The Light Within

The Angels and Art of Corbin Hollis Choate

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Time . . .

The subject of just how short our lives really are has been on my mind a lot lately. We’re just here for the blink of an eye and then we’re gone. It’s what you do in between that counts.

What seems like an eternity when you’re young and self-centered becomes more and more precious as you get older. As years go by and time picks up speed, you experience what is commonly known as “The Quickening”. This is when your life passes in blocks of five or ten years before you wake up and say “Where did those years go?” Pretty soon you reach a point where you begin to realize “Half of my life might be over” and you take stock of your priorities, your interests, your dreams. You keep the things that can help you move forward and discard those which hold you back. Time is the one thing we can never have enough of, that thing for which kings will give up a kingdom, yet we waste it anyways because there will always be more tomorrow.

Each person’s life is like a string of time. It is finite in length, with a beginning and an end. Imagine where you are right now as a single point in your time. Where are you on your string of time? What are you doing with what you’ve been given? How are you living your life? When all is said and done, what will your history be? Did you realize the light within and share it with the world? Did you inspire anyone to live differently or reach for their dreams? Did you strive to reach upward and live vertically, aspiring to higher levels of consciousness and awareness? Did you come to know God? I’m thankful that I don’t know exactly where I am along my string of time. I only know that I try to make the most of what I have and inspire others to realize and do the same. History has proven it only takes one person to change the world.

One Cosmos says:

The time allotted to us is analogous to the shutter of a camera; it opens with our birth, allowing in the small amount of light we must work with before it closes and the universe vanishes. With that light we must enter our “dark room” and develop our conception of existence--what we are, why we are here, and what is our relationship to the whole. There are pneumagraphs laying around that others have left behind--scripture, books, images and institutions. Some of them were successful in capturing the Light, others only darkness visible.

There is so little time, but time is literally all we have: we must work while it is day, for the night cometh, when no man can work. Saying you have no time is logically equivalent to saying that you have no life, light or freedom. If you are not free, then your time really is nothing more than duration. And if you have no light, you are free in the illusory way that an animal is--free to be led horizontally by your instincts and learned behaviors.

Time. Freedom. Light. If you don’t have one, you really don’t have the others either. Your life is history.
Read the rest at One Cosmos.

Live your life . . .Make A Difference . . .

- The Light Within . . .

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Take A Chance . . .

You know that quiet thought, that idea that returns time and time again, a little more developed each time. That's your heart telling you what to do with your life . . .which way to go . . .what direction to take.

Don't be afraid to take a chance. You only live once.

- The Light Within . . .

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Follow Your Dreams . . .

When I was a kid I used to have this recurring dream where I was always struggling to wake up, to become completely conscious. I couldn’t wake up completely, at least not enough to do whatever it was I had to do in the dream. There would always be things happening right in front of me that I wanted or needed to do . . .join my friends, tie my shoes, get on the school bus. Then there was always the big one . . .answer the phone or remember phone numbers. I was always afraid that I was going to miss out on something really important. Eventually, as the creativity inside of me began to really evolve and take control of my life, the dream faded. Finally, when I began painting angels the dream went away completely.

Too many people in this world sleepwalk through their lives, going through the daily motions on autopilot completely unaware that their life is passing before their eyes and they are missing it. They don’t know what their dreams are, or if they even have any. They fail to see the surrounding signs, the beauty of God’s world and the universe he created for us. They never see the gifts all around them, the people they meet who drop little clues as to where to go next or what to do . . . people who come up to you out of the blue and share something with you. The people you don’t expect are the angels and they have something meant just for you. There are no coincidences in this world.

As an artist, I am poignantly aware that time is passing before my eyes. It gets worse as you watch your child grow and become their own person. Time flies. I am constantly reminded of the struggle to follow my dreams . . . to live my life as consciously aware of everything in my human experience as possible. There are successes and triumphs, there are failures and setbacks, there is joy and sorrow and sometimes pain. But it’s through living in this state of awareness that I’m able to see the big picture, to share and enjoy the gifts I’ve been given.

Wake up and realize that your life is passing before your eyes and make the most of it. Do something to make people’s lives better . . . something to enrich their experience. Always be aware of where you are in your life and what you’re doing.

Never be afraid to follow your dreams.

- The Light Within . . .

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hope & Light II . . .

Here is a reminder of my near-term plans and why I will need your help. The paintings are enroute from the Montserrat Gallery in New York. When they arrive I will begin working with the publisher in creating the series of prints I've been telling you about.

Hope and Light. Two things there are not enough of in this world.

Every day my job puts me in contact with cancer and what it does to people's lives. A very large percentage of the phone calls we receive are from people looking for help, of any kind, on how to deal with a disease which is destroying their life, or the life of someone they love. I hear the sadness, the desperation, in their voices. "Can you help?" they say.

They are looking for hope. They are hoping that the person on the other end can give the something, no matter how small, to hold onto.

The reason the angels came to me to give them expression is to give people hope . . .to inspire them to follow their dreams and leave something behind for humanity.

