“Beauty and Ugly are essentially the same thing”
I worked on this painting when the summer of 2020 was rolling to an end. Nature’s colors were painfully beautiful, leaves and flowers were rich in their prime, dressed stately in their lushest greens, blues, and yellows. Balm of the August breeze added the right dose of freshness, like a drop of mildly sharp perfume complementing the warmth and smoothness of the air under the silky sky.
Yet I felt a strong urge to add a symbol of death to the painting, next to all of the glorious life and beauty. Look at the right lower part on the canvas. I needed to allow this dark side to sit close, like an old friend. Maybe a skull, or a beast perhaps. You can see-through his wide left shoulder and strong yet transparent back, his bald head turned left and you can glimpse the old, tired, wise creature. Maybe he is a mythical person representing the end of life with the invitation to the other side. And this other side — what is there? Something has to die, and something has to be born, or re-born. And if you are not afraid, if you are ready to face it, it will get you to where you need to be.
“Beauty and Ugly are essentially the same thing”, when I read this phrase by eastern philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti for the first time, a click inside made me pause and think. At that time I could not really grasp what exactly it meant for me, but I instantly felt lighter and freer. Smiling openly to the beast and embracing the beast with compassion makes me feel grounded and alive, on the same wavelength that I feel when I witness the beauty. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I have a natural instinct to spot beauty everywhere — in people, nature, places, in ordinary things, sometimes zooming out to the big picture, also noticing the smallest things.
And the beast is my dear friend, too. Lately, I came closer to seeing the beauty and the beast as the same thing. It’s very interesting to feel how this unlocks the new power in me.