A poem and reflections on the painting “Christine”,
and art in general, by Margit Steiner
Where do we meet ?
In the corridors of life going from one room to the next
In the stillness of the noise
In the eye of the hurricane
In the spaces where the mind sees the same lines, forms, colors and composition that makes the whole?
In the second when the water drop is suspended in midair before it decides to land on sacred ground
In the moving and turning of bodies reflecting the lights and shadows of our soul
In the wanting and holding
finding and losing
moving through the landscape of intertwined hills and valleys of body and soul
Where there is no beginning and end
and the soul and essence of life meets and melts into one
Where creation and the Divine collapse into each other and become one singularity
And Self is reflected back to us in the face of another.
Maybe that is what art is all about.
Whether it is a century old stonewall, intertwined bodies, a new recipe, an arrangement of cut flowers, an idea manifested as a three dimensional expression, or even an abstract painting.
It is always an orientation to life. That the decisions and choices we make do matter and have consequences for ourselves and for others especially when they result in something that stands outside of us. When we actually manifest something it becomes part of the world.
We leave it behind as a reminder who we were and who we became. A statement expressing the human experience of one life.
Maybe the greatest benefit of our art is not for us. Maybe it is about what is felt and experienced by those who come across what we have made, maybe even centuries later when we too will probably be mostly forgotten.
But then in just a glance they too will get a sense of who we were and what in the end mattered to us and they too will walk away not quite the same ever again.
Art is always a gift to the world and not for us to keep.
An excerpt from Jonas’ Artist Statement reads: “The painting already knows what it wants and the duty of the artist is to listen, surrender, watch and most of all trust. One of my teachers once said to me “your brushes are very smart, why don’t you let them do the work?” This is the secret of letting go. For me painting is like an intense compulsion motivated by the love of the process which opens up a whole world of new possibilities.”
Some additional thoughts from Margit.
“It takes a long time to become young” – Pablo Picasso
Sometimes when creating art that is all working out, it feels like we are not entirely there and we do not have to try very hard, that in fact it drives and flows from the inside out and feels easy.
At other times we think ourselves out of that moment, concentrate too hard and try to force a new technique or outcome.
Creating art elicits memories, how things are done when we were children: remembering to just naturally get involved in something, following curiosity where it wanted to lead us. There was no agenda. No particular reason to do anything except for the simple joy of doing it and being in the moment. Everything was approached that way out of innocence. It was not pre-judged by ourselves or our environment. We didn’t filter it through hesitation, fear and doubt.
This quote from Picasso made me think.
Art offers and invites us to go back to this point. Art can be this process of rediscovering. Maybe that is why it feels so refreshing to get fully in sync with this innate, original creativity. When our art just flows, it feels good, especially as busy adults with a world of concerns and a long “to do list” that follows us around.
Maybe when we fall into that easy place when art making is simple and effortless it is a reminder of what is still possible and “become young,” the way it is supposed to be, or rather the way it all started out in the first place when curiosity and joy were simple enough for living.
So art and the creative process can take us back, at least on some level, to this place of innocence.
– Words by Margit Steiner
BSN , RN, MSN, Department of Veterans Affairs.
Retired LTC of the Army Reserves.
*Notes from the author: As a Veteran myself, I care deeply for the issues of Veterans. I see art as a modality for healing in Veterans who suffer from PTSD.
My journey into art has been as an avid consumer of literature and expressive paintings. Growing up in Germany I was surrounded by art from every time period. In recent years I moved from being a consumer to creator, learning to paint and write poetry.
Art to me is a reflection of our collective soul as humans and a mirror of what we choose to see as reality, which in the end is always subjective. It’s the story we tell ourselves what “is”.
If I see a painting and I feel to ” judge” it or label it, that process is a reflection of my inner state and what I choose to see and not necessarily a reflection of the work itself.