Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Filling the Void

Okay, so clearly, that's one reason I write (maybe you).

I took an "art break" just now. Since the subject of a "vertical stripe" painting came up at Becky's blog (in the comments, see link below), I googled Barnett Newman and let myself browse images of his "zip" works. (The stripey ones you may recognize.)

I came across this quote, when asked the most difficult thing about painting:

"You are there all alone with that empty space."

That's me and the white page on a Word document. Me, alone in the room, either with music or in what silence an urban environment allows (not much). And I want to fill it with something worthy. And really, it never comes out as great as I have it in my head, which makes me nuts more days than I'd wish to recount.

But there it is. The empty space that needs to be filled, and how lonely it can be some days when that's exactly what you're trying to do, by yourself. In solitude. You and the empty page or the empty canvas or the big, empty, block of marble. It doesn't much matter the medium. It's still the void that you gotta fill and shape.

The creative impulse that just won't leave you alone.

Imago Dei, huh?

Let me offer you a pathetically small reproduction of one of the empty spaces Mr. Newman once filled with his unique, originally-ridiculed, now lauded vision--in this case, the 12th Station of the Cross:

I think there is something touchingly and theologically appropriate that his signature is on it, there, lower right. We all need to put our names on Christ's finished work for us. Yeah, I like that.

Okay, HEAVEN FALLS HARD is playing, and it's time to get back to work making the empty space come to life.


Timothy Fish said...

I think there is a difference between when we write because we must say something and when we write because we have something to say. There have been times that I have written a paragraph just to add to the word count and then there are times that I have written far more than what I had intended. I try to avoid writing unless I am doing so to inform people. When I do that, the blank page is never a problem but an opportunity.

Mark said...

Mir, I appreciate your thoughts on the art subject. Personally, I still don't see the "art" in it, but your explanation helps me understand how you can.