Building a meaningful life


When I create a successful painting, it reminds me of building a meaningful life. Maybe that sounds strange, but there are some parallels.

As with life, when I’m working with paint on a canvas, a lot of experimentation occurs. One idea might shine, once expressed, while another can flop. I often go over and over a painting, making changes continuously, until I get things right.

Nothing stands alone in a painting, even if it appears to. Everything is relational. Different colors bounce off of the canvas based on the colors they are next to, shapes are highlighted or subdued based on whether or not you put a square next to circle, or a  more similar shape, that has soft edges next to it.


This piece still has a long way to go. Light and dark must be utilized to make certain parts of the painting stand out, while others recede.

You’d think that yellow is yellow, regardless of what it’s next to. But if you hold up strips of painted paper, next to one another, is seems to shift magically.

When part of a painting is changed, as I have done with this owl(numerous times…), other aspects of the piece must be changed, too, to enhance what has been altered. To create something that works as a cohesive whole.

It’s like a dance. Add more color to one area, gray another. Sharpen the edges of one shape, while softening the edges of another. Deciding where the focus should be. On the face? The wings? The eyes? Painting in a way that draws your attention to the area that you wish to be central to the entire piece.

Can you see the parallels? Or am I being too obtuse. Aren’t we always working in this way with our lives?

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