Monday, March 31, 2014

Thought for The Day - The Pace

Treadmills are great at forcing you to keep up the pace! Dial in the desired speed, place your feet on the treadmill and you're off! And when you want to slow down or go faster, unless you change the rate of speed, it keeps going on and you have to keep up!

But life, or should I say "we, in life" like to slow down the pace! No matter how we try to maintain the path we're on, the activities in which we participate, at some point, we find it's too much for us and we need to slow it down! Weekends are an opportunity to do so, taking vacations are an opportunity to do so!

Personally, I'm an advocate of doing the same every day. There are moments in the day when you need to pause, perhaps in the middle of a busy day. The pace is one you choose, not what the world demands. Today, before the day gets away, before the world's pace sets the speed, determine your pace; you set the speed. Perhaps life will continue to move at it's pace, threatening to overrun you, but you have control over you.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thought for The Day - Preparedness, Thoughtful

Pastels, arranged by colors

Empty palette, prepared for painting.

It's Sunday, and later than I would normally publish the blog; my apologies. But it makes this subject no less poignant.

I remember, as a child being aware that my mom was about to prepare "one of those meals." This wouldn't be a few pieces of chicken and string bean, meal. No this would be Sunday or Holiday dinner, with one or two meats a few vegetables and a "starch." I would hear multiple pots and pans being pulled from the cabinets, the refrigerator would open and close several times and spices would be pulled from the pantry. I would hear the stove start up and a couple  of "eyes" on the stove would be fired up too. It was going to be a long day in that kitchen.

Cut to my own adult years and the sense is no less epic. My wife does the same and often, it is in preparation for the week, multiple meals are considered and prepared, with the same sense that when all is said and done, a feast is prepared!

In situations such as these, forethought "has to be" part of the plan! You can't walk in the kitchen on a whim and prepare meals like this! Actually you can, but somewhere within the last few weeks or months, you have to have gathered all the ingredients and you have to know what is available to make "whatever!" And you have to know what "good food" tastes like and what it takes to get it there. There has to be "trial and error" as part of your past, too. "Over-season", "under-season," over-cooked (burnt in some cases) and maybe under-cooked probably occurred. But in this process of learning, experimenting, succeeding and failing, you learn to not only be prepared, you become thoughtful.

Now mind you, I always "think larger" than the current application; it's part of my preparation as well! You may not be a "cook" can't tolerate the idea of rattling pans, putting your hands in or on uncooked meat and vegetables (I guarantee you everyone who thinks this way, still loves to EAT!) and your food supply might be a single egg and half a container of orange juice, but you have to prepare for anything! Including work, family, vacation or evening out! Everything requires "forethought," thoughtfulness, if you will.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Thought for The Day - Take a Peek

Linen with a swirl 24 x 30, Oils

A private world; that's most of us. The space between our ears is rarely revealed. We will tell other's stories, discuss the news and the intimate details of a celebrity's meltdown, but we keep locks on our compartmentalized minds. Public persona, some put on a "happy face" while inside, they are children cowering in a corner, afraid someone will cause additional pain. Others are solemn and stoic, a constant "game face" rarely revealing what's inside.

For the sake of discussion, let's just assume I'm both of the above. But in this venue, on this stage, I am allowed to pour my heart and soul out, whether it is widely received or not. Though words are arranged to read with appeal, they are the revelation of my soul. You are allowed to peek at the fragments and particles of my mind, and quite surprisingly, I'm okay with that. You see, just as many are afraid of being hurt, so am I, but writing about my apprehensions, hopes, joy and anxiety, hopefully it gives license for others to do the same.

I realized, years ago, that we are pretty much the same, including our need to protect ourselves. We keep the wounded child hidden and locked away and give "the world" what we think they will accept. We want to be free and live life without pain, but each time we find the world to be a cruel place, it gives us another excuse to bury that poor child further in our heads. But for me, not only am I willing to talk about it, I'm willing to visualize it. And in doing so, I also give healing a chance.

Open the door, it's okay to come out now...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Thought for The Day - Self Examination

A Rhythm of Her Own 18 x 24 pastels

For some, standing in the mirror is an opportunity to berate one's self for physical shortcomings. I bet some the most beautiful people find flaws the rest of us would never see on them! Holding up the "mirror of life" has the same effect! Some changes are within our control, a matter of correcting behavior developed as a reaction to the motives of others. We develop habits and practices that change over time, but our core beliefs remain intact. By "core beliefs" I mean what we think about ourselves.

When you think you are unworthy, you either do things to gain approval or you "prove" you're unworthy by behaving badly. Funny thing about gaining approval; you never really accept the approval because of "who I am." If you're not worthy, no matter how glowing or sincere the compliments, you always consider the parts of you no one else sees.

