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.

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

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Serenity…Your Passport to Peace

Serenity — that wondrous state of being calm, peaceful and untroubled.

But how do we get there?  You get quiet — it’s really that simple.

“Nothing is so aggravating as calmness.” 
―    Mahatma Gandhi

Have you ever tried remaining calm when someone else is raging at you?  Have you noticed how quickly they stop?  Why is that?  Well, you look like an idiot for one thing — it’s the best form of defense.

Serenity is all about being calm in the face of reality and in the words of Lao Tzu:

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” 

When you are able to observe your emotions as they rise within you, you will begin to master having greater control of how you act upon them — if at all.

Here are some blogs that may help you get to your state of serenity:

5 Easy Steps to Meditating (No Lotus Position Required)

Do You Need to Meditate?

Free Serenity eCard

And last but not least, I haven’t forgotten that it’s Friday and that means you get another e-card to add to the collection (click on picture, right-click and ‘save as’):

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