Alan Crichton — Leonardo’s Mysterious Stains

Alan Crichton, “Night Passage”, watercolor, charcoal, paper, 11”x7.25”, 2015

 As an art student, I concentrated on rendering what I saw before me. Making life-like work was my goal, a classic measure of talent, it demanded all my attention.

Alan Cichton, Gearhead 11 x 7.5 inches, 2016, watercolor,charcoal, gears

But however well I learned to render, the inner breath of life rarely moved me to fall in love with my art and have it come alive. I could strive for technique, but without finding the inner vision, the art lacked passion.

Alan Crichton, “Il Purgatorio”, watercolor_paper, 4”x6”, 2015

 

I wondered, “How do I see beyond or inside?” This seemed frustrating and unbridgeable. I couldn’t do it.

 

Alan Crichton, “Your Absinthe,” watercolor, paper, 7”x5,” 2016

 

I heard Leonardo say, “Look at walls splashed with a number of stains…there you can see lively postures of strange figures, expressions on faces, costumes, an infinite number of things.”

 

Alan Crichton, “Deep Mine Pathways” watercolor, paper, 10”x4”, 2016

 

I scoffed, “But who are they and why?”

But who was I asking? I was still looking for approval that Leonardo never needed.

 

Alan Crichton, “Evil Companion”, watercolor, pastel, paper, 11”x7.5”, 2017

 

At a point long after my “training” was complete, and after many life crises in which I focused much too heavily on myself, I finally noticed and appreciated the lives of others.

 

Alan Crichton, Mad Sister, “Mad Sister”, watercolor, paper, 7”x5”, 2016

 

I discovered that our lives themselves were Leonardo’s mysterious stains. Then the joy of discovery began. I started to excavate many inner visions. I scratch them out of the layers built up behind and before me.

 

Alan Crichton, “Hot Pursuit, No Escape”, watercolor, paper, 11”x7.5”, 2015

 

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