When you feel unloveable, the same holds true as above: either you try to gain love or your behavior indicates you cannot be loved. Both are pleas for something you are reluctant to receive, that is L-O-V-E. How can anyone love you if you are unloveable? More importantly, how can anyone love you when you don't love yourself?

Life is a funny adventure! And I don't mean comedic humor; I mean in the sense that many people struggle with these and far worse and though we want help, know we should think better about ourselves, individuals live well into their senior years carrying this poor self image.

No solutions today my friend, just observations.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thought for The Day - Patience, Son

Linen with a swirl

Antsy! Like a child waiting for their birthday party. Like a groom waiting for his honeymoon. On pins and needles, can barely stand still. But the process isn't complete and there's work remaining.

A young lady I taught in Sunday School a long time ago, announced to the world that she's a visual artist. She explains in the many social media, her process of creating as "play" and her creativity involves trying out forms and struggling with the "love/hate" relationship of the process. Same here! Since it takes me "forever" to complete one piece, no matter how simple or complex, large or small, there are times I have to place the piece out of sight, to avoid tossing it in the trash! The current work, "Linen with a swirl," seems like it's taking a long time and every stroke seems like a repeat of the last. I can see progress, but at times, it isn't enough. But this is where patience is exercised, this is where I have to allow the "child" to grow.

There are many processes and expectations in my life. I am forever a "dreamer," always hoping for a better day. There are times I wonder will I die with incomplete dreams and so often, it doesn't matter. For now, the dream of creating is realized and this platform is my gallery.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Thought for The Day - A Sprinkle...

Soul Dance 8 x 11 Colored Pencils

Humidity hangs in the air; in places like Chicago, Houston and New Orleans, on a summer's day? The air feels like you could literally swim through it!! Moisture moves on top of the breeze and heat and makes movement a chore.

Thick air, dank air, dripping moisture across your skin...

There is purpose and meaning all around us. It hangs in the air, in between obligation and the demands of society. It can easily be confused with the question: "what's everyone else doing?" But it lives in the space between bone and marrow, tendon and muscle. If you are willing to acknowledge, it is more powerful than a 100 degree day with 80% humidity! But we seek comfort, sameness and avoid the need screaming from our souls!

Just sit quietly today; just for a few minutes, listen to that cry from your heart. It wants more than seven matching numbers in the Powerball can deliver! It is the true value of your existence, the reason you have been brought to this place.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thought for The Day - Suddenly

The intention last night and this morning, was to spend time in front of my canvas. Had the "route" mapped out, knew what colors would be applied and how. Never made it there, never put my hand on the brush. And went as far as looking at the "Cadmium Red Hue" paint on the palette and calculated the amount of linseed oil necessary to thin it to a wash. It just didn't happen.

Suddenly, the urgency of my life took precedence. The need to plan for a new day is in my heart and mind. That desire gives strength to my limbs as I continue to struggle. I'm getting free; this cocoon wont hold me always.

Suddenly, I will be free. And like the multi stages of the creature ultimately known as a butterfly, I will emerge a different being. What you have known about me, who you have known me to be will be changed. I am growing and gaining, not only strength, but the ability to soar!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Thought for The Day - The Practice of Spirit

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it is comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:8

I would say as recent as six years ago, I was not open to rendering, let alone themes that are stretched beyond my recognition. I knew I wanted to paint, it's in my blood, perhaps more than preaching. I understand color concepts and warm colors juxtapose against cool. But that "rule" I broke once I realized the power of light and movement. So in 2009, I opened my heart to the Spirit, and followed where He lead.

The theme I'm currently exploring involves the sense of fabric and it's many comparisons to landscapes, flesh and the elements. More to come on that as the series is explored over the next year or so. Just imagine if your sleeve were the path between "here" and "there," take a moment to look at it. The path might be smooth or it may have hurdles and speed bumps in the way. Shaped by what is beneath, it might be a narrow road or a "broadway;" only you can decide.

I have found by quieting my restlessness, my desire to "know" and be the master of the path, I am open to the wonderful experience of rendering. It is by allowing God to direct my paths, if you will that I find freedom. It is not a loss of identity but a fulfilling of it. It is being set free to see further and experience the many facets of life.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Thought for The Day - ...Processing...

Trillions of particles floating colliding, bouncing off one another, every fraction of a second...

This light,

This life,

Flowing fluidly,

A stream of reasoning,


And consciousness.

What is perceived

Is a fraction of

What is...

Progressing across this expanse of space, each step a lesson in diligence. Persistence keeps me going as I cross unfamiliar territories. Lessons learned, more information communicated than my conscious can recall, I am lost, but continue on the path I'm choosing. Recalculating each step, wind blowing across my face, eyes in a semi-permanent squint shading my view from the intense sun.

