Sunday, August 20, 2023

Life and Death Converged


In the heart of a quaint, secluded village, amidst cornfields and rolling hills nestled by mountains, lived an enigmatic artist named Esteban. The old man’s works were a dichotomy that both captivated and perplexed those who gazed upon them. Esteban had a unique perspective on life and death, and he used his art to explore the vast spectrum of existence that encompassed both the marvels of nature and the symbolism of mortality.
For many years, Esteban’s paintings of marvelous nature were a celebration of life's beauty and vitality. His strokes on canvas rendered scenes of vibrant landscapes, with sunsets casting warm hues over cool deserts, wildflowers dancing in a gentle breeze, majestic trees reaching towards the heavens, flowing rivers and high desert plains. He captured the essence of nature before him, infusing his work with a sense of awe and reverence for the natural world. His paintings exuded life and energy, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the splendor of the universe.
Yet, alongside these odes to life, late in life, Esteban delved into the darker realms of existence. His other collection featured symbols of death, prominently featuring skeletons as a recurring motif. These paintings were hauntingly beautiful, revealing the fragility and impermanence of life. The skeletons had a life of their own in the world. Esteban’s skillful use of colors and textures conveyed a sense of melancholy, inviting viewers to confront their own mortality and reflect on the transient nature of existence.
Esteban's dual artistic explorations were not about juxtaposition but about integration. He believed that to truly appreciate the magnificence of life, one must also come to terms with the inevitability of death. In his view, the universe was a tapestry woven from both light and shadow, and one couldn't fully understand the beauty of the former without acknowledging the presence of the latter.
Villagers often visited Esteban's studio, drawn by the dichotomy of his work. They marveled at the way his paintings of life and death resonated with their own experiences and emotions. Some found solace in the reminder that life was precious and fleeting, prompting them to cherish every moment. Others were inspired by the unapologetic confrontation of mortality, leading them to reflect on their legacies and contributions to the world.

Esteban's art became a conversation between himself, his creations, and his audience. He encouraged open dialogue about the interconnectedness of life and death, challenging societal norms that often shied away from discussing the latter. His paintings sparked philosophical discussions, emotional introspection, and a renewed appreciation for the wonders of existence.
As the years went by, Esteban's reputation as a thought-provoking artist grew beyond his village. His exhibitions garnered attention from art enthusiasts, philosophers, and even scholars who saw in his work a profound exploration of the human condition. Esteban's legacy extended beyond his physical art; his philosophy embraced life's entirety, from the resplendent beauty of nature to the contemplation of death, leaving an indelible mark on those who engaged with his creations.
In Esteban's art, life and death converged, coalescing into a testament to the complexity and profundity of existence. Through his paintings, he painted not just scenes on canvas, but a reflection of the universe's vastness, both its light and its darkness. He invited us to look beyond the surface and acknowledge the intricate dance of life and death that shapes our journey through this wondrous world.

All artwork ©2023 by Steven Boone, all rights reserved

Sunday, August 06, 2023

At The Crossroads

My mind dances between earth and sky, memory, and ever pressing facts of the present. I easily think, “What if?”  All my life I have been restless. From childhood I learned by feeling and touching, then putting facts together. Given only facts and no experience I am lost. If I had been educated with an arts based curriculum from the beginning, many years would not have been wasted in schooling. 

My mother, Chloris, as a young artist

I have always been on a creative journey. It is my temperament. From an early age, I felt as though the world was my canvas to create art. Thankfully, my parents, especially my mother, encouraged the artist within. She signed me up for special Saturday art classes at a downtown Washington DC museum. She bought me a silver flute and paid for lessons. My father encouraged cultural and social participation in society, and sent me off to work on the Navajo Reservation when I was a junior in High School. I won awards for my painting and writing. World literature was one of my favorite courses. Like my parents, I have been an avid reader all my life. By the time I was eighteen, I had read all the important books by Russian authors Tolstoi, Pasternak and Dostoevsky.

When I decided to go to art college, my parents paid for my studies until I graduated in three years. It has been a blessing that I have been able to make a living as an artist for four decades. Meanwhile I have written books and poetry, become a known photographer and travelled around the world twice, living in thirty countries.

My restless personality, prone to chaos, has been a wellspring and curse. I am in my fourth, and I expect last marriage. This time, thankfully, Amy is also an artist and understands what fuels my creative temperament.

I have two daughters; although my oldest, Naomi, died at age nineteen. I always say I have two children. Naomi my teacher, and Sarah, my joy.

Now, at a mature stage in life, I face a challenging phase of my journey with moments of indecision. It seems my sense of urgency is gone, and being on edge⏤that sense that fuels creative breakthroughs⏤is diminished. Lately, when standing at the crossroads of creativity I have felt at task, whereas earlier in life excitement prevailed. The charging stallion is more apt to walk these days.

Each talent calls out, yet my storehouse of energy has faded with age. I do not have self-doubt or anxiety yet I am cognizant of how my physical powers have faded with time. That said, some of my most important paintings have been made since we moved to Mexico several years ago. That change of life, in itself was no small feat. More new and different paintings are to come for sure, as will the photographs and the writing. Instead of choosing one passion over another, through the years I have explored synergy between creative pursuits. I have blended talents. 

I hope my work reflects a multifaceted soul, resonating with people from all walks of life. Maybe I am a true renaissance man.

In the end, instead of limiting ourselves to a single path, we can weave together our diverse talents into a tapestry of infinite possibilities. Each one of us holds the power to carve a unique path, blending our passions in special ways. 

It is at the crossroads that we discover our truest selves.