Why Water?


Why am I Painting water?

When I first saw the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know?” the most fascinating scene for me was the train station where photos were mounted of Masaru Emoto’s water crystals. Have you seen them? Christ, if not go to Masaru Emoto and look. Or better yet, go to Hado USA and see before and after photos. This is mind altering!

The photos are of water — or water crystals — in their original state (say, a litre from the Ganges). Then photos are taken of the same water after someone has, well, blessed it (or meditated on it, or prayed for it, or sent love to it, played music for it, or even taped the word “hope” to the container) the shape transforms from sickly amoeba-like blob into ornate, filigreed structures of magnificent beauty. Power of thought, power of love, mind over matter…. If one can change a water crystal through thought then certainly everything can be changed. It’s quantum physics. Look at these examples (see more on the Hado USA site, link @ bottom):

Water has a physical, mental, spiritual and symbolic presence in my life. I grew up on the Atlantic, and just like people who grow up near the mountains, I can never feel completely whole if I live too far away from it. Water is a recurring symbol in my dreams: oceans, rain, tidal waves, tsunamis. It is of course the greater portion of my physical body. I was baptized with Holy Water. And I am spiritually connected when I am alone with the sunrise on the beach.

I have to wonder why it has taken me so long to take on water as a subject. Well… it isn’t an easy subject to tackle, it’s a transparent thing after all. Yet is it rarely that. It’s a little like tofu in that it takes on the characteristics of its environment. I’m not positive, but I think that is the draw for me; our impact on the essential elixir of life. It’s prismatic so it becomes every color. It has viscosity, though we rarely think of it in those terms unless we’re immersed and moving through it. Maybe it’s the only matter we can move through.

With watercolors, from a technical standpoint, it is a deep challenge for me. You’d think that wouldn’t be so, working with a water-based, transparent paint. But I am working counterclockwise in this medium and the planning is fairly intense. Also, I am not painting an expanse of water such as a lake or ocean where one can recreate the “feel” of an entire body of water, I am painting a one inch square. The challenge lies in recognizing the pattern, shape and behavior of a segment of water. There are repetitions, and then variations on the repetitions. During the drawing phase I am learning about this as I realize I’ve just drawn this same shape elsewhere on the sheet, but now with a slight difference – a difference which becomes influential to the  succeeding shapes. During the painting process I have to decide how to make these shapes have  coherence and independence. This is illustrative of quantum physics: how one wave or ripple effects the next and how the whole has a continuity that goes on to shift and change. If a drop of water falls into a body of water — a body that is already in motion — there is then an alteration in pattern that effects the whole; the drop integrates with the body while also changing it and the body accommodates the drop. There is a word for this activity, but I don’t know what it is, confluence perhaps?

In my Water paintings I am trying to capture not just water, but action and somewhere buried in there, thought. I don’t know how to explain this accurately. It feels esoteric and symbolic, perhaps in the same way a person in your dream doesn’t look like that person, but you know it is. You can’t quite explain how you know it’s this person except it’s a feeling. Feelings are almost always explained through analogy and symbols. The knowledge is ineffable.

Masaru Emoto (the dude who started it all)

What the Bleep Do We Know (the movie that spread the word about the dude)

Hado USA (the site with phenomenal examples of water crystals)

Go to my Water posts to check out what I’ve done so far on this subject

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