A Painter’s Impression

In this personal appraisal of her work, Greek artist Caroline A. Nomikos, explores the enigma of her own creativity

To to talk about one’s own paintings? To tell you what you should see or feel? To curb your imagination? To narrow and shrink the scope of the paintings? No. This is not something I can do. When the paintings leave my studio, they also leave behind the private thoughts and interpretations that I have attached to them.

Following the belief that a painting’s existence requires the perceptions of a viewer, my own thoughts are irrelevant, other than satisfying an innate curiosity, the insatiable need for solid explanations; therefore it is largely through the alternating perceptions of each set of eyes that the identity and meaning of each painting is created.

What I can discuss, is the process of painting, and my consequent theories, which are in constant motion, shaping themselves into an impenetrable form which invariably auto-destructs, leaving me with shattered fragments to build upon, and which are bound to go through a similar process again. While painting, these fragments often take the shape of a symbol, a square, a circle, a spiral. Are these the subject matter of my paintings? Or simply forms to build the paint on? I cannot tell – it is a mystery to me.

When I comfortably proclaim to myself that I know exactly what I am doing, the soft voiced alarm clock pops up to remind me that I may very well be deluding myself and should instead find my security in the Big Void. From the tangible to the intangible – perhaps only then will I be reassured, and peacefully know that I do not know. Hallelujah. So I cry for help, and the brush picks up another glob of paint, destroys yet another perfectly pristine surface, and I reassure myself of my existence in the here and now. A little quirk of painting.

In order to create, something, somewhere is inevitably destroyed. The blank canvas – there it ends and begins

Life and death, side by side, one stroke and then another, sometimes tentative, at other times violent. The following day, yesterday’s work is irreversibly altered, and on and on until the perilous question of when to stop, not to push it so far as to find that it suddenly died when you weren’t looking. Death behind you and new life not yet found, past the point of unrecognised perfection, and into the abyss… The wait begins, a slight shift, a slight glimpse, then finally the slow but sure euphoric climb to the nameless place where clarity and harmony prevail.

So, another canvas gets pulled out and it all starts again. Shapes, colours, textures, light, space, compositions, contrast, volume, rhythm, time, surface, background, foreground; just a few elements to think about while painting.

Or perhaps a good front as I somehow come to terms with the multitude of thoughts and feelings that pass through me – some outstaying their welcome, especially those little negative ones, which sometimes manage to grow to astounding proportions, disintegrating all in their way, if I allow them, of course.

Same space, different time. Same time, different space, and the cycle begins once again, except that this time it is slightly different. It doesn’t make any sense. Through the paintings I question, sometimes I attempt to explain. There is rarely an answer, just a record of what I thought and when. The few times I allowed myself the luxury of a full explanation, it felt as though all had come to a halt, a heavy dead feeling hovering above me, my ego briefly satisfied as I went through the motions required. But then, the bubble bursts –and the process begins again.

© Caroline A. Nomikos

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