Resisting the urge to ooze a chubby pink cherub upon my baby blue sky is proving difficult. The truth is that it might look good on a designed interior wall, but it would almost certainly destroy the true intended meaning.
I can see cherubs in the baby blue sky like this by Alexandre Cabanel - The Birth of Venus
This piece, in progress, represents Albedo, the last stage of the alchemical process. This series of paintings (there is a red or Rubedo and a black or Nigredo too), begun roughly 6 years ago, began life as representational depictions of the view and sky from a flat in South London. The city itself, then later abstracted to simply a section of sky, came to represent process and transformation.
Somewhat confusingly some scholars depict alchemy as having 4 rather than 3 stages (yet others break the stages down even further), but in this illustration Albedo is represented by the second from the left urn or bottle at the top.
I am enjoying the use of oil paint again and the delay between one painting and another only further emphasises how I am maturing as a painter. In essence the ideas and the passion for my subject matter remain consistent, but the manner in which I now execute those ideas become more sophisticated. Now the frustration lies in not being able to focus more fully on the painting, and in not having the space to realise the ideas. Instead stages are built up according to schedules and living conditions. On the positive side I have plenty of time to step back, contemplate and absorb the work in progress.
The real thing, so far…
What follows is an explanation of the Albedo stage in alchemy from Spiritual Alchemy, Interpreting Representative Text and Images, by Karen Claire-Voss:
“The next stage is the albedo. With the aim of imposing norms on chaotic material, the alchemists approached the massa confusa of the primal substance by dividing it. Throughout the albedo stage they continued to work with the various elements that were derived during the nigredo, and by the end of the albedo they were left with two elements viewed as though in polar opposition to one another. It is here that the alchemical problem of the coincidentia oppositorum arises. Now the task was to effect a successful resolution in order to obtain the Philosopher’s Stone. This resolution had to be carried out on many different levels, as indicated by the symbolic representations of pairs of opposites as both material and spiritual; e.g., silver/gold and body/spirit. Once again, these levels correspond to deepening levels of understanding with regard to the true nature of the work. Finally, according to alchemical theory, all the opposing elements would be resolved, all the levels would somehow converge on one another, and the goal would be achieved.”