Some Notes on Technique

“The most perfect technique is that which is not noticed at all.” –Pablo Casals

Cloth2

I’ve been working on a commission painting for the last couple months, wrestling with it a bit but making some good progress. I enjoy the commissions because they involve subject matter that I wouldn’t normally focus on in my own work, and with this comes new problems that (once resolved) leave me with a larger toolbox of solutions for getting the desired results with my own paintings. These “commission painting problems” could be resolved in any variety of ways; with a certain combination of brushes, a certain medium, a specific kind of application, and so on, usually relying on a combination of several factors that each contribute to the solution. (more…)

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Memento Mori

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”

-Marcus Aurelius

ThreeSkulls4

Memento Mori is a Latin phrase meaning, more or less, “remember you’re going to die.” Though it’s been used since the 5th century to call into question the vanity of earthy life, and to realign focus on the Christian afterlife, I’m referring to it here in a different way, offering a different kind of immortality. To contemplate death for a best possible life here and now – remembering oblivion’s unavoidable approach and letting petty concerns fall away, choosing to be guided instead by desire and self-realization – all in order to live well and to gauge our realization of a fulfilling life by asking ourselves if we’d be willing to accept our own immortality, our own life relived for eternity by us without any changes. Asking this is daunting but also promising; we’re forced to face whatever boredom, lack, or horror has come before and to justify its return by affirming henceforth a life so fulfilling that no prior misfortune would scare us from saying yes to our own immortality.

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Daily rituals, or complete lack thereof.

“Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” -Gustave Flaubert

IMG_1585 I don’t know how violent or original I am in my work but the above quote, along with the research I’ve recently done, has influenced my perspective on how best to structure my day. I’ve been spending some time learning about the routines of influential figures throughout history (mostly while myself procrastinating) and looking for anything consistent or novel among their daily rituals. I’ve held to various morning routines over the years but I’ve always felt that scheduling the day into predictable, consistent time chunks that don’t alter over months and years would result in just too draconian and boring a life.  The sentiments of WIlliam James offered me an alternative perspective,

“The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in (more…)

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