McNeil* stood there for a few minutes looking at it and finally said, "You paint very well and have a very personal style." Ah, ecstacy! Then he picked up the palette knife and scraped off just about all the paint I'd put there! I was shattered! He picked up a brush, started mixing colors and laying them on the canvas, and talked about the push of this and the pull of that. Finally he turned the brush over and used the handle to draw in a tiny shape of the pot that had loomed on my canvas. He told me that was the size it really was and again stressed the space, tensions, and "interiorize."
[4 paintings later]
..In the next two paintings, I was so wrapped up in all the new realizations going on within me that I was oblivious to both McNeil's words and the class. It was during the course of painting #7 that McNeil got to me again and suggested the quiet area on the left. He sat and talked with me at length, asking me if there were places at home where I might exhibit and telling me he had done all he could for me--that I was on my own now and all I had to do was work hard and do a lot of painting. What Ecstacy!--to hear him say what I had felt but not dared to believe!
Later, from a classmate, I learned McNeil had been standing behind me for a long time watching what I was doing "with a strange look on his face--like he was trying to figure out how you were seeing that." Surely my logical mind could not have explained what I was able to see. What was going on within me was at a very deep level...I had, at last, "interiorized!"
[Chapter The Agony and the Ecstacy (My awakening) ,*George McNeil, instructor at College Arts Studies Abroad, Paris, 1964]
Allergro Vivace was one of those rare, glorious experiences in painting when the flow of paint from the brush seemed, somehow, to connect immediately with both my own spiritual self and the spiritual flow and Life Force of the Universe. Such paintings culminate in an incredible sense of fulfillment. [p.64]
But art that has the power to move one deeply also includes a sharing of the creative experience itself--which is a truly spiritual experience. The concept of Creation is that a Superior Being created the Universe, our world, and us from nothing.
And when I take my own "nothings"--a piece of canvas and some blobs of paint--and out of them create something new, something worthwhile, something never seen before, something teeming with movement and "Life," I'm doing the sort of thing God does and so feel very close to Him.
And as my painting reflects the coming together of all the forces within me and approaches the final stages, the involvement becomes increasingly intense. There is a crescendo of emotion--a feeling of drawing closer to my Maker and of Oneness with the Universe--a surge of joy and fulfillment as the visual becomes spiritual and I experience, for that moment, as sense of "the Real."
[p. 20, Chapter From Here To Infinity]
Art is Experience
To enjoy and love Art (or a work of Art) is
To experience an uplift of the Soul
Akin to the artist's experience in creating it.
Just as the Soul is not happy until it touches the Infinite,
So the artist is not happy until
the Infinite touches his painting...
For a work of Art must transcend Time--which is to say
It must combine the efforts of the body,
into an experience. Yet...
Experience cannot really be explained...
Experience can only be felt.
Nonetheless, throughout Time,
Man has always tried to explain somehow his particular
Experience of Love...
And I seem always to be trying to communicate my particular
Experience of painting.
[p. 56 Ecclesiates, More Philosophy]