Nicolas Poussin, "A Path Leading into a Forest Clearing," c. 1635 - 40
The empty space that becomes sunlight within a sketch by Poussin; the empty space that’s been sun-erased, the blank where a sleepy rattlesnake basks in my memory before Peter intervenes, breaks its spine with a shovel to kill it. It’s the empty space that’s a constant, allowing us to take our breaths, standing with us. The empty space, full of both figure and ground until a vine charcoal gesture sets them apart, rough toothed gesso’d paper biting as gently as a lover on the artist’s fingertips as the mark is made. Creation needs its empty space, creation is the constant and it will fill us, overtopping our floodgates until, again, we’re empty.