This is my journey, my progress, my life. I travel across space and time, light surrounding me nearly every step of the way. And in the distance, there is a twist, a twirling of life. Unexpected, it promises life will no longer be the same.

...merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thought for The Day - Where are You Now?


Sit in a room of your choosing, your home, a restaurant (a great place for stories) or if weather permits, a public place where people are passing by. Fix your gaze on one person, an item or an animal and create a story. It doesn't have to be long or complex, but it is challenging. It may be history, in the sense it is something you know, tell why that item or person is in your life. You might see someone on the street with a look that moves you. You know the look or feel that you do; it would be interesting to see what story develops.

I'm sitting in my "office," my carved out room that would better serve as storage, for the size. But it's my studio, storage and a great place to IMAGINE! I'm fixing my eyes on a heavy brass elephant and it brings back memories! My senior year of college, I would walk from the subway to school and pass a import shop. The place was a little "hole in the wall," not much space and the typical retail space. At the time, I worked a part-time job and didn't make much money, so I avoided too many frivolous purchases. But it was my senior year and in a few months, I would graduate and enter the "full-time world" of 8 - 5 jobs and needing income, a place to stay and whatever else life expected me to be. I walked in a few times and looked around, picking up various items, putting them back after looking at the price. They were, after all "imported" so the prices were fairly high, especially for a guy working a part time job. There were two items I wanted to have: a samurai sword and a brass elephant. And this store had them both. After going in a few times, making mental calculations, determining where I would need to cut back and how much I would have to save to make the purchases, I decided on "this elephant." It was $35 and it was the 'mid-sized' brass elephant they sold. They had elephants that stood 10" or more, but the prices were $75 or higher and my budget and need weren't that big. So I made the purchase. I remember, for years, occasionally pulling out a can of "Brasso" and shining that elephant! I would rub and clean and remove the oxidation so that elephant glowed! It was my pride and joy, a completely frivolous purchase, but one I could hold on to forever! And it has moved with me over the years, from my parents home, my first apartment and my house. It is a constant reminder that everything doesn't have to be practical and reasonable. A reminder that value is where you place it.

Okay, that's my story for today! I would love to hear from you. If you like (and space permits) share your story in the comments section of the blog. Or feel free to send an email with your story. I would love to hear yours! Send it to

Friday, March 21, 2014

Thought for The Day - Universal Elements

Fire and Ice 8 x 11 Colored Pencils

"There's a story there! I just know it is!"

Yeah, there is a concept, an idea; some message hidden in that image, your design, in your DNA. History lies there, old traditions and quite possibly, spanning cultures. One thing I have found to be true is no one person, people, nation or ethnicity has a corner on truth and beliefs. It is amazing, when I spend time with people of different cultures, once we get past the 'niceties' - "where are you from, what region is that, how long have you lived in this area" - you find out many of the same human characteristics exist from society to society. Certainly there are varied customs and not every tradition crosses the cultural barriers. But in so many ways, we are the same.

The image above, I rendered some years ago. It started as my trying out colored pencils, something I used extensively in college. As I "scratched" the pencils across the paper, I noticed there seemed to be an image of fire forming. I thought "it would be interesting if there were a contrast of ice against it." And as I rendered, trying to catch the 'designs' of both fire and ice, I wondered who wins in this epic battle? Will the fire melt the ice or will the ice, melting into water, douse the flames? At some point, it became clear, the story would not be resolved by this rendering. Like a reporter, my role is to capture the moment, not define the story - at least not in this picture.

It is a struggle for many; the conflict between warmth and cool, passion or logic, emotions versus cold reasoning. In truth, both are necessary, though we all struggle with expressions of the two elements. But look further, dig deeper; there is more to the image, more stories and concepts.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thought for The Day - When No One is Looking

A Rhythm of Her Own 18 x 24 pastels

It’s not a matter of who’s watching
When no one is supposed to see you
But who you are
In those unscripted moments
When your mind reflects your thoughts back at you
When you see you as a child
As an adult
And as so much more and
Yet so simple
Pure Human
Carved out of light and matter
A private joke
A moment all your own

I’ve seen you in those moments
When no one is looking
A thousand faces and bodies hovering about
No one finds you in that moment
But me
And quite suddenly
And by accident
You aren’t self aware
Or other aware

Just aware of a world no larger than the body you inhabit

All images and expressions are the exclusive property of Eddie L. Hudson. Do not reproduce without permission.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thought for The Day - One More

In the gym, the phrase "one more" has an immediate response. Either you can or "caint!" And I do mean that quite literally. There are times when that bar is over my chest and though I'm giving it all I got to keep it from falling on me, I've got to consider "one more!" Doing "one more" makes the difference between being where I was last time and one step closer to where I want to be. "One more" can be adding one more rep, set or one more plate to either side of that bar. But no matter what happens physically, taking a "one more" attitude gets me closer to my goals.

