Comments on painting
by Jon Rappoport
March 5, 2015
I’ve been painting on and off since 1962.
For example, as I start to paint on a blank sheet of paper, I remember a feeling, but it’s woven into images: a window box of flowers (I don’t know where I saw it or when), green grass, a lawn, sun coming through trees, summer, an apartment building in the Bronx in the 1940s or 50s, pansies, tulips, all of that and more.
There is no way I could render all that realistically. Nor would I want to. I begin to lay down colors, bits of color, and shapes. I know where I want to go—the feeling. But it isn’t rigid, it’s free. And so I’ll move away from that feeling into something else…but I don’t know what that is. It’s next door to where I just was, I suppose.
Squares, rectangles, but not closed. Open, with pieces missing, and colors bleeding out beyond the shapes. Now I’ve lost it. Whatever I was going for is gone.
So I turn the sheet of paper upside down. Now the growing flowers (if that’s what they are) are growing down from the top. The boxes are upside down. The colors in relation to one another…the connections are different. Now I have no idea what I have.
I root around, thinking about what I have there. No answer. So everything on the paper now becomes background for something else I haven’t done yet. It’s background. I lay new colors and strokes and lines and shapes on the background.
That gives depth, but not uniform depth. The background and the foreground are interacting. They’re colliding, interpenetrating. All bets are off.
I stop, take a few steps back and look at the whole thing. It’s a mystery. That’s good. I can’t dream up some explanation for what I have there. No particular dream will suffice. I can’t tell a coherent story about what I have. That’s good.
I keep painting, without knowing why. I keep going. Then I look at places on the paper where intersections of unexpected “things” are happening. I’m not seeing language, but I am seeing something like language, if it were a completely different kind of…if this “language” had been formed along vastly different lines. Words and symbols transformed from the literal and the exact into specific sensations. I can feel them. I can sense openings that lead out of how we ordinarily think into how we don’t.
Instead of words circling around and grasping a sensation, you get the sensation directly. No detours. No approximations. It hits you. You explore it, you go into it, you want it.
This is one avenue-experience of painting out a possible million avenues. There are millions of ways to go.
Sometimes, you’re taking total control of the operation. Sometimes not.
But your chronic and fixed ideas about (anything) are not going to stand up forever. You’re not going to spend a thousand years spooling out paintings that merely reflect and illustrate those ideas.
This has nothing to do with culture or civilization or tradition. It doesn’t. You aren’t shoring up a system or promoting a god or a set of gods. You’re out past all those props.
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at NoMoreFakeNews.com or OutsideTheRealityMachine.