I just returned last night from a trip to Croatia, the land of my parents' birth. It was a whirlwind experience, full of laughter, and way too much food and drink. I haven't fully absorbed all the insights, but as I've been going about getting back to life at home, the word fullness kept coming to mind, and I decided to give my swollen feet a break and write about it. Many people asked before I left if I was planning on doing any painting while there. No, I typically do not on vacation, preferring instead to rely on what I remember, what I felt while there, and allowing those things to bubble up in my work somehow rather than recording the visual inspiration.
What was 'full' about it? I was overcome by the richness of life there, in it's simplest of ways. The air was fresh, the water clear. Activity in the presence of ease. The residents of every quiet village we encountered seemed so satiated, content. I could be wrong, but they seemed that way. The pace was slow and savory.
I always puzzle about how my paintings seem so busy...lots going on with the marks, the atmosphere, and find myself trying to change that up sometimes.The usual questioning of myself. Why? Because I was somehow conditioned to think that we needed to always push beyond what was happening. That what I was responding to was 'ok' but, 'go beyond yourself'. Truly, is this really best?
Even though to my tourist eyes the villagers led this idyllic life, is it so for them? They have embraced the fullness of that simplicity as they walk with purpose upon the cobblestones, feeling the gravity of their steps making contact as the wind whips through their hair, the sun darkens their skin, the water cools their feet and eases their minds. By virtue of creating this illusion, they have gifted me an experience of my own. I imagine their story through my eyes, and because of that, my own life has been enriched. I'm really grateful for that.
In the end, isn't that what Art is all about?