Painting and contemplation
Contemplation of painting is an emotional act, a breath of the work of art. A painting is a showcase of the artist, and everyone can see the showcase and pass by it, but if you suddenly feel like it, you can stop and go inside. Inside is the artist's soul, and you will be able to understand his appeal to you.- Anatoli Gostev
We were a minute or two away from the workshop, with leaves barely touched by the autumn gold. In the windless and pre-sunset autumn rays, this transformation from green to ochre stopped all the thoughts in my childish head. I walked with my father on the narrow sidewalk, about two meters wide, stumbling on the edge of the unevenly placed tiles.
We walked down towards the river, along the parapet to the Workshop. The parapet on the right hand, rose above the sidewalk by almost a meter at the height of its apex. Supported by the rise of the earth, trees and shrubs, at that time of my childhood, it started with me up to my waist at the very beginning, where it was easy to jump onto the narrow plank of the parapet. The parapet slowly rose above the sidewalk and then descended again, where I jumped down to the ground from knee-high. My path as a little tightrope walker did not start from the beginning. I had to walk ten meters, level my eyes with the parapet and turn a questioning look to my father.
In my father's hands, I have the "Earth-Parapet" rocket with a landing on a narrow strip of concrete. One step, another, the third faster. I walk, holding dad's hand, along a narrow strip and see the river in the distance, the whole landscape of my world from a great height. The air takes on a warm, ocher hue, and suddenly the whole world smoothly changes, flows into another reality, maybe another time, while retaining the basic features of the landscape. Coming straight towards us, from the golden, contra-jour clouds, is a small single-engine plane. I see the propeller covering the pilot's cabin, I know about his brown helmet and flying goggles covering half of his face. I freeze and absorb this metamorphosis along with the rays of the sun and colors. The vision also disappears smoothly. The last thing to melt away is a gust of warm wind, as I imagine, from the dissolving plane. Ahead is another minute, a creaky door, an elevator, and the roof of the world. The Workshop. The beginning of the universe with a point marked: 46A.
The time leading up to the creaky door in the entranceway stretched out due to the parapet processions. Of course, you could go down the left side of the street, under the walls of two light-gray brick buildings, and slant left onto the wall rising out of the ground and beginning the ground floor of a consignment shop. But that's how we walked from the workshop. It was just on the way to the city, there was no need to cross the street. I was still walking with my back to the workshop, but looking into the large windows of the consignment shop and seeing my reflection in them was interesting. This side of the street, heading towards the city, was three times wider than the opposite side, with even, always dry cobblestones underfoot. A neat and comfortable side of the street.
Jumping off the low parapet that touched the ground, we are now at the intersection. We cross to the comfortable side of the street and take another small diagonal, lengthening our path. The next stop was absurd. The entrance door was made of compressed wood shavings, painted "Burnt Sienna". The door opened heavily due to a tight spring and slammed shut with a creaking noise that echoed through the floors. I pulled, slipped through, creak! How do they live on the second floor with such a creak? - I think to myself. Two flights of stairs and the elevator is waiting. Two symmetrical doors and a call button colored "Red Kraplak" when lit, and almost black when the elevator dozed off waiting for a call. On other floors, these buttons were interspersed with cheerful "Cadmium Orange". The button on the eighth floor was bright and cheerful.
Eight floors climbed in twenty-eight seconds. The last section was made of concrete steps and then there it was - the iron staircase made of steel rods with a mesh woven diagonally over the gaping abyss. Standing in front of it, you involuntarily freeze, looking through the mesh down, gripping the railings and starting to climb. Ten steps made of three rods each, not concrete, and the number of rods, the distance between them, the width of the holes in the mesh above the abyss - everything was important and scary, even when you got used to it. Having overcome the ascent to the narrow platform, you come across a blue locked door to the lift. Behind the door, the elevator relay clicks and the electric motors hum. The cabin goes down - a massive, flat panel filled with concrete beams as a counterweight. And vice versa. Click-click. There are three types of sounds there - the clicks of the relay, the sound of the elevator's electric motor, and a steady, quiet electric hum.
Step to the left, turn around, and I am on a wide road of solid iron sheet without stupid holes. Then only three, already solid steps of four thick rods separate me from the last platform on the roof of the world. I stand on the iron sheet and wait for my father to catch up. On the white wall, ten meters in front of me, the inscription "46A" glows with ultramarine, blue, and light blue.
The left door leads to the Studio where the smell of oil paints can already be sensed through the crack. The right door opens onto the roof of the skyscraper.
Time suddenly speeds up, my father is already unlocking the lock! Slipping under his hand, I step over the threshold, step onto the downspout, fly through the narrow corridor, open the second, white door and here - the entire volume of space and light from the glass wall swallows me inside the Studio. Taking five steps forward, I stand in front of an easel with a still life.
Yes, we always have a watermelon and underneath it, two openings in the easel where I can stick my leg and head and freeze under the canvas. I see the sky through the blue square window.
The road, my own city and the world. The parapet and the connection of hands. Vision, cherished staircases and doors behind which there are eternal colors, shades, and most importantly - the breath of animated objects from flat canvases at destination point 46A. Christ from the canvas reads his last prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is unfinished and he will not finish, therefore his prayer sounds always. At the terrace doors, the Blue Dog on the easel may be waiting for its owner, or her eyes may be dreaming of someone from Marquez's story. I'll think of what I'll make out of it. Scattered watercolors, interpretations of my wife - a kaleidoscope. I feel the morning in Avezzano and the smell of meadows on the shore of the Stafelsee lake, in the foothills of the Alps. So what does a person actually have?
An emotional act cannot be bought. If there is something, you can only experience and relive it. It's not art itself, but the involvement in true art, that priceless, eternal trigger that the devil envies and heaven rejoices. You might ask - what is true art? The answer is obvious, it's at the very beginning. If the question arises, it might be worth thinking about the destruction of the spirit and exercises around emptiness.