Hello and welcome to another Full Moon Dispatch. This month we have three stories for you, the first by Jeannie, the second by the trees in our garden and the third by Kyle. We do so hope you will enjoy.
The fruits of spring seem to form in a matter of days. From flower to fruit, this month has flown by. The bursting forth of spring insights floods of ideas and an intense drive to bring them to fruition. Ive been conjuring abstract visions with faintly defined forms in the shape of wearable sculptures and intentional motion to be captured with photos and video. Ive been harboring these ideas for years and have net allowed myself the time to bring them to life, but somehow these forceful southwestern winds have shaken me, telling me it's time.
As my own visions have been coming into being a wonderful new friend came through town, inviting me into a playful exploration of space and shapes with their sculptures. These wearable sculptures were made by H. Gene Thompson. It was a great pleasure to explore this new space with them.
And on the home front - I am finding great inspirations in these tiny fruits of spring. Our space has gone from barren twigs to blossom covered branches to leafy, fruit-filled forms in the matter of a few weeks. If these sweet little trees can accomplish all of that in such a short time, just imagine what we can do if we really try!
A Stone Carved
I recently met Michelangelo’s last sculpture: the Rondanini Pietà. I met this being in a small understated building on the edge of a giant fortress wall in the courtyard of the Milan Castle. A space ancient and pulsating with existence and dedicated now fully to this one last worked piece of stone.
This is a work I have longed to see. I love those works of artists which are in the rawest form - drawings, studies, sketches, experiments and unfinished works especially. The few unfinished sculpture by Michelangelo are a particular curiosity for me as in their various states of work I find secrets in how to work stone. Many hours have been spent on the internet looking at photos of this Pietà in particular; enough time in fact so as to think I knew what to expect - but there was no way I was prepared for what I found.
I cried and stood there dumbfounded understanding myself in that rock in a way I probably never will again. The desperation, the anxiety, the uncertainty and the curiosity of the act of creation. The chisel digs deep in to the back of this Pietà, a single pass with the point removing over an inch of material. I can only imagine the force of blows of that man age 88, exploding stone with every blow showering whatever room he was carving in with chips ricocheting off of ever surface. The imperative to work, to press on post haste fighting death’s timeline knowing there is so so much more to do in this world.
Michelangelo altered the composition of this sculpture half way through the process of carving it. The sculpture transformed from a very classical take on the Pietà to a most modern and abstract rendition of this scene raw and powerful: a mother grasps her dead child, awkwardly, off balance, precariously. He stripped away the fluff and decoration and left only the cold hard truth of that moment: there is no and never will be any beauty in this scene, only sadness.
I was introduced to this sculpture but days after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. As I sat in that small room in Milano some two thousand kilometers distant it was more than likely some boy was dying. That boy too would be held by a mother: awkwardly, off balance, knowing an existence now precarious and unknown and a world where grace has stepped back just that much more.
Our stories our universal and deeply imprinted into our minds. We all know each other and we are all each other. Our stories get repeated over and over and over, each time with different details and wrapped up with alternate ideas, but at the core we are all living together on this planet for a short perfect moment in time. That is the message of this art.
Michelangelo took a scene fundamental to Christianity and expressed instead the universal essence of that most powerful moment in a persons life. He carved on this sculpture until 8 days before he left this earth, the fight against death oozes from the chisel marks on the stone. He knew these were his last moments to create and at this moment he dispersed with all the polish and formality he was so capable of. Instead he left only the stark, bare and overwhelmingly perfect image of that moment at the end of life when one passes and those left behind morn that passing.
I will forever remember walking away from this marble. I stumbled and stopped and paused and looked back and the automatic doors opened and I walked though and they closed and I looked back and I felt the air change and leave my mind with just a little bit more clarity.
I returned home and after a furious, but brief unpacking immediately entered the studio and painted. I was changed by this visit to the Rondanini Pietà and my mind had been processing this new understanding of art. My work is often of fantastical imagery but explicit in its meaning, fully realized in its draftsmanship and deftly rendered leaving little to the imagination. I learned from that stone in Milan a lesson I’ve heard before but had not understood: the need to strip away to the details and leave only the universal form upon which we are all able to project our lives.
I cleared my mind and let the brush move upon the canvas and found a new way of expressing myself in this medium I’ve dedicated the past 20 years of my life to.
Art is a constant conversation with oneself on how to better express the mystery of being alive on this beautiful planet. Our societies revere the creations of artists, not because of their value, but because they truly make our lives better. Creations continually speak to us and teach us the lessons we need at the moment we need them. A Five hundred year old sculpture carved by candlelight has more to tell us than the latest phone ever will, and we should each take as much time as we can to listen to these stories.