"One more" in terms of writing; I love writing in the many forms in which I write. I found it a necessity years ago, to write through out the day, to cleanse my mind, get 'stuff' out of there. From that poems came, story ideas and things I wouldn't tell my best friend, poured out of me. I found, in writing, expressing myself, there was a great deal more of "me" to be available for others. And to this day, whether I'm on the train, sitting in my cubicle in the middle of intense testing, I have to write my own thoughts! Sometimes, it feels completely inappropriate, but "let me get this one last thought out," comes to mind as I scramble for paper and pen. My goals with writing aren't as clear, but "one more" word, "one more" thought and I'm closer to understanding it's purpose!

In life "one more" is my motivation for facing the daily challenge of getting up and "going." Please believe, there are so many days, I would love to crawl up in the bed and stay there! I'm not as far along as I would like to be, but "one more" gets me out of the bed. "One more" carries with it the sense that I'm alive, that I'm further along than I was yesterday and I still have a ways to go! At this point, looking down the path where I would like to go, I have this sense, once I'm "there," I will continue to say "one more!"

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thought for The Day - I Blinked

I'm listening 24 x 36 Oils

I could drown in it, most days; the deluge of thoughts, ideas, images, visions, community supports and business ideas. Of course, nothing is of value until you act on it and in that respect, the flood becomes a trickle. But if you're reading this, believe me, that trickle is a growing stream, gaining speed nearly every day. Every weekend, I have plans of working "no matter what." I have a list of things I want to accomplish and tasks I want to start. Some get started, others are replaced by the "normal human things." Laundry, errands, cleaning etc are the normal things. You can't imagine the frustration of having all of this creative energy in you and not having the time or space to allow it to flow. It can get "backed up" and please believe, I KNOW the damage it can wreak on the psyche!

"If you're reading this.." if you are reading this, and have been reading my blogs for only a minute, you know I write a blog a day. I would and could write several throughout the day if time permitted, and still write test cases, talk to coworkers about health, exercise, cars and requirements! I journal sometimes as if my life depended on it; sometimes, I'm certain my sanity requires I do!

But I blinked...meaning for the sake of self-preservation, I have often said: "wait, wait, WAIT!!! I can't do anything with all of this!!!" There is a sense of being overwhelmed, feeling anxiety about the enormity of the task and the limited time available. And I pause to allow reality to gain balance (control) again. Even as I write in this moment, there is that sense of realization; something won't get written, a concept may remain untapped. And yet, for the time being I have to pause, I have to "blink," to allow me to consider the:

  • Allotted time available
  • Three works crowded on and around my easel - can I give them the right amount of time and energy
  • The list of tasks to be completed in the house, my parents and at work
  • I'm so exhausted I could try to sleep 12 hours - but rarely get 6
  • Possibility that this does not make sense to you, the reader
It doesn't matter if I blink or not, the flow continues and quite honestly...I wouldn't have it any other way! Lord, I thank you for the gifts and the opportunity to express them to "those who will!"

Monday, March 17, 2014

Thought for The Day - Continue

Out for a Drive 8 x 11 colored pencils

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!" If you have children or a love for children's movies, then the opening line is familiar to you. It's the voice of Ellen Degeneres, as the fish character (forgetting all the names of the characters right about now - ugh!) in the movie Finding Nemo. The song was something she created to keep her and Nemo's father going as they swam across the ocean, looking for his son. Nearly every story has a theme and a purpose; it's part of the fabric of story telling. If we allow it, we are always learning and if we're feeling very generous with our selves we learn something dramatically different every day! Watching this movie for what seemed like a hundred times with my youngest,  the scenes became very familiar and the story line was drilled into my head. But it was such a great movie, I enjoyed watching it with my little one.

But here I am, sitting in my make-shift studio. It's very early in the morning, before 5:00 and this has become my routine. "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming," comes to mind as I consider going back to bed, "it's cold in this room" and a thousand other reasons I can use to avoid the work. But I have a goal in mind and the only way I will get there is to "just keep swimming, just keep swimming!" Now I've always had an idea in my head, but years ago, it looked like it should be" a lot closer in relationship to the course of life. No one attends college with hopes of "one day" getting to their desired career! If you attend college, you expect immediately afterwards, you will be sitting in the space where you can exercise your talents and abilities. But I got off track; WAY off track! Like getting married, raising children to adulthood, off track before I felt comfortable dipping a brush in paint on a regular basis. And still, I hope, just around the corner, over the next hill, the life I desire will be waiting.

