The statement, painting to live, is not about making a living even though I have used my art talent to do just that. This is entirely different. It is the discovery of the process of extreme awareness.
Through learning to paint I started to see more, made comparisons between objects, made comparisons between features of people I met. It’s very much like a new window into the world. This new awareness made me a more observant person. I didn’t assume as much. I looked closely at everything, not only using my eyes but magnifying glasses and even microscopes and telescopes.
Once you start making discoveries in areas you have supposedly studied or looked at for years only to find you didn’t really look to understand them, you are on your way.
As I painted, I really started to see more and more of what was really there. The process of trying to copy nature helped me in this. As a plein-air painter, I really started to experience nature. I felt that I was going deep inside, all over it, above it, under it, I became in reality very much a part of it. The separation of that and I was slowly becoming the one that my English professor, Dr. Spears, talked so much about in his office realizing the concept of not being separate but very much part of the whole.
We talked a great deal about the oneness of everything even though he knew that I really didn’t know exactly what he was saying, but he also knew that someday I would experience it. He knew he was not wasting his time with those discussions. Some day it would click with me. I didn’t know it would take this long for me to really see.
In art, I found a new reality that was actually beyond art. I cannot say when my awakening occurred. I think it happened in parts and pieces and then one day the puzzle was complete. I was able to see and understand at least part of the total concept. My path to this awakening was through my painting. As colors and shapes combined with science, I was open to this new world.
No, I didn’t somehow understand all knowledge, but now I had found the doorway and it is open for exploration. I feel like a child again, open and receptive.
So where does God fit into this picture. He does not fit into this picture, He is the picture. When I paint, I paint part of God as seen and experienced in His creation. If you want to learn about God, paint as many of His creations as you can. And in this all, let’s not forget man.
Harry Croghan is an artist, photographer, writer and teacher. He can be reached at 740-852-4906 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.