Sunday, 12 January 2014

Inspiration: A view from the studio


I have been thinking a lot about inspiration, about success, about the constraints we put on ourselves as we travel throughout our lives. As I approach 63 years I look at my life that I have lived, mostly outside of convention, certainly not following the norm in accepted ways of having a career, and in some minds I have failed to achieve success.

Surely this has been brought home by the advent of social media, which allows one to look into the world, in my case, the art world and find out what I am not doing or what I have missed or am missing. This media has allowed me to write this blog and hope that it gets out to those who enjoy the musings, the glimpses into my painting world; and for that I am grateful.

But it also pushes against the life that I have lived and continue to live and causes an ache for something artificial at best. Don’t get me wrong, everyone wants their work in prestigous collections and museums, but that is not why I paint. Then I thought about something Thomas Merton wrote, something I came across years ago when I was reading his journals.

“Who can free himself from achievement and from fame, descend and be lost amid the masses of men? He will flow like the Tao unseen. Such is the perfect man. His boat is empty.”

To live without getting swept away by something outside ones self, to find a way to nurture our inner voice and still be a part of this life, that is the key. To flow within and navigate these tumultuous waters. To live not in the past, nor in the future, but in this moment always. That, to me, is the boat empty, always capable of filling, of experiencing life fully in the now.

It is enough to paint.

I posted the update photo below a couple of nights ago on my Facebook page and got back responses that reminded me that we all strive to make an impact, to leave behind something tangible.


I am blessed by the ability to create something out of a blank canvas and paint and if I am diligent in my reflection, in my prayer as I paint, I can transcend the ordinary for those brief moments and the result is an illusion come to life; a song in paint.

We all have a need to connect and I think we all want to inspire something, to provoke a reaction, whether it be a smile, a comment, a hug, even a silence; we yearn for this connection. As a painter I hope for that silent sense of awe in that moment of recognition that opens the door deeply into ones heart, ones soul. A big task that only seems to happen when I get my mind, my ego, out of the way and utilize the hundred’s of thousands of hours honing my craft by letting go and transcending, finding that illusive inspiration we all so crave.

Here is the painting that I have been working on these past two months. It is about that dreaming state where we let go, where we envision our better selves, where we transform from a ego’d, narcissistic mind into an energetic consciousness, a spirit based soul that lets go and embraces that illuminated truth that waits for our recognition. Born from hope, nurtured by those who have gone before us, freed from the shackles of the past and the future, alive in this moment created out of the dreamer’s requiem, it awakens our deeply held need to be, to awaken and to love.

This is success. This is inspiration for me. To embrace one’s better self and awaken into one’s purpose. It makes no difference what convention says, what is deemed as the proper way to navigate ones life. Step out side of convention and jump off the abyss that holds you back from being truly awake into your authentic life and let the convention be damned.


                 “The Dreamer’s Requiem”   68”x80” in progress 2014

JDW             January 12, 2014





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