About six months ago I did a large painting. It began as a therapeutic artistic activity and a way to spend time with a dear friend (shout-out to Jamila!). I called it “Extemporanum” because I didn’t plan anything out before I began, but as it developed I began to think of it in terms of two social forces at work: disintegration (disunity, chaos) and integration (community-building, transformation of individual and society)—which are in my mind associated with the blue downward movement and the red upward movement that you see in the painting.
Such simultaneous processes of rise and of fall, of integration and of disintegration, of order and chaos, with their continuous and reciprocal reactions on each other, are but aspects of a greater Plan, one and indivisible, whose Source is God, whose author is Bahá’u’lláh, the theater of whose operations is the entire planet, and whose ultimate objectives are the unity of the human race and the peace of all mankind.
—Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice (p. 72-73)
In the spring, the painting was put up in an art show with five other pieces of my work (mostly calligraphy). The art show was also a fundraiser auction, and all of my pieces were sold—quite a compliment! This painting was not part of the auction (because I liked it so much), but a dear friend convinced me that putting it up for sale would be for a good cause (which was true). In the end it was sold for double the asking bid, but today I miss it a little so I thought I’d share it with you:
In high school I did a lot of abstract painting; in fact I did a whole series of abstract portraits with tempera. “Extemporanum” is acrylic on canvas (just like what my mama does when she’s not pen-and-inking). Acrylic paint is fun to work with because it dries quickly, so you can repaint parts of it as you go if you change your mind about things—but if you’re going to mix your own colours, you have to work fast.
I hope “Extemporanum” is happy in its home!