Procreate sketch for painting
When it comes to elemental life, the breath seems to be the master teacher. My trying to be present for the breath is very difficult. The breath: the first thing a new born does to signal life.The breath: the last thing the dying does to signal that they are done with this life (as we know it).
Fear- is the monster in my head when it comes to my studio practice. How do I make a body of work? What will the next painting be like? Will they/it be good enough? My imaginings about making art at times causes stress and obsessiveness about a future and opinions I have no control over.
Enjoy the moment, breath, enjoy what I have, enjoy what I am working on, and especially, enjoy the process.
I continue the effort to be aware of my breath not only for awareness potential, but I find that the breath, my breath, to be an anchor to my wandering, imaginative, never settled mind.
iPad painting study using Procreate
It all seems so well until it isn’t, and then there is the choice to be with the dis-ease/comfort. Who knows how long the pain/hell will last? Some thing happens and we said “ how could this happen to me? Is there anything random in our experience? Are we creating our reality moment by moment? Are we making choices moment by moment? I know that I give up responsibility for my life choices because of convenience, it’s easier, doesn’t create waves, don’t want to engage in an argument, laziness, fear of repercussions, you get the picture. What if I didn’t give up responsibility? How would life be different?
My painting practice for many years has been a kind of go with the flow, let’s see what the painting gives me. It worked, and I got a particular indeterminate look and feel to those works. It was, now in retrospect, missing more substantive ideas.
I have been thinking about layering images of cruelty; lynching, gun violence, bombing, etc., nature: how nature is neutral to these events and keeps to its cycle of growth and dormancy or decay, and Heaven and Earth, the warp and weft of our existence. I have been looking at rugs and weavings from North Africa, which I find to be amazingly beautiful. I want the warp and weft to provide a structure for the top most layer that will somehow acknowledge the influence of the rugs. I am eager for this new work to manefest.
I recently had a successful exhibition at the 3rd Street Gallery in Eureka CA. After the show I wanted to take a break to reassess where I was at in my artwork but also to devote some time to my ceramics. The exhibit ended early November and I planned to take a break for a month. Of course I reflected on my desires to make the paintings stronger and clearer. I also wanted to take an on line meditation retreat on Loving Kindness, offered through Tricycle Magazine with Sharon Salzberg as the teacher. In addition, I wanted to do some outside landscape painting, weather permitting.(I have been inspired by nature in my art for years)
I don’t know if it was because of the material I am studying or just life- but I again was/am consumed with thinking about Afro American history, my family, my accomplishments, Black individual accomplishments, Black exclusion, the horror of slavery, Jim Crow, and racism. Racism which still manifests today with police shootings, discrimination, the incarceration of so many Black men, poverty and gun violence. Besides collecting Pinterest images of paintings ,ceramics, recipes,etc.; I also collected images of lynchings of black men and women, as well as derogatory commercial images of Black people.
How to make sense of all of this while also wanting to deepen my meditation practice, work in the studio again, and make a difference to someone suffering.
I can be kind, be compassionate, give of myself to others in need, be aware that we all suffer from the transitory. Nothing is permanent, remind myself that we all as humans suffer from loss; declining health, death of a loved ones, not feeling safe, aging, etc. This is what connects us-we are all passing through life, while it’s changing, trying to make meaningful choices, and finding love for ourselves and our families and friends.
After a month passed I started going to the studio to paint again.It is unlikely that my work will end racism, but it is possible, for those who get to see them, that they will reflect my desire to be an aware, compassionate, generous human being. Maybe that will contribute to making the world a better place.