Friday, September 12, 2014

Underpinning: What Lies Beneath

"Underpinnings II" by Jim Carpenter, Acrylic Mixed Media on Crescent Board, 18" x 20"

"The undermind is what we're looking for when meditating, that part of our self which is beyond the intellectual, emotional, and physical." - Tom Hodgkinson

Support: The Creative Spirit

"Underpinnings II" takes me to a place I've wanted to go to for a number of years - the abstract landscape. Again this is a painting that I had worked on and shelved over a year ago. I forgot I even had it in my files. But I pulled it out today, not knowing where I would take it, or rather where it would take me. But painting it today was that kind of connected experience that we aim for when engaged in any process. It felt good to paint it today. From that perspective alone, I achieved - at least for today - my objective of enjoying the experience of painting. If you are an artist you know exactly what I mean. The paint goes down in a way that just feels good, every stroke feels good. 

Finding the quote from Hodgkinson's book was a serendipitous gift. I titled the painting before I found the sentence referring to "undermind" a word I had never seen before. Nevertheless, the word "undermind" supports the theme of the painting, and of my work in general. I practice Chi Kung, an ancient Chinese art form of standing meditation, and I believe that practice frees the creative spirit, strengthens one's courage, and clears the mind so that the imagination - and the creative spirit - can take over.

I struggle to explain my paintings - where they come from, what they might mean, how they affect me, how they came into being. I write about them and talk about them, always with the note that what they are, and how they are, is always little bit mysterious to me. I believe that they may come from accessing "that part of our self which is behind the intellectual, emotional, physical."

"Underpinnings II" may represent that ancient abstract ancestral landscape that we tap into when we create.   

I remain grateful for the 30 Day Challenge, which has prompted me to get in the studio, take risks, and enjoy the creative process of both painting and writing.


  1. What is incredible is that this need that you had to paint this was matched by my need to see it and look you up. Keep painting, Jim, as much as you can. You have a lot to give. Thank you.
    (Saw you on the 30-day challenge)
    laurelle at

    1. Thank you, Laurelle! Especially for these encouraging words!

  2. I really like the ancient symbolism mixed in with contemporary design elements in this, Jim.
    The color harmony makes me think of the petroglyphs we have in New Mexico.
    I think this is outstanding.

  3. I always save you for last Jim. ".. the best for last". I have been looking at this...and I really..can't come up with any words. I just love everything that is going on here.

  4. Wow, Sheila. Thank you. Do you think you might be accessing what Tom Hodgkinson refers to as "the undermind"?