The winter doldrums can stifle us, but for artists it helps them turn inward, inspiring deeper concentration and turns a contemplative gaze to see greater wisdom. We hibernate by going inside to create and emerge to a sunbaked day to carry our creations and new understanding with a palpable sense of hope in communicating lively expressions of wonder in our own unique ways.
I’m reminded of the Bible quote in Matthew:
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
I recently reconnected with friends at an art exhibition where we were showing the work of an extraordinary artist, Robert Jursinski. Robert owned a gallery with his partner, acclaimed ceramicist David Batz, in the Cleveland neighborhood of Murray Hill. The event was spearheaded by theater director Joe Garry – a man whose love of entertaining guests at a party equals his genius in directing and knowledge of theater. And his reputation in theater spans the globe.
As most artists know, survival often gets in the way of an artful life, and lack of time and meeting the needs of work obligations can zap energy and stifle creativity. Robert hasn’t had the time to make exhibitions happen lately, so Joe took it upon himself to make sure his work was seen, thus the event atop a sunlit penthouse in Bratenahl.
One of the visitors at the exhibition was a gallery owner. He was marveling over a piece Jursinski created and told me why this was such an “extraordinary work of art.” He imparted to me that people have no idea how hard it is to create on paper pulp. First of all, the act of creating the canvass is a process all its own. Secondly, the canvass is wet and the artist must use every trick and masterful technique at his disposal to ensure that he creates his intended vision before the canvass dries. Like all great artists, Jursinski takes the complex and makes it look easy.
Jursinski shared with me memories of creating the pieces which took the experience to another level of understanding. He radiated pride, and he had an exuberant spring in his step, which inspired me to think deeper about how the creative act elicits deeper blessings.
There are unseen dimensions in the experience of creativity amplified through the spirit. His work inspires authentic assertions of self and subconscious utterings in personal symbols on canvass. Such revelations inspire conversation and conversation breaks barriers to allow the trappings of human light to shine through. As Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “An idea is salvation by imagination.”
Art is a communal experience like a magnificent party. We are forced out of the mundane and inspired to grasp intentions and feed our own souls for the journey. We sit at the common table of experience to enjoy the feast of possibility and drink in the elixir of wonder. A hospitable artist knows this implicitly in his work.
The Easter season reminds us that light conquers darkness. Even a small fraction of light can create possibilities for new things to be seen. As the saying goes, each light we share with the world is unique in its illumined quality. It is not our place to judge the light we hold. It is our job to let it radiate to guide the way for others. We may fumble in darkness at times but while there’s light there’s hope.
Emily Dickinson wrote about a “Slant of Light.” She said:
When it comes, the Landscape listens—
Shadows hold their breath—
When it goes, ‘tis like the Distance
On the look of Death—
We don’t intentionally hide our lights from the world. Sometimes we don’t know where to stand on the hill, and we need others to direct us for optimal effect. If we stand in the right place, when the sun hits in a certain way, everything we’re called to be – our artfulness, our integrity, our expression of love in the way only we can express it — will be illuminated and others are more deeply affected by our artfulness and way of being.
Ultimately, light creates dimensions of awareness. My newfound understanding of my friend and his passion for expressing his light opens my eyes to illumine in the ways I know and inspires deeper waves of inner refraction.