>Art Every Day Month, days 20-26

  1. The Open Door
  2. I’m Tired!
  3. Texture
  4. My Healing Story now (lower right)
  5. Body Scan 1
  6. Body Scan 2
  7. Following the Hand 11-26-10

Not Precious

Twenty years ago, I was a fan of a photographer named DeWitt Jones who wrote a monthly column that combined photography advice and zen philosophy. (Googling him now, I am pleased to discover he is a hugely successful photographer and speaker.)

One of the things that impressed me about him was that he would take hundreds of photos, unconcerned about the cost in time and film, in order to get one beautiful image.

Making a painting every day has reminded me of that approach. If I work for several months on a painting,it’s easy for it to become precious to me… All that time spent and all those decisions made.

The rhythm of my life does not allow me to spend huge amounts of time on a painting each day. They have to be made quickly in between other dailyness.

They become less precious. There is another one coming tomorrow.


On the other hand, when I look at them closely, when I spent time with them, I discover parts that delight me. On day 22, I remembered how much I like texture in paintings. I have been enjoying the simplicity of some of my output this month (example: day 19), but I was missing the complexity of multiple layers and marks. Day 22 is my favorite of the week. When I look at the state of the paper, however, smudged and marked with paint from other days, I wish I had treated my little notebook with more care and respect. That piece would look so lovely against pristine paper.

I took a workshop with writer Natalie Goldberg. (Also about 20 years ago… I confess to a secret enjoyment of how much older these people look now. What? The mirror, you say? Pshaw!) She encouraged people to write-write-write, to trust that there was more where that came from. Then, when people came to read their work aloud, she asked them to read slowly. encouraging them to caress each word as it came from their lips.

Not precious. Precious.

Painting, writing, living, loving with wild abandon as if there can always be more, as if the Source has no end.Yet slowing down to appreciate each shining drop and understand its holiness.