The Light Within

The Angels and Art of Corbin Hollis Choate

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Gabriel III . . .

The Archangel Gabriel is a theme upon which much of my work is based, and he will make many appearances on canvas before I leave this world. This painting was completed during a time of great personal stress and anxiety. It is titled “Gabriel III” and is Gabriel’s third appearance. He always appears when I need him most . . . when I’m not sure which direction to go with my life and when I don’t know who to turn to. There have been several times in my life when I was forced to choose between painting and supporting my family. Being forced to give up something you love so dearly, something that is a part of you, is painful . . . . . . . however, something tells me that these paintings, these images were meant to be. Each time circumstances forced me to give up my art, to let it go, it always came back stronger . . . more focused and more real.

In this painting, Gabriel is reaching out to you, the viewer. He reaches out of the picture plane, to touch you, to heal and comfort you. The halo behind his head if full of golden light which envelopes nearly all of his being.

In my earlier post, In The Beginning, I shared with you my process of building the colors up in layers. This allows light to become trapped between a color’s layers . . . creating a strong and luminous appearance. This is the light within. It is also how I painted Gabriel’s red robe. I first laid down enough pure magenta to become opaque, about a dozen layers. Then I added layer upon layer of red, allowing for drying time in between. Each color is applied in this manner, but the jewel tones (reds, blues, greens and purples) usually require an opaque underpainting.

The lines in this painting are full of energy. They have an electricity about them which appears immediately. In some places the lines are actually sculpted in layers. In other places the lines are exactly as they appear . . . laid down in a single stroke, even some of the longer ones. Those are the best ones. The brush does it’s thing and I sit back and watch.

I have had to come to terms with this painting. For the first two years after it’s completion I did not think it was up to my standards. But the more I see it I realize that it is. Perhaps it was ME who was not living up to my standards at the time, rather than the image. It can take weeks to finish an image. Half of this one was completed in a single thirteen-hour marathon session. By the time I was done I was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. I was driven to do it.

This painting, Gabriel III, is on display at the Montserrat Gallery, in New York, until the end of the month. Please stop by and see it.

- The Light Within . . .

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