It was only two weeks ago that I was at Jim’s for Strawberry Pie Week. The tip of the pointer finger on my right hand is still a little bit numb from cutting pies for six hours straight on that last trip. I am here for a little bit of research, and I am happy to report that I have already collected some delicious information. I brought the girls along this time, and they work pretty hard and eat pretty hard too. It is a true joy to share the family restaurant with them, and they seem to understand and appreciate all the levels of magic that are wrapped in the mystique of Jim’s. I’m not sure that they are really developing a “work ethic” here, but they do sincerely enjoy running the register, seating guests, and gathering to-go orders. This is already our second trip out of town since “summer break” began last Friday… I am grateful to be their dad.
Within the realm of repetitive tasks, I find comfort. It has long been this way, and it has come to a most heightened experience the last several years. The meditative quality of the repeating of an action syncs with the soul’s preference for magical pattern… light and sound waves, heartbeats. As it is, I am slipping into the rhythm again with a multitude of paintings that ask of me the tasks of repeating… I disappear. Thirty-four new paintings on the factory floor today, and the sight was exciting. I poured all the forms today on the panels, and they should be hardened by the time I get back in town on Friday.
I leave tomorrow again for Jim’s, and this time, I’m taking the daughters… we’ll put them to work at the register and as hostess. For the first time ever, I am allowed a sacred spot at the spaghetti sauce pot… a forty gallon monster of kitchen wonder. It’s quite an honor, and I will not take it lightly. Certainly, there will be some huge challenges with this endeavor, but I keep focussed on the mission of service, helping the family, and working hard to ensure the future of Jim’s Spaghetti Sauce.
There is an uncomfortable situation in my life regarding the potential sale of a painting that’s been stealing needed mental energy for months now. After the last insulting episode, I have to shift the script. For months, I practiced patience and allowed some behaviors, feeling like I was doing what I could to assist a sale. Then, it slowly unravelled. There have been multiple truths stretched and disappearing acts. When the unbelievable happened yesterday, I may have blacked out for a bit… shock does that to a system. I’ll work to get some clarity tomorrow, but it appears as though I’ll have one more painting in inventory soon.
My dad had a boat when I was young, but we really didn’t have the experience of “lake life.” It was more likely just a part of his escapist lifestyle that included alcoholism and golf, amongst other things. I was scared of swimming in the lake. I don’t remember getting much parental support around this, but who knows? Now, my in-laws have had a lake house for about ten years, and I am very grateful that my kids are growing up with a better “lake life” experience than I had. We don’t ski, or tube, or anything extremely fun, but we vacate, relax, and get on the water for slow and easy enjoyment.
Yesterday, we were knocked out of the soccer tournament, and that opened the door for our escape to the lake for a day and a half. I was able to help my father in law fix some joists on the dock, along with some decking, an I watched the girls as the giggled and swam around the dock. The work will continue tomorrow, but there might also be time for a swim… I am grateful.
School’s out and now soccer is over. The heat has arrived as imagined, and now, with Memorial Day in two days, “summer has come.” Looks like we are taking an impromptu trip to the in-laws lake house, and our house projects will be put on hold. I’m currently tired, and not feeling inspired… consequences of fullness. The meditation practice has slipped over the last several days… that happens. I’ll circle around with more to offer when it arrives.
Many years ago, I found my way to the studio at night on a fairly regular basis. I guess it was mostly when I was painting houses during the day, and I needed the night time to keep the studio work progressing. That habit slowed to a slow crawl over the last five years or so, and I usually don’t miss it… but, when I do, it’s a fierce longing. There is a magical comfort in the night studio energy, and it’s a unique ambiance. It’s kinda like sitting by the ocean at night… a certain sort of noisy quiet, powerfully loaded with orchestral intensity. This summer seems primed to welcome back the habit of working in the studio at night
Today was the last day of school for my daughters, and I am filled with pride for their “success” in another year of middle school. Those years can be messy as hell, but the girls seemed to gracefully make their way through all social and academic jungles. Now, we navigate summer schedules, where idleness can make the mess… I am hoping to choreograph our own blend of relaxation and exploration.
Yesterday, I cut the new panels for thirty new paintings, and today I sanded and gessoed them. There’s a lovely mindlessness about this part of the process (hand in hand with mindfulness). I’m more excited about making these (Symbol Signs/Portal Paintings/Insert Other Working Title Here) than I would have imagined three months ago. I was then keen to believe that the Work I need to be fully invested in was the black and white work; there was confidence in this belief. But, as Emerson said,
“Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.”
These 11″x9″ mixed media paintings are little voyages, and I have no idea where they are going. They are quite the opposite of the big Work. Considering this project gets me excited again about painting, as I had found myself lacking energy for the other… Not that I wasn’t inspired to do it, I just repeatedly found myself not really working on those paintings. Maybe, I wasn’t lacking energy for it, I was simply getting beat by Resistance. I go with the flow, as inflexible as I may sometimes be… a living, breathing contradiction.
Sisyphus – 24″x24″ – 2016
“The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
I enjoyed my dabbling in existentialism. The early 90’s were ripe for this cause, and I still hold dear plenty of that same Spirit. It is compartmentalized in its own container, and I take it out for play on occasion. I’m opening lots of random portals lately, visiting overgrown playgrounds and having fun.
The first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.
Inauguration Day IX (Infinity) is is meant to express some version of this law. The image breaks down in to shapes of energy, light forms, created once, changed constantly. Art and the End of Suffering seeks to shine light on the unity of that one first energy that is Everything.
Today, I gave myself the marching orders to continue into battle against the paintings that were fighting for their lives. I have a couple of requests for artworks, and I am needing to up the inventory to supply those in need. So, some lesser creations from the last year or two have been in front of the firing line for several days, and today, they met their end (one has survived so far).
It’s a bittersweet experience to lay waste to something that I have created. There is sadness at the loss, at the unrealized potential, the neglect/rejection… Then, there is renewed hope that the canvas can be reborn in greater form, and carry on to give joy to someone, somewhere. We’ll have to wait to see how it goes. There were some young paintings eradicated today, but sometimes that’s simply necessary. They served a great purpose in their short lives, and for that, they are honored. Now, I move on, and the joy of creation finds momentum speeding toward new deadlines.