Stained Glass Elegies

White Noise

-- Gregg Chadwick

60" x 60" oil on linen 2002

An afternoon light gleams through jars of powdered color lined up against my window. The pigments seem to ignite and remind me of molten glass in Murano. I take a jar, spoon out a bit of the dry powder onto a sheet of glass and drip linseed oil onto the glowing mound. The color darkens as the pigment soaks up the oil. I think again of the Venetian glass furnaces and how molten glass as it loses its fire cools then hardens and darkens into color. I add more oil and with a muller work the dry powder and the viscous oil together into a rich paste. The fresh color is pure and glows with its own light yet carries weight and body.

On the wall is a fresh canvas white and virginal. I can paint with the color of fire or water. Of earth or air. In a time of loss I choose fire and spread a burning cinnabar across the entire surface. The painting emits its own glow into the room. I dip a Japanese brush into oil and azure then run the flowing paint across the surface catching a ghost of an image. I grab a new brush for each mark and color. I hold up a paint-encrusted slide to the light. It lets me into a world as clean and bright as the day I shot the image. That day in Bangkok the world shifted. The summer hours slide by as the image builds. I take a sip of green tea and step back to view the painting as the daylight fails. A young monk crosses the canvas in a world caught between color and elegy, between memory and dream.

--Gregg Chadwick, September 2002

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