This happened about 10 years ago when I drove up to the northern part of France to witness a total eclipse. I remember that the eclipse happened around noon. I think it might’ve been early summer. It gradually became dark all over, and it really felt as though the end of the world was imminent. The birds made strange noises and flew in all directions as if they were sensing an unreasonable crisis approaching. Then the temperature dropped at once and reached mid-winter levels. At that moment there was complete darkness despite it being mid-day. This futuristic spectacle in which the shadow of the moon covers the sun must have lasted only 2 minutes.
As I was watching, I realized that I actually had no clue regarding the universe. I was just enchanted by this natural spectacle, one that is far beyond human comprehension.
In a way, it was an incident that challenged my natural – common sense, whereby days are bright and nights are dark. The well known fact that the sun is providing us with the necessary heat and light, so essential to sustaining life, suddenly felt like a sheer miracle. Gradually, it started to brighten up again. However, the color of the sky could only be described as “dawn at noon”, purple, pink and orange like Monet’s painting. It was completely different from the colors commonly seen at dusk or at dawn.
A few years later, I went to Keukenhof park in Holland, a place which is famous for its’ tulips. There I looked around at the flowers blooming in various colors. The park is also famous for its’ luscious vegetation with various kinds of trees and flowers growing on its extensive grounds.
I looked up and admired the abstract form created by the branches and leaves of the tall trees. A form completely different than when viewed from a more frontal angle.
It was as though these branches, shaped like lightning bolts, were playing a chaotic symphony, conducted by the force of life.
While other people were taking photos of the tulips down at their feet level, I alone looked up at the silhouettes of the trees, completely absorbed in taking photos and sketching them.
It was at that moment when the recollection of the eclipse I saw in northern France a few years before, its unique play of light and darkness, completely overlapped with the image of the silhouette of the trees right in front of me.
I was completely taken over by this imaginary scene.
I thought I could depict the mystery of the world through painting the light that appears in the darkness, together with the silhouette of the trees.
That mystery is immeasurable to human wisdom as we are so minuscule and ignorant. We are but a momentary visitor in this universe, one who merely benefits from it all.
A few years later, I was strolling along the river Seine. Once again I looked up and was charmed by the silhouettes of the hanging branches of the Platanus tree. The next moment, I recalled the image of the eclipse that I saw a few years earlier. According to flower symbolism, the word ‘Platanas’ actually means “genius”, “exceptional”, “curiosity”, and is associated with a famous Greek philosopher. According to that same flower symbolism, “hanging branch” means the “Advent of God”.
I wish that happiness would descend upon the viewer of this painting, just like the spirit of the trees would descend/advent from above.