June 2, 2007

Springtime Grays
oil on canvas
9" x 12"
$560 unframed

A friend commented recently that I'm not much fun anymore -- all I want to do is paint. Not true, I replied, there's nothing more fun to me than painting. And, really, painting is more than simple fun. This is no hobby. Art is a way of life.

In the four years I've been painting my way of being in the world has changed significantly. I see things differently. Well, not just differently. I actually see more now than I used to. No longer content to simply go someplace, I find myself composing a picture wherever I go. I struggle to identify the shade of blue-green-gray I'd use to render distant tree-covered hills, not as before when my angst would be to figure out the meaning of life.

I'd rather be painting than reading or meditating or discussing the way of things. Painting is like pigment itself -- the thick of Life. Give me a brush and I'll show you how the present moment looks to me.
My husband remarks that living with me has allowed him to witness the evolution of an artist firsthand. He married a Unity minister and now he's got someone who goes a bit nutty if away from her easel for more than a day.

I know there are a lot of people who consider painting to be a hobby, and view me as another middle-aging woman filling up the hours of a vacant early retirement. But few today have the luxury (or, honestly, the desire) for merely dabbling in "the arts." Certainly, I don't. I want not only to make art for my own enjoyment but also for for my work to seen by others, subjected to their critical eye, and valued in the marketplace. In other words, even though I'm 55, I am not a hobbyist but a budding professional, what's called in the art world an "emerging artist."

If you're someone who's always thought artists were another breed of humanity, you might find it interesting to realize that ordinary people who didn't draw a lot when they were little, or show a particular aptitude for art, do in fact turn out to be artists. (I was an R.N. for many years before my ordination.) You might discover that you who love watching other people make art, may also long to do art yourself. Maybe you'll be inspired by my words to splash some paint on a canvas one day. In any case, I feel called to share my experience of waking up mid-life to a new vocation, and to show you the fruits of my labor.

This writing by George Bernard Shaw sums up quite nicely my passion for Life and seems like a good way to inaugurate this round of blogging:

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I wan to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

George Bernard Shaw

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