I didn`t know I needed a break, yet after the Open Studios in October, I`ve been in thoughtful retreat. Next year I`ll be 70 and I want to meet that milestone with eyes open, receptive to the privilege and challenge of being an undeniable elder. Should any of us be lucky enough to reach that venerable age, I`ve read it`s a particular time of significance. Battered and exhausted maybe, we finally give up on Plan A for one uniquely our own. The life waiting to be accepted and with an updated identity. Bring it on. Meanwhile I`ll be working on my flexibility. I need to be as mobile as possible and recent struggles putting on my socks have forced me to admit I have to limber up! Friends, older than me by many years, have no trouble tending to their footwear. Decades of running and now walking have given me outstanding cardiovascular health but with the flexibility of a matchstick.
This prolonged period away from painting is the first voluntary withdrawal I can remember. So what have I been doing if not making art? Netflix. At last I understand some of the cultural hum around me.I also wanted to experience just being. Without the artist persona.
Lots of ideas and strategies are percolating. I tend to think best when I`m actually painting but now I want a consciously different approach. I know what interests me visually, but not how to express it. Whatever kind of image I make I know there must be an element of chance in the process. You can`t build in accidents but sooner or later a leap is required.
Many years ago my mom asked me to paint a backdrop for her snowy miniature Christmas village. I tried to ignore her but year after year came the request. It was relentless. Finally I woke up enough to realize I would regret not doing it when she was gone. So in 2005 she got her mountains. They were supposed to be the Alps but I`ve never seen them. The Rockies I have. She left this world seven years ago and all the art of mine she had came back to me. Unfortunately. Anyone want a winter mountain scene ? Two 15x30 inch canvases hinged together. Perfect for a winter diorama of your choice.
This is what my grocery store had on hand when I tried to buy assistance for the illness that was overcoming me. I got it from John and the clinic told him he had influenza A. We are both up to the minute on vaccinations and I don`t like thinking about how much worse it could have been. It is a big deal let me tell you. I haven`t been sick in a long time and forgot how miserable it can be. Four days of sleeping almost nonstop, night sweats, aching muscles and joints, constant coughing, zero interest in food and a true loss of time. Please be careful. It is definitely time for masks again in public places.
It doesn`t seem to be getting the attention it deserves. China is on fire with Covid. An estimate I heard on the news today was of 800,000,000 new infections in the next few months. That is too staggering to believe but what their government did defies logic. In an instant, a policy of zero tolerance of covid with massive unpopular lockdowns, quarantines and constant testing to nothing! No interim period of mass vaccinations, just boom, it was over. ??? Oh this is bad. If that prediction comes anywhere near the truth, the world is in for some hurt. The disease does seem milder now but new variants keep coming. The world economy is so dependent on China, a real catastrophe there would affect everyone. Every time we think we are 'safe' there is something new to threaten us. How in the world does the war in Ukraine end? Atomic bombs? Dear god.....
Well at least the election offered some hope that democracy is alive in my country. I braced for the worst and was so encouraged by the results. The new voters of Generation Z turned out and proved all the pollsters wrong. Again. A denial of reproductive freedom is indeed unacceptable. I thought, if this doesn`t motivate citizens, nothing will. But it did. Those 72 million Trump voters still make me nervous but they are not a majority. Most Americans still have common sense and can recognize a liar. Like him or not, Joe Biden has proved to be a wily politician. The things he has accomplished are remarkable. The country is so much better than it would have been.
I just talked to a friend recovering from flu type A. She also slept a lot and now has a stuffed head. Back to the masks. I have never left them but am an oddity since most are bare faced. You got in my head with your opinions. I also was shocked by the time change, uplifted by the election and the progress of Biden, and am on an art break or Netflix binge. This is difficult since my social life centers on art and I have no new work. Covid has made me reevaluate how much art I want to make and why. Now I am doing a painting that is a failure but a challenge in trying new things. A painter said he challenges himself to see if he can do it. That is the purpose of this painting. For my enjoyment and no purpose. I always look forward to seeing your new work and hearing your take on life. Thanks for sharing.
Nothing like looking for medicine when you are in the thick of being ill. I can hardly deal with reading the labels and sorting things out at the best of times. Hope you are feeling better. And I think we should have been wearing masks all along. We make fun of other populations that do this but should we?
Flexibility of a matchstick! I had to laugh at that because I have the same issue. My CV fitness is pretty good but I am in no way pliable. If you need stretching and conditioning ideas just let me know.
Any revelations on your artist persona during your Netflix time? My artist identity doesn't go away so much as it recedes at times and comes to the forefront at other times. I think people expect you to be creating all of the time, 24/7, but it doesn't work like that I think.
Hope all else is well. Thank you for the post.
PS I love dioramas (and teaching displays in general)! I have fond memories of the ones at the natural history museum in SF, wrong as they were. I just love them and seek them out wherever I go.
Wow! This post is so strong and so different from all I’ve seen from you so far. Gasping. You give so much to think about. Thank you!
The Ukrainian war will be solved by diplomacy leaving but losers behind. Threatening with an atomic bomb is but a strategy. Using it would turn the world against the offender destroying him more completely than any destruction his atomic bomb could leave behind. It’s the senseless suffering that leaves us crippled in agony.
Hi Randall - great to hear how your life is unfolding. I reach 70 a couple of years after you so I look forward to hearing how you get on! Retirement (what a silly word for the change of life occurring after stopping paid work) has been an interesting challenge. The main thing is to keep open to different ways of being, as you describe you are doing - I hope you get some good experiences out of it. I am currently reading and listening to Michael Singer, author of 'The Untethered Soul'. His teaching is aimed at helping folk engage with life with our true self and let go of all the ego stuff that holds us back and keeps us stuck. It's interesting and inspiring.
Have a wonderful yule! x
Hi, I am interested in your mother’s background. I too, have a collection of little dollhouse (Hallmark Nostalgic Houses) Christmas ornaments which are usually displayed on the top of a cabinet 5’ long. I live on an acreage close to Calgary and the Canadian Rockies are my view to the west. While I certainly realize that your paintings have evolved away from this way of working, I still think it would be a good fit for me. I enjoy seeing your work as it is an inspiration, and reading your always thoughtful comments. firstname.lastname@example.org
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