I continue,  I go on. I get up early, relearn techniques and new ones and I write. I write enough to fill thousands of pages and imagine pictures and series of paintings endlessly. And I "just keep swimming, just keep swimming!"

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Thought for The Day - Strange Twists and Turns

Linen with a twist (in process) 24 x 36 oils

The stuff of life! You are certain the path you've taken, the one you chose is a good one. It is clear you have done your homework, considered the possibilities and prepared accordingly. But you aren't the master of life and most certainly, you can't control every life and the energy you will encounter along the way. So often, "nouns" pop up you could not plan for: a person, place or thing, unaccounted for, throws you off your trajectory and you are forced to re-evaluate the way you go. There are times where time itself, works against you; perhaps you were exhausted and stopped along the way, but in doing so, you find you are behind schedule and where you anticipated being at this point, is miles away.

Now the above could literally be a trip you're taking or it can be life, but either way, it is not the end of your journey. Unless something traumatic occurs, continue on your way, don't stop where you are. The snippet of "Linen with a twist" (above image) is a whimsical tribute to twists and turns that appear in our path. Sometimes, it's a small turn, nothing to throw you off course. But sometimes, it's a gale force tornado, wreaking destruction for all in it's path. Plan and adjust accordingly!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Thought for The Day - Natural

Linen with a swirl (in process) 24 x 30 oils

As the paint dries, my thoughts turn in various directions...

It's a process that works in me. Like having a long day, and mine are typically 19 hours a day, and being so exhausted, you can't help but have a deep sleep. But in lying down, my head sinking into the pillow, with that final adjustment of shoulder hunched into the edge of the pillow, my thoughts become visual, my consciousness returning to other places. I have learned, though, to allow whatever dreams occur to instruct me at other times; I rarely remember what I've dreamt. I do know the dreams are present because there is always the sense of a message there.

It isn't my desire to allow paint to dry on the palette; I would rather it dried only on the canvas and preferably after a painting is completed. But that is not the course of life for me at the moment. Besides, I get to spend more time in quiet communication with the latest piece(s) and doing so, I better understand what's needed, what is requested of me. Certainly, there are times when I'm anxious or ready to get my hands on it, but time does not permit, as I'm running off to begin my work day.

The practice, the patience, the waiting for "things to turn" and moments, it is beyond difficult, like spending your entire life waiting. But in the process, I learn more about me, God and His purpose for me.

Peace, be still.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thought for The Day - Drawing a Blank

Linen with a little swirl (in process) 24 x 3 oils

An expression that refers to a momentary inability to retrieve one's thoughts, a line of thinking or what one intended to say. Yes, I'm drawing a blank at the moment... what is it I wanted to share? What significant thought, idea or "revelation" came to mind that seemed worth sharing? And it's not only about telling you what I'm thinking; my thoughts turn to the question: "what significance would this have in someone's life?"

Many people have responded since I began writing this daily blog and some merely by "liking" the status on Facebook. But these people and those I never hear from, flash across my mind as God seems to minister to me. The biblical notion: "you are ambassadors of Christ, as if Christ himself were saying 'be reconciled to God,'" comes to mind. I've been ministered to, he shares with me knowledge and insight and I share it with you. Please believe, He never leaves me without some valuable nugget of information. However, some of it is personal and for me. But ultimately, after the work is done in me, I share it with others.

So, yes, this morning, I'm drawing a blank. But believe me, you remain in my heart. Thanks for stopping by. God's richest blessings on you.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thought for The Day - Pause

Linen with a little swirl (in process) 24 x 36 Oils

Today I really have to talk to myself - you just get to listen in...

Slow down! Whatever it is, that's got you worked up and ready to run, it will wait. It will keep. The stuff you're sweating, no matter how noble, it will wait for you.

Slow down enough for this moment's lesson. Don't miss the details before you, around you looking for a better picture or an ideal life. Enjoy this one, or bemoan it. But don't allow it's lesson to go unlearned.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Thought for The Day - The Communication

Soul Dance (in progress) 8 x 11 colored pencils

The power of words! They are like the building blocks of our world; the communication of far deeper concepts and if we don't know how to express what's there, it doesn't lessen it's power on us! From the words, the formation of sounds that equal thoughts, ideas, feelings and impressions, we increase our understanding and the unfathomable.

Images are the shapes and colors we use to hinge our thoughts upon as well. Whether it's the face of your loved one or a tree, we know through our six senses, the sixth being our ability to filter and catalog the other five senses.

