Married,moved,and getting it together.

Brushy Shorthaired Girl, 1986

Brushy Shorthaired Girl, 1986

Here’s that androgynous girl again. A minimal bit of brush and ink and there’s an image of a girl. This is an earlier incarnation of what became Leather Jacket Girl 1989. I like that a lot is conveyed with a very few strokes.

With the space afforded by my big workbench back then, I was very free to experiment with various media. Without a doubt I enjoyed and was frustrated by ink and brush the most. It’s absolutely unforgiving of error. So the zen challenge, and I did very much look at it as a zen challenge, was to get all the strokes out and have it be coherent and beautiful and have no errors.

Anything else was not perfection. I suppose this is a kind of perversion of zen. The idea is not to be manically perfectionist, rather to be one with the medium and with your emotions as you embark on the artwork.

I threw out a lot of pictures. I did try to learn from them, but there were a lot of discards. I think I might have learned more perhaps had I done more pieces with a pencil underdrawing and then inked over that. But then that spontaneity I was seeking could be lost.

I had read a lot about Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy at that time, and I very much liked their quick brushstrokes that evoked an image and emotion. I still love that work.

One stumbling block I do set up for myself is that I want to be inspired and have the work flow out effortlessly. The block is when I let that prevent me from doing more experiements. My “good student self” has diligence to pursue something even when I fail repeatedly.

I find that goal hard, but I do try and pursue it to improvement. I suppose the story of this, my second marriage, is of working to improve even as things are difficult. Not that my marriage is so difficult, but it is a marriage, and as such is the blending of two egos and persons in a partnership of love.

As M. Scott Peck says, in The Road Less Travelled, “Life is hard.” He also talks about how marriage is the institution which smooths our rough edges and lets us have a view of life from a view of love and acceptance of the essential hardness of life.

Anyway, I digress. So let’s digress some more.

Yesterday, on websandiego there was something of a flamewar. While it’s nice to see activity there, it is frustrating that it is so divisive. Hurt feelings are so trivially easy to evoke in the context of a mailing list. And a strong criticism can feel like a personal attack on someone and on their business. The fact is, in this world one will be exposed to people they disagree with. A person’s reaction to such criticism shows the “content of their character” I think.

Looking back on the thread, I do not regret my words. There is much to learn from that thread for me. Not the least of which is the reminder that I have allowed websandiego to drift somewhat, and that perhaps I can, even from this distance, do things to foster that community.

On Sunday Leah watched Nicholas Nickleby, which was not bad at all for a costume drama. There was a speech at the end that does not seem to appear in the actual book to the effect of: “All lives are a tragedy; happiness is not to be expected, but the key is to recognize happiness when it comes and to delight in it.”

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