Archive for October 25th, 2013

The Find- smKnowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.

— George Santayana


I was going through the blog archives and came across this blogpost from back in 2009 headlined with this quote from George Santayana.  The words really jumped off at me this morning.  So often it seems that we self-limit ourselves with our fears and anxieties, making tasks and goals that might actually be within our reach seem impossible to accomplish.  As a result we never reach beyond what we can see in our limited vision of the world.

This is just a short remembrance of my earliest aspirations, before any thought of what was possible or impossible had entered my thought process.  To an 8 year old everything is still attainable and, to their credit,  my parents never imposed any limits on my imagination or aspirations.  That was their form of encouragement.

Here is what I wrote back in 2009:

When I give gallery talks, generally there is a part at the beginning where I run through how I came to be a painter. I usually tell how I wanted to paint when I was a small child, maybe 7 or 8 years old, and my parents bought me an oil painting set from the old Cardinal Paint store in Elmira, where they sold art supplies alongside their house paints. 

Of course, I didn’t have the first idea how to use the paints and the canvas panel ended up covered with a smear of a color that could best be described as pukish looking. Discouraged, I moved on to other things. Many other things through the years. 

Now, that might seem, at first blush, like a sad little story but it always touches me. My parents didn’t know how to go about helping me but they did what they could and never discouraged me from whatever avenue I chose to follow. I was never told I couldn’t be this or that I should be that. They didn’t know what was possible and never tried to put limits on my hopes. 

In high school, I harbored dreams of being a writer and for Christmas one year they gave me a Remington Rand office typewriter. It was a reconditioned monster of a machine, must have weighed 75 pounds. I had it for years and when I did finally get rid of it, it was with great sadness. It was one of the best gifts I’d ever been given and was always a symbol of my parents’ encouragement. 

The point of this is that my parents allowed me the freedom to discover what was possible for me in my life. Did they always go about it in the best way or guide me in any way? Probably not but that didn’t seem as important as the freedom they gave me to search for what was possible for me. 

And being able to find what was possible, as the saying above says, is the beginning of happiness…


The painting at the top is a new piece, The Find, going to the Kada Gallery for the November 16th show.  It is a 16″ by 20″ canvas,

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