I have written about the work of artist Harold Hitchcock before, see here, and feeling in need of ‘a vision of light’ I visited his website today and found this inspiring work. As I am spending a lot of time reading about Gaza I immediately thought of those ships who have been sailing into the Gazan ports in recent months to bring emergency medical supplies despite the difficulties and danger involved. I also remembered all the fishermen of Gaza, who despite food shortages, are having incredible difficulties fishing along their coastline because they are being harassed and prevented from doing so. With this painting of Sun Rising Through the Rigging of Ships, I pray for peace and justice in Gaza that its ports and waters may once again be bustling with business and filled with light.
I would like to introduce you to a dear friend and brother. Harold Hitchcock is an artist working in Devon. Harold is now well into his eighties but he still goes into his studio and paints every day, completely absorbed in the scenes unfolding on his canvas as he ‘listens’ attentively to the heart of his inspiration, an inner voice of light. The following are the words of Harold about his art and motivation. They are recorded by his son, Leonard and can be read in full over at Undiscovered Worlds where more of his light-filled paintings can also be seen.
“The true function of the arts is to guide man towards his true destiny, towards a true understanding of himself and his inner nature. As we advance on the evolutionary scale, so must we proclaim that state of spiritual realization we have grasped or comprehended through whatever medium we may choose, rather like a bridge to help other people. The artist must cut across the spirit of the age. It is not his function to reflect the conditions of the age…but to follow the unmistakable voice within—the light that should be made known… My belief is that there is one over-riding creator, one supreme creator, that pervades everything— inanimate things, nature, as well as man himself. And it’s simply a question of having the courage to completely surrender to that, and to lead a good life as far as is possible, so that one can develop inwardly. It’s all a question of receiving what we feel inwardly”
“When I was a child I was staying with my grandfather in a little village…called Thundersley. It was a very rural area. My grandfather had a long garden, and at the bottom of it there was a row of very tall trees—elm trees. I happened to be up early one morning, and I saw the sunlight shining right through the foliage of the trees. I remember the rays of light were spraying out, creating a sense of depth in the trees and the surrounding area, and glinting on the bark of trees, giving them an almost jewel-like quality. I’ll always remember the effect it had on me…it was a very uplifting feeling, and it remained with me throughout my life. This experience was the germ of it all. It drove me to become a painter, because I wanted to capture that atmosphere, that vision of light. I paint to create the world I live in mentally, or spiritually…the world of this vision. When I start to paint, I automatically find myself painting a picture which is a transcription of that world. When I paint I just follow this feeling, without letting myself think about it. The play of light on objects has fascinated me ever since. When I look at trees and at light, I look at where the light comes through the foliage, the planes of light passing through the trees; even in the darkest shadow you can still see the light passing through. Whenever I visit places, I gravitate towards those aspects that bring that memory back, a memory which, in its essence, has remained with me”