Someone pointed out that all I was doing was whining. In a way, I guess they are right. It is hard to be in so much pain all the time and not let a whine out. My apologies.
So – what else to talk about? Today’s news maybe? Whatever happened to news? It used to be something that came on at 7 and 10 pm. It used to be about what happened that day, or in the case of war – what we were led to believe was happening. Now – it isn’t news, when I saw that Anthony Bourdain was going to join CNN – that was the final straw. Look, I like Anthony Bourdain alot. I love his running commentary on his health, on the food and on the people and countries he visits. He is passionate about food, he is even more passionate about the people he meets, people who will stay with him for the rest of his life. He did several stories on Diet Nam, in particular there was a restaurant run by a matriarch of the clan who always went out of her way to cater to Anthony and his crew. This last trip he found out that she had died. You could see and hear in his voice that he was moved and her passing touched his heart. The food served and prepared, shared with this woman’s family was exactly the same, but without the matriarch – it was completely different. Anthony, despite his rough and sex/drug/rock & roll persona, is a man who cares. That is what makes him so good at whatever he does.
What kind of passion do you have? Is it the kind of thing that makes you want to get up in the morning and live your life to its fullest? Is it something that even during the worst of times, feeds your soul? Art? Maybe cooking, maybe it is writing. I used to believe that everyone had a passion. That life was worth living even in the darkest times if leaned into and threw yourself into this passion. I could not believe that it was otherwise.
Where does the passion come from? A past life, a hereditary streak that keeps showing up in your family tree? Is it something that you are born with? Is passion contagious?
I knew very early in life that I was an artist. There was this comfort thing that happened anytime I applied a pencil, a crayon, later on paints to a surface and the world and all of it’s misfortunes disappeared. It was something, probably the only thing, that I understood about myself. I was delighted when I found that other people liked my work and astounded when I took second prize in a watercolor society competition. It was the first time that I had entered any kind of competition and could not believe my good fortune.
“Where did you study, dear?” One woman asked.
“I haven’t studied anywhere, I have always done art.” I replied
“Oh,” she said, “It is just your hobby then?”
How do you answer that? I didn’t realize it was a slight until after I went home and the excitement of the evening wore off. Hobby? I don’t think so – I started listening when I went to First Friday gallery shows. There was a clear distinction between those that had college degrees and those that did not. The words “primitive” and “folk” artist , self trained, hobbyist. I wonder what Donatello or De Vinci would have said? Probably laughed and went to the pub!
I cannot imagine my life without art anymore than I can imagine my life without a mini-library downstairs in the basement where I create. Art is my passion – regardless of the pain, the disabling torture of walking even a few steps without something to lean on, the fog from the pain medications that makes me forget words and names and having to pause, like a DVD that is down-loading until my synapses find another route to the answer. This is when I am forever in debt to this thing called passion. Even my addled mind will not let me stop searching for answers. So, pain or not – Paint On!