Monday, February 22, 2010
Painting and Wasting
Charles Hawthorne said one should never paint when sick. I think he understood that the mental, psysical, and spiritual energy it takes to paint is finite and fragile. It takes tremendous force to over come inertia--it takes a hugh booster rocket to get the payload into the heavens. When you are sick the necessary feul is lacking--I think. I can't even chew tobacco anymore when I work--the dis-equalibriation tweeks with my sensitive mojo and fouls the work. Painting invites us to be fully present with the mind, body, and spirit so that we can break into new work or new treatments--or maybe even find our way back into an old painting that needs improving. Getting started under any circumstances is a fight because the mind, body, and spirit often say--what in the hell are you doing?! Then come the million voices, then comes the financial pressure, then comes the self criticism and doubt--not to mention the ennui that can set in like black smoke. Many artists hate structure--they want to be free--but you are better off with a dead line, a commission, any obligation--anything to ignite your will to paint--right now!, immediately!, est momento! ahora mismo!-- Sargent would give himself half an hour walking about with his easel in the countryside--if he could not find a subject--he would stop immediately and paint what was dead infront of him. Sergei used to say,"...don't think, just paint." Mccaw would say, "..if not now, when?" Don Hatfield says--if you can find anything to do but paint--do that instead. My old Jungian therapist Niel Russack used to say to me."...you have no right to piss away the gift that God has given you!" As I grow older the term "waste" carries weight. When I am not available to what I love the most, I am wasting--what I am wasting, I am not sure--but something--you get the idea. Think I'll go take nap.