Art making is a “moment” of fleeting eternity
Eternity is outside time. Eternity should not be mistaken for the elasticity of time, a time that never ends. Yes! eternity is indeed outside time. It doesn’t have a beginning nor an end. It is something in itself; it has its own specificity as the Dutch philosopher Spinoza described in his celebrated Ethics published after his death. To experiment eternity, to feel that indescribable experience that we can exist beyond time, is to live intensively in the moment with awareness, so that we can feel our own essence. On earth, in our “daily” life, we can step outside temporality through sheer love, the contemplation of beauty and the sublime, the experience of plenitude and creativity, the disintegration of the ego … through sincere art making. Then, time stops; we are one with nature.
When painting the Italian landscape for the very first time, one must forget the past, meaning leaving behind all the acquired notions or precepts of arts: techniques, theories, laws and rules. When confronting the rolling hills of Tuscany, one must forget the future, by stopping this urge to go back home with accomplished paintings to flatter our own ego — or fearing that our works will not be “beautiful”. When facing the turbulence of cloudy Latin skies, one must let go in the now, to feel deeply the self, the never ending present, hence eternity. It is only then that we will be able to sense that little spark of the divine in us, our essence, so we may be able to joyfully create on our blank canvases.
During our art workshops, our main role at Walk the Arts is to endow the proper environment to bring you into that state of eternity. How? That is a very complex question and we only can provide a very simple answer: 1) by offering a solid succession of “art-making-reflection” moments when you will need to focus on the present; 2) by welcoming you in an joyful setting around pleasurable meals and enjoyable conversations; 3) by making sure that there is mutual respect among everyone; 4) by motivating you to use your rational self (Reason) to examine your personal stories and the Emotions attached to them so you can manifest your authentic persona in your art. As Spinoza mentioned, it is only by understanding our emotions that we gain in power, so that felicity, or gratitude (béatitude in French) will manifest itself through our own self.
At the end of Studio Italia or Atelier Provence, inevitably we will all go back to our everyday lives where terrestrial time does exist. Ten full days would have passed, but we hope that during that time everyone has experienced at least a bit of eternity. And back in our studios, we could tap into that experience and feel it again. Profound, beautiful and insightful. Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics is one of the masterpieces foreshadowing the Enlightenment.