So, a word (or 329) on themes in art:
There are at least three motives that I see behind themes in art, other than intentionally using a theme as subject matter. Ok, four then. But the first I wanted to mention is probably the most overlooked for its straightforward simplicity — maybe the artist just likes to paint elephants or palm trees or hieroglyphics or Kokopelli, etc.
Another force behind a theme is that the artist keeps trying to do something, but does not think they have achieved it yet. The artist can seem to be painting the same kind of thing over and over… because he is. I have this going on with these. The second changed direction a little, but the third, which you’re seeing for the first time now, is a return to at least the original direction of what I’m going for.
And then there are themes that are more psychological. ‘Falling’ falls into this category. (I said “falling falls” — sorry, couldn’t resist) Ahem, moving right along:
I once heard of the notion of ‘personal imagery’, which is something that is symbolic just to you. Not something with widely recognized symbolism, like the story of Icarus for example. For years I wondered if I had any personal imagery — now I realize I do. Falling is not an entirely negative thing to me though. Certainly if there is oh, a planet rushing up towards you, then falling is definitely a bad thing. But if you have a parachute, then falling can be a lot of fun. Until fairly recently in life I’ve always wanted to try skydiving. Then there is falling asleep. When I go to bed extremely tired, I often literally feel a falling sensation as I fall asleep. It’s nice. A pleasant plummeting into a sky of dreams. Then there is zero-gravity free-fall, as in space. I’ve always though that would be a whole lot of fun. “Falling in love” is also an interesting euphemism, isn’t it?
So this guy in this painting… I’m really not sure why he’s falling. I can’t tell if he is tense, as he would be if falling to his death, or just excited and having a blast. One thing though — with all those bright colors he is a ‘being of light’, for lack of a better term. Regardless of whether his fall is a good thing or bad, the bright colors represent the greatness of his potential and capabilities. He makes his own reality, as each of us does every moment of every day. And I also really cannot say if the dark background represents the foreboding of impending doom, or just the mystery of adventure and wonders as yet undiscovered. Either way, one thing for sure is that he is not Icarus.
Another thing is that in the moment frozen in this painting, everything is fine. He’s just falling, and has not hit the ground — or opened his parachute — yet. In this moment there really are no problems. Everything is fine. We need to remember that this is always the case in every moment. It’s always fine, no matter how bad it seems. We make problems, and there would not be any distress over situations (aka problems) if we did not create it. I need to remember that better too.
So ‘falling’ is definitely a theme I could explore more through painting, or blogging, or just sittin’ and thinkin’…
As always, comments are more than welcome. Even though I haven’t left you much room for interpretation with this one. But I would still love to hear what this painting means to you, or any other thoughts. 🙂