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Gurukirn Khalsa - Art of Serenity

July 20th, 2014

Gurukirn Khalsa - Art of Serenity

I spent a couple of hours this morning painting the cottonwoods at the main pond at Rio Salado off Central Avenue. In previous works, I had concentrated on painting the trees and their reflections in the water. To a certain extent, this created a piece that was basically cut in half, and therefore somewhat static. This morning I did just a small area of reflection, a little strip really, with more emphasis on the two main cottonwoods and the secondary desert willow. This resulted in a nice sense of movement and some interesting negative spaces. I used quite a bit of mixed black for the shadows which gave the piece more drama than previous ones. It was a treat that it was cool enough to paint in Phoenix in the summer, and I was happy to be able to work en plein air so close to home.

July 18th was my birthday. It made me think about the significance of giving gifts. First, a gift confirms that someone is special, remembered. Second, a gift marks a moment in time. In the Sikh tradition, we have a word 'nishaan' which is a sacred mark. It can also be an emblem, a banner or flag. What it does is bestow sacred significance upon the place or time. A gift can be this kind of nishaan, marking the sacred occasion in a person's life. Third, a gift creates a memory that may last beyond this lifetime. it is a material manifestation of the spiritual connection between one person and another. Not every gift creates this connection, but some do. I have a beautiful Japanese horse made of papier mache, decorated with silk and real horsehair, that my mother gave me when I was about 10. Every time I look at it, I think of her. We each have the capacity to give and receive gifts, to create a one-of-a-kind experience for those we love.