There is a sense in which my current theme, visual theology tires me out. There are times when it feels a bit forced, when I honestly can’t be bothered to make all the connections and to piece together a coherent worldview, a global story, from a set of mundane details. And so the meditative calm is what I crave: the place where God is found in the whisper. The tension in my work between sensory overload and zen continues.
To be honest, I feel less honest than usual with this piece. I am less invested in it than in some of my other work, because it took only 6 hours instead of 30. In reflecting on the result, that has begun to change, and I’m beginning to see where it’s headed. I think it’s a painting that I’ll work back into with some really dense physical media (charcoal and chalk, perhaps). It’s not going to finish up as a mere formal study on texture vs. emptiness.
Elijah (the Jewish prophet who lived a long time ago) was a pretty intense character: A-type personality. He took it personally when his words fell on deaf ears, and ended up being rather apathetic. So he goes out into the desert to sulk. I suppose that dry, weary places seem to facilitate pondering through deep issues. Anyway, he’s there and he sees all this intensity, but God doesn’t exist in those things. It’s in the negative space and the silence that God reveals himself.
As a Christian this has everything to do with Sunday. Thank God for Sunday in my tradition, because we all need negative space in our lives. I need to take time to hear the whisper.
It also connects to the veil image that I’ve used more than once. There is a sense in which a whisper conceals something latent, something bigger than the entire noise of the wind, the earthquake and the fire. It’s the awesomeness that exists beyond the veil that is so grand, that it’s impossible to grasp, but that humbles me to remain a mere creature.