Posts Tagged ‘Nelson Mandela’


The wind is blowing; those vessels whose sails are unfurled catch it, and go forward on their way, but those which have their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault of the wind? Is it the fault of the merciful Father, whose wind of mercy is blowing without ceasing, day and night, whose mercy knows no decay, is it His fault that some of us are happy and some unhappy? We make our own destiny. His sun shines for the weak as well as for the strong. His wind blows for saint and sinner alike. He is the Lord of all, the Father of all, merciful, and impartial.

–Swami Vivekananda


This new painting in my Multitudes series is a 36″ by 24″ canvas and is titled Saints and Sinners. It’s headed out to the West End Gallery this weekend to be part of my solo show, Moments and Color, that hangs there until the end of August.

I came across the words above today from Swami Vivekananda, a 19th century Hindu monk/mystic, and they seemed an appropriate fit for this painting. Looking at this piece, the faces seem to form a sail of sorts, something I hadn’t noticed before this morning.

The imagery of our lives as being boats appeals to me. Like sailors on boats, our decisions set our course. Two boats on the same body of water may react differently on the water due to the actions of the sailor aboard each. Sometimes these are small and subtle actions. Similarly, the differences between the saint and the sinner are often small and subtle.

The saint may let go of anger where the sinner holds fast to it. The saint may see hope where the sinner sees despair. The saint may give mercy where the sinner might seek vengeance. The saint bears responsibility for their own decisions while the sinner places the blame on others for their own mistakes.

Written down, the differences seem greater than they do to the eye. The saint and the sinner may be indistinguishable at first glance. And maybe that is as it should be. We have the possibility of each– saint and sinner– within us. We have all made bad decisions but we live with the hope that we may make better ones in the future.

Like Oscar Wilde said: Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Or in the words of Nelson Mandela: I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.

Or maybe there are neither saints nor sinners. Just simple sailors in boats, some running fast and some foundering in their wake.

Hope you’ll stop out and see this new piece.

You can see it if you come to my Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery on Saturday, August 17, beginning at 1 PM. I’m sure it will be part of he discussion and maybe you’ll take home a prize! Details coming soon!

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Mandela at Robben Island-Photo: Jurgen Schadeberg

Mandela at Robben Island-Photo: Jurgen Schadeberg

Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.

–Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela died yesterday at the age of 95 in his native South Africa.  His is a remarkable story of strength and perseverance, a man who fought in words and actions for the freedom of a people in a repressive society.  He experienced the greatest depths and heights in his long and often arduous life, becoming one of the greatest sources of inspiration for our time.

His death is a great loss for all people everywhere.  We have lost a source of tempered wisdom and the placid eyes of reconciliation and forgiveness.  We have lost a knowing witness.

There is much to grieve in the death of Nelson Mandela but there much more to celebrate in the life of Nelson Mandela.  And that is what we must do today– celebrate his life and the great inspirational gift he gave to us to carry forward.

It is a gift that must never be forgotten.


There is an interesting website at nelsonmadelaart.com that features lithographs of drawings from Mandela of Robben Island as well as iconic photos of him, such as the one above from Jurgen Schadeberg.  There is a lot of wonderful info on this site, making it definitely worth a visit.

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GC Myers- The Stand

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

— Marianne Williamson


The quote above is an interesting example of how the internet sometimes creates its own mythology.   When I first came across this quote it was attributed in many places to Nelson Mandela, taken from his inaugural address in 1994.  That sounded right.  But I also saw that it was attributed to Marianne Williamson, the bestselling New Age guru.  And indeed, with just a short investigation, it was confirmed that Williamson was the author of this quote and Nelson Mandela had never uttered those words despite all those web followers who believed it so.

But regardless of authorship, it remains a good and inspirational quote.  I think it serves the painting at the top, The Stand, well as a description for what I see in it.  It is about letting your light shine and moving forward into a world of new possibilities.  Too often we are content to exist as less than we can be, to settle for a known mediocrity because we believe that the safety of this choice outweighs our desire for fulfillment.  Plus, it’s easier to stay put– no risk of stumbling in the spotlight and our friends are still there to commiserate.  Stepping up requires the risk of failure and the possibility of moving beyond those around you.

But, as the quote rightfully points out, we are doing no one a favor by denying our full potential.  Each of us serves as an example for those around us and to wallow in an unfulfilled life sets a bad example, denying inspiration to others.  No, we should dare to shine and let those around us look for their own potential in the light it provides.

There is a lot more that could be said here but I think brevity rules this day.  You can see this painting, The Stand, a 24″ by 48″ canvas, at the West End Gallery where my annual solo show, Islander,  opens tonight with a reception from 5- 7:30 PM.  I will be at the gallery so if you would like to stop out and talk for a bit, that would be great.  If not, come out anyway  to have a glass of wine and hear my friend Bill Groome play some wonderful parlor guitar music.  We’d love to see you there!

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