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Archive for the ‘In the Studio’ Category



“How can it be that I’ve never seen that lofty sky before? Oh, how happy I am to have found it at last. Yes! It’s all vanity, it’s all an illusion, everything except that infinite sky. There is nothing, nothing – that’s all there is. But there isn’t even that. There’s nothing but stillness and peace. Thank God for that!”

― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace



Yesterday was one of those hard days in the studio. Nothing seemed to work. I felt like I was breaking in a new sets of hands and eyes and my mind was bouncing off the walls instead of locking in on the surface on which I was working. It was frustrating and I found myself early in the afternoon with a burning ball of anxiety in my gut, exactly the opposite feeling that my work normally produces in me.

It was just a slog. It reminded me of some of those days when I worked in construction and things weren’t going well. I remember standing in mud and falling snow early in the morning with a day of hefting chimney blocks up a ladder ahead of me. I was filled with a tired kind of dread.

I wanted to be anywhere but there but that wasn’t an option. So, I just put down my head and slogged onward and upward. God, what  long and awful days those sometimes were. Cold. Wet. Aching and tired with a simmering anger of dissatisfaction just below the surface. 

My life is different now. I am not cold and wet. Well, most days, at least. And I ache in different ways and my tiredness is different as well. But I still have days of simmering dissatisfaction and anxiety.

Yesterday was one of those. A log, as I said.

I took a break in the afternoon and took a walk in the cold wintry air. Walking among the trees of the local cemetery under a slate colored  high sky changed my focus. It took a while but after some time it got better. Cleared the debris that was cluttering my mind. Then, it wasn’t a matter of trying to force something out of me now.

Just being alive under that  the air of that infinite sky among the silence of the graves.

Just a small thing but it changed so much. It settled me and made me feel more connected to the world.

And that’s a good thing. It’s always good to put a slog day behind me.

Makes me look forward to being at work today. 



The painting at the top is a 12″ by 12″ canvas from several years back called Placidarium. I chose it because its feeling, for me, represents what I am shooting for in my days in the studio. A placid place with color and space for the mind to explore. The fact that it it here in the studio is a mystery to me. It’s one of those pieces that felt right from inception to completion. Even now, it brings me a great deal of satisfaction to take it in. But that’s how it is sometimes– the pieces that resonate most with me are often the last to leave me now.

And that’s okay because it means I get to live with them a bit longer.

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