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Week 18: Day - To - Day Painting Whats Love Got to Do With It?

If I love myself I love you. If I love you I love myself. Rumi

I have been trying to write about love for many weeks now. The subject is just so large, that no sooner would I start the blog, then I would pivot to another subject. ​ This week I am going to write about one approach to this big subject. This all started when a friend asked "how are we supposed to love everyone?" He was asking about the commandment from Jesus, but this is not specific to followers of Christ. Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist teachings all have love and compassion at their core. The common cultural discussion about love is limited to individuals with whom we have a deep connection. Sometimes this is a romantic or sexual connection. But non-erotic bonds are also very strong. This love is an important part of our lives, but it is not the only type of love we experience. There are other definitions of love: compassion, sympathy, a feeling of fellowship or a deep love in which all beings come together. I think, the basis for the type of love that the spiritual traditions call for, is the one where we see the connection between all living things. As far as I can tell, we are called to imagine another way of living; to live as separate beings, aware that we are all connected. To become conscious of the energy that is present; interpersonally, between people and animals, between people and all creation. To decide to be willing to live mindfully, we participate in a transformation of energy. We know we cannot control how life unfolds for others, yet we hold compassion in our hearts for everyone. Where do we start?​ How do we start?

" First do no harm " Hippocrates II

OK! That is easy, let us agree to take a benevolent point of view toward all sentient beings! Let us decide to have a friendly disposition toward everyone. Justice, it is said, is love brought into the public square. We want everyone to have the same things we want for ourselves; health, peace, well being, happiness. ​Done.

Until someone cuts us off in traffic, or someone we do not actually know personally, but whose face and voice we see every day, takes an action that we think is unjust. At that point it becomes very difficult to hope for the best for these people, to keep our hearts open. In these instances, we must notice the automatic reaction and put the negative feelings aside. We refocus our thoughts consciously remembering the interconnection between all persons. We transform the energy. As a working artist I participate in a transformation of energy of a different sort. I am well aware of my lack of control as I interact with my paints and watch what unfolds. In mid October, I was once again exploring this ring form that feels like something found in nature.

A treasure in every ruin Deep in every ruin There is a treasure buried. The buried treasure In the ruin of my heart Is your love. Rumi

This first piece I am posting has rings emerging from the multi-colored environment, The visible brushstrokes and short choppy lines of color, contribute to a sense of expressiveness and relay a perception of texture. There is a flatness at the bottom of the page where the ring form seems closest to the viewer. The ring in the middle of the page seems defined by the light emanating around the ring. The uppermost ring seems to be a part of the environment, it is either still emerging or sinking back in. The use of light color creates the illusion of light bouncing out from beneath the paint and moves the eye around the piece.

Love isn’t the work of the tender and the gentle; Love is the work of wrestlers. The one who becomes a servant of lovers is really a fortunate sovereign. Don’t ask anyone about Love; ask Love about Love. Love is a cloud that scatters pearls. ​ ​Rumi

The background in this piece contrasts with the previous image. Even though there are a handful of distinct colors present, the over all effect is of a satiny smooth layer of orange which supports the ring forms.

A treasure in every ruin Deep in every ruin There is a treasure buried. The buried treasure In the ruin of my heart Is your love. Rumi

There is a high contrast between dark and light in this image. The very high-keyed light colors, placed directly against very low-keyed dark colors creates a sense of drama. The strokes show motion and give a sense that the forms are bobbing along in some fluid environment.

You and I A moment of happiness, You and I sitting on the verandah, Apparently two, but one in soul, you and I. We feel the flowing water of life here, you and I, with the garden’s beauty and the birds singing. The stars will be watching us, and we will show them what it means to be a thin crescent moon. You and I unselfed, will be together, indifferent to idle speculation, you and I. the parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar as we laugh together, you and I. And what is even more amazing is that while here together, you and I are at this very moment in Iraq and Khorasan. In one form upon this earth, and in another form in timeless sweet land. Rumi

In these last two paintings we stare directly down onto the surfaces of the ring forms. In both paintings the surfaces and the rings appear to be flat.

Lovers find secret places inside this violent world where they make transactions with beauty. Rumi

The ring forms are defined by a very few strokes of paint, and show that their true nature is not impacted by the lightness or darkness that surrounds them. This is something we observe in nature every day. This is something we can learn from nature. Our true selves are not impacted by what goes on around us. Our true nature lies deep within and is not impacted by transient forces.

In our immediate world we can act with kindness. If we keep a compassionate attitude we will smile and listen to others. Taking small steps is how we can love. What do you do to root yourself in compassion? ​How do you express loving kindness to others?

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