The Light Within

The Angels and Art of Corbin Hollis Choate

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Spirit of Light . . .


There is something about light. It speaks to my soul. It beckons me to open up and let it in.

Light is ethereal, light is eternal, light is often serves as a metaphor for the spiritual. Physical light is the closest approximation to spiritual light in our lives. It serves as a means of revealing God's presence in our universe and in our lives.

The goal of my art is to capture a single instant of each angel's eternal existence and share it with people all over the world. Since they are made of light and color, capturing them in paint only makes sense . . .with the tightly finished lines acting only as an infinitely thin boundary, expressing the energy and light within.

These angels have had tangible affects on people's lives, inspiring them to look within and examine what they can do for others. How can you tap into this energy and create your own light . . .and release it into the world?

When I was doing the line work for this painting, I had an experience which I have not been able to put into words. There was a moment when I felt completely surrounded by warm, golden light. It was a tangible exchange of energy between myself and the image on the canvas . . .I could feel it in my hands . . . it engulfed me.

To this very day, this particular canvas emits a certain energy. It has a presence about it.

The Light Within . . .

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Vatican Inspirations . . .

Gian Lorenzo Bernini…his name conjures visions of Rome, the Vatican and the incredible sculptures, architecture and artwork contained therein. He was, and still is, the most widely recognized star to shine throughout the seventeenth century… not to mention the most prolific and accomplished representation of seventeenth century Catholicism. He is responsible for giving Rome its baroque character.

Inside the Vatican you will find a sculpture titled “Habakkuk and the Angel”…this is the angel. The angel is smiling persuasively at Habakkuk…seizing him by the hair with his left hand, and pointing to where he wants to remove him with his right.

I deliberately focused on the angel’s face in order to capture his expression, the smile, while he stares directly into Habakkuk’s eyes. The secondary area of focus is the robe, which is wrapped around the angel’s left forearm. The layers of folded and wrapped cloth force your attention to hold just long enough to accentuate the sweeping reach of his left arm in the direction of his gaze.

The sharp contrast of light and shadow in the angel’s hair is repeated down the front of his body and under his left arm. This only adds to the power of the image.

This painting, entitled “Baroque” is acrylic on canvas, 40w by 30h inches. It has been exhibited at the Austin Diocesan Fine Arts Council winter exhibition in January 2006. The exhibition was held for the 2006 Southwest Liturgical Conference, held at St. Margaret Mary Parish, Cedar Park, Texas.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

In The Beginning . . .

Please allow me this space to explain, as fully as possible, exactly what these angels represent and why they appear the way they do.

The angels serve a bridge between God and man. They protect us…they inspire us…they are God’s messengers for the benefit of ALL mankind. We all have a guardian angel looking out for us, guiding us to fulfill our purpose in this life. God has a purpose for your life.

The white space represents purity, infinity, and the profound whiteness of pure… universal… white… light. The kind of light which can only emanate directly from God.

Angels are beings of light and spirit. In my images they are composed of line and color. The lines represent the surrounding energy and the colors are always clean and pure. I do mix quite a few of the colors I use, by hand, but the end result must always be perfect.

The roots of my style are based primarily in two distinct areas of art history. My drawings, which are done in line only, are deeply influenced by the sculptures of Michelangelo and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Their influence on art history can only be described as “touched by the hand of God”. The purity and perfection of line and form in their sculptures is always the standard I set for myself. Nothing less will do. The finished paintings are deeply influenced by the French Rococo period of art history. Eighteenth century classical French painting is among the most beautiful in existence. This is especially true if you’ve ever had the privilege of experiencing a painting from this era in person. From the Rococo period, I have taken simplicity, purity of line and form, curvilinear rhythms, and classical subject matter and made them my own. Finally, I have taken the bold stylization from Art Deco…incorporating all of these into a style that is as unique as it is beautiful.

Each image begins as a full size drawing. Once the edges of the image have been defined, I use nothing but graceful, elegant lines to shape the space within in the purest manner possible. When the drawing is complete it is transferred to the canvas and everything is covered with white. Each color goes on in layers…water-thin layers which are built up and up (sometimes twenty or thirty layers) until the shapes become opaque. This technique causes light to become trapped between the layers and makes the colors luminous. In addition, there are certain colors which, when placed next to one another, will cause your eyes to see vibrations exactly on the line where they meet. Finally, the lines are painted in layers as well. They end up actually being sculpted by the repetition caused by the process of layering.

The process involved in capturing one of the angels on canvas is extremely time consuming but well worth it. Nothing is finished until the angel says it is.

One of the representatives at the Montserrat Gallery in New York mentioned that she sees something…a light coming from within…that captures her attention when she least expects it.

- The Light Within . . .

Monday, March 20, 2006

Gallery News

This is a reminder that my paintings will be on display at the Montserrat Gallery in the Chelsea Arts District of New York City until Saturday, April 29th.

If you will be in the New York City area between now and then, please stop by and view them in person. You can speak with Michelle, Monse or Jim and they will be more than happy to help you.

Montserrat Gallery
547 West 27 Street
New York NY 10001
phone: 1.212.941-8899
fax: 1.212.274-1717

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Archangel Gabriel . . .

Archangel Gabriel

Gabriel is my guardian angel. He is my saint. I am Catholic.

Gabriel is of significance in each of the world's three major religions.

He is one of seven Archangels, and one of three mentioned by name in the Bible. It was Gabriel who appeared to the prophet Daniel to explain his visions regarding the Messiah...and it was Gabriel who had the most significant of all angelic appearances...appearing before Mary and announcing the birth of the Saviour. His name means "Man of God, God is my strength" and he is the patron saint of communication workers.

Gabriel came to me when my art was at a turning point 12 years ago. I was sitting at my art table, experiencing a severe creative block which had been going on for a couple of months, when I received a phone call in which I learned about the death of a life-long friend. After hanging up the phone, I returned to my art table and sat there in a state of shock. Since it was a Sunday, I naturally had the newspaper in a pile on the floor beside my table. I reached down and picked up whatever happened to be on top in an attempt to take my mind off of the just received news.......and there was Gabriel on the front page of the travel section. He was in sculpture form, of course. It was a story on traveling to Italy. The sculpture of him lives at the Vatican, holding up a large bath of Holy Water.

My friend's name was Keith Ebanks. He was Catholic before I ever knew what it meant. I think of him often and sometimes I feel him nearby, and I will be forever grateful for the sense of wonder and curiosity his Catholic faith instilled in me.

Angels exist as beings of pure line and color, pure energy, and they are quite real indeed, I assure you.

The angels are ALL around us.

Until next time . . .

Friday, March 17, 2006

Welcome to "The Light Within" . . .

Thank you for stopping by.

Here I will be discussing and sharing my art.......talking about it, writing about it and analyzing the theories and philosophies behind it. I will also use this space to provide up-to-date information on my upcoming images and series of prints and posters based on angels you can find on my other website.

If you appreciate poetry, I will also be sharing my poems with you and their influences.

Please bookmark this page and come back often. I promise you will not be dissapointed.

Until next time . . .