The other day, my wife apologetically stated that she doesn't understand abstract art: my work is abstract. I told her it's okay and went on to draw a correlation between abstract art and patterns in clothes. Colors, shapes and patterns communicate thoughts, feelings and even expectations. We don't understand to the degree we can easily articulate, but we do "get it." Consider the smile of your child or your beloved; whether you know why they're smiling, the fact that they are smiling, warms your heart. Or, depending on circumstances, you may think the smile hides a hidden agenda or perhaps sarcasm. The same can be said about a hand gesture, a frown or someone looking away when you meet for the first time. A thousand different impressions occur in a simple human exchange.

The power of communication is that it goes deeper and further than recording facts and figures. It is our means of conveying life!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Thought for The Day - Tool Sharpening (and other lessons)

Saturday, I took a long drive to buy art supplies. Admittedly, I liked it better when Bower and Bower was up the street. It was an art supply store that carried commercial, fine art and drafting supplies. Apparently there was a large clientele in the area at the time. I'm guessing, with the people retiring, moving away and such, the wonderful local company gave up the business. And it doesn't help that people were interested in computer aided drafting and rendering. Now the art store where I make my purchases doesn't have a convenient location, but they have excellent selections! So it's in the car I go!

Given the pace of the week, a Saturday or Sunday, in between running errands, cleaning and laundry, I like to take time to render. But I've noticed my brushes were getting "gunked up" no matter how I cleaned them.  I took inventory Saturday morning, and figured I would take some time to clean brushes rather than paint. I started the process and after about an hour of cleaning a couple of them, I had to get to the other tasks. Time ticks by faster than you think, so I came back to it later that day and then again on Sunday. Wet brushes; that means until they dry, no painting...humph! Not the best use of my time, but what choice do I have? I have other works in pastel I could work on, but a trip back to the art store because I bought the wrong length stretcher bar interrupted that time as well.

In terms of spending the weekend being creative, the time was a bust! But in terms of learning to be careful with my more expensive tools and most needed, the lesson was invaluable. I spent a lot of time driving to this place, but I learned a lesson in the way the art supply business works. I also found a better brush cleaner and tried it out this morning. Though I wanted to squeeze in a few minutes painting today, I did a better job of cleaning my brushes. Sometimes, we have to surrender our joy for a short time to make better use of it later. And that's the way it is in life: you endure some difficulties and take what seems to be needless time, to prepare for the next time.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Thought for The Day - It's the Movement

Clear Channel 24 x 36 Oil painting

"You don't know what you think you know" and in the same breath: "You know more than you think you know."

That being said, there are times I certainly don't know; confusion is a blue haze around my head. And then, at other moments, not only has the smoke cleared, the light shines around and within; drowning in it! Not one area, but many.

Short story/example: one evening, before I got back to painting and drawing, and while working in the downtown area of Chicago, I walked from the job to the train stop. My head was filled with that blue, purple and brown haze; I didn't understand where my life was headed, and especially where it was at that moment. I knew I was tired of the commute, tired of career I could barely stomach and ministry that was stalled once again. Anticipating the ride home with a neighbor, talking about minuscule details of his job and the culture, I slowed my pace to a near snail's pace to avoid the small talk. I prayed for clarity, for an answer to the where of my life. I remember thinking "I need answers! Not because I deserve them or I'm anyone special, but I need to know what all 'this' means!" It began slowly, I remember being on Lake street, between Wabash and State street. And then I remember being "elsewhere," another time and place as if I were involved in a movie, where I was one of the characters. I saw my life far better than it was then and it is now. I saw answers given in ways I would expect, but with far more definition and clarity than I could imagine! However, during this time and as I got closer to the stop, I remember thinking I would like to right this down so I don't forget. But immediately thinking I would forget it, but it was okay because the reassurance was given. If I could remember that eventually "I know by experience" all I've ever imagined or been shown, I had a true hope.

Now, mind you, you don't see details of that revelation because I forgot them! All of the cinematic lighting and the scene changes as if the editor had done his work and pieced together a five minute short-story, all of it is gone. I only know what I was told and what was shown and that is enough for now. Certainly I have moments where I really want to "go there" again, and by go there, I mean back to those days, weeks and months leading up to that moment. I especially want to return to that vision and that time. But for now, I live my life in the light of what's happening now. And pray that patience and longsuffering find me where I need to be when the time is right.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Thought for The Day - Tip of The Iceberg

Well they are almost gone; apparently the temperatures of the world have gotten to a point that the icebergs floating in climates that were cool to cold, have melted away. But the idea that a mound, or mountain of water, frozen for hundreds of years, floating around like a mobile mountain fascinated us! And the saying "it's just the tip of the iceberg" was apparently true. Though they were taller than most ships, what floated beneath the surface was far deeper and larger! Impressive, awesome and potentially deadly. Here's a thought: perhaps the world's water supply is "improved" with the melting of the glaciers. Maybe the minerals and elements stored there are released into the water and sea creatures have a fighting chance against man's greed. Just a thought.

