How to Artfully Get into Your Element

Life is the power that’s greater than I can ever comprehend. The way life runs through everything, even the tiniest elements of nature – that makes me humble.” 
— Michael J. Fox 

Handel - Elements 1Handel With Care

No, the sub-heading is not a typo.  I decided, this week, to paint to the music of classical composer, Handel.  I’m not too familiar with his work or his life story but just decided on a whim that he was the one to explore this week.

I did have a slightly pre-conceived idea that I wanted to paint 2 separate landscape paintings but how these landscapes turned out was beyond my reckoning.  I seem to have stumbled onto a very elemental theme with these 2 pictures.

Earth, Fire, Water and Air

“The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we inhabit are not only critical elements in the quality of life we enjoy – they are a reflection of the majesty of our Creator.”  — Rick Perry 

I used a lot of mixed-media — such as bits of the Giant Redwood bark that I had picked up in Tokai forest to metallic strips of foil that give this painting a unique ‘elemental’ feel.

I started off listening to his ‘Water Music Suite’ which I think lent to the overall theme (there is an aquatic feel in the first painting in the blue ‘lake’ and in the second painting where it looks like there’s a waterfall toppling into the earth’s core).  However, as soon as I stepped back and viewed what had come out, I saw all four elements immediately.

The final touches of this painting were the cloud high-lights which gives a peaceful calmness to the painting.  The hand in the clouds (in the first painting) was not intentional, it just kind of popped out as I was working on the sky.

So what interested me about these pieces was the running elements theme.

  • Why are these 4 things so important to us?
  • What do they represent for us?
  • How do we embrace them?

Getting Into Your Element

Handel - Elements 2Most of us are living in the rat race, going from one building to another via a freeway of hustle and bustle.  Then we are stuck to electronic devices pretty much most of the day having little or not time whatsoever to embrace the sheer splendour of the great outdoors.

What is missing from a lot of our lives is that raw connection to nature.

Wouldn’t it feel grand to…

  • get buffeted about by a strong wind, swirling around our body as we stand with no resistance and let it tickle our skin and gently blow into our ears.
  • make a bonfire — pile up the wood, strike that match and be mesmerized by the eternal grace of the flickering flames as they lull us into a state of hypnotic awe.
  • skinny dip in the buoyant bliss of deep blue waters — wading, swimming, floating, bobbing about in the supportive delights of this glorious element.
  • stand with our feet growing roots into the soil as we feel the connection to our beautiful planet and all the life she supports.
  • let go and let the awesome symphony of nature penetrate every crack or opening of your being.  Let your soul soak up the splendour of mother nature and revel with appreciation for our beloved Gaia.

Can You Handel a Bit More?

“And the truth must finally lie in that which every oppressed individual feels within himself but hasn’t the courage to express”   Wilhelm Reich

A fellow creative and confidante was the first to see the pictures a day after I had painted them.  He told me straight off the cuff that he was no fan of Handel but when he saw the paintings, he bought both immediately (thank you, because I know you’re reading this!:D).

He said that, in his opinion, the paintings represented the truth behind his understanding of the origin of the music.  He went on to divulge the most remarkable story behind Handel — the very reason he didn’t care for him.

It went something like this (the regurgitated succinct edition):

His music was ‘tailored’ for British aristocracy and therefore very ‘stiff upper lip, old chap’. No passion allowed, no blatant display of emotion.  And all this paved the way for the onset of a new rigid era.  

So, on that note, my friend and I took a deeper look into the grandiose tale of this composers life…

Georg Friedrich Handel (23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) supplied music mainly for the English nobility which influenced his style to be more aligned with religious and social ethics.

Handel’s music was almost opposite to the music of Bach (they were around at the same time).  Handel was a conformist which was deemed favourable at that specific time because England had descended into a frivolous decadence.

He supplied music with structure and conformity, reintroducing social etiquette.  Glorification and the fear of God was what his music aimed at on a surface level.

