Take The Time

Yoga Series 7When the world says, Give Up, Hope whispers, Try one more time.

I am updating my website though I am no longer permitting myself to call it an update. To update implies (to me) something periodic. This thing requires constant attention. As it turns out, websites never sleep. Rather than an update I now think of it as a scheduled feeding. Our cat, Baby Cat (were he human he’d be a sumo wrestler or a bouncer at a biker bar), is the only creature alive that requires more feeding than my website. Baby Cat is much more vocal about his scheduled feedings so I’m mentally linking my Baby Cat and website feedings.

My current website feeding, let’s call it an appetizer, involves paintings. I’m including an archive that reaches back a decade or more. There are paintings that go back further in time (much further) and I will post my archeology as I continue the feeding. The remarkable thing about including an archive is that it has provided the opportunity for a life-in-art review. And, I don’t recognize the guy that did some of those paintings. I recall applying paint to canvas but the overall experience is akin to remembering a past-life. They are at the same time “me” and “not me.” A few years ago I went to a Picasso retrospective at The Seattle Art Museum and wondered if the man at 90 years old liked or appreciated the work he did at 20 years old. Like all great painters he grew simpler with age, he said more with less. With age, he had less to say so he was at once both free and precise (a great definition of artistry).

In my life-in-art review I’ve been most interested in the work that happened during transitional periods. For instance, shortly after I moved to Seattle (sixteen years ago) I took most of my existing paintings to a local beach and, over three consecutive nights, burned them. It was my version of a forest fire, a spontaneous conflagration that stripped my internal landscape bare. What followed was a slow revitalization. Renewal. I remember the faces of the people who helped carry my paintings to the fire. They thought I was engaged in a fiery self-sabotage. I knew otherwise. My work had become sterile and heavy. Hope was calling and I needed to drop some dead wood, shed an old skin,… (fill in your favorite analogy). It was hard, messy, scary, and, for me, necessary.

A few years ago I followed Barney and Skip around the Benziger Winery. They were giving me lessons in biodynamics. The lesson over and over again: it’s about the health of the soil. The health of the vine is an expression of the health of the soil; excellent wine cannot be pushed. It takes time. It takes attention to the whole system. Art follows the same principles.

 

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