Mind the Gap

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There are beginnings and endings, and there is the space between the two. Or maybe it is a process; turning the ending into a beginning. Either way, I’m finding it a bit difficult, sitting here in this gap. I expect there is a lesson in that.


It Will Have to Be Enough

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Is it New Year already ?

A whole week in – I’m wearing purple and green – does that count ?

I make no special resolution.

Every night I’m full of resolutions; they lay thick on my wrists; they drip from my fingers. If I could live in that first hour after bed, what I wouldn’t accomplish!

I played with beads yesterday evening instead of finishing the painting. Feet to the fire ! I should finish the painting ! The resolutions were flying.

Have you followed a butterfly’s flight ? Perhaps my attention bears too much resemblance. Does painting fit with that ?

I landed on a new name: Curiosity Artist.

It will have to be enough.



How Does Your Garden Grow ?

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Contained in the lovely essay :  “An Absorbing Errand: The Psychology of Mastery in Creative Work“.

The good life is lived best by those with gardens — a truth that was already a gnarled old vine in ancient Rome, but a sturdy one that still bears fruit. I don’t mean one must garden qua garden… I mean rather the moral equivalent of a garden — the virtual garden. I posit that life is better when you possess a sustaining practice that holds your desire, demands your attention, and requires effort; a plot of ground that gratifies the wish to labor and create — and, by so doing, to rule over an imagined world of your own.


As with the literal act of gardening, pursuing any practice seriously is a generative, hardy way to live in the world. You are in charge (as much as we can ever pretend to be — sometimes like a sea captain hugging the rail in a hurricane); you plan; you design; you labor; you struggle. And your reward is that in some seasons you create a gratifying bounty.

Janna Malamud Smith

Oh, I think everyone should have a REAL garden too !

Inside Out

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It is wet, wet, wet outside,

and so I’m listening inside.

Sara Kay


Hurry Ruins

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“Hurry ruins saints as well as artists. They want quick success and they are in such haste to get it that they cannot take time to be true to themselves. And when the madness is upon them they argue that their very haste is a species of integrity.” (Thomas Merton)

I don’t think I have this problem. I think I have the opposite; reluctance. Reluctance to try for success, reluctance to let a piece be finished; a reluctance to fail, a reluctance to count neither time nor product. Reluctance ruins too and carries its own false integrity.

The above quote was part of a post called Just for Today. Well worth the read !



Don’t Get Comfortable

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Artists often talk about pushing themselves; stretching; getting outside their comfort zone; trying something new. You’ll hear athletes, adventurers, business people, and programers say it too. In fact, running a marathon, climbing a mountain or some other means of discomfort or challenge seems to be quite popular in our age – we’re all finding ourselves in adversity. Except, according to one study, doing the one thing that many of us will do. I read this article a few weeks back, and was somewhat surprised by the conclusion. It seems –

” that having a child can have a pretty strong negative impact on a person’s happiness, according to a new study published in the journal Demography. In fact, on average, the effect of a new baby on a person’s life is devastatingly bad: worse than divorce, worse than unemployment and worse even than the death of a partner. “

At the end of the article the author finished by saying:

“The findings are likely to be eyeopening for some policy-makers who are concerned about low fertility rates in their countries and suggest that governments should consider giving additional support to new parents.”

I don’t want to knock support, but my completely anecdotal observations have been that the more people try and keep their old life; their me time; the more they deny the struggle or that they might need to embrace the dark night of the soul; the harder it becomes, even with help, to find happiness with a new baby.

Later the same day I read this blog post that contained the following :

“My midwife once told me not to try to be comfortable.”

Maybe it’s just expectations that rob us of our happiness. Maybe parenting isn’t about being comfortable.  Maybe we don’t need that mountain after all. I know I don’t – I’ve got kids and I’ve got art !

Twenty Years

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So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres-
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholy new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate – but there is no competition –
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

The Four Quartets  T.S. Eliot


Looking Back, 2015

acrylic on canvas,  20″x16″

If you know the (ex)duo The Civil Wars you might recognize the subject. The painting was inspired by their album cover for Barton Hollow and the song Twenty Years.

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.

The Four Quartets  T.S. Eliot