Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ever Yours, Vincent

Some traditions seem to point to an understanding of the importance of rituals as a 'form of communication' between people. The ritual embodies what for those people sustains 'correct' order. In Japanese samurai folklore the warrior on arriving home after leaving his lady--the morning after the night before--writes and sends a love poem or letter, which custom dictates she must receive before noon. I prefer letters to poems. Men who write letters appeal to me.

Vincent writes me letters. He looks stern, the type of man who would never reveal himself. Yet in his letters he is extravagant with his expression of complex emotions. Being temperamental has its pitfalls, so it benefits me to have a lover who does not require that I be other than I am.

True, an affair with a dead artist or two can lose you friends. But I am never one to concern myself with opinions of others especially where my pleasures are concerned. I plunged straight in, an advantage of being a non temporal, multidimensional entity is that one can line them up (men that is) in whatever hue, race, disposition or point in history. Not that I am an advocate of metaphysical promiscuity, all the same a good man is a good man, dead or alive. And one ought not to allow a small thing like physical death to get in the way of ones hearts desire or creative boldness.

Vincent has such humour, dark at times and a ruggedness that looks physical reality square in the eye. Every so often, he spits in it. I see daring in his positioning within life. I like men who are not afraid. Or if they are, so what? Still they express it, in spite of it all. I love the wildness of vibrancy in his paintings, but his letters are the 'things' that touch me.

Letter from Vincent van Gogh.
Antwerp, 6-7 December 1885

"I feel a power within me to do something, I see that my work holds its own against other work, and that gives me a great craving for work; lately… One thing is certain, that I want my things to be seen. Later on we may lose courage, but we will try and put it off for a long time…

…A great deal may depend on my being able to stick to my guns. And one must not look too hungry or shabby either. On the contrary, one must try to make things hum…"

I pay no attention to who he might have appeared to write this to. To me in this space time the words are personal. He whispers his wit and endurance and his passions to me in the now. He shows 'time' up for the masquerade it is. Because it is today that I needed to hear him write to me "Later on we may lose courage but we will try to put if off for a long time"

If he did not know the beatings of my heart and the self doubt that creeps in every now and again how would he know to have written those words for me? And there was that day when I was tired and the studio that I share with some others was colder than a morgue and I felt miserable and sorry for myself, that no one would understand how impossible it can be at times. But on my table under the vase,
Vincent had left these words in a letter to remind me of the warmth of flowers in even the coldest of spaces of the place of color and the importance of consistency.

Letter from Vincent van Gogh
Antwerp, c. 15 December 1885

"I do not feel faint as long as I am painting, but in the long run those intervals are always sometimes rather too melancholy, and it grieves me when I don't get on, and am always in a bad fix. Do you know, for instance, that in the whole time I've been here, I've only had three warm meals, and for the rest nothing but bread? In this way one becomes vegetarian more than is good for one. Especially as it was the same thing in Nuenen for half a year, and even then I could not pay my color bill.

Painting is expensive, yet one must paint a great deal".

I admire the steadfastness of his spirit. It reminds me to hold firm when I forget. Through his letters I borrow some of his spirit until I am steady again. I am also extravagant, though not by design. It is this passion for color, and pigment. I want to eat color. I could live on Prussian blue, with just a hint of madder pink. It makes economic sense to use student quality oils for preparatory sketches, but I don't. I can't .I want professional quality oil, with extra, finer pigment. I want colors that are unapologetic. They come with a price tag to match my lust. Vincent understands, as does Seth why color moves me as it does.

The Early Sessions: Book 7 Session 286, page 45.

"Color is closer to emotional experience than shape. It is also, believe it or not, closer to sound. The connections between color and emotion are too obvious to discuss here. To me, an emotion will automatically be translated into color in many instances. Here you see - but try this: do you see a connection between the color red and the word quick?"

It is not that I believe that the personality that was Vincent still exists. The entity that was he, has long since gone, but the energy, the psychic construct remains and that is what is important, that is what I use. And its reality is larger than the human that was. One could say I access aspects of the psyche that was Vincent. It is an intimacy, and this intimacy can be thought of in terms of sexualities and sexual metaphor will suffice here. Not that I am asking not to be misunderstood, though that would be helpful.

