Studio Wall

I’m making more very small (4″ x 6″) Tantra Homage paintings. Tantra is an ancient Hindu tradition of beliefs and practices that seeks to channel the divine energy of the cosmos into our human life here. A couple of years ago I found a beautiful book about it, Tantra Song. Inside were curiously modern-looking abstract paintings of great simplicity all made in the 17th century. The artists were anonymous but came from a tradition in which painting was a kind of meditation in which the artist might connect with something sublime and make it manifest.

And so I took to trying. First I altered what I saw, then I took to just showing up each morning and beginning. I don’t plan but work slowly and in silence, like a meditation. In the original Tantra paintings there’s always a focal point, some sense of time in the weathered paper, of accident and purpose, of the artist’s hand. There’s Yin and Yang—expansion and contraction, dark and light, chance and purpose.

I’m quite sure I don’t achieve the exquisite focus of the Tantra artists but am finding this a beautiful meditation anyway. I never know what will show up to meet me when I sit down to make these paintings so I just keep at it until I feel happy something has. Then I go on to other quite different work.

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