I am working on starting a charitable foundation, which will exist to help families of children cancer patients with their medical expenses. It will also help provide resources to make the children's dreams and wishes come true. I've been thinking about this for years, and am just now coming into a position of being able to do something about it. Keep in mind, however, that it is not about me in any way. It's about the look in someone's eyes when they find out that the thing they need most right then is theirs . . .when they realize that at least part of the burden they have been living under has been lifted . . .when the child gets to go to Disney World, or have a little book with his poems published. It's about the look in someone's eyes when they realize that there is hope . . .and that things can and will get better.

This foundation will be funded by sales of my artwork, corporate donations and gifts . . .and it will be set up so the donations are tax deductible. I have chosen to begin the funding with prints because a single image, printed and sold many times, will earn more than a single painting. The prints will look very much like the prototype above, and some of them will include images from the paintings currently on display at the Montserrat Gallery in New York City. This will be my small contribution to the hope and light of humanity.

If any of you have experience or thoughts on this subject, please e-mail me, using the link on the right side of this page.

Stay tuned.

The Light Within . . .

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Influences - J.C. Leyendecker . . .

Joseph Christian Leyendecker, J.C. to his friends. J.C. Leyendecker was THE most successful, accomplished, famous artist of his day. He was beyond famous actually. When Norman Rockwell was a boy, he used to go to the train station in New Rochelle just to watch J.C. arrive from New York City, get off the train with his entourage and step into a waiting chauffeured limousin. Leyendecker was a celebrity on the level of the Beatles before they existed and his work defined American life by capturing the essence, the innocence which existed in the country in the years between 1900 and World War II. His work appeared as illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s Magazine, The American Weekly, Success Magazine and others, as well as magazine ads for companies such as Kelloggs, Kuppenheimer’s Clothiers and Arrow Collars (the character he created for Arrow Collars was based on one of the male models he frequently used. The Arrow Collar man became so famous and popular with the ladies that the company actually received fan mail wanting to know who he was, what was his name, where did he live . . . and he was even more famous than Rudolph Valentino) The covers of these magazines provided the perfect medium for reproducing his work in all its splendor. At the peak of his career he was the most famous Post artist they had ever had. He turned the Post covers into mini-posters, incorporating all of the elements of the cover into each piece.

Artistically speaking, Leyendecker was an incredible genius whose work is instantly recognizeable even today. He was the king of America’s “Golden Age” of illustration and through his work he virtually invented the look of the modern magazine cover as a purely attention grabbing device. Leyendecker’s work contains elements of both Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and it is dynamic, graceful, elegant and sophisticated. His unique style of painting captured the attention of the public as nothing before had, and only a handful since have.

J.C.’s work was about the endless pursuit of perfection. He developed his own system of creating an image based on the working methods of the great masters. He began with a series of thumbnail sketches, and from there he would work up a series of larger rough paintings. These were used to determine how to best proceed with the actual finished painting. When he applied his colors, he would let areas of blank, raw canvas show through. These were often areas which would be included as part of a highlight or the white background. J.C. was very secretive about how he worked and very little was known about how he achieved such luminous finished surfaces until his brother, Frank, shared the paint recipe with Norman Rockwell after swearing him to absolute secrecy. The colors were composed of Turpentine, stand oil and linseed oil, mixed fresh each morning in specific proportion. The colors were very thin, “slippery” if you will. When these colors were applied to the canvas they showed no sign whatsoever of having been applied by a brush. This resulted in a finished painting composed of precisely arranged areas of light and color. Every stroke was applied perfectly . . .once. J.C.’s brush control and mastery of his talents are legendary still today.

Leyendecker’s finished canvases were masterpieces of technique, color and magic. He influenced America at a time when we were just beginning to discover who we were as a nation. His work has influenced me to my very core and I am extremely grateful. I enjoy looking at his work over and over.

J.C. Leyendecker lived a quiet personal life that included a circle of very few friends. I wish I had been there. For all of his fame a fortune, for all of the love and admiration he received from his adoring public, he died alone in his home by the sea, in New Rochelle, New York. I feel him with me every day.

- The Light Within . . .

Monday, May 01, 2006

Solaris . . .

This is the one. This is the painting which best sums up everything I was about at the time it was completed. This painting is titled “Solaris” and it was completed in March 2003. This is by far the strongest of all of my paintings in the current series. Not because it is technically better than any of the others, but because this is the one which emanates pure spiritual light from within. The title Solaris comes from the light within this painting. It is also due to the ideas that the circular shapes behind the angel’s head have been interpreted as both the sun and his halo.

If you ever have the opportunity to experience this work in person, a chance to stand in front of it and see the light for yourself, you’ll feel it. The blue of his robe has a presence which cannot be described. It’s just there. This is the painting I was working on when I had the tangible exchange of spiritual energy with the canvas. I was laying down the lines in the folds of his robe when I found myself surrounded by a golden energy. The stream of light ran from the canvas through my brush and surrounded me. It seemed to last forever . . . it came from within.

This is one of the paintings exhibited in New York, at the Montserrat Gallery. It is on it’s way back to me this week and I can’t wait to see it again. It will be a great birthday present . . . I turned 39 today.

Please go back and re-visit my previous post “Hope & Light”, from Friday, April 7. I discussed the beginning of a series of extremely limited edition gliclee prints, which will be sold to raise money for my foundation. This painting will be the first in the series to be published.

If you are interested in owning a print please feel free to e-mail me. I will be opening an e-commerce site in the near future where you will be able to purchase prints and original paintings online. More to come . . .

- The Light Within . . .