Psychically it requires a certain passivity and submissiveness so that its/his energy is dominant, impacting and thrusting. That's one way; another is immersion, entering into his world, seeking, searching and probing his interior space.

If you have ever tried this exercise you'll know what I mean by passivity:

Seth Speaks Session 570, page 249.

"You usually glide from wakefulness through to sleep without ever noticing the various conditions of consciousness through which you pass; yet there are several. First, of course, with various degrees of spontaneity, there is the inward turn of consciousness away from physical data, from worries and concerns of the day. Then there is an undifferentiated level between wakefulness and sleep where you act as a receiver -- passive but open, in which telepathic and clairvoyant messages come to you quite easily."

It's not dissimilar to being taken, more accurately it is like being entered and it is far from unpleasant. The emotions evoked can be trusted, ridden, and translated into a way of working. Vincent says of his own emotions, it's pillow talk, a confidence shared. "The emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech."

When I first began choosing dead artists I used to use a type groking technique, long used by shamans. At that time I wanted to 'become Vincent', I sought closeness that way. But I found after a few years that this does not work well when I need to retain my sense of 'I'. In addition as I grew I wanted dialogue. Often, there is a point of view Vincent has which is best communicated in a 'direct knowing fashion' and 'becoming him' is far easier. I still use groking. It requires a willingness to let go a sense of 'I'.

My purpose in all of this is becoming a better artist, one richer and more able to translate itself (I could say herself but that is not quite true) into the images and objects I make. Vincent's firm guidance assists me see the multidimensional nature of self in the multidimensional nature of the object.

The Unknown Reality: Volume II Session 723, page 462.

"You may not realize it, but your language actually structures your visual perception of objects. Sumari breaks down the usual patterning, therefore, but it also releases the nervous system from its structured response to any particular stimulus."

There is a condensation in the art making process, it is identical to the way dream symbols are made which contain multiple meaning. The sculptures I make are closer to an event than they are to an objective object. This is a conscious process where I can 'see' those significances flowing into the objects as I make them. It's a form of imagination made physical. Yet it is also me using the stuff of 'me' to make another form of me. Vincent did similar things with his making, not always consciously (he would be the first to admit) but a heavy psychic charge remains in his paintings for these reasons.

Another point here is also a practical one. It is easy to access these dead artists and it is a joy to be taught by some of the most significant entities that have passed through the earth plane. One can also access 'future painters', but that is another story.

There are places where lovers meet and they exist in a realm, and also in memory. But one can go there, say to the Cafe Terrance in Arles at night. Sometimes Vincent is there, waiting but if not, when the waiter brings the glass of wine there is a letter left for me.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh
Etten, 7 November 1881

Does a man who has not learned to say, "She, and no other," knows what love is? … When they said those things to me, then I felt with all my heart, with all my soul, with my entire mind: "She, and no other."

Perhaps some will say, "You show weakness, passion, stupidity, ignorance of the world, when you say, `She, and no other.' Add another string to your bow, do not commit yourself definitely." Far from it! Let this my weakness be my strength. I will be dependant on "her, and no other"; even if I could, I should not want to be independent of her.

When I go home at night or work through the night I am reminded that Vincent found the night to be an inspirational time. Strange, but all the times in the past when I have felt lonely none of them have been at night. I attempt to reach out with my inner senses to those like me who across time have seen the night times as being closer to source and to true nature. Vincent comes in those still times, he tells me that in all things I must have courage and conviction because when I leave the earth plane, and in many respects only after I have left will I see the importance of it all. In this same stillness there is a remembering, of him of me and of others like us. And so I hold fast and do not lose heart.

Letter from Vincent van Gogh
Arles, c. 4 May 1888

As for me, I shall go on working, and here and there something of my work will prove of lasting value - but who will there be to achieve for figure painting what Claude Monet has achieved for landscape? However, you must feel, as I do, that someone like that is on the way - Rodin? - he does not use color - it won't be him. But the painter of the future will be a colorist the like of which has never yet been seen. Manet was getting there but, as you know, the impressionists have already made use of stronger color than Manet has.

I can't imagine this painter of the future living in small cafs, setting to work with a lot of false teeth, and going to the Zouave's brothels, as I do.

But I'm sure I am right to think that it will come in a later generation, and it is up to us to do all we can to encourage it, without question or complaint…

Well, write me soon.

Ever yours, Vincent