The Light Within

The Angels and Art of Corbin Hollis Choate

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

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 . . .

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Friday, February 16, 2007

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, was displayed at the Montserrat Gallery, in New York, from September 2004 thru May 2006.

- The Light Within . . .

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Print For Sale . . .

Affordable Inspiration.

Click here to visit my online store.

Title: Archangel Gabriel
Print Type: Giclee on Canvas
Dimensions: 17 7/16" W x 22 7/16" H
Edition Size: Open

- The Light Within . . .

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Friday, February 09, 2007

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 . . .