Soul Painting

Jarvis was a sixty year old artist living in a small town in California.   On a good day he saw himself as a failure.    On a bad day he couldn’t recognize his own reflection.   He chose to live in Calderone California because he hated the confusion of large cities.   He hated the competition in the art world.    His only friend was an old man named Spike who rattled on about the “old days.”    Jarvis just listened – his mind was far away in some future vision of the world. Jarvis worked at odd jobs in order to keep his belly full, although he rarely ate much.   He saw Food and other common necessities as distractions.   His main interest was his art.  He was obsessed.   He wanted to discover a new form of art, something never before seen or experienced in the world.   It was frustrating.    Most of his time was spent thinking about the art of the impossible.   The few paintings he completed were ordinary.   He said he was looking for a doorway into another dimension.   He believed art should be more than painting between lines like “paint by numbers.”    Nobody except Spike even noticed Jarvis which was odd in such a small town.    He was like a shadow.    He refused to join the budding artist council seeing it as a group for tea totalers and hobbyists.   He studied art on his computer, searching artist profiles and web sites.   He loved many of the images he saw, but they were never enough – and no one was reaching into another dimension.    Jarvis was generally even tempered, but he boiled like a volcano on the inside.    He struggled against himself in search of his new art form, in search of a “doorway.”    Sometimes he had flashes of inspiration, perhaps they were epileptic seizures – he didn’t know and didn’t care.    He lived for those lightening flashes in his brain.   Once he was certain an intruder came into his apartment – a strange creature that seemed to vacillate between forms and colors.   It spoke in a high pitched voice, but Jarvis couldn’t understand the words.   He was certain it was a message about inter-dimensional travel.   After the strange encounter, Jarvis was inspired.   He believed he found an answer: soul painting.   It was based on Alchemy.   Jarvis had studied the works of ancient Alchemists in search for the Philosopher’s Stone.   Soul painting was about the process of  making art that occurs in the mind.   It was a revelation.  He completed a series of ten Soul Paintings.   Jarvis rented a small store front and had an art reception.   Many people laughed and quickly left because the canvases were empty.   Each canvas had a label with a title like: “above & beyond,” “up from the void,” “doorway to absentia,” etc.    There were instructions.    People were advised to stare at each canvas for 5 minutes without blinking, then the image would be revealed.   The people who tried the exercise had varying results.  Some folks became ill.   Others became disoriented.  Some people complained of disturbing visions.   Jarvis was nowhere to be seen at the reception or thereafter.   He couldn’t be blamed for the sudden disappearance of many of the visitors to his art show.


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