The Light Within

The Angels and Art of Corbin Hollis Choate

Wednesday, November 29, 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.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gratitude . . .

Happy Thanksgiving.

Remember to give thanks to God for everything and everyone in your life.

- The Light Within . . .

Tuesday, November 21, 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 . . .

Friday, November 10, 2006

Endless Leaves . . .

This one was born of frustration.

There are times when I am paid a visit by a phrase, or a sound, or a sentence . . . something that reveals itself slowly, and always when I least expect it. It's as though something unseen walks right up behind me and whispers only what it wants me to have. I was standing outside one cool November afternoon, treading my way through piles and piles of leaves, while thinking about my art, where I was going in my life . . . thinking about my dreams. The leaves were enjoying themselves riding whirlwinds around and around and around while making that crunchy sound that only leaves of late November can . . .when everything suddenly stopped, and it was silent, and I could see.

Endless Leaves

The season's change
called out to me
before it settled
in the trees
and scattered light
upon my dreams
like endless piles
of endless leaves
I try to gather
from the breeze,
collecting colors
no one sees . . .

endless leaves fall
through my hands
my hopes my dreams
I take my stand
through darkened forest,
weathered trees,
to find the path
through endless leaves,
the path my heart does see . . .

there's something about
the light today . . .
the endless leaves
have blown away
revealing colors
here to stay,
leaving whispers on the breeze . . .

I await the colors of my dreams . . .

- The Light Within . . .

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Awareness . . .

Do you ever find yourself completely caught up in the moment of something, so much so that everything else recedes into the background or disappears completely…if only for a short while? That short while seems to last forever doesn’t it.

That’s a magical place indeed. One exercise I do each year is to try and remain completely aware of the beautiful Fall season as it passes by. Until late September I was looking forward to the beginning of Autumn, Indian Summer, realizing that the time of its arrival was drawing nearer with each passing day. As September turned into October the season’s light began to change…getting sharper and more focused. It became golden. Now that October has given way to November, the time has changed and we have the beautiful early evenings. Autumn has given way to Fall, cooler temperatures, misty-grey skies and the season of Thanksgiving. In a week or two the trees will begin to reveal their true colors, and their leaves will blanket the ground…preparing for the coming cold and their winter’s sleep. There is something magical about the silhouette of bare trees against the darkening evening sky of Fall. Soon, November will give way to December and the Christmas season, cold temperatures, Yuletide decorations and “the darkest evening of the year”. It’s been quite a fulfilling experience so far to watch nature reveal herself and time and life happen before my watching eyes. I’m looking forward to all of it. All it requires is an awareness of life around you.

Don’t let a day of your life go by without trying to be fully aware of friends and family, gifts from God…aware of your experience in this world. Make a conscious effort to live fully and completely.

- The Light Within . . .