Thursday, April 21, 2011

Definitely Not A Hobby

Well folks, I don't know if any of you have had a chance to read the article in the April issue of Maple Grove Magazine about my artwork. I have to tell you— watercolor painting is not my hobby! It is my life. I have devoted my entire life to watercolor painting. Knitting is a hobby. Gardening is a hobby. Watercolor painting is my lifelong career.

It's true that I wish art education were taken more seriously so that every child grew up with a vocabulary that enabled them to talk about art and to express how they personally interact with an artwork. Can you immerse yourself in a painting? How do you feel? How do your senses respond? What thoughts and emotions come to mind as you contemplate an artwork? What words can describe this? 

It's also true that stepping back from a rigorous zen meditation practice, I found new energy for painting. I hope my paintings express what I can't put into words. Life is magical if you take time to notice. Like bodhisattvas springing from the earth, new paintings appear. Art is everywhere, in everything. I constantly see images to paint as though my head were a camera "panning" every instant of my life. 

We each see the world from a unique point of view. Though my art appears to be fairly realistic, if you look closely you'll find that it's abstract. Life is unknowable, it's mysterious, magical, wondrous. And that magic is what I intend to paint every time I pick up a brush— the mystery and magic of our everyday lives that is so often unexamined, glossed over, taken for granted and feared. You may think a painted image looks like a rock or a flower, but really, what is it? Consider this: Maybe it's you looking back at you.

~ Ninth Duino Elegy ~

Earth, isn't this what you want? To arise in us, invisible?
Is it not your dream, to enter us so wholly
there's nothing left outside us to see?
What, if not transformation,
is your deepest purpose? Earth, my love,
I want that too. Believe me,
no more of your springtimes are needed
to win me over - even one flower
is more than enough. Before I was named
I belonged to you. I seek no other law
but yours, and know I can trust
the death you will bring.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(In Praise of Mortality, trans. and edited Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

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