Sunday, January 11, 2009

Watching paint dry

Some of the best time to run off and do some yoga...drop a random blog post. Etc. I'm sitting in the midst of about three pieces of work all of which are drying. Slowly. (c:

It's days like these when I really wish I had my studio-but it does give my bedroom a nice vibe. Makes it hard to sleep though when you've got all your work around you, waiting to be finished.

The latest news: I'm going to be hanging some of this work (as soon as it's done. ahem.) at Black Dog Coffee Shop near my house, good stuff. It will be nice to get the work out in the open again. I haven't had a show in a bit and I'm really looking forward to it. This particular month is going to be a collective showing of four different artists including me but then I get my own solo showing in July. I have plenty of time to prepare for that at least. I'm excited about the possibilities.

I began reading a series called The Hinges of History written by Thomas Cahill. I really love his writing voice, it's not just conversational, but really passionate. And he's a non-fiction writer so I'm learning stuff. I just started "How the Irish Saved Civilization" which is both funny and packed quite to the brim with interesting perspectives and information.

I have been craving historical and philosophical books lately. I don't know what brought it about but it seems to be going hand in hand with my drive to really create. I've been on a roll the past few days. It's a little bittersweet-I tend to feel somewhat like Charlie in Flowers for Algernon-you enjoy the ride of productivity and the feeling of being connected and all that and yet sometimes I feel like I can feel the end coming. Not that it's really a bad thing-if i were always pushed to the fullest degree creatively I'd probably explode. There has to be time to collect and gather your thoughts and get into the mindset. It's a process all by itself just to get to the phase where creativity becomes possible.

There are other books in the Hinges of History series-to get back to what I was originally talking about-one of which I read in college and really loved. It's called "Sailing the Wine Dark Sea" and it's about the history of the Greeks. I've always had a really strong passion for that particular culture-partly because our culture has glorified their past and their accomplishments and partly because they really were just that cool.

I would like to work my way through all of the books in the series-though I'm going to be contending with own my distraction level-a friend just lent me the book "The Fabric of Time" which is all about physics and String Theory-which I quite blissfully know nothing about and am excited to learn. I was the kid in school they said wasn't allowed to take physics because I was bad in math-too bad they never figured out that there's a huge difference between applied mathematics and regular old stupid math. (c: I'm getting my chance now though and I'm looking forward to it. I'm hoping the writing is well done and not so overly technical that I can't see the light of day.

I'm on the hunt for another part time job. I got hired supposedly at this shop but I haven't gotten a start date yet and frankly I need the money so whatever. I'm moving on. They can do as they please. We'll see what tomorrow brings. I'm going job hunting early on and then in to work and then off to teach and then I don't know what. Probably back here to harass my poor canvases some more. I've got one that's done, one that's looking really cool and two that are crying for help. I may have just overworked this one to death but there are tricks around having way too much paint on the canvas. Hello brush cleaner. It's brutal but it works.

I saw a beautiful and interesting movie the other day called A Christmas Tale. But it was in French. Great film. There was a specific quote that they were reading that has been poking in the back of my skull. The friend I went to see the movie with looked it up online after much digging-it seems appropriate given the conversations on Tim's blog, the train track that I am currently on and the general hum of esoteric ennui that has been hanging around some specific friends and acquaintances of mine lately:

We are unknown to ourselves, we men of knowledge—and with good reason. We have never sought ourselves—how could it happen that we should ever find ourselves? It has rightly been said: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" [Matthew 6:21]; our treasure is where the beehives of our knowledge are. We are constantly making for them, being by nature winged creatures and honey-gatherers of the spirit; there is one thing alone we really care about from the heart—"bringing something home." Whatever else there is in life, so-called "experiences"—which of us has sufficient earnestness for them? Or sufficient time? Present experience has, I am afraid, always found us "absent-minded": we cannot give our hearts to it—not even our ears! Rather, as one divinely preoccupied and immersed in himself into whose ear the bell has just boomed with all its strength the twelve beats of noon suddenly starts up and asks himself: "what really was that which just struck?" so we sometimes rub our ears afterward and ask, utterly surprised and disconcerted, "what really was that which we have just experienced?" and moreover: "who are we really?" and, afterward as aforesaid, count the twelve trembling bell-strokes of our experience, our life, our being—and alas! miscount them.—So we are necessarily strangers to ourselves, we do not comprehend ourselves, we have to misunderstand ourselves, for us the law "Each is furthest from himself" applies to all eternity—we are not "men of knowledge" with respect to ourselves.

It's long but I liked it overall. I don't know where it came from yet-that's the next bit of the search. It was from a German text-I noticed that when they panned the camera towards the book he was reading from-so assuming the movie was telling the truth I should be able to look it up and get an author. I read Plato again for the first time in a long time-actually tucked in between the pages of Irish History, Cahill's book discusses the fall of Rome and how it was relavant in shaping the history of what would become "Unholy Ireland" as he words it. He mentions Plato in that whole mess of history-discussing what would be lost with the coming of the Dark/Middle Ages. I'll be posting more of the book later on as I get farther in-his wording deserves to be shared.

That's all for now it seems. I need to think about getting prepared for tomorrow and cleaning up some of this mess. I'm doing good to have space for my laptop and me on the floor right now.


Steve Malley said...

'Hello brush cleaner' made me smile. Reminded me of my painting teacher, who hated to give a bad crit. Instead he'd suggest we 'rework the forms'.

As in, 'Maybe if you gessoed over the canvas and reworked the forms...'

Lisa said...

Be careful of the fumes!

We are so in sync on some level that I'm almost afraid. Here's why:

1. Today I was thinking about FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON because of one of the books I recently read (PUSH). The illiterate girl who slowly starts to learn and figure it out made me think of Charly.

2. I bought these DVD series of lectures called "The Great Ideas of Philosophy". It's a total of 60 lectures that are 30 minutes each and Scott and I have been watching them together. Last night we watched lectures on Herodotus and Socrates. (Note: lest you think we're getting too serious, we spent the rest of the night inventing Greek philosophers named things like Testicules and Vaginucus). I also have another series of lectures on the existentialists that I've been watching on my own after Scott goes to sleep.

That -- in addition to starting the second book from IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME have me feeling a little like John Travolta in that movie, "Phenomenon" where he suddenly gets this insatiable thirst for knowledge (oh, except I'm not a genius or anything). I sort of feel like something is happening but that it probably won't last.

Weird, huh?

steve said...

I've been reading, or rather listening to a lot of history and philosophy. The Modern Scholar series has an excellent course on the decline of Rome, which is very enlightening. Some of the Modern Scholar courses are available frm Barnes and Noble under the Portable Professor series, but they're phasing them out.

Most recently I've been listening to "Worlds at War: the 2500 Year Struggle Between East and West," by Anthony Pagden. For Pagden, Japan and even China are part of the West. He begins with the legendary Trojan War, through the conflicts between Persia and the Greeks, and later the Romans, through the Crusades and into modern times. I've gotten into the early 19th century so far.

Unfortunately Pagden's anti-religious prejudice, which he admits in the introduction, colors much of his narrative. It's definitely worth reading, but I'm glad I listened to the Modern Scholar courses, which take different viewpoints.