• Some of us are naturally prone to sadness. I especially am during the quieter months of the year, when everything seems to settle in for a while. Although I have never felt depressed, I think this is slightly different than sadness, I’ve rarely been an overly bubbly person, especially in the morning hours. It’s not that I am always sad, it’s just that I feel everything deeply. I let everything I read, hear, and think about penetrating below surface level. I try not to read the news for this reason. As soon as I do I find myself googling more and more about the story I read and can’t stop thinking about it. There have been times when people have commented on the sadness felt in my paintings or self-portraits, in the past this bothered me, but then I thought about how often do we see happy artwork? Like myself, I find my own work pensive, not sad. But when I try to think of one piece of artwork that exudes happiness I cannot think of one, at least not outside the commercial world. We don’t turn to artwork to seek happiness, we turn to others, or inward with meditation, or to animals, or to the sun, or to nature, or to shopping, or unfortunately, to drugs and alcohol. Art is a way to find solace and to feel understood, It’s a way for artists to get lost in a world that doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Lately, when not painting or making pottery I have been getting lost in the work of Theophilus Brown and his partner Paul Wonner’s work.
• Still on a Devandra Banhart kick, loving this sad song.
• This morning I finished The Sun Does Shine, the true and heartbreaking story by Anthony Ray Hinton that I think everyone should read. It brings so many things to the surface that need to be thought and talked about as a human race. It makes me think of the song Hurricane by Bob Dylan. This book leaves you with an unshakable feeling of sadness for those that live lives that are less than what they could be or could have been if the world was a kinder place. Right after I finished it I read this poem by Danusha Laméris and was then reminded that the world is also full of small kindnesses.
by Danusha Laméris
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”