Monday, March 2, 2009

Desire, Anger, Ignorance

STILL LIFE WITH BOUDOIR SLIPPER -- oil on board

Sometimes I get fed up and depressed about life because I go down and work on my pieces and feel that it's all just a waste of time. I feel that living my life in general is a waste of time when it comes to that.
Usually no one bothers to come to my studio when I'm open, and even though I have a lot of positive feedback from the people when they do look at my things, I guess I want more!

Then there is the nagging fear that the "economy" will have a terrible effect on all as well. Somehow I cannot quite believe this, as we have lived through this sort of difficult life for years and always seem to get by with several different jobs. The art is something I just manage to afford, it is not a job but something I would rather do more than anything else.

I have been surfing the net and publications and see there are tens of thousands of other artists out there, all the shows, the installations, the pieces selling for huge amounts, many of which to me seem not to merit it, and I have to admit, I do feel the above emotions, Desire, Anger and Ignorance. The Buddhists say these three things are the cause of all suffering in one way or another.

Desire: because somehow there isn't a sense of satisfaction, that all these works I've done are piling up. Should I quit cluttering the universe? Maybe I should give everything away. I don't know. I ask myself, what satisfaction does an artist want? Maybe it has nothing to do with marketing or fame. It is a striving for arete, that word the Greeks had for "excellence" something within that must be satisfied. I do see that there are many artists who have that sort of motivation, they are the ones I admire the most.

Anger: mine is often sublimated into depression and that causes inertia, being stuck in a grey place. I believe depression can be anger turned in onto oneself. And I feel this anger that things aren't going as I would wish them to. It is sometimes nameless, formless, but when I paint it dissipates with the colors sometimes. There is the angry regret that I haven't lived my life from A to B in a straight line, and there are all these mistakes I've made and keep making. Again as I put it into words I realize that what I "want" is perhaps more nebulous than any concrete idea or concept. No, I wouldn't have made a good bacteriologist (one of my goals) nor scientist. Nor would I have been a good college teacher. And I wasted a lot of time just trying to make a living and get along. Isn't that the road for many of us? So my little pictures are in a way so much more precious because of it all.

Finally the third poison, ignorance: Yes. the lack of wisdom that arrives along with the desire and anger. If I did have true wisdom I don't think there would be any unhappiness. I think of Mr. Natural doing the dishes, then saying, "Another job well done." Yes, that is it. That is the Zen way of doing things: "When I'm hungry I eat, when I'm tired I sleep." How simple, how hard for us driven to fill our days with so much more than will fit in.

Tomorrow I will go do some practical and impractical things, and I will try to live the day without regret, and just be who I am.

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