For the last two days I’ve been reading three books on Caravaggio, his life and art. Peter Robb‘s biography is wonderful. He has done his research of available information about the Italian Baroque painter (I don’t think he did anything other than oil painting). Much of his information comes from court archives in Rome and the other places where Merisi had lived (his name Caravaggio comes from the town where his family and family’s patron lived near Milan). Despite myself I think I’m learning about portraiture without even having started to wield a brush!
And I am learning even more about desire and passion and how fundamentally the lives we live are what passion and desire cause us to live! We pride ourselves on choice but I think we’re largely in the control of forces bigger than us. Maybe we can call it God but I prefer not to. It’s not a force or power that is localized enough to have a name. It’s simply the sum total of all the forces, physical and spiritual, that govern everything in a time-and-space-constrained universe. To personalize this totality is to miss the point. There is no point at all!
I have also been reading an old favorite I’d almost completely forgotten, the Japanese writer, Yukio Mishima. He was my entrée into modern Japanese culture before I became interested in Zen and Shinto. His work was considered avant-garde but on hindsight to me it is simply modernism! Like reading Robb (who’s Australian but writing about sixteenth century Italy), reading Mishima I re-imagine Japan in 1912 – before World War I – and get a sense of the Japanese spirit that led to the fateful WWII that had such an impact on the Philippines, America and the world. Mishima was a man who lived his life as art. He committed seppuko after the last novel of his tetralogy, Sea of Fertility, was finished – a complicated human being!
Tonight I downloaded the printer profiles for Costco’s printers. I read a bit about device and computer color calibration. I should know this stuff but I learn a bit then forget. Which is why I think I’ll really only do real work when I’ve found my group or like-minded artists – a shared studio space! I do some of my profoundest thinking alone and in the depths of night but need intercourse – need to have the sharing with other artists and intellectuals for the ideas to bear fruit. After all what is productivity but just ideas turned to action – thought bearing fruit?
Then, too, after years of not even trying, I want to see about finding new friends, maybe even a special person to share life with. Crazy? Yes, but that’s just the way life goes. Up and down, to the left, to the right, but somehow never really going far from the straight and narrow. The apple, they say, never falls far from the apple tree.