Archives for posts with tag: Meditation

The Automatic Process is just one of many methods of creating a painting (or any work of art). But it’s the method I most commonly prefer, primarily because it allows the artist to tap into his/her subconsciousness, oftentimes with surprising results, as artwork that isn’t planned so much as it just happens.

Insatiable

“Insatiable” © 2013, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

Although I also work from fully visualized concepts that are sketched out and systematically executed, my opinion is that The Automatic Process (with practice) can be more genuinely expressive and revealing; not entirely explicit of the artist’s presumed comprehension of the subject, which can be unavoidably subjective, but of the artist’s unacknowledged (or unrealized) aversions, preferences, and innate tendencies toward that subject, which perhaps arrive at a closer proximity to objectivity (without the filters of reason). It is a technique that liberates what is normally suppressed by our conditioning (reflexively) and self-censorship (voluntarily), animating that mysterious source within each of us that never sleeps; that which I deliberately refer to it as the Subconscious part of the mind, rather than the Unconscious, because to actively utilize its wealth is to awaken its potential.

It might seem ridiculous to think that such a source can be harvested. However, just like learning a new language, a new skill, or improving one’s memory, tapping into one’s subconsciousness is an acquired ability that can be harnessed through practice, a function that isn’t quite as abstract as one might think. In fact, The Automatic Process is more accurately about allowing one’s self to be vulnerable, admitting (to ourselves, at very least) that we don’t always know why we feel certain ways. It’s about letting go of our imaginary controls, to make room for revelation. And it’s about purposefully encountering our innermost (which is indelible and vast); a frightening proposition, I know, but a journey well worth endeavoring.

Catalog: 1992 - Mar, 2011

“Undertow” © 2013, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

From Freud to Breton, to Your’s Truly:

To shed more light on the subject, I was first introduced to the idea of Psychic Automatism when exploring the roots of the surrealist movement and was immediately intrigued by the suggestion that the limits of active consciousness could be expanded and employed. It was a claim originally proposed by Sigmund Freud, whose psychoanalytic discoveries gave substance to André Breton’s First Surrealist Manifesto, officially establishing Surrealism as an intellectual practice. (read The First Surrealist Manifesto, by André Breton, here: Surrealist Manifesto)

However, because there is no fixed single method of approach, the process of Automatism can vary drastically, influenced by any number of factors (such as personality, emotional state, space and time). And yet, for the most part, I’ve remained faithful to the surrealist’s original manner, adopting what is called Automatic Painting. Though, what is generally considered random and accidental mark making, I now refer to as intuitive composition, simply because of the progression I have witnessed in my own work, which evolved from pure abstract expressionism to diverse representations of abstraction, expressionism, and surrealism.

Here are a few examples of work created with The Automatic Process that exhibit a natural evolution, as I become more and more comfortable with this form of expression. Though the process itself remains necessarily flexible.

Puncture Wound

“Puncture Wound” © 2012, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

A Violent Departure

“A Violent Departure” © 2013, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

Achieving Symmetry

“Achieving Symmetry” © 2014, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

Meditation-Eq

“Out of Bounds” © 2017, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

My Process:

As previously mentioned, my work isn’t always created in an automatic style. I still honor the tradition of painting when approaching classical subjects, such as landscapes and the body. But when I’m feeling inspired and uninhibited, I usually begin with a single color (if driven by raw emotion) or a simple sketch (when working from a concept that is intended to evolve) and allow instinct and intuition to guide each step along the way.

The key, once the work commences, is to remain immersed in the process, which requires me to “receive” rather than to dictate, seeking internal guidance without surrendering to the temptation to “edit”. And only when the subject has developed enough to contain substance and to speak for itself do I attempt aiding in the work’s aesthetic movement, by refining composition. The process’s real promise, after all, lies in discovery; not for vainglorious purposes, but for the emotional connections established by the image’s own individual presence and for its meaning, which is created and shared through discourse (between the work, the artist, the audience, and that mysterious source within each of us that never sleeps).

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ContinuumSometimes… I get lost in the tangle. I get lost in the confusion of space and time, which carries me through the quietude, an encompassing silence that shares its mass and weight with me until I am no longer discernible from the vastness I’m attempting to fill; not to substantiate it, but to mitigate my own burden, which is comprised entirely of gravity, evidence of the stillness that flourishes at the center of everything.

From the surface, the pattern may appear only to perpetuate the repetitions. But the extremes of that structure have become so abundant and so intricately woven that the accumulation now seems like ornament, from a distance, like a dense cluster of meticulously carved impressions that were purposefully arranged within the enormity, which has no rhyme or reason on its own or within the immediate. Though, we may find ourselves at any time within that same instance.

In silence and solitude, where our conversation with the universe takes place, I lose myself, hoping to return with more than what I carried into that vastness, more than the substance I encompass and its portrayal, which is projected into the aether until a mutual exchange blends consciousness with the mysteries of existence in a single breath, inhaled and exhaled, and carried in a vibration, where I am both a part of and severed from the tangle of life and it’s myriad impression… always a memory (with each passing second), a memory that is integrated within the Self who is also consumed and discarded before the next draw of breath. And in that flow, both giving and receiving, everything that is conceivable, and its antithesis, are unified, though each expression becomes a different interpretation of the same encounter, a different point of view that is not in opposition, but in perfect harmony within the same focused confusion that created the world and all of its compliments and contradictions.

Transmutation

From the outside looking in, as a traveler revisiting forgotten relics, I have finally seen the patterns and have heard a voice emerge from the repetitions, saying “At long last… you’ve arrived.”

Those words…

More of an imprint than a sound, buried themselves without preamble. Though its intonation unearthed its roots and anchored itself firmly into my walls, sprouting  like a seed that springs without need or nurture, all at once becoming divined and purely nature, the implications climbing and spreading like branches from a spark who rejoices at the promise of fire.

I found a reflection of myself in that moment, underneath the accumulation and in-between the here and there, as if stretched like an echo that knows it will be remembered, long before it is even dead.

through-the-wreckage

Though we all go our separate ways, we all still lean on one another for balance… All of us, finding strength and weakness in each other, at some point, are perfect compliments and our own contradictions, all born into this same union, this vast sentience that resembles a single body in turmoil, a tumultuous dream, and a frenzied dance within time and space where the push and pull of Life are always at odds, yet simultaneous, congruent, and a continuous ebb and flow, sometimes giving and other times receiving, until one at a time our cups are full and we recede into the light, the long enduring shadow still in view, shoved into the margins of our consciousness, but never quite forgotten, and never quite a memory, because all that is buried remains a seed.

Ballet Austin

Copyright 2005, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

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

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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