It takes a long time to learn how to live. By next week at this time, I will have honored the passing of another year on this earth. A full spin around that glorious sun that marks and warms our days. Forty-four turns around that sun for me, and I feel like I’m just figuring out how to live. What truly makes me happy, and how to achieve that.
If you’re like me, “holidays” can feel superficial — in America, most definitely, overblown. “Birthdays” are on that list. It’s not about some big deal being made that one arrives at another year, though it is a privilege and a supreme honor. For me, that means putting a lot of thought into where I’ve been and where I’m going; increasingly, that means honoring the moment I’m in. Still, I set time side to think about the course. The important part is not to compare to any other, but to get really quiet with yourself, to really be alone with yourself.
Art has always mattered. I’ve long had this sense that I can’t fully articulate, but I just know it deeply matters. For over a decade and a half, art has, in increasing measure, been a North Star in my life. It makes my heart skip a beat. I can get lost for hours in just a book on art. I’ve booked many “vacations” with the sole purpose of seeing art. And booked that same vacation again to see that same art, and know it won’t be the last time I gaze upon this art. And to make art! Oh, the glorious abandon of everything else in the pushing of paint.
Increasingly, nature is equal to art in my heart. I wasn’t always a landscape painter. When I first fell in love with art, it was the fauves that stole my heart. And Picasso, oh my god, Picasso! And Frida Kahlo. Swoon. And the whole abstract expressionist movement. But also there was Goya, and Rembrandt.
I love art. All art. But in the process of making art, I have found nature to reign supreme above all. Even when I paint abstracts, it is nature that guides me. There is nothing but the faces of a few loved ones that make me as happy as spending long days outside in the glory of Mother Nature. My dog at my feet, looking out at Lake Michigan, in hopes of capturing just a bit of the magic. Vignettes and wide angle. Looking over the rolling vineyards of Northern Michigan tasked with capturing a slice of this paradise. And so it goes. The older you get, if you live with intention, the more you are in touch with your North Star. The joy of it. The unabashed, riotous, glorious, magnificent, painful and — at times — hurtful honor of learning how to live!
What have your years taught you? The good, the bad and the ugly shape us, but perhaps none so much as the beauty!
Cheers to you, and where you’re at on your own journey. Your own spin around the sun!