Henry Miller said that.
Henry Miller was an American writer. And also, apparently, a painter. There’s a whole book about it which you can find on Amazon, if you’re so inclined. But this is a secondary point to today’s blog. To the first, new blog on this first, new website, in fact. (I’m so progressive…if a few years behind).
The primary point of today’s blog is that I suddenly find myself obsessed with painting, with creating hang-able (let’s pretend that’s a word) works of art that I then proudly display on the walls of my home. I have no idea where this urge to paint has come from, this compulsive need to see the world in yet another new light, but I’ve embraced it. What else would you do? It’s therapeutic, it’s an act of creation, it’s also a very handy way (sometimes) to recycle and re-purpose items that would otherwise be thrown away: postcards, grocery lists, pamphlets, magazines, etc. I’m not just painting, suddenly, you see…I’m also collaging. (Let’s pretend that’s a word, too).
One man’s trash is also that man’s treasure, it turns out.
And I find that a fitting metaphor for where I currently find myself, back home, after having been abroad for a couple of weeks. Sort of falling in line with that comic strip meme I saw on Facebook awhile back: Two men stand looking at the same object, lying on the ground, a number. One sees a 6, the other a 9, and they both stand there arguing that it’s only one or the other. But there’s a fundamental issue they seem to overlook, and it might be the most important part of each argument. The fact that it is still a number. First and foremost.
Eye of the beholder, and all that, right? Maybe. But starting with the basics is the only way to teach us how to truly see the world we’re living in. The world that it seems we’re also losing, day by day. I mean: Who cares if it’s a 6 or a 9; what it is, as a number, is the crucial idea, is its purpose and function.
That thought there — about function, purpose, about the world, about losing it — that’s what I think has taken hold in my mind, my soul, my…what I call, blood root. That’s why I didn’t throw away our road map of Scotland after the trip, or the Fringe flyers from the theatre festival, or the too-many receipts. They were just as necessary to keep as the photos we took. I just had to think about how I wanted them to be kept, how I wanted not just for me to look at them, but others. How I wanted to them to see and be seen.
Below is what I did. The painting entitled SHOT GUN. I threw in a few other paintings I’ve been allowing myself to create, for good measure. It doesn’t matter if they’re good or not–they are something that wasn’t in the world before and now they are.
That’s what makes it matter.