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girls on fire | oil on panel

On Second Thought
I saw these girls in India, preparing to perform a ritual dance with urns of fire balanced on their heads and my first thought was, “That’s a painting waiting to happen!” Actually, that was my second thought. My first was, “These girls are on fire, boy! I bet I can light up this room, too! Just give me a pole to dance on and break out the dolla-dolla bills, y’all!” But I’m a seventeen year-old boy trapped in a body twice his age. Wisdom gained through years of painful experience has taught me to refrain from expressing my initial thoughts aloud.

Looking for Love
Of course, I’ve always got a painting ‘waiting to happen’ – more than I know what to do with or have the time to create, in fact. One thing I do, in order to choose which picture to paint, is let my materials decide for me. I know this sounds a bit artsy-fartsy, but as an artist I have to keep up my esoteric BS street-cred, so bear with me. I typically paint on wooden boards that I find lying around the streets of wherever I may be. I do this for a number of reasons (that I intend to bore you with in upcoming posts) and one of those reasons is that I love creative coincidences. Sometimes, I’ve an image in my head that I’ve been wanting to attempt to bring to life but it still doesn’t feel right. While strolling the streets of Bogotá in the wee morning hours, I’ll spot a wooden board lying in the grass that seems to fit the image in my head. Then, I get this tingling in my fingers and know that some kind of holy oil-paint-on-wood-panel-artistic-lovemakin’ is about to start. As if lit from within, the board begins to glow a celestial light, and an angelic chorus fills the early morning air. Undeniably, the atristic matrimony between my image and this board is meant to be. Chanted verses from the Laws of Kismet reach my ears like song, though at times they seem like they’re being angrily yelled in Spanish. And sometimes that heavenly light is motion-activated and that angelic chorus sounds more like the piercing, adrenaline-inducing alarm of a home-security system. But I’m not the type of fool that questions creative fate, nor the kind of boy who cares to learn firsthand the South American laws against trespassing. Aware that a life dedicated to creativity isn’t without danger, I pick up my god-given wooden boards and run like a wandering gringo whose freedom depends on it.

Life is full of these creative coincidences – these moments when you realize that you’ve happened upon a piece of your unsolved puzzle, the thing you’ve been seeking, a thing worth clutching to your heart and running with as far as life will allow. The art is knowing which moments, or materials, are worth seizing despite the consequences. And finding the courage to work towards and step into those moments may be like dancing on a pole with your head afire.

2 Responses to Great Big Balls of Fire and Courage

  1. hi nick!

    another fantastic post. love the imagery, you always take me where you are at that moment. i can almost feel the early morning sun…

    you also sound like quite the empath. i too have that feeling over found objects, though i’d have to leave my home more than once a month and not run immediately back at first sight of craziness if i were to actually take the time to look for something found to paint on.

    do you live in columbia part of the year? must do your artistic heart good to be able to emerge yourself in another culture.

    enjoy your day, kelly

    • Thanks Kelly! Sometimes the search for something is half the fun.
      I’m in Colombia full-time at the moment. Yeah, I think being somewhere new always does a body good. I tend to get too focused on my own way/style of doing things and seeing something new and different helps shake me out of that (supposedly).
      I enjoy looking at your work – you’ve a style of your own.

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