Sunday, November 29, 2015

Purity of now

6 x 12 inches
Diptych on cradle boards

I suddenly saw the day lay out before me and knew it would be good, and a feeling of calm happiness settled over me.

I was anxious to get into my studio, but was reluctant to leave this moment of quiet - enjoying the only sound around me - the hum of the refrigerator.

Don't wish your time away, you once said. 

These words have followed me, like wise friends through the years, anchoring me in the purity of now. Be here. Enjoy where you are.

We seem to live in three primary states of awareness; what was, what is, what will be; past, present, future.

Why do we spend so little time in the present stage of awareness? Why do we get lost in our thoughts seeming to prefer the past or the future to what is happening at the precise moment?

Mary Oliver writes a poem about hummingbirds - how we can only imagine them, "as they are as swift as the wind and fly not across the pages, but between them".

Is this an analogy of now? We can only imagine it because it flies so swiftly from us? Because the now is past before it is even written on the page? 

In meditation we are taught to focus on the now, follow our breath in and follow it out. Quiet the monkey mind, stop the past and future chatter, silence the ego; observe, melt into nothing. 

I must admit, this is quite difficult. I have a very active monkey racing around the maze of my cerebral cortex. She seems to mock me and my attempts to quiet her. 

Honestly, the only time I get close to this state is when I paint and here is the paradox of that; I'm in the now and not even aware of it, I am aware of nothing. I am just, performing in front of a canvas, hoping it will somehow transform into something that is unique to me.  

Friday, November 20, 2015


Crow 11; Meditating
14 x 11 inches
acrylic on frosted mylar

Today, poet Mary Oliver dazzled me with her path of words, strung into a lovely poem and collected onto a page.

Writer, Dani Shapiro helped me realize talking about your ideas too soon is often the path to destruction or stagnation.

"That for which we find words is already dead in our heart." 
Frederick Nietzsche

Often, by talking about an idea before action, seems to toss the inspiration into the air and off it floats  - perhaps landing in another artist's mind. Poof - there goes. Better to keep a journal.

Painter, Janice Mason Steeves wrote, "don't show your babies too soon". I take her words to heart.
Early critique can become a straight jacket for your muse. Better to keep your babies tucked away, at least until they reach adolescence and can stand on their own. 

I've come to learn, if I want to be a painter, and I do, it has to be my job. It's the only way I will produce anything significant.

For now, it will be my second job, since my day job pays the way for my second job. 

One day painting will be my one and only job. And "my days will be shaped by me, rather than for me", Dani Shapiro.