Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer in a Nutshell

I had a plan. In May, I was going to draw all summer long. I was going to put my canvases and paints on hold and focus on drawing and illustrating.

In June, a trip to Minnesota cut two weeks from my schedule and, afterward, left me with a virus, a stiff neck, and a chest cold. I scratched June from my timetable.

Oh, but I had July that fun outrageous month of fireworks, parades, hot dogs and ballgames. A plethora of activities gobbled up more time than Rip Van Winkle. On August 23, I realized my drawing board was blank. I had completed three paintings in the interim, but pristine sheets of Bristol paper were still awaiting my inspiration and saturation.

So I purchased a set of pastels. I hoped they might start a flame of action and fulfill my longing to pair pencil and pastel in a contemporary composition. By the end of August, the cellophane wrapping still clung to the box.

Like New Year’s resolutions, goals can be as elusive. Our good intentions are sometimes not enough in the face of reality and circumstance. The point is to move on. Don’t beat yourself over the head with a dead stick. Instead, turn it into a paint brush. Like an old friend, pick up where you left off and begin again.

Progress is made one step at a time, not in leaps and bounds. Remember the adage: “Life is not a destination, it’s a journey?” As long as we’re improving our skills, having fun, and dreaming the dream, we’ll achieve our purposes and desires.

We’re an impatient people. We want our cake, and we want to eat it, too. We expect problems to be solved in the space of a nightly sit-com. We want to churn out a painting a day or we’re unsatisfied. We want to live out our dreams without having to work for them.

I doubt the likes of a “Sistine Chapel” or a marble “Pieta” could be produced today. We make murals and monuments with spray paint and cement, with house paint and paper mache. Will our offerings last? Will they stand the test of time? It is anybody’s guess. Does our work fulfill us? That is the question. If it does then perhaps that is enough.