Three million strokes and counting.... Yesterday's drawing celebrates the marking of a white piece of paper with graphite from a pencil. Later yesterday, as I rested reading in my living room, my arm let me know it had been taxed. I had been enjoying finding forms, finding surface, finding space, finding light, and finding composition! This simultaneity-filled activity is a celebration of mindfulness. The more I do it the longer I can sustain it! This is "practice", as defined by veteran meditators. The Buddha would be proud of me! I have not obtained Buddhahood, but I am moving in that direction.
Shravasti Dhammika, a Theravada monk, writes:
The painting Seriously? is transitioning into a serious painting. I am not leaving humor behind. I cannot remove the beginning from the end. The righteous activity I am now doing on Seriously? is a celebration of my mastery. Mastery does not mean this painting is coming quickly and easily. Grand and eloquent cannot be achieved with quick solutions. The painting Seriously? shall be a celebratory example of my arrival as Master of my craft. Achieving mastery is laborious!
Art-making is getting to know thyself. As the English poet, David Hartley Coleridge, wrote, "Great poet 'twas thy art to know thyself and in thyself to be whate'er Love, Hate, Ambition, Destiny, or the firm, fatal purpose of the Heart can make of Man." Thus comes all art work that is worth more than a hill of beans. This activity does not reveal a Man quickly or easily, but it is happening to me and my art. The painting Seriously? will require much more of my time. I am getting to know it, as I am getting to know myself.
I like the twist in the largest form of yesterday's drawing!
So, a nit is the egg of a parasitic insect. What does that have to do with art-making? A nit sounds ugly and disgusting. Making art can be involved in ugly and disgusting, but I do NOT think of my art that way. I do, however, believe my many disparate efforts, especially in drawing, are parasitic by nature. After I have produced them (e.g., yesterday's drawing) they cling to my intellect like a parasite. They are there; they have invaded me. Going forward I will be aware of these parasites of ideas whether I want to or not. Yes, some of these nuggets are squished; I do try to discard them if I believe they are useless to me. I am never fully successful at denying their presence — thus the nit-likeness of them! All this is written because I am unsure if yesterday's drawing has a lot of helpful information for me. I define "helpful" as instructive in my movement toward self-realization through art-making.
Surprises never cease! Yesterday's drawing looks similar to nothing I have recently created. Yesterday's work on the painting Seriously? has expanded its dimensions (which is enabled because I work on a canvas tacked to a work wall — expansion further toward the edge of the canvas is afforded by an excessive amount of canvas being on the wall).
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