Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reflections on Joy & Why I paint?

This piece was created in late March at an Art demonstration I was asked to give in Dublin just before I left for New York this year. It was a wonderful day spent with a large school of painters in north county Dublin, and I found giving the demo and talk really 'took me out of myself'.

I begin the talk by asking all present a question: why do we paint and draw! Some of the students had answers immediately, but all were asked to reflect on this question.
I felt if we might be able to identify why we paint, we might also be able to formulate where we would like to go - a trajectory - through the act of painting and ultimately what we might like to achieve as artists!

It's a question I have asked myself many times and an exercise I feel I must repeat regularly.
Coincidentally the question I asked became the catalyst for my short talk at my Manhattan solo exhibit.

Why do I paint and draw, and why have I found the various mediums through which I express myself make such sense to me? What is my preoccupation with representing the visual world around me?

You know when you're a child at play in school and someone tells you 'you draw the coolest dinosaurs' or superheroes that really sticks with you!!

In art college I extended this communication through my work in Digital Media and video/sound technology, but always knew it was the processes of drawing and painting that attracted me most or made the most sense to me.

So, again, Why do I paint?

Well, because I can!
Because I've realized that there are dominant hidden questions in me, that only through the act of painting might revel themselves.
Because it brings me great joy, and it is my hope that that JOY communicates and transmits to others through me and my work bringing joy into their lives.
Because it never fully satisfies me. Because it's never complete, yet gives me a sense of unity. Unity with life, with nature, with others!
Because mastering my chosen craft continues to fill me with a sense of purpose.

Just a day before the opening of my show I came across this short written meditation by an Eileen Caddy. And I'll finish on this.

Why not do in life what you enjoy doing, as long as it does not harm another and brings only good to yourself and all those souls with whom you are concerned?

Learn to do what you are doing at the proper time and in the proper way and without great strain or effort.

Small children know how to enjoy life without any restriction, self concern or self consciousness, Do not always do things because you feel they must be done or you have to do them. When something is done under compulsion, all the joy and pleasure go out of it. Learn to do everything because you love doing it. Give whatever you have to give for the sheer love of giving and for the sheer love of living, and let's see how different life will become for us.


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