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Whittle It Up

Today I was thinking about whittling it up, as opposed to whittling it down, which of course is not possible. Once you’ve whittled it down, there’s no whittling it up– in the case of wood or stone anyway, but life is more forgiving.

I have 100 years’ worth of learning that I want to pack into tomorrow. Impossible I know, so I absorb what I can, but it never seems to be enough.

After four locations, Mighty Fingers Facing Change rests, because I need to recharge and find another way to fund it. It deserves to carry on, and it will. I will figure it out, but not today. Not tomorrow, and likely, not the day after. The disappointment aches sometimes. I cover it with color and it goes away. I pour myself out onto my palette and lose myself in the possibility of something beautiful happening. I stay unattached to the outcome and indulge in the task of painting.

Some are watching my “mighty fingers.” I hope they can appreciate this process and my need to get lost in it. I’ll come out on the other side –a calmer, wiser, and happier human. Not to say that I am sad or anxious. I’m far from it. I’m just being selfish. If I never had to worry about feeding myself and I was unaffected by the suffering in this world, I could live in this untroubled vacuum forever. For now, that is where I am. Buried, and pleasantly asphyxiated. No hurry to surface. I am so very present, in the present.

Yesterday was my birthday. I am 49 years old. I did something different. Instead of studying all of the pictures in my art books, I decided to read one. I picked up Sherrie McGraw’s book “The Language of Drawing.” I READ it. The gist of her message is to observe and choose what is important and beautiful, and translate that. Let the ugliness and vulgarity in life fall away and show only what is beautiful. In art, we can make that ultimate choice to omit what is ugly, and emphasize what is poetic. Perhaps if we create enough of it, life will follow art. Life will whittle it up, so we don’t have to whittle it down.


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