Eve & Adam 1“The Revelations of Eve and Adam,” 20″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas

Sometimes art unfolds in mysterious ways. “The Revelations of Eve and Adam” started as sea sponged colors on canvas. As I peered into the sponged shapes, I could see vague misty outlines of the faces of Eve and Adam, so I drew them out and defined them. One by one the animals came to join the party. Near the very end of the process the purple wildcat appeared on Eve’s head and the eagle on Adam’s brow with the crown of stars above it. I have no idea where they came from, and I am still learning what all the elements of the painting “mean.”

Some people say that artists should only make art about things they know. I disagree. It is much more exciting to start with a question or a mystery or a joke. I’d rather get out of the way and let the art reveal itself on its own terms, according to its secret designs, because then it will have something to teach me. Art will provide answers to questions, surprising messages, and unexpected wit, if we leave it to its own devices, whereas, if we dictate the subject and control the process and all the forms from the beginning, we won’t learn a thing from what emerges. Discipline and mastery of technique are still essential, of course, but when those elements are in hand they become automatic, and the forms can come through effortlessly, like wonderful dreams, during a good sleep on a cool rainy night.

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Scroll down to see “Sycamore Farm,” which has received an Honorable Mention in the 47th Annual Open Art Award Exhibition at the Lancaster Museum of Art, juried by Victoria Donohoe, Art Critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer for over 30 years. An opening reception for the show will be held 5-8 pm, Friday, June 5, at the museum — 135 N Lime St, Lancaster, PA 17602. Awards will be announced at 6 pm.