Monday, 3 March 2014

Transience: A view from the studio: March 3, 2014

Transience: A view from the studio: March 3, 2014

No matter how hard we try to understand, to hold onto, to keep alive; all things pass, all things, in completing their own journey, wither like leaves upon the vine. No matter how hard we hold on in the end our hands are empty, holding only the transparent mist of shadows lingering.

There is an ache in this recognition as we yearn to hold onto memories shared, try to shield ourselves from the pain and sorrow at the passing.

Yet, like Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said:

“Should you shield the canyons from windstorms, you would never see the beauty of the carvings”.

Contrast. The embracing of all things, the difficult breeds a toughness that opens up our hearts towards the courage of Being. Being fully awake and embracing of each and every moment.

Compassion comes from recognition. The recognition of memory, the distillation of events already shared that can be offered as a gift to the one who comes next, left like messages to be discovered.

It is in this impermanence that we can find release. The release that comes from the knowledge that no matter how much we want to be of this life, this moment, this reality, we are transitory. This is our one constant. Fleeting is our time here on this plane- a blink of the cosmic eye.

There is a freedom in this to not worry what others think, to be able to plunge fully into each and every moment; savoring the joy in being unfettered, being able to embrace the unknown and find courage in each act.

What we have to ultimately hold is the finding of beauty within the storm of chaos that surrounds us. Finding our own personal truth and figuring out a way to share it, to leave behind a world better for our passing through.

As I continue to work on a new painting I’d like to share an older painting and poem that is in my book: Pause Between Breaths: Unfolding the Artist and Studio: Art, Poetry and Space. (

Messages, like
Paper prayers tied to earthly arms,
Transparent, full of light, reduced
In shimmer, translucent gaze
Close, in moonlight night refrained.

Like veils across shadows past,
Direct, silent communication takes hold,
Now seated, hands clasped upon warmth just left unattended.

Across infinite spaces, reality,
Sub consciousness realms
Forever, always, met.
Like secret lovers, under shadows veil
Soul to soul, complete.

And I cast my gaze out
From under translucent veil,
Of paper prayers left
Hanging, from boughs shaken
Only to see shadowed cross
Intertwined by bittersweet rose
Hovering, monolith stance.

Blinded, in darkness, reborn
Like a babe from virgin birth I
Do, in wilderness roam.
Renewed, eternal bliss, freed
From chaos thus.

June 29, 1988

“Silence, Sentinels Cast”
 93”x67”x4 ½” 1988/89
oil on canvas with textured surround/ vines/ flowers

I share this, as it seems fitting, this idea of leaving our prayers for someone to discover. As an artist that is what one does, leave traces behind for others to discover. Whether it is a painting, a poem, a book, music or some other form of expression.

In the end, we all leave some trace of our being here, if only in memories held.

Transience is a given, it is what we do with this brief moment that pulls the misty veil back for a glimpse of our truth and the capability to leave behind something of value. This is our task and both our pain and our joy.

Here is a glimpse at the current painting that is unfolding in the studio in preparation for my next Chicago studio opening April 4th.

As always, enjoy.  JDW

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