandro’s people look immersed in their surroundings.
Like Wassily Kandinsky would say, they seem to be not watching something as outsiders but being an integral part of the overall experience. I hope that this understanding will somehow help me to finish the painting!
Tell me, who is the first companion in your art journey to spirituality? Botticelli or somebody else?