"Tip of the Iceberg"... What lies beneath the surface is far more than meets the eye! You and I my friend! When you consider what lies beneath your surface, what comes to mind? What emotion, reasoning or attitude comes to mind? Do you imagine yourself as damaged, worthless, happy, joyous, introspective (which can be "good" or "bad") or outgoing? I recall years ago, a young lady declared in Sunday school class I taught: "I don't trust nobody!" She said it with such conviction and emotion, that immediately I felt there was far more to those four words. My fellow teacher said, "You have to trust someone; you can't live in this world without trusting people." Both were right in that moment, but here's my point: that young lady, in that moment, pulled up painful memories where an expectation wasn't met, a desire left unfulfilled by someone who should be in a position to meet. Isn't that our lives at any given time?

What is unseen defines what is seen. I quoted the song a few weeks ago and it bears repeating:

"Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream..."

My friend, we put a great deal of emphasis into what is visible and perhaps we should. But understand, what is seen springs from a world we don't perceive. Our thoughts, the very fabric of the universe is made of far more elements than our science world has yet to discover! Truthfully, it's not in the realm of science to define everything; some things have to be perceived through belief and faith. And no matter your relationship to the community of faith, one would be hard put to refute the many examples of "some thing coming out of nothing."

Be, my friend. Be.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Thought for The Day - It Just Sticks

 A lot of stuff doesn't make sense. Some things fall through and never make it under your radar. But there are those things, people, places and circumstances that never leave you. Even if you turn away for years, they come floating back to you. Example: I haven't been around the four legged beasts on a regular ever! I didn't grow up in the South, where my parents were born and we weren't rich or interested enough to do weekend trips to a horse ranch, where riding and/or lessons are available. But to this day, and quite at random, I can picture horses and feel that surge of excitement. Yesterday, out of the blue, I had a flash of the strong hip of a brown horse in my head and it was as if I were standing next to it!

Art. Watching my mother doodle a flower in a flower pot, drawn on the edge of a sheet of note paper,   talking on the phone; that is one of my strongest and earliest memories and one I attribute to my interest in rendering.

I was - no correction I am - shy; I'm prone to keep my opinion to myself and though I blog, I'm quite certain no one is interested in anything I say. But before the childhood dreams, before the answer was given to a sincere prayer ("Lord how can I return thanks for all you've done for me?" The response: "answer my call.") I was fascinated with "being heard." Always interested in things regarding the Bible, God, believing and matters of spirituality, and though I was as fascinated with cars, I could care less about the workings of the pistons and crankshaft underneath my car's hood! As long as it's running smoothly, not leaking oil or blowing too much smoke, I'm relatively happy. But speaking, listening, encouraging people to grow and realize what God has in store for them? I can stay on that for hours on end!

I don't know folks; I can't explain the many people who have come in and out of my life. I'm often surprised about the relationships that form and those that fall off. There is no particular rhyme or reason to it and yet, in my heart, the beat, the timbre is very familiar. But like knowing your lover's footsteps when you hear it or the giggle of your child, some facts just stick!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Thought for The Day - Thinking

Sailing on a Penny Sunset (in progress) 12 x 18 oil pastel

It's 4:45 am, and I'm thinking...

How much time will I get for exercise this morning?

Will I have enough time to do everything I need to do? I need more time in the gym, Is this really working? And this diet stuff, how did I gain all this weight in such a short time?

I would love to get a few more minutes a day drawing and painting! Squeezing in minutes while on the train is not enough! Too tired in the evening to give it a thought. But that's got to change!

It's 4:45 and I'm up considering the possibilities and bemoaning the present. It is said you aren't really living (effectively) if you don't live in the present. There are times I debate that 'cause there are times when "the moment" lacks a sense of joy. But there is nothing like time spent in front of a canvas. For now, the moments will be just that: minutes, in between running errands, cleaning and whatever else comes up. But I believe I've come too far to let this die.

Considering...more minutes, in between the tasks. Thinking about how to work on "this series" and "that." The thoughts about color choices, the amount of color or limiting the palette; all thoughts, all ideas.

Thinking, considering, tossing out and in, this and 4:45 am.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thought for The Day - Five More Minutes, Please?

Clutching the sheets and comforter, the sun, a distant light and also hidden behind its covers, I hold out for a few more minutes as the alarm goes off.

At the easel, brush loaded with orange and pressed against the canvas, a thought comes to mind: "I've got to pick up the clothes from the cleaners before they close!" And though I'm in the middle of important work, another, more pressing task interrupts it.

Listening to my adult daughter as she stomps across the floor above me, heels on as she prepares to jet off to home, I wish 21 years hadn't gone by so fast!

And we are always chasing after, too far behind, TIME!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Thought for The Day - Pushing

Elastic 18 x 24 pastel


Have to.

