“Only a burning patience will lead to the attainment of a splendid happiness.” ~ Pablo Neruda
Almost nothing is as it seems. I’ve been asked many times about my capacity for patience, based on the amount of detail and time invested in my paintings. My capacity for patience is quite small. There is something that does “take over” during the painting process though. What that is I cannot say. Perhaps the closest I can come to describing it- is being absorbed in the work. And being absorbed, for me, means clearing out other things from my mind. Clearing out the “noise” of the world. Clearing out my own “noise” too….. the worry and doubt, the projection of the future, the psychological archeology of the past.
But I am not patient. There is always a point in the process where I just want to get the work finished. I am always surprised at the amount of time I put into these works. It does not feel like my nature…. and yet, I continue to operate in this manner. The Alan Watts quote comes to mind….”Nothing is as it seems, nor is it otherwise”.
The main reason for this Blog Post is this consideration of time (which I link to “patience”) …. of time invested and the questioning (self-reflection) about working in this way. I always admire the amount of care (and the tangential “time” that “care” seems to always require) when looking at a (well executed) creative work. I also carry the idea that in order to fully realize a work to it’s potential, that time is a critical component. The idea of patience, for me, is in the waiting…. the waiting and looking and “living with” a work before putting it “out there”. I always want to put it “out there” as soon as I think it is done. That is partially due to the idea that a work needs to be seen in order fully exist. The idea that the viewer seeing the work is the last step in it’s completion. But lately, I have noticed that the works are rarely “finished” when I think they are. The waiting, the contemplating, the reviewing, the “living with” them has shown me this lately. Holding back on sharing, I have found that there is almost always something more that the work needs. This part requires real patience (for me). But this is what I have found lacking. And so, with this step added to the process…. there can only be less work produced, but I hope… better work produced. Without more time, the work is short changed. Perhaps this is all just in my mind? So be it then…. since that is where the work, the vision - originates…. and to “realize” a work more closely to that vision seems to require more of that ingredient of “time”.
In the end, I may come to change my mind about this. I may come to feel that more time diminishes the “energy” of a work… that it may be nothing more than the “wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth”, as the phrase goes. I have had that idea before too.
Perhaps “excellence” and full “realization” does not require more time. Or maybe it does? Nothing is as it seems. Nor is it otherwise.