The winds of change have begun to blow, moving through and around me in such a way that expresses who You are, You who are discernible and always present like the deep seeded vibration that awakens and animates one’s dreams, the quiet though resonant Om discovered in sustained meditation, the Vitality that must be recovered from misconception (each in our own tongues) so that You may be planted, nurtured, and harvested as Fruit. We have walked together, side  by side, for so long that I have not known a Life without You. Therefore… amid this change, amid the metamorphosis of my consciousness and the transformation of Life as I know It, I seek to discover You completely and in every capacity (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and in all periphery) so that we may (together) express the beauty of our union, the Poetry of that Promise which belongs to everyone!

~ Feeling Lifted

One of my current projects has become a technical experiment that has awakened the nerd in me. (Oh, yeah!) After showing “Symphony No.01”  for the first time, engaging in numerous conversations about “what it would sound like”, I decided to take the next step in developing the idea and am now converting this abstract piece into a Digital Soundscape, an audible version that will later be used as a second reference for mapping out an actual instrumental composition.

A recent breakthrough came about when I discovered that the software I’ve elected to use (which will be revealed along with the recording at a later date) is designed to read white patterns during the scanning process. That realization took me back to my days as a photographer and using colored filters to create black and white images. But before any scanning could be done, the image first had to reconfigured into a “scan ready” version… and that too has been a process.

Because the original painting was created as four (stacked) movements (as it appears here)…

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“Symphony No.01”

The image had to be converted into a single linear piece, comprised of all four movements in succession, side by side (shown here).

Symphony_Strip1_Eq

Then, by converting the image into Grayscale, I was able to isolate individual colors (using simulated filters in Photoshop) which allowed me to create 7 variations of the same piece (shown below), in two Color Spectrums: RGB (Red, Green, Blue) and CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black). But even after the conversion to grayscale was complete, I also had to invert black and white in each image so that the software would actually scan the painted portions of the piece instead of the background (because it only reads and interprets white).

The final example below is a loose rendition of this process, using a small section of “Symphony No.01”. It shows what the 8 components look like (the inverted b&w images, in both color spectrums, plus the original full-color version) before sound is created. Each individual layer, in the next phase, will be assigned different tones and recorded separately on different tracks before being combined into a single symphonic composition/recording.

Sample

To be continued…

~ Stay tuned, for updates!

I am simultaneously excited and wearied to be releasing a print of one of my most popular paintings, exploring new ways of sharing my work with a broader audience and learning to become more accommodating without compromising integrity. So it should be a joyous occasion, right? Except, I still have to promote and sell it. (Ugh!)

Regardless of my experience as a salesperson, I don’t think I’ll ever develop a comfort with the idea of selling myself. I absolutely loathe having to reverse the lens. It’s not that I don’t think I’m a bad@ss, but that I’ve never sought the limelight nor cared for the attention. I don’t even have to be liked. I simply want to be received for what I am, as an expression of a restless spirit that doesn’t know where it belongs. (There, I’ve said it.)

I know I play the proud and confident role well. And people generally like seeing others pursue a passion, because it’s not easy. But I almost don’t even think it was ever a choice for me. I’ve just always believed that we should have the right and freedom to express what nature has divined in us individually (for better or for worse). So I simply can’t help but embody what I am.

Yet, at the end of the day, like it or not, we still have to pay to play, no matter one’s path in Life. There is no escaping having to do what we have to do (to make money), so that we can do what we “want” to do (to comfortably be). And so… here I am, in my own clumsy manner, doing my part to keep the lights on, a roof over my head, and food on the table.

“The career I have chosen is full of opportunity. But it is also fraught with heartbreak and despair. And the bodies of those who have failed, if they were piled one atop another, would cast its shadow down upon all the pyramids of the earth.” ~ Og Mandino

That’s a lot of pressure, and a daunting image to overcome at times. And so I breathe… and find myself in the wake of dashed hope, only to leap again without wings… summoning wind and water; summoning the ache of fire, and all the things that exist without form… yearning to learn their secrets as I dissolve in a panic. “Is that mountain only a molehill?” I ask and then retreat, losing myself in the tangle of a myriad Being where nothing makes sense and nothing matters; except, that it does… which brings me back full-circle to the topic at hand.