Can't stop because you've had enough or the car wont stop. You've got to push through and stay on top of your goals. I have been there, I have stopped. So many times and with enough excuses to fill a book. But you - and I - must keep going!

I want to tell my story, but the most important thing you need to know is I fight, I get knocked down, kicked around, but I get up. I guarantee your story is similar to mine. You've seen better and worse days and if you're brutally honest, you are certain life is unfair and the gold and silver is laid up for a lucky few. I know some people who are convinced that the "successful" are that way because they have sold their soul to the devil, or my favorite the Illuminati. Seriously?

Dig a little deeper, my friend. The next time you find yourself on your back, lie there for a bit, cry and bemoan your condition. But at some point, listen to the beat coming from your chest. That means you're not done yet. Get up and either try "it" again or determine another path. DON'T. GIVE. UP!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Thought for The Day - Good

"Shaken up" (in process) 8 x 11

I'm not doing great, but that's not bad; it's good. Sure I want to be great, wanted it all my life. I believe "greatness," an epic life is in my DNA, but I've done well, or "good." When I was skinny, I wasn't happy with who I was; I wanted big arms and legs like bodybuilders. But I could be good with the amount of push-ups I did and the amount of weight I lifted. When I gained weight and pounded on the pounds, I wasn't happy with my big gut, but was happy with the muscle gains. I still struggle with the weight and girth of my waist; as a matter of fact it's gotten worse. But I'm good.

I could be better when it comes to managing my "career," or whatever I do to earn money. But I'm good. I have a good job with a good salary and plenty of debt. But I'm good. I get to draw and paint; not as often or as much as I would like, but I get in a good amount of time and effort.

Trouble is, is "good" enough?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Thought for The Day - The Work

There is the "stuff" we do to support our habit and the stuff we do for love...

This is what I do for love.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Thought for The Day - It's Quiet for this time of the...





Realize, you are never alone.

I've always been one to consider, to contemplate and absorb. I can remember from very early childhood, watching a television show and realizing, if it was a drama or detective show, in the first five minutes, the premise of this episode would be revealed. If it was an hour long show, the next 50 minutes would be dedicated to revealing the twists, pitfalls and ultimately the resolution. Pretty much always.

Watching my mother prepare dinner - and now my wife - the timing is nearly the same: prepare it with enough time to eat, clean, sit down for a bit and prepare for the next day.

Taking time to examine details usually requires concentration. Not that you and I, in a pinch, can't figure things out in the heat of the moment, but usually we can't be distracted by twelve other things. We need a moment to reflect. And the best time to do so...

Is early in the morning, while the house is quiet and the traffic - in and out of the house is at a minimum.

When you're out walking. Perhaps you walk for exercise, or to see who's where in your neighborhood. You might walk to the bus or train or to work. But it's a great time to take in your surroundings and determine where you "are" in the grand scheme of life.

When you're driving. You may be one of those people who require silence when you're driving. I prefer to have music playing, but there are times when the silence works as well.

It's always quiet at this time of the _________ because in those moments, your thoughts turn inward. We are more prone to listen, to consider and to be aware that while we are one being in the universe, the very fact of existence is known because we are there to experience it.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Thought for The Day - Subterranean

The Phoenix 18 x 24 pastels

Years ago on one of our many trips to the South to visit my parents' relatives, we stayed with one of my father's aunts, living in Mississippi. The land was my father's family land, a sprawling bit of acreage used for farming and growing trees. The narrow road going up to the place will probably remain rough and grown over until one of 'us' decides to make something of the place.

My aunt "Callie" - not sure if that's her real name - lived in a two room home a distance from the spot where my father and his siblings were raised, and I had the impression the land was used by many family members over the years. The house was far from fancy; it was as basic as one would imagine. No electricity, no phone and no running water; if you needed to use the "facilities, there was a small outside "closet" with a door, if you know what I mean. And water? there was a large well in her front yard.

Thinking back on the place, that well comes to mind. Her home is long gone and amazingly, the last time I visited the land, my grandfather's smaller home was still standing. He also had a well in his front yard, though it has collapsed as well. But it was looking at this land through adult eyes that lead me to write this morning. Creeks run around the land, beside the spot where my grandfather's home stands and in other spots. Wells and creeks; water running beneath the surface of the land. Water, from sources we can't see, but someone had foresight to dig to find.

Sources we can't see.

Water, nourishment you have to dig to discover

Places, resources one doesn't "know" but upon digging, you find what's needed and desired...

There are resources for which we search. We dig around, we scrape about, looking, longing and needing.

And one day you find exactly what you're looking for, but in the most unlikely places.

If not for the effort, the searching, what's needed would go undiscovered...