So many wretched, glorious, haphazard experiences and encounters.

2/6/15

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I read the article, To Paint Is to Love Again: Henry Miller on Art, How Hobbies Enrich Us, and Why Good Friends Are Essential for Creative Work, and boy did it strum the chords of my heart and inspire me!

The article’s author included several long excerpts that left me wanting more, so I tried to track down a copy of the book. The cheapest option to buy was around the $800 mark, and I couldn’t find it in Austin’s Library system, so I guess I won’t be flipping through those pages any time soon. Perhaps I’ll do some more digging to see if I can track it down somehow.

While I related with several of Miller’s quotes, this one resonated the most:

I have always cherished old things, used things, things marked by the passage of time and human events. I think of my own self this way, as something much handled, much knocked about, as worn and polished with use and abuse. As something serviceable, perhaps I should say. More serviceable for having had so many masters, so many wretched, glorious, haphazard experiences and encounters. Which explains, perhaps, why it is that when I start to do a head it always turns into a “self-portrait.” Even when it becomes a woman, even when it bears no resemblance to me at all. I know myself, my changing faces, my ineradicable Stone Age expression. It’s what happened to me that interests me, not resemblances. I am a worn, used creature, an object that loves to be handled, rubbed, caressed, stuffed in a coat pocket, or left to bake in the sun. Something to be used or not used, as you like.

Often when talking with people about my paintings, I’ll mention there’s a little bit of me in each one. Secret self-portraits. The eyes and faces of nearly every painting I’ve created reveal a piece of my heart, mind and soul – hidden in plain sight. Not everyone understands how a painting of a man could possibly be my self-portrait though, and they listen to me with quizzical expressions. I can easily tell you the frame of mind I was in as I painted each face, the events taking place in my life at that time, the people who influenced my emotions, my own “wretched, glorious, haphazard experiences and encounters.” I don’t often share those details though. I suppose it depends who asks, how comfortable I feel with you, how safe.

While it’s a long read, it really is a great piece, and I recommend all types of artists read it – whether you’re a painter, musician, poet or mime, Miller’s words will relate to your mind’s secret whispers. I also love that the entire article is based on a chance encounter. To borrow a line from David Ramirez, “Sometimes the best things come from accidents.”

0206paintings2I’ve been busily painting lately – and what a great busy too! I delivered Winston to his new owners. I admit he was hard to let go of, but I know he’s gone to a great home and they love him as much as I do. I have three paintings in the works at the moment, and two more commissions to begin.

I’ve also been wonderfully busy reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Henry Miller is 100% accurate when he says, “good friends are essential for creative work.”

I’m eternally grateful for all the amazing people in my life!

 

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