“I’m killing time while I wait for life to shower me with meaning and happiness.” – Calvin & Hobbes

April 13, 2014
Maple Walnut Cream II
Maple Walnut Cream II, Apr 13, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 20″ X 16″

I don’t always love to paint. It’s like running. I don’t love running all the time, but I really love HAVING RUN. And I love HAVING PAINTED. Even if the result is really mediocre or even downright crappy and embarrassing. Like something Tim Kreider says about writing – and I translate into painting – having DONE it, I feel that I have somehow earned my keep for another day – or in my case, another week. Yes, it began only after three hours of procrastinating and doing everything BUT beginning… and having finally just started and then just continued and continued and attempted one simple step after another: add the darkest bits here and then all of the highlights in this area and then work a bit on the background and then refine the edges of this or that and then deal with the shadow and maybe a bit of blending in this area to see how it falls together and then a little more finessing over here and some more dark bits and more highlights and some detail and some more build up of colour or depth there and then maybe enjoy a few bits here and there – strokes and marks that are just asking to exist and finally, standing back and taking a look… and maybe hating it and maybe kind of liking it and maybe just saying enough is enough regardless of the outcome.

I don’t love the beginning. I rarely love the middle and I have never loved the end result – at least not after a good night’s sleep and a little distance. Fortunately, I often find little bits here and there that make me happy. And I feel that having put in another four or five hours I have moved a little closer to where I want to be. and perhaps next time I will do better.

I don’t mean to glorify the myth that a person needs to experience some sort of existential torture in order to create beauty (whatever ‘beauty’ may be) yet if it doesn’t cost anything, does it really have any value? Maybe it’s just about taking the first step, committing to something in the moment, following a trail to the end simply to see what happens next and if there is a price to pay, paying it and moving on with no attachment to the outcome, knowing that the value is in the time spent and that will always be intangible and important.

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