Art Love and a Woodpile

Posted by on Aug 8, 2016 in Blog | Leave a comment

Fern950I get up at 4:45 in the morning. That way I am painting by 5am. That way I can get in a good two hours before Emma gets up.

I am an artist and I have the best job in the world. I put in the hours doing the work. It is not that I have more talent than the next person. It is that I have the tenacity to persevere and consider and move through life in an artful way. I keep working even when I am tired or bored. Even when it appears I am getting nowhere. Even when I should have a “real” job. I am compelled to keep going because there are paintings that want to be painted.

My being an artist is not just about making a painting; it is about all things in life. It is contemplation and reflection as I move through each day. In relationship, it is not worrying about the future or holding grudges about the past. It is regarding the blue on my brush and deciding it is a perfect color today. Tomorrow it may be turquoise or alizarin. I cannot see into the future or know tomorrows color anymore than I can be sure the lover I am with today will be perfect for me tomorrow. Living life one stroke at a time is ideal, artful, and contemplative. I keep putting down the paint one stroke at a time until the panting is glorious enough to change the energy in a room or has fizzled out and needs to be resurrected into something new.

I build my canvas and stretch it with linen. I put paint on thinly first then build up layers. Each layer has a sense of completion and energy of its own. As the layers build they contribute to the layers to come and the over all essence of the finished piece. Relationships are much the same. I will never look back at an adoration and wish it had not occurred because each love contributes to who I am today. I will never say, “was it all worth it, because the answer is always yes.

At home, I plant flower boxes taking in texture, color, fragrance and flavor. I use flowers, herbs, vegetables and put together a composition that is pleasing. I bring home produce from the grocery store. I pick off the labels and place them just so on the counter contemplating composition and design. This is living an artful life.

My dear friend Rob stacks his woodpile with patience and thought. Each stick is considered and placed just so, the wooden cart situated to create a sculpture of sorts. I don’t know whether he regards it as art. I think not, but I do know he appreciates beauty and prefers good design to happenstance. This is where the line between contemplative and creative becomes blurred. Rob might say his stacking is contemplative and many would call it art. It is one and the same to me. What is the difference between picking up a piece of wood and discerning where it would be best suited and putting paint on a brush and considering where that particular color would like to land?


Like the woodpile and the lover, I like to think of each painting unfolding as contemplative practice. First thought best thought, as Chögyam Trungpa Rinpochi, said to his students when referring to Dharma art. Making art that changes the energy in a room takes more than a concept. It takes putting in the hours, listening to the work, pushing through the boredom. It takes being present and feeling sadness as deeplyt takes faith that withstands fear. It is contemplative. It brings love to the surface.


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