Thursday, 26 May 2011

LIfe Is Full Of Hard Knocks

I so often see anxious parents, anxious about so many things that might happen to their offspring in this harsh world. I watched a mother and child yesterday as I walked down towards the village, the child beside her was wearing a harness to which the mother had a firm grip. Also, around the child’s wrist there was strap, the other end attached likewise to the wrist of the mother.  Gone are the days when holding on to the child’s hand was enough.  

I can fully understand the need for care but I sometimes wonder if we have just maybe become so anxious that we have gone too far the other way.

This makes me think of a recent programme I watched about the birth of a giraffe.

Bringing a giraffe into the world is a tall order. A baby giraffe falls 10 feet from its mother’s womb and usually lands on its back. Within seconds it rolls over and tucks its legs under its body. From this position it considers the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the birthing fluid from its eyes and ears. Then the mother giraffe rudely introduces its offspring to the reality of life.

The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for about a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing. She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, so that it is sent sprawling head over heels.

When it doesn’t get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is momentous. As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs.
Then the mother giraffe does the most remarkable thing. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas, leopards, and wild hunting dogs all enjoy young giraffes, and they’d get it too, if the mother didn’t teach her calf to get up quickly and get with it.

When you look at the lives of some of the great artists and the hero’s of history you notice they have two things in common. Firstly they have a burning ambition and need to achieve. Secondly they all have a hard time in arriving at the point where they can claim to have possibly fulfilled the dream.

   
They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified, and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people. And at the end of their lives they’ve accomplished some modest part of what they set out to do.

In this blog I have often kept returning to the idea of dreams and hopes . I have many such hopes and dreams as you are aware. I just hope that one day I like them will feel I have gone some way to accomplishing them.

My other blog has a short poem on this theme with my latest abstract artwork based around this idea of dreams and hopes, and journeys.

One day I hope to get back from the constant desire to paint abstract.

This blog is linked to my other.  Summer Dreams - The Journey.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Oh To Be Perfect.

Have you ever heard of the, you could have done better syndrome?  I heard of it from a very early age in life. My mother was one of those people who, no matter how well a thing was done it was never quiet good enough. She was also one who was never slow to let you know. I remember a school test. I had worked really hard to prepare for it, more than I could remember having prepared for any other test in school. On the day of the test I felt well prepared as I sat down to look at the test paper. I completed all the questions well within the set time and handed in the completed paper.

The next day the teacher handed them back out, marked and scored. I had done very well having only got two questions not completely correct. It turned out that I was second top from a class of 32. I went home proudly holding my test paper to show my parents. My mother looked at it and noted I had been second in the class. “What happened that you did not manage to come first?” This is my first remembrance of the, “you could do better syndrome.”  Did it make me better? The answer to that question is simply this. I am not at all sure. What it did do though was to set in motion, “The I can do better driver.” This driver I have carried through my whole life.

So it was some surprise that I read the blog of Bonnie Heather this morning to discover my face staring from it and some very complimentary words. I find such praise very difficult and yet when artists who produce work such as she and others make comment on my work I feel very humbled and inspired.

This reminds me of the story of the man who had never married. One day his best friend asked him why he had never met somebody and settled down. He told his friend that he had wanted very much to do just that. He had looked and looked for the perfect girl. “You never found her?” asked his friend. “Yes I did,” he replied. He went on to tell his friend how he had met the perfect girl. She was perfectly beautiful and perfectly talented loving and caring. She would have made the perfect wife. “So why did you not marry her?” asked his friend. “Because she was looking for the perfect man.”

I think it is a bit late for me to learn the lesson I should have learned years ago but I have learned this. I never ever tell somebody that what they have achieved and are proud of is not the best. I strive to always encourage and inspire.

Thank you to all of you, who like Bonnie Heather, inspire me to keep on striving to reach that goal of being an artist. 

This blog is linked to my other.  The Summer Knows

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Spider.

I watched a spider working on the repair of its web. It worked without stopping repairing the broken strands caused by the unexpected heavy shower of rain. We see these webs so often and they go unnoticed as we hurry past. In the early hours when there is frost in the air or the touch of summer dew, they sparkle like wondrous works of art capturing the eye. Such beauty, and yet also the instruments of death for the unsuspecting fly caught in them.

Life is full of traps that beckon us into their lairs. I am sure I need not labour this point we all are aware of the little traps we get caught in. This morning for me it was the lair of sloth. I got up early ready to run but for one reason or another I never got over the front door.

There is a lovely story about spiders. Spiders are usually born on the lower branches of bushes or trees. Some for one reason or another decide to stay right there in the lower branches where, when old enough they leave the web of their parents and move over to another corner and build their own web. There is the safety they catch the odd fly and have enough on which to life, not fat a full but they get by. Others decide to climb to the higher branches and build their webs on the exposed branches of the trees and bushes. These are the webs that get torn and battered by wind and rain. They are also the webs that are up there where most of the flies are, so the captures they make a re more frequent. In turn these spiders eat better, are stronger and bigger.

