William Blake stressed the “particulars,” how the details of daily life are continuous with cosmic totality. In Blake’s expansive vision the two perspectives interpenetrate and this all-inclusive vision animates and unifies his art in way that is unique in the history of art. In Jerusalem, the local village scene merges with vast space and opens on the mythic city:
Pancrass & Kentish-town repose
Among her golden pillars high,
Among her golden arches which
Shine upon the starry sky.
So my Black Friday visit to a Port Angeles fabric store acquires new significance. This particular Clallam anchorage is where the angels weave this narrative into the fabric of myth. Or maybe it was just a place where I could score a good deal on the canvas I need for my February art show.
I am imagining some large canvases painted in the muted, earthen tones of the gray, English landscape overlaid with an architecture of arches and pillars of insubstantial, golden light.
At the same time I continue the memory practice, learning Jerusalem “by heart” and using the mnemonic imagery of the memory stations as a starting point. These stations continue to evolve as I memorize the text and work the paintings. In this way I hope to in infuse the paintings with some of Blake’s generous, all-encompassing spirit.
This process may sound cumbersome, but it works well in maintaining a broad perspective and helps avoid a myopic fixation on details. This fixation is far from the non-dualistic attention to particulars Blake writes of. I hope my art may be as expansive and generous as his.
If you look closely at the background, some ethereal light forms emerge; vague figures who begin to emerge from beyond a misty veil. Or maybe the turpentine was just going to my head.