Sunday, June 23, 2013

sense of self

Gathering a Sense of Self, 22 x 22, acrylic

"Every autobiography is concerned with two characters,
a Don Quixote, the Ego, 
and a Sancho Panza, the Self."

W.H. Auden, Selected Essays

I can feel it happening. With each year, I feel the disparate parts of my life pulling together in a weird synthesis. My interests and areas of serious study form partnerships in my mind and come out in unexpected ways. Music (of course), Literature, Psychology, Seminary, and Art swirl together and make a new kind of sense. Sometimes, jibberish. Sometimes a beautiful language with familiar rhythms. 

While my physical eyes seem to weaken with age, I have increasing clarity about myself. Not just the seemly parts, the admirable qualities, but also the darker side, those shadow elements. I can not ignore them because they are sharply focused and obvious. Both seemly and unseemly, fitted together without apology.

It is a gathering of my sense of myself.

"With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone." Oscar Wilde

I am on the wisdom track.

Santana "She's Not There."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


A Gathering of Spectators, 22 x 22, acrylic on paper
In some ways, I am a spectator. I look, study, watch and seek to understand. Then I think, think, think. And then, I express. It comes pouring out in my paintings.

Lately, I've been paying attention to how people gather. In this painting, it seems to me that just as these three spectators are watching me, I watch them, too. So, the gathering is really not just about them, it is about the viewers of the painting, too.  Them. Us. Back and forth. Watching. And gathering.

Probably because this notion disturbs me, this song comes to my mind. The Undisputed Truth. "Smiling Faces Sometimes."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

at first sight

At First Sight, 22 x 22, acrylic on paper

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Lao Tzu

Saturday, June 8, 2013

life goes on

Life goes on. I've thought or said those words many times. After a disappointment, life goes on. After a failure, life goes on. And, a few weeks ago, after the death of my father in law ... life goes on for the rest of us.

He died at home, as he wanted. Peacefully. No agitation or crying out. One moment he was awake, and the next asleep, and then he stopped breathing. 

Grief is tricky. Thinking about his life brings up feelings of admiration and delight. Or frustration  and regret. Or a thick blanket of sadness. The thick blanket days are the hardest. Life goes on.

Jan Pieter van Schoonhoven, 1926 -- 2013
Years ago, I was playing the Schubert Impromptus (Opus 90, numbers 1-4). My father in law enjoyed hearing me play, and sometimes he would make comments on various pieces. When I played this one (number 3) he said, "Play that one at my funeral." Here it is. For you, Paps.

Vladimir Horowitz, Schubert Impromptu Opus 90, No 3.