One day one such spider met a very small young spider on the branch of a bush. The young spider looked at the big one in awe. The large spider asked what the youngster was looking at. “Your size,” said the youngster.  “Ah ,” said the large spider. The large spider went on to explain that some spider chose to stay safe in the dark lower branches while others decided to struggle to the top. At the top the work was hard but the rewards were plenty.

“So , you see,” said the large spider, “You can look up in jealousy from place of safety or you can work hard and build castles in the sky.”

It is a bit like painting really. You can potter about with the things you feel comfortable with or you can strike out and try things new and make art to delight the heart.

This blog is linked to my other.  Winter is Not The End

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Old Man and The Artist


I have had little time for painting recently and am now feeling bad that I seem to have less time for blogging also. What with the large garden plot my running and so many other things I allow to crowd my life. My garden is looking good and I am happy about that. I am so looking forward to being able to harvest some of the vegetables. I am running well at the present and enjoying walking.

I have been waking up in the middle of the night and hearing music in my head and seeing pictures so maybe my brain is telling me it is time to return to the paints. I sold two paintings last week, ones I thought I had sold previously but had not. The same person who approached me before and asked me to mark them has sold has come back to me and asked if I still have them, so it looks good.

Once again though the message is the same. It is not possible to do all the things you would like to, and more importantly do them all well.  This reminds me of a true story.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was once approached by an elderly man. The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed potential talent.
Rossetti looked them over carefully. After the first few, he knew that they were worthless, showing not the least sign of artistic talent. But Rossetti was a kind man, and he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man. The visitor was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti’s judgment.
He then apologized for taking up Rossetti’s time, but would he just look at a few more drawings – these done by a young art student? Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthusiastic over the talent they revealed. “These,” he said, “oh, these are good. This young student has great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement in his career as an artist. He has a great future if he will work hard and stick to it.”
Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved. “Who is this fine young artist?” he asked. “Your son?” “No,” said the old man sadly. “It is me – 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got discouraged and gave up – too soon.”

Yes it is time for me to get back to the painting. If not who knows what might happen and I do have a few spaces waiting for new works.

This blog is linked to my other.   Two Paintings I Hope Are Now Sold.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

It Can Work Wonders


It Can Work Wonders.

It costs not a thing
But it can give so much.
It fills the life of the receiver.
Without the giver losing
It but just a moment takes
But will linger in the thoughts for years.

The richest person .
Gets richer yet when it is given.
                                              The poorest gets no poorer
By  giving to the rich.

It creates happiness in the home.
In the place of work it brings goodwill.
It brings rest to the weary.
It cheers the person feeling low.

It is like a touch of sunshine on a gloomy day.
Bringing joy to the most sad.
It does all this and even more
And not just once,
 but on and on.

It cannot be bought.
The beggar cannot claim it.
The owner cannot give on loan
Nor can the thief take in the dead of night

It has no value due or worth
Until the giver gives.
There are those who know not how to give.
The ones who need it most.
So as the day goes slowly on.
Give them one of yours.
As none has more need than one who has none to give.

Today I plead to you
To give a smile to all you see.


I am somehow in that frame of mind where paint is coming hard and my head is full of thoughts and words. I apologise therefore that this blog and my other now has verse on each on the same day. 


This blog is linked to my other.  Gone But Still Around

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Gone But Still Around


I have been away for another few days in my caravan. While away I did much of the usual things I do. I ran every morning over new places and hills I had never been before. I got lost one day but it was interesting seeing where I was going to end up. I walked a great deal also and had some very interesting walks, where I encountered birds that I do not see where I come from and the odd snake.  I cycled. So all in all, a very interesting time.

I managed to take some good pictures that I hope will inspire later paintings.

One of the great things about new places is that it also means meeting new people. Some are very friendly, others less so.  On the site where I had my caravan there was an old lad in a caravan close to me. He was a very friendly sort. He sat outside his van and tried to make conversation with most of the people who passed.

I was walking through the site one of the days and overheard a conversation. I heard a young man comment on the old lad. I heard him call him, “an interfering old bugger.” I just could not resist. Before I could stop myself I turned and said, “He is a man nearing his later years who wants to be friendly, and for all you know he may well have led a much more interesting life than you ever will.”

The man who had spoken looked at me, “you the man who runs every morning, are you not?”

I told him I was. He said he thought it was amazing that somebody of my age ran every day. I looked at him and smiled, as he took another puff from his cigarette. I laughed, “Do you think you will be at my age?” I asked.

I have said it often before on this blog, but I say it again. Old age is one thing we can never avoid. It might be wise to consider how we would hope to be seen when it arrives at our doorstep. Maybe then we will see those who have already arrived in a new light.

Oh just for a little smile, the old lad it turns out was ten years younger than me.


I hope the thoughts in this blog help to make understanding of the poem based around the pictures on this on my other blog.