Friday, September 05, 2008

My painting XXXV

As at 27.8.08

This coming week I am to meet a postulator... a new word to me, whose meaning I should not easily have guessed. It is the title of one who states the premises and investigates the grounds on which some already venerated figure might make the leap through blessedness to sainthood. In the present case it is Father Paul Chavasse of the Birmingham Oratory who is in charge of the soon to be expected (and not uncontroversial) elevation of John Henry Newman. Fr Chavasse will give the homily at the Mass which precedes the public blessing of my mosaic of Cardinal Newman. The announcement of the ritual does not mention the name of the artist. Perhaps this is a secondary postulation regarding the work itself as having, like certain of the ancient ikons of St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, miraculously come into being and therefore to be designated as 'not by human hand...'

However I am asked to be there, a shadowy presence at a bells and smells occasion much looked forward to. All readers welcome (See events).

Study for mosaic of Cardinal Newman, 2007.

Quite early on in the evolution of my painting, at the point where I decided to expand from the panel that seeded it early last summer (see blog July '07), it became itself an act of postulation. In short, not to be bashful, I postulated a masterpiece, albeit a flawed one by this all too human hand.

Masterpiece is a word that hardly dare speak its claim. It is the pcitorial equivalent of sainthood, alhtough it originally signified a work which proved to the guild of St Luke that one had graduated from apprentice to full membership of the profession.

Now as I near the eastern edge of my painting I see the gap between postulation and confirmation. Decisions have become more significant. The picture has acquired so much identity that any move that does not comply with its implicit rules and constraints, or that shows a misprision of its rhythm and dance, will break what spell it has. I now spend more time staring at the picture than actually painting it. Like John Henry Newman it needs a miracle or two.

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