I once met a student/writer who said, "Everyone ultimately gets what he most wants out of life." That statement made sense to me then and it still makes sense to me now, because whatever we most want, we put a great deal of our energy and resources into. And we eventually achieve, at the very least, that one most important desire.
I went to the Wayne Thiebaud exhibit this week. Thiebaud is famous for his food paintings, but this exhibition featured a lot of beach pieces--dogs on the beach, people on the beach, swimsuits--as well as land- and city-scapes; ballroom dance images; and some food. I liked the entire exhibit. And one of the reasons was because each time I returned to a particular painting or viewed it from a different distance, my experience changed.
I have a painting by my brother that hangs near my bed. I like to trace the painting's lines and discover new images within the main abstract "image." (My brother was surprised to hear that I had found a cat and dragon within his painting. I've also found a lot more images, shapes, and patterns. And I have experienced layers of color and texture and all the thoughts that go along with art-inspired meditation.)
I want to write a novel about an etching that I own. I don't know what the story is. I just know that in that one image (and really, one is misleading, because an image is made up of smaller images) is a universe. I want to explore, probe, investigate a section of that amazing space.
I admire people who take leaps--artistic, altruistic, or otherwise--off great canyon walls, even when their wings are seemingly too tiny to sustain their weight and projected flight path. I met a writer who worked a job just enough to cover his expenses, allowing him to focus most of his time on his writing. And then there's the ballet dancer who gave everything to his career--such time and energy it requires to master the body! When he retired at age 30, he moved onto the next phase: earning a bachelor's degree to lead him toward his second career. What must it feel like to risk so much--time, energy, money, certain relationships--for a glimmer of something so magnificent! You know, even if the person never dances professionally or gets picked up by a big publisher, she's done something magnificent with her soul.
Wayne Thiebaud gave me an hour of viewing pleasure. I can still see the spinning candy-looking beach ball anchoring the viewer before releasing her to the dogs playing in the sand. I can still see the precipice that looks ordinary until you back up ten feet and then to twenty feet and then WOW. What depth! What color! What an experience!
I can still feel the laugh that resonated through me when I saw the painting: 35 cent Masterworks. Yeah, I connected to that one on a philosophical level, and well, thank you artists and writers for taking such big risks!
P.S. I want to experience this.
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