Artist’s Musings

a pair of geese flew by; outside my studio window; i’m glad elephants don’t fly

The spiritual dowser

The Spiritual Dowser (Kyle Fetzer). Oil on panel, 8 by 6 inches. Private collection.

The Spiritual Dowser (Kyle Fetzer). Oil on panel, 8 by 6 inches. Private collection.

As of this post, I have not yet met Kyle in person, but I have briefly watched and listened to him singing with his guitar for an art opening in Kennett Square. I later found out that he is a spiritual dowser. He said that he would gladly help sweep away the negativity that could be surrounding me at the moment. "What the heck," I thought. I later contacted him and as requested, I sent him a picture of myself. He said he could do this for me remotely. A couple of hours later, "done!" was his reply. Something must have happened because before I received his reply, I had a sense of renewed energy to paint. Whether it was real or not, it didn't matter to me, but what mattered was his compassion to want to make a difference in, what was then, a stranger's life.

While browsing through Kyle's Instagram feed, I came across a video clip of him dowsing. Then I recalled how one American artist who works out of Italy had used a video clip of his model as a reference for his portrait work. He explained that the model's subtle movements gave his subject a sense of presence rather than just an inanimate object on a flat display monitor. His model's spirit and personality subtly conveyed to him through the video clip—her subtle body language, her subtle changing facial expressions, the movement of her eyes, and her lips—which informed his portrait work. It was a fascinating approach to working with a model who could not be in the studio.

This is a high key painting. I chose a soft palette for Kyle because I wanted to convey a sense of his warmth, coolness, and compassion. I used forced perspective (which was effectively used in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit), higher chroma and hard edges to pull his hand and crystal forward while at the same time receded the rest of him into the background with soft edges and lower chroma. The digital image fails to convey the subtle colours and the feel of the hand and crystal coming forward. No digital image of an original artwork could effectively convey the sense of the subject. Clearly, all artwork is best to be appreciated in person.