After spending time with the work of Philp Guston this week I was reminded of the radical shifts in my own work. The painting I have reproduced here was done a few years ago when I was exploring a different way of making paintings that allow a free associative way of creating a composition. These paintings use woodblock prints and random pieces of cloth and ephemera to create a texture of images and patterns that are then painted on. I have always enjoyed the rich textures of time worn and battered antiques that tell the story of something that has been well used over the years. These paintings are coming from that view of beauty.
These pieces also speak to a desire to build connections between things and ideas. I am taking things that may not have an obvious link or any real similarity at all and creating the connection by shear force of putting fragments together on the same picture plane. In doing this I am really trying to make sense of my own life that so often feels little more than a big jumble of broken pieces and half done projects. When I make one of these paintings I have that fleeting feeling that for short lived moments life does have meaning and things do happen for a purpose.
I found this in Solomon's Proverbs this morning;
Mark a life of discipline and live wisely" don't squander your precious life.
Then I was curious about the word "discipline," feeling like I have some negative associations with this word, so I consulted a dictionary and found this;
Discipline, 1. to instruct or educate, to inform the mind; to prepare instruction in correct principles and habits; as to discipline youth for a procession, or for future usefulness. 2. to instruct and govern; to teach rules and practice and accustom to order and subordination as in the training of an army.
I have included the woodblock print of the skull and hour glass with this meditation because there is nothing like being reminded of our mortality - that presses our feet back to the fire of knowing our days are numbered and precious. We do not have time to waste - and life is to be lived, and to really live our lives discipline is there to keep us not only potent, but protected as well.
I am curious how others think about discipline and her life benefits. Perhaps you can share an antidote of how discipline has brought you good things.