Michael Divine

Writings :


Art Making in Times of Trial

"What is the point of making beautiful things, or of cherishing the beauty of the past, when ugliness runs rampant?"

Alex Ross - Making Art in a Time of Rage

I've seen multiple pieces, posts, inquiries regarding the act of art making when times are tough. When people are marching in the streets, when the freedoms, rights, and liberties you live with every day seem to be snatched away, who are you - who am i? - to sit here painting, writing, doing this creative act which seems a step or two removed from the direct actions others are taking every day? Where do people draw their battle lines and where are the front lines? Am I less engaged because I am not out there fighting, yelling, demanding that, for instance, my streams not be sullied with the debris of coal companies?

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I've looked skyward many a night - especially in the rural area where we live - and witnessed this lovely halo around the moon. One night that vision just sort of got lodged in my mind and I've been ruminating on it ever since.

I started this painting in the middle of October 2019 with only a few sketches so as to give myself a lot of room for spontaneity. I wanted to explore that light in the darkness (and there's been no shortage of darkness) - and that moon -  looking upwards in awe - at that great dance it's a part of.

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Truth is a Pathless Land

Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally...

Take a piece of stick, put it on the mantelpiece and every day put a flower in front of it- give it a flower- put in front of it a flower and repeat some words- "Coca-cola", "Amen", "Om", it doesn't matter what word- any word you like .. listen, don't laugh it off .. do it and you will find out. If you do it, after a month you will see how holy it has become. You have identified yourself with that stick, with that piece of idea and you have made it into something sacred, holy. But it is not. You have given it a sense of holiness out of your fear, out of constant habit of this tradition, giving yourself over, surrendering yourself to something, which you consider holy. The image in the temple is no more holy than a piece of rock by the roadside. So it is very important to find out what is really sacred, what is really holy, if there is such a thing at all.

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