Lust for the Moment

 My lover, creature of the written word gushing with instinctive heartbeats straight from the arteries of feeling, always in stream of consciousness on pages filled by the minute, told me at one point he cannot understand how someone like Vermeer would work for months to create a single painting. Because, surely, the initial emotion, the original impulse, would’ve long waned.

I never replied- incentives of his physical closeness distracted me.

But as I was recently talking to my muse about an elaborate composition she was planning to start well aware it might take weeks to perfect, an idea became clear to me that the artistic process by which we write – or draw – or sculpt – or compose is a timeless container of the inner state we want our creation to convey.

So during the interval between the first and last brushstroke our primary inspiration is preserved and can be  retrieved almost like in a trance each time we work to transcribe it.

That would explain to my lover why Vermeer, who lived such a stressful life in a household with 11 probably boisterous children, a mother-in-law and family problems which often had to be mediated at the then ‘police station’, went to great lengths to retain his peace before the easel as he gradually produced about 35 mostly small paintings in over 20 years.

Rembrandt, his contemporary, exceeded 600 after four decades of activity. And he usually handled large canvases.

Yet this only illustrates two approaches to the suspensive power of creation. While Vermeer types seek to prolong a mood otherwise rarely found, those who can access the source and live that state again do so relentlessly, almost compulsively.

Egon Schiele, for instance, drew veritable X-rays of the passion in human flesh ‘literally racing against a hand-held stopwatch’, able to condense in few incredibly accurate lines all the present would offer him. Stimuli in superabundance were there for his senses to feed on and naturally no need to slow down ever appeared.

Just take a look at one of his numerous self-portraits now at Leopold museum, Vienna.

Because you can see it staring at you – the lust for a moment felt.


Patricia Beykrat – the Roving Aesthete


12 responses to “Lust for the Moment

  1. Ms. Beykrat,
    While I have already “Liked” as well as voted this post 5 stars, and would do so again if possible, its ending, with the photograph of yourself with Mr. Schiele’s self-portrait, is almost too painful (a cruel tease really), for those of us separated from the Leopold (and its vast collection of the before mentioned artist’s work) by so many miles, and a regrettably severe shortage of the funds necessary for travel, to bear.
    The President and Founder

  2. Artists, like writers, never view their works as complete. For most of us, it’s an ongoing process. Our minds never cease to function – until we die, or are somehow rendered comatose through disease or accident – and subsequently, neither does anything we create.

    A while back the “New York Times” reported on a long-published writer who had suddenly discovered the need to “retire.” I think he had some health complications, which I understand can interfere with the creative process. But, I thought, ‘How can a writer “retire”?’ I keep a list of story ideas; things that just come to me, often in the proverbial dead of night. My only wish is that I get to write them all out before I die, in the same way I hope to read the gallery of books I’ve amassed.

  3. you put it perfectly… I like how you created a story around the piece ”I never replied- incentives of his physical closeness distracted me.” – so clever 🙂

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