His pious music injected a very tightly bound corset of primness, formality and ceremoniousness into the English society.  The aristocracy welcomed this due to the growing debaucherous behaviour in British society.

The direct result of that was Victorianism.

Fake, Plastic Tunes

Now, it’s interesting to take note that people who hide under the cloak of righteousness are usually hiding something of this nature in themselves.  Handel seems to have forged a pious world where his music perhaps tamed his own passions, his own story.

It’s interesting to also note that the structure of Baroque music was mostly stringent, however, bubbling underneath this composer was a burning passion — a passion that was never revealed as his private life was extremely hush-hush.

Another interesting observation is that Baroque music has also been known to connect the left and right hemisphere of the brain.

To read more about and to listen to Handel, click HERE.

The Extracted Essence

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”  — Albert Einstein 

Both these paintings (above) show a remarkable resemblance pertaining to this bit of  rigid but saucy history.

There seems to be a very ‘fake’ landscape painted on top of a what feels like a bubbling inferno (Handel’s passion?).  Could this represent the suppressed passion for life that was stifled into forced subjugation — pomp and ceremony as opposed to naked truth?

I hope that this painting is an opening for the observer to see that all forms of artistry can reveal the innate truth if one is persistent enough to dig deep.  There could be contained emotions lurking beneath even the most austere of displays.  So what is the message here?

Don’t judge a book by its cover?

Or, perhaps, feel free to express who you truly are — it’ll save you a lot of time, hassle and stress.

On that note…here is your free poster/quotation of the week:

To download, click on the picture and then ‘right-click’ and ‘save image as’ to your computer. I don’t mind if you share this on your social networks or print it out for use around the home or office. Please can you leave the copyright notice as is, thanks.

If you would like to purchase a full-sized poster of the above quote, please CLICK HERE.

You may also enjoy:

The Bald-Faced Truth About Self-Portraits — Photographs and All!

Zebra Fever — Jazzing Up Your Walls With Stripes!

The 12 Hour Saatchi Art Competition Challenge — Start to Finish

Healing Through Art — The Gates to Wonderland Just Got Flung Wide Open

 

 

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Rock Art Series Painting no. 3 — Jeff Buckley ‘Raw’

To recap on Painting 1 — Radiohead, please CLICK HERE

To recap on Painting no. 2 — The Beatles, please CLICK HERE

To recap right from the conception of the Rock Art Series, please CLICK HERE

Hoorah!  I’m back in the saddle with my Rock Art Series.  It’s been a while since I’ve been back in the studio, what with the festive season and Armageddon ‘n all…it was a truly exhausting experience but it’s real good to be in the creative zone once again.

Rocking the New Year!

2013 has kicked off with the sweet and tantalizing sounds of that angelic crooner, Jeff Buckley.

Boy, did this one take me by surprise but I’m not going to reveal all the juicy details in this blog.  No, I’m going to make you wait until next Tuesday’s Art Blog before I reveal all the in’s and out’s of this painting — what made me tick, why it’s dripping with emotion, why I felt the urge to passionately attack the canvas at one point and a visitation by something out of this world?!

Whoa, the excitement!  But on with the show.  Here is the pictorial painting process (alliteration at it’s best):

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

And, finally, voila…here is the end interpretation of Jeff Buckley’s music:

Jeff Buckley --- Raw 24 x 36 LR“Raw” by Cherie Roe Dirksen

Acrylic and Mixed Media on Boxed Canvas — 24″ x 36″ x 1.5″

Prints are now available in all shapes and sizes, click on the picture to take you to the print store or ENTER HERE.  Art that is accessible to everyone — there is something to fit any pocket, from postcards @ $2.23 to prints starting from $12.60.

Click here to see the next installment:  How I Got Raw With Jeff Buckley

 Here’s a visual update of all 3 paintings in the series so far…

         Jeff Buckley --- Raw 24 x 36 LR