September 5, 2011
A Revelatory Moment
Several months ago I began a simple meditation practice, helped along by this dvd. I love sitting quietly, several times a week, concentrating on my breathing; it puts life's worries into a grander perspective, reducing their import. Sometimes interesting thoughts about my work come to mind. It's wonderful what floats into your consciousness when you are trying to empty it of the bustle of everyday life. I sit on the floor of my bedroom, next to the east facing windows and often look out at the trees when I first open my eyes. A couple of days ago I looked ahead of me, at my terrycloth bathrobe hanging from a nail on the closet door. Its dark red folds were softly illuminated or sunken into deep shadow; the belt hung down with an end resting on the floor, touched with bits of dust. I felt as if I could see this ordinary robe for the first time, its rich texture, crumpled sewn edges, its touching humanness. The belt reached down, open to the world, vulnerable. This sounds very strange, but I felt a loving tenderness towards my humble bathrobe. And then I realized, Yes! this is what I hope to achieve with my painting: a sense that every object is imbued with beauty and love. I hope to have that modest tender feeling when I paint, and I hope that a viewer will sometimes feel it in the work. I realize that this sounds sentimental, even corny, but it feels true to me; it feels like an essential way of seeing the world. I wonder if any of you have had a similar surprising moment that has revealed your artistic motivations so clearly.