Thursday, April 08, 2010

Painting something every day.

If I am not working outside in the garden, I try to paint something every day.  For awhile in winter I was trying to complete a painting each day - small panels of course.  A friend asked me if I'm selling them online, to which I answered "not yet".  At first I told people I was trying to have enough pieces for a show.  Now that I have enough for that, I say I'm amassing a collection for after my death... I have no idea why or what difference that would make, except to explain why I'm not trying to sell (or show) my stuff.  Seriously, I just paint for the work, it's the process that is important to me.  (Of course I will be entering a piece or two in a juried show this month, but I still just paint for the work.)  Providentially last night, I came across a story I knew from the Desert Father's which I had been looking for, but couldn't find; hopefully to better explain my point.  It is from Cassian's Institutes.
"A worthy Father, Abba Paul, who lived in a vast solitude called Porphyrium, sustained himself on palm fruits and a small garden which gave him enough to support and feed himself; he had no other possibility of performing useful work, since his desert dwelling lay distant from towns or inhabited country, and the cost of transporting any goods he had made would be more than they could possibly be worth.  He used to collect palm fronds and carefully make a daily amount of work as if he were to support himself thus.  When his cave was quite blocked up with the products of a whole year's careful work, every year he would put all of it on the fire and burn it.  By doing this he showed that a monk cannot remain happily in one place without manual labor, nor ever rise to perfect virtue, so that even when the necessities of life do not demand it, he should perform it simply for the purification of his heart, the control of his thoughts, perseverance in the cell and the defeat and overthrow of acedia itself." - Chapter 24 - Abba Paul, who every year used to burn what he had made with his hands.
No - I am not going to burn my paintings.
Art: "It is a question of discipline," the little prince said to me later on.


  1. Inspiring!
    Reminds me of this quote from Chesterton that I often read:
    "A man must love a thing very much if he not only practises it without any hope of fame or money, but even practises it without any hope of doing it well. Such a man must love the toils of the work more than any other man can love the rewards of it." GK Chesterton,

  2. SF - thanks for that. Chesterton was smart, right? ;)

  3. May our Lord continue to inspire your creative process.

  4. I have this unsettling feeling that I will be "completing" my numerous "undone" icons in purgatory...they fill several shelves; I'm not proud of it; it just IS.
    Why?, you might ask.

  5. Any good artist must practice daily! Like a great piano player, if you don't use it, you lose it.

  6. I caught my breath a bit..hoping that you wouldn't burn paintings...then you said you wouldn't, and I breathed a sigh of relief..
    That comment by Chesterton is wonderful--I have several hobbies that I enjuoy greatly--I'm not very good at them--one of them being my music--but I enjoy them and they brighten my I just can't sit around and watch TV :)



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