Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Part 1: Images of Nature in Mural

Abe V Rotor

Wall Mural of a Tropical Rainforest, St Paul University QC, AVR 2001

Nature represents the idea of the entire universe in a state of perfection. Nature is one: it unites heaven and earth, connecting human beings with the stars and bringing them all together into a single family. Nature is beautiful; it is ordered. A divine law determines its arrangement, namely the subordination of the means to the end, and the parts to the whole.

After putting down my brush, I took a view of the mural from a distance. The scene – unspoiled nature – one spared from the hands of man and typified by the tropical rainforest, flowed out from a wall that was previously white and empty.

In the course of painting the mural, which took all of seven days and in the days following its unveiling, I took notice of the reactions of viewers. It must be the stillness of the scene, freshness of its atmosphere, and its apparent eccentricity that attract passersby as if in search of something therapeutic. It seems to slow down busy feet, soothing tired nerves. There is something I thought was mysterious beyond the levels of aesthetics. For the huge scene is a drama of life completely different from city living. It is respite. It is transformation from concrete to greenery, from cityscape to landscape.

Yet, I found it difficult to give it a title and an explanation that captures both its essence and message. This time many ideas crowded my mind. At the start of my painting labors, the challenge was how and where to start painting. Now that it is completed, what else is there to say after one has “said” it all in colors and lines, hues and shadows, perspective and design? What more is there to declare for after the last page of a book? For a painting, it is the same.

Relaxation did not come easy for me after many hours of concentrating on my subject, dealing with a fast-drying medium of acrylic. What made it more challenging was the unending attempt to capture those fleeting impressions and recollections that pervaded my mind as I painted. I then took a pen and slowly wrote my thoughts. From the mural, I saw the scenery of my childhood on the farm, views of my travels here and abroad, imagery from my readings, and views drawn out like a thread from the mass of a golf ball. It was imagery and memory working jointly.

Tropical Rainforest Model

I chose the tropical rainforest scenery since it is the richest of all ecosystems in the world. The Philippines, being one of the countries endowed with this natural wealth is a treasure, indeed. For this reason, I believe that, the tropical rainforest closely resembles the description of the biblical paradise. It is not only a living bank of biological diversity; it is the most important sanctuary of living matters on earth.

To paint such a big wall is no easy task. It is not unusual to face a blank wall, literally speaking, and not knowing what to do first even with all the colors and tools on hand – and a predetermined topic in mind. Shall I start at the center and move outward, or from both sides slowly progressing inward? Or do I divide the wall into parts, working on them one by one, then unifying them at the end?

Continued...

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