Self-Promotion… (sigh)

Perhaps the most difficult part of promoting one’s self, specifically as an artist, is learning to find a healthy compromise between the creative side of the brain (who wants to experience and express) and the voice of reason (who wants to maintain the illusion of control). It’s a balancing act that seems self-defeating when we are conscious of all our different needs, not just as physical beings, but as a species that has discovered an intellect and spirituality. Indulging in one almost necessarily subdues the others, as it seeks to be defined. It is a conflict that resonates throughout all of history, when those very same  forces (which are both complimentary and contradictory) become personified and polarized outside the self, like a projected awareness that is looking back at us. The whole world takes on different meaning that way. And at this moment, I feel caught in that back-and-forth, like a pendulum that is never at rest, though I long to comprehend it’s sweeping movement, hoping to someday adopt its tranquil and hypnotic rhythm.

I’m not there yet. So my clumsy efforts will have to suffice, on my way to learning how to grace the stage without being noticed.

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“The Gemini In Me” copyright 2011, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

In the cozy quietude of my studio, I am often reminded of how fine the line is between lost and found. Although every day is a menagerie of moving parts, to immerse one’s self in the expression of who we are, we must sometimes cross over into anonymity, where we risk “forgetting” where the story begins or ends, and how it should unfold. I was reminded of this the last several weeks, as I immersed myself in the idea of integration and all that that implies, which then reminded me of something I wrote and wanted to share.

So, from my quiet corner of the world…

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My Headquarters

The Island

I live on an island in the middle of the city. The island is my home… from where I expand my reach and vision with a solid foothold, among, but also apart from the community, the ocean whose surface I only skim, for fear of losing myself in its depths and wonder.

I am not afraid of drowning. Because, to pursue the fire is to also court death, who is always present alongside the living. But what I fear is forgetting, who I am, amidst the flow of those who never lost or gained, or never braved knowing how fire and water are truly the same.

I live on an island, at the center of myself. The island is my home… from where I exceed what is expected of me, and with a solid grasp of what that means, among, but apart from the rest of me, who belongs to the ocean.

I am not afraid of silence. Because, to seek the Self is to find yourself alone, though each of us belongs to the other, outside the body, in the way we experience and express one another. What I fear is forgetting, that the rest of the world exists, with or without me, and that it would never miss what I failed to give, for all the quiet time I spend within.

I am an island, among many islands. But this one is my home… from where I can escape, or seek refuge, whenever I choose.

After a productive month that was spent building a foundation to enhance my Social Media engagement, it’s time to get back to the creative side of my work. It’s time to welcome Spring, and new life, a cycle that never ceases. Though the business may be my structure, Art is still the substance, and that too will never cease.

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Canvas Panels

I’ve challenged myself to produce at least 10 – 12 Plein-air pieces this year, along with creating a series of Block Prints and Monotypes, because I love the idea that Art belongs to everyone. But equally important, I’ve also discovered that it truly is the little things that matter, meaning, that it’s the smaller pieces that sustain my business, while the more substantial works help it grow. So as an integral part of Building a career around my skill-set as an Artist, I’ve made it my personal mission to always provide artwork that is affordable on any budget, while still expanding my own creative language, and this simply seemed like a fun and elegant solution, which I look forward to sharing as it progresses.

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Print Making Supplies

~ Stay tuned!

Ah, yes. Sudoku. What was once hidden, is now in full view.

February was spent coordinating an incongruous on-line presence that had been neglected for far too long. I’ve spent hours behind the computer, instead of behind the canvas (woe is me), animating yet another version of myself that is neither spirit nor body, nor a mere contrivance of the mind, for it is substantial enough to permeate the interstices of human interaction. We occupy subliminal space on the internet, all of us linked by signals. And the more we integrate into such a dynamic form… the more we in fact expand and become vastly subconscious (a profound realization I stumbled upon as I advanced throughout the month).

