Thursday, March 10, 2022

Peace


 PEACE



Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one's own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind.  Universal responsibility is the key to human survival.  It is the best foundation for world peace.

                            14th Dalai Lama

            The sunflower painting above has been sitting in my studio for quite awhile now waiting for a coat of varnish.  It is still waiting.  Just as the world is still waiting for so-called leaders to recognize that the path they have chosen for the world's inhabitants is not leading to peace but rather destruction.  The beautiful sunflower standing in a field reaching for freedom to soak up the gentle rain of an afternoon thunderstorm and the warm, embracing sun that follows is the Ukraine's national flower.  What a sad time it is as the whole world watches the ruin and heartache spreading across the country.  

Thursday, August 26, 2021

I've Got It!


                 

            Human happiness and human satisfaction must ultimately come from within oneself... Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

                                        Dalai Lama


        The above drawing is one I made of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres' drawing of his friend and fellow artist Merry-Joseph Blondel.  In an effort to go back to what originally drew me to drawing (great pun, right?), portraiture, I am working on copying some of the best portraits in the classical style.  I was particularly drawn to this drawing because Mr. Blondel looks so satisfied with where he is and the image he projects.   Hence it came to me as no surprise that he was, himself, a famous artist creating paintings and frescoes in palaces, museums, and churches from the early to mid 1850's.  Although still a young man when this drawing was completed, he gives the impression that he has, indeed, found happiness while living in the moment.  In the troubled age we live in today we hear time and again how we should each be practicing meditation and mindfulness.  I've tried them both and found neither of them to be as easy as proponents would have you believe.  I can, however, recommend picking up a pencil and giving drawing a portrait a try.  Being so occupied can get you pretty close to a serene state of mind and keep you there until it is literally time to turn out the lights.  Of course, then you won't be able to sleep because you will keep thinking about how to improve your drawing.  Nothing's perfect.  

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Lady in Red


   

        Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

                         Leonardo da Vinci


    Well, Mr. da Vinci certainly hit the nail on the head with his observation about simplicity.  This lady couldn't radiate more sophistication yet note she is not wearing one single piece of jewelry.  Her simple hairdo and lack of lipstick further eliminate any distraction from her elegant posture.  The clean lines of her red dress add to her air of refinement and poise.  And with all that simplicity in view she fairly exudes an air of not only sophistication but peace as well.  One can well imagine her getting ready to sit for this portrait.  Tucking in a few final wisps of hair and slipping into her dress she was ready in a matter of minutes ~ no dashing around looking for shoes or trying on countless pairs of earrings looking for just the right ones.  To me her portrait sends a message of how life should be.  As I sit typing this on my Mac while listening to music emanating from my iPad and fretting about all I have to do today I can't help but conclude that half the stress and anxiety I carry around all day is totally self-inflicted.  Well, that's all I have to say about that...not going to stress over stressing.  Time to go look for a red dress!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Perspective Pears


      It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time.  People say "It's as plain as the nose on your face."  But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up for you?"

                    Isaac Asimov


        This morning I decided instead of painting I would do a quick drawing of three pears sitting on a mirror.  I have been busy taking a drawing class online and yesterday's lecture was on perspective.  The professor's assignment was to find a long hall with several doors on either side and using several measuring techniques draw what can be seen keeping in mind all the tricks of getting the proper perspective.  I don't want to be an architect so I decided to draw three pears sitting on a mirror.  Naturally, my mind wandered away from the perspective of the pears to how to achieve the proper perspective on how to live one's life.  I came up with three concrete facts that seem to be hard and fast rules of achieving a happy and productive life.  Number one:  We are each surrounded by an infinite number of ways to spend our time.  Number two:  We are not given an infinite amount of time to examine these opportunities.  Number three:  Stop thinking about Number one and Number two, realize how blessed we are and embrace each day as the gift it is. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021


AGING



                 "Do not grow old, no matter how long you live.  Never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born."

                                                             Albert Einstein


                    This small painting called to my mind some positive aspects of growing older.  First off, the older I get the more I come to realize that not just me but all of us are operating in the dark.  Basically we don't really have a clue what tomorrow will bring.  And while that thought can be rather frightening at times, it can be pretty exhilarating as well.  What great adventure awaits us tomorrow?   Secondly, even though I tried to make the vase look as old and beat up as possible, there is a certain beauty to not only the shape but also to the aging surface.  In my eye, it holds as much appeal or perhaps even more than the flowers do.  Older faces do indeed tell their own story.  In them are written tracks of tears, laugh lines, and worry lines ~ hints of sad times and happy times, exciting moments of overwhelming joy and dark moments of grief and despair.  Einstein was so right.  No matter what our time here on earth brings to us, our experiences rarely turn out the way we think.  All in all they are mysterious events that unfold in their own time and their own way no matter what we think we have planned.  So, I for one, am going to try to be happy to sit back and enjoy the ride.  Of course, though, having grown a little fragile over the past few years, I'll try to remember to buckle up.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

 Symbolism


            Symbols have a trick of stealing the show away from the thing they stand for.

                            Henry S. Haskins


                To save you a few clicks on your iPad I will tell you that lilies symbolically signify that the soul of the deceased has been restored to the state of innocence.  I don't exactly see that when I look at a lily but I can glimpse the idea of new life and purity.  Thoughts like the restoration of innocence to a deceased person or even new beginnings weren't exactly on my mind, however, as I worked on this painting.  I was too focused on getting the right colors, the right perspective, the right composition.  Only when the painting was completed and had sat in my studio for quite a while did I take the time to look up and find out exactly what made the lily an Easter favorite.  Never again, I thought upon reading the Wikipedia post, will I look at a lily the same way.  When I took out my camera and began to take pictures of this painting I was also struck by the idea that I had been missing out on seeing the symbolic meaning of so many things I come across every day, many of which are things I am either creating or doing, not just things that I touch or pass by every day.  While the world around us may seem to us a beautiful place adding the icing of symbolism can make it a place of wonder and peace as well.  So these days if you catch me bent over my iPad it just means I'm trying to figure out what exactly I'm looking at, touching, tasting, smelling..........well, you get it 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Pharaoh's Tulip


I think I can, I think I can.
        The Little Engine That Could (Watty Piper)

When looking at any design I usually wind up trying to figure out what is on the artist's mind while he or she is trying to come up with what goes where.  What makes a design have a personality?  The longer I look at something the stronger the personality becomes and eventually produces some sort of emotional response, a conversation as it were between myself, the design, and the designer.  And so, after studying this particular cross stitch for a while it occurred to me that this particular design brings to mind the idea of attitude.  Looking closely it is clear the flowers couldn't possibly hold those positions without a determined outlook.  Those skinny little stems couldn't hold up those flowers in such a contorted position without the right frame of mind.  To my mind, therefore, this is the perfect bouquet to have adorning my wall right now.  If those little flowers can hold their heads up on those fragile little stems, surely we should be able to hold our heads up during this pandemic as well.  It may not be easy but given all that we have, all the unseen support we are blessed with we, too, can do it.  I'm sure we can.  I'm sure we can.