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Week 4: Day - To - Day Painting Meeting Change with an Open Heart

This week I am going to try to approach my blog a little differently. The next grouping of paintings extends for 9 days, so I am going to write a few shorter blogs and publish more frequently. Working daily, as I am, I approach the page each day as a fresh slate. I can choose to follow up on some ideas from the previous day or I can choose to go in another direction all together. On July 13, I set about working on another piece and it went in a totally different direction. I do not know what inspired this piece. I began with a geometric division in the picture plane and then circles and as I worked a representation of a window emerged. The light streaming through and the reflection were a very important element in this piece. This day, as every other day, I started by centering my attention on my paper and colors. I drew upon content I have taken in to my self. I have another daily practice which connects me to the here and now. I take photos of #morning light every day and post them on Instagram ( There can be no doubt that the morning light the series influenced this image,

“Interviewers have asked me how I get ideas for pictures and to this day I am not able to answer satisfactorily. Over the years I have discovered that ideas come through an intense desire for them; continually desiring, the mind becomes a watch-tower on the look-out for incidents that may excite the imagination — music, a sunset, may give image to the idea Charlie Chaplin ​

Looking at the piece I had done on 7/13, at the deep dense crimson and the brightness of the light coming in through the window, I began to think about being indoors and looking out. Lying inside my living room during the bright and hot July days brought to mind paintings by Pierre Bonnard., which were set in the interior space of a dining area looking out into a bright garden. I remember being struck by how the temperature differential was so clearly demonstrated in the painting. I decided to explore these memories of how his use of color made me feel. ​I decided to create a work that used my memories of my experience of that work. This piece is not based on any single one of his paintings, it is based on my memory, a response to many of his paintings. I know Picasso dissed Bonnard. I wonder if part of the issue was Bonnard’s domesticity? Bonnard found beauty all around himself, and kept exploring how to paint what he saw, mining the same subject matter. Picasso was always looking for the next frontier..... I’ve loved Bonnard’s crazy use of color for many decades. Now, as I have come, through my spiritual practice, to ground myself by paying attention to my surroundings, I love how he found beauty in his domestic environment. I worked on this one piece over two days.

Art makes life bearable. It isn't a luxury. Like our capacity for understanding, and our experience of love, it is a vitally important part of life. ​Gillian Pederson Krag

​I am not unaware that being confined to my couch indoors while summer revealed one glorious shiny day after another, caused me to remember these paintings. Focusing on remembering how Bonnard used color distracted me, and allowed me to release thoughts of frustration and feelings of "missing out'. Reflecting now, on the days when I did these works, I see that this practice released me and allowed me to be fully connected to the moment. As I continued with this series, I looked at the image produced previously and thought again of how the work of Pierre Bonnard made me feel. In deciding how I would approach the new piece, I tried to remember not only the colors used, but also the way Bonnard worked with colors in conjunction with basic shapes to create space and temperature. ​ ​Bonnard always worked with complementary colors, pushing lavender right up against orange for example. This sets up a vibration in the eye of the viewer. One must take precautions when working with the oil pigments because when the paint is wet and those colors blend together, you get a dull muddy color. In order to prevent the colors from "muddying" I needed to allow time for drying. Consequently, this piece also took two days to complete.

Life is full of challenges, suffering, and joys. None of these states are permanent, but when we are in the midst of them, they seem to be everlasting. The challenge, for each of us, is to meet the change in our lives with an open heart. Often we must explore different ways to help us cultivate a healthy response. This week I used memory, as well as painting, to turn away my mind from its tendency to relish an unhealthy state of sorrow for what I could not have during this period of my life.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. Hermann Hesse

Please comment and tell me if you like the shorter blogs which will be posted more frequently? The next blog will be posted on Friday.

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