What began as “My Sudoku Affair” has now become a life altering glimpse into the future of the Individual (not just me), who is already present, autonomous and self-sufficient, though we may not clearly see that aspect of ourselves just yet, because it is still something that we (the general populous) simply scoff at or speculate over. So, despite countless exchanges and debates about what the internet means, it still means nothing without active engagement. And yet, through active engagement… it can truly mean Freedom.

February started with a list (refer to “My Sudoku Affair” above), which organically grew and matured throughout the maintenance process. Generalized tasks, such as “1. Contact so-and-so”, progressed into “2. Create Proposal” and “3. Follow up with so-and-so, with quote for…”, which then evolved into a more direct (one step) approach of “Propose purchase of…” (getting right to the point when opening the conversation with each existing client, which proved more efficient). That list has expanded well beyond 140 tasks now (many completed, and many of which are in constant motion now). But what is equally significant is that the list has produced immediate fruit that had not been nurtured before though their seeds were always within reach. I secured 3 sales this month by contacting past clients directly (by email or by phone) and scheduled a fourth studio visit for next week. I also earned a client through referral, and surprisingly sold a piece through my new Facebook page within 48 hours of launching just last week, all of this the result of seeking what I could not see, by starting with what I could see (I know… it sounds much more complicated than it actually is in practice).

Needless to say, this February was a huge victory for me, the best February I’ve had in five years, and better than the entire 1st Quarters of each of the last four years, all thanks to taking the initiative and developing a Content Marketing campaign that includes my Blog, a new Facebook pagefacebook.com/artist.michaeltorres an updated Linkedin account, and concerted Email correspondence. But I will also be launching my Newsletter this week, which will unite all of the above as I prepare to update my Website. And so… I continue to emerge, not by blind leaps or by digging, but by expanding into other forms, and always without compromising the integrity of my work.

But enough about February… What about March?

I guess you’ll just have to read the Newsletter (coming soon).  🙂

~ Cheers!

As a romantic, even the simplest conversations sometimes blossom into deep, penetrating discourse because of floral expressions that embellish a thought. I had one of those discussions recently, that started as I was closing a text exchange with a friend. We hadn’t seen each other in about two weeks, as I’ve immersed myself in the process of enriching my Social Media engagement, out of necessity, to expand my network. But to paint a complete picture for you, she is also a romantic interest who has kept my enthusiasms at bay as the “third wheel”. So our conversations, even when standing on pure decorum, are always infused with the overtures that underlie the platonic structure of our correspondence. I told her, “I won’t be a ghost for much longer,” to which she replied, “What do you mean by that?”

In hind-sight, it was an abstruse thing for me to express in a form of communication as static as text, especially as someone who is trying to respect the boundaries of current circumstances. However, I also stumbled upon useful discoveries as I traversed the question in search of a multi-foliate answer, because, despite the implicit nature of that statement, I simply didn’t intend to suggest anything more than “I am in the process of Emerging”, in many ways that remain a work in progress.

The most significant of those discoveries, as they pertain to my creative pursuits, is that I am only now beginning to awaken from a deeply introverted trance that has guided me through the last several years. Meditation has not only been a way of being present in the moment, allowing me to feel and experience the world on a deeply personal level, but it is also a retreat and sanctuary, when the event of Life threatens to supplant the exerted efforts for which I have sacrificed so much. So as I now immerse myself in the effort of discovering “My Story”, I realize more and more that I have almost become desensitized to the deprivation I only occasionally used to endure (in Self-preservation), which finally brings me back to the beginning… a painting in my collection that I keep in my studio as a reminder that “I knew this would be a difficult journey”.

“Self Portrait, 2008” (below) symbolizes the decision I faced when choosing the path of the artist. That moment was a stance taken in the conflict between my Spiritual Voice, which is expressed in my work, and my physical Self, who belongs to this lifetime. I recognized then the sacrifices I would have to endure to find equilibrium between these two vivid aspects of myself. It was an epiphany, a moment in my life that has led me here, still painting and evolving alongside my expressive brush.

In the painting, the city burns in the background as a symbol of the Social Life I would have to abandon in order to find and nurture my creative Self, who is inherently introspective. But I also went another extreme, removing the threat of my enormous Love from the equation, which is sometimes even too big for me to handle, by setting my heart aside where it still rests in the box (for now).

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Self Portrait

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