What Really Matters?


Pictured above is the most recent completed painting called Flintlock Terrace: oil, paper and fabric on birch wood panel at 18 x 24 inches. It’s actually only the first piece I have finished for my upcoming show at the end of November, Rock and Refuge, at Craig Krull Gallery. That’s in addition to what I already have on the birch wood panels here that haven’t been sold yet.

What this means is that things have been going very slowly, but I’m not all that worried about catching up. I might not have a ton of new pieces completed, but I think I’ll have enough and I think I may also do a wall installation as well. I’m not sure yet. The wall thing would be a “mural” made out of fabric and painted paper and made to look a bit like one of the panel pieces. I’d have to paint the wall behind it a kind of wood-looking yellow color – or something that would make the features look good anyway. We’ll see how it pans out.

I’m also working on two other little guys: the one called Dust House:


And the other is called Key’s Ranch:


Excuse the shoddy picture taking, but you get the idear.

These are close to completion and I should be done with them before Thursday. Then I can start sealing the rest of the panels before the weekend. It’s supposed to get much hotter by Saturday, so I am hoping to do the sealing before then, but we’ll see. Otherwise, I’ll have to wait, and I don’t want to do that. But I do have one more sealed panel ready to go. I just really don’t want to work on one painting at a time.  So I pretty much need to get my ass moving. I just haven’t been feeling well lately. I’m under the weather – physically.

I’ve had some kind of stomach thing. My stomach has just been wrong. I think it could be a change in medication. I also haven’t been sleeping well. I’ve had anxiety. I mean, what else is new, right? But seriously, this is some new, extra special anxiety. The kind with whipped cream on top. Or rather, whipped cream with pickled pig feet and fish. Yuck!

Like I’d promised before, I’m taking out my inner dirty laundry and airing it out for all to see, which means, I’ve been taking the questions from my Art Plan and answering them willy-nilly on the blog to see how answering them “on the fly” works out. So far so good, so let’s keep it going.

Forgive me if my questions seem stupid, but these are real (stupid) questions I ask myself! And I must know the answers to them before I can proceed in my upcoming artistic goals. They range from the practical and commonplace to the existential and surreal.

So here’s the next one:

Is art more important than life?

Maybe for some of you that is an easy question to answer, but it hasn’t been for me. Not in the last several years anyway. Maybe ten years ago, and well before, the answer to that question would be an easy and unapologetic “YES!” Seriously.

For most of my life, I’ve had “WHAT REALLY MATTERS?” written in my studio or the place where I paint, usually on my easel, or on my drafting table – right now it is burnished into the oak wood of my easel grip. Actually now it just says, “What matters?” I know what it’s supposed to mean because it’s always been a kind of mantra for me to put art far and above all else in my life – no matter what. It also means to stay focused, take the riskiest path (in the painting process), and be disciplined. It’s like an affirmation (note to self) to get off my ass and stop being lazy. Do what matters most. And what matters most? Art.

Not just art, but the best art possible. And how do you do that? Take a leap of faith, take risks, slow down, get focused about every decision you make when making marks, etc.

Sounds like I don’t give myself much freedom there, but believe me, there’s freedom there in facing each fear. It’s kind of like walking through a cluttered room with a blindfold on. You can just barrel through the place with a machete, or you can carefully feel yourself around and decide if you want to look around by feeling your way out – getting to know every nook and cranny so that you will know your way through for the next time you get stuck in that same room. I don’t know. You want a new room to walk through every time anyway.

I don’t know what I’m talking about! Don’t even listen to me. I’m weird.

I guess what I’m getting at is that art has always been what has mattered most to me. More than life itself. I’ve made it more important than everything else, and I mean everything.

You may think I’m an idiot for finally figuring this out right now, but now I’m thinking – maybe that’s not a good thing. Ha!

Or not “Ha!” It’s not funny. It’s sad.

It’s selfish and sad, and well just really sad. I don’t want it to be this way.

Now I wonder if it is still this way or if I have changed over the years, because I haven’t really changed my behavior. I behave as if nothing else matters. Anyone who knows me, really knows me, knows I’m speaking the truth when I say that.

I’m not saying that I am going to change my behavior now, over night. But I realize, here and now, that art is not more important than the people, specifically, the person I love. It’s not more important than my mental and/or physical health.

Art has been a reason to live for me, yes. It can’t be the only reason anymore.

2 thoughts on “What Really Matters?

  1. babinette September 15, 2015 / 8:17 pm

    I like that.

  2. claude September 15, 2015 / 11:57 pm

    Je connais et comprend cela.

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