catherine leyreloup

in her own words

I need courage to stay with beauty in a cynical world, as did Monet and others. It isn’t just a nice thing I do to hide from the storm. There is a battle with the elements, the weight of my equipment and the crass comments of passers-by. But what really hits home is holding fast through the constant changes in hue and shape and shadow and brightness. I live in the big questions of consciousness, feeling the tensions between detail and trance, me and nature, this real and that real and whatever else comes up. And the sheer energy knocks me out.

These feelings are hard to capture. Being ‘at one with nature’ doesn’t do it because I’m also separate and I can easily get enslaved by banal ideas of what I’m about. To sentimentalise nature can result in a chocolate box. To be too submissive can allow nature to become a one-way mirror in which your seeing self is too diminished. Or you can look deeper into humanity through nature, as Van Gogh did, hoping not to trespass too far. It is a question of subtle balance, as life always is.

Each of us has this relationship, just as we all worship something. How we manage this relationship speaks profoundly to how we manage being alive. Any mind that isn’t mildly pessimistic is going to be foolish. Any soul that can’t find some joy is going to drag down the energy of whatever it touches. That’s where we are.

We reach out for life, just as nature reaches out for life, on this same powerful earth, under our same magnificent skies. The trees come and go while we wonder about eternal things. Yet we unite. Corn sways in the breeze, leaves dance and create patterns of light and shadow, and we find ourselves standing in this fusion.

Please join me in this wonderful conversation. See your brightness in the play of light. Feel the miracle of colour touch your heart. Let the mystery come through you, as it escapes from dark places and tormented shapes. That’s all I’m asking. There is always a challenge to be who I really am, as an artist, as a person, as a spirit. That’s what I strive for, to balance my identity with as much of the incoming stream of life as I can live with at any time.