Torah (Five Books of Moses) starts with the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It has been said that G-d was creating and destroying worlds prior to this one and that Torah starts with Bet rather than Aleph, to signify that there is something that came before Genesis. Now there are all sorts of Kabbalistic teachings that expand upon this idea, which I don’t care to get into, because I have trouble buying into much if any of Kabbalah. While I like the idea of becoming esoteric, I have problems binding it to acceptable concepts of spirituality. Ironically, I have found the ability to reach transcendence within my own acts of creation. What did I learn through these acts that led to new moments of creative energy?
I live to produce a painting a day. It’s gotten to the point that I have to produce like a factory just to keep-up with my exhibition schedule. I already know for the end of my 2007 exhibition season, I have to have a minimum of 80-85 scroll paintings set aside just for two solo museum shows. The combination of ongoing sales, spring/summer gallery exhibits through the year and set-up/tear-down times for the two fall shows will overlap in the month of November; hence I need a cache of scroll paintings set-aside. It’s not a problem; this is what I live for. I love the deadline. I need the pressure to keep the production rolling.
I wonder how a novel written on-line would work. Say a page a day, much like my painting a day philosophy works. Written roughly five days a week to allow for holidays and travel and the like, it would take roughly two years to complete a 400-page opus. I’m sure I’m not the first to think of this journal-like approach to the writing of that one special book hiding one’s mind. The page-a-day concept though does something else – it tosses out the idea of a plan. Sure the author has a general understanding of the direction of the story; but there is not an opportunity to fine-tune or work on earlier sections to adjust characters or timelines. It’s very similar to the manner in which I paint. I have a loose idea of what I want to say within a series of paintings, but I make new discoveries while in the process of creation. I take those new concepts and add them to the next work, because I refuse to go back and change the painting. I don’t know where or when my own work will end with one series and begin anew on another. This returns me to one of the most controversial concepts of creation and monotheism – does G-d as a creator have a plan? Direction, yes; fixed destiny including a neatly packaged ending? I say no. Artists can’t work that way and keep the material fresh. Artists see where the work takes them, rather than taking the work to a predetermined ending. As you can see, I’m not big on pre-destiny; I grew-up in southeast Missouri. For all intents and purposes, I didn’t have much of a destiny to look forward to; so I made my own. Living in Montana confirmed for me that G-d was nothing short of an artist and artists of this caliber work for the sake of the process, not the ending. We’re all on this ride together, enjoy it while it lasts. – DN