Some artworks create themselves. When you get into that flow, it’s an magical experience. Most artists know this special creative zone. It doesn’t happen often enough. As you gain momentum with the project, you realize you are not creating, but simply acting as a conduit for the creation of a work of art. It’s thrilling, humbling, mystical, spiritual…
“Comfortably Numb” is an excellent example. After a couple of brief sketches, I had a vivid image of the concept and its execution clearly. The figure quickly took shape with the gesture coming together effortlessly. The canvas that had to support the extension of the sculpture invisibly was also a short problem solving process.
At that point, I stopped working on the piece. I stopped to enjoy what was happening. When a piece practically creates itself, the magic passes too quickly in a short, intense moment. With “Comfortably Numb” I decided to slow down and enjoy the process. I set the blank canvas aside unpainted with the sculpture mounted to its surface. And I looked at it for a couple of weeks.
Then, in about 2 hours, I blocked in the 2-color background. It had a Rothko feel. I left that alone and simply observed it for another week, Thinking but not doing. Developing the rocks and clouds was effortless. Through the next week, the reflection and refraction of light intensified. Enhancing, but not fully rendering a shadow cast on the surface added to the illusion. Suggesting waves near the horizon, the image was complete.
I have studied the illusions created by Rene Magritte. The geometry of Comfortably Numb is spatially similar to several of Magritte’s 2- and 3-dimensional works. Equally important are his titles. Each image makes a statement. Each title offers a different perspective. Between the viewer, the art and title a question is forged. And you are engaged.
The title of this piece was illusive. On one level, it might be a pollution or climate change statement. On another, might be comment on our current media/political game show. It’s could be a dream sequence. Or a mirror.
While packing sculptures for “Notes for Travelers,” an exhibit at Art at the Cave in Vancouver, WA, it came to me. Comfortably Numb symbolizes our shared personal predicament. We move blindly through space.