Friday, January 26, 2018

If There's a Cure for This, I Don't Want It

Here is a time lapse of a recently completed 10" x 20" painting of bacon. This is part of my food obsessions series. In this series I am exploring my personal obsession with food. As the old joke goes, I am on a seafood diet. If I see food I eat it. It is a problem, so I decided to explore it in my art. For this series I am combining food I cannot refuse with text from popular culture dealing with abusive or unhealthy relationships - because there are many similarities and often food obsessions start out as a way of dealing with unhealthy relationships.

I create these in-between other paintings I am creating and will post them when they arrive. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Everything, and Everyone, Has Their Time

Leisure is not the privilege of those who have time. It is the virtue of giving each thing you do the time it deserves.
– Brother David Stendhl–Rast
I came across this quote on another artist’s webpage and it struck me. With the new year ahead of us and the old one disappearing in the rearview mirror, I have been thinking about time. This Monday is the Blooming Saint Paul Awards ceremony. The Blooming Saint Paul Awards is a program I set up several years ago for the Saint Paul Department of Parks and Recreation. It’s a fun evening of handing out awards to gardeners who do not get enough recognition for making our city beautiful. Last year was the first year that I was not running the program. I did emcee the event for fun and to help with the transition to a new coordinator. As I think back, that event seems a very long time ago. Much has happened with my switch to a new employer and the old job, and its responsibilities, quickly were put in the past as my new responsibilities took over.  Just before last year’s ceremony, the country transitioned to a new president. For some reason, that event does not seem nearly as long ago as the Blooming Saint Paul Awards. In fact, it seems much closer in time than several more recent events in my life.

I am always fascinated by time and our perception of it. Events fold one into another and we select the ones to emphasize and de-emphasize, consciously or not. I am one who is often a little late for events and things. I am not clock oriented. I am task oriented. If I am not quite done with a task and it is time to go I do not immediately stop, rush out the door and come back to the task later. I finish the task. Sometimes the task is just a stage of a larger project, like gluing together wood for stretchers. I might delay my next activity to finish the stage of gluing so I come back later to assemble the stretcher. But, if I try to leave before I have glued everything that needs gluing, my brain does not pull away from the task until it is complete. Some people might call this OCD, but the reality is that I am not clock oriented. Everything has its time and I don’t mind allowing the time necessary.

I think this is ultimately important, and very difficult, when it comes to dealing with people. An interaction with a person, in order to respect that person, should be allowed the time it deserves. I am a planner. My mind is always thinking about the next task; what would be the best way to approach that activity, what realistically is the time needed to transition, how will the "now" effect what is happening later, etc. Sometimes it is hard to turn this off when talking with people. It is sometimes hard to be people oriented when you are a task oriented person, just like clock oriented people tend to rush interactions.
I have always been task oriented. Sometimes, to others, it seems like I am very efficient with my time. Which I can be. But being task oriented can be a bit troubling - I am often late when meeting people, I lose track of time, my dog really starts pestering me, and until the next activity has engaged me I can be distracted. 

In my mind, making art has been an activity that has fostered a sense of taking enough time. A painting is not done until you have spent enough time on it. It is a dialogue and the conversation is never over until there is nothing left to say. The conversation doesn't end because of awkward silences, or because there is a subject you don't want to brooch, or because of something that happened last time you painted. The conversation quite simply continues until the painting is done. Often the painting doesn't stop talking, it just goes on and on for a very long time. Then finally, there is silence. The silence of completion. No more words, no more paint strokes, no more tasks that need tending. It is a good feeling to know that you have given something as much time as it needed. It is rare. 

I don't make New Year's resolutions. But I have a suggestion for myself for this year: to give each thing that I do the time it deserves, to give each person I interact with the time they deserve. I'm not in a hurry for 2019 to get here, 2018 just started. There's still a lot of time.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

New Website

I just launched a new website.Its the same address but completely different look and function. You can now purchase originals and fine art prints of my art via this website.  Check it out, sign up for my newsletter and share with a friend.  More art to come.