In posting my paintings on Wednesdays over the past few weeks, poking through my old sketchbooks has been like running into old friends unexpectedly.  Some are harder to look at than others but I like them all.    Like Rorschach’s famous inkblots, they provide a glimpse of what was going on in my head as I painted them.  This one started with a wash in shades of gray.  I then dabbed brush fulls of grays and touches of red onto the wet paper and allowed the paint to spread where it would.  India ink from a drawing pen and metallic red from a paint pen were added once the watercolors had dried.  Gray was painted on August 1, 2010, probably in the park.  My Dad had passed away in July after hanging on bravely for quite a while.  It wasn’t the best of times but in writing his eulogy with my brother, I had a chance to look fondly back on Dad’s life, to appreciate what he’d taught me and chuckle at his peccadilloes.  I think Gray was my way of saying that even on the grayest of days, there are bright places if I look for them.

Gray - watercolor, India ink and paint pen

Six months before I painted Gray, I posted about Dennis Prager’s notion of the Missing Tile Syndrome, which he wrote about in his book, Happiness is Serious Business.  Someone who has the Missing Tile Syndrome can walk into a cathedral with a stunning mosaic ceiling  and notice the one missing tile tucked away in a corner.  The glass is always 5% empty, not almost full.  Every silver lining has a big gray cloud.  But I know people who consistently see some good in the worst situations.  These people are remarkable to be around.  They are not always happy … on the contrary, they can allow themselves to feel their sadness fully because their ability to see the points of light keeps them from being swallowed by it.  But there is an ease about them that I envy.  My sponsor, Don, and his wife are people like that.   It doesn’t come naturally to me.   I asked Don about it a long time ago and he told me that at first it takes conscious effort, especially in difficult times, but it gradually becomes habit.   I’m not there yet but my painting says I’m trying.

How about you?   Missing tiles or points of light?

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4 Comments on “Gray”

  1. Seriously, you are so freaking talented when it come to writing and painting.

  2. cherperz Says:

    Yes, indeedy, you are a true artist. I just love your paintings.

    I am one of those people that even if I am “saddish” I can always find a postitive side. I won’t bore you with the details but I had a horrific something happen early in my life and I had to always think of it in terms that “this too shall pass”…I will get through this.

    Therefore it really doesn’t matter what shit comes my way…I can even be sad or mad…but I am always confident that I will come out on the other side. With me it isn’t that the glass is 5% empty…maybe the glass is 65% empty, maybe even 99% empty for today but in a few days I will be back to the glass being 100% full again.

    A counselor told me once…there are two ways to come out of a truly terrible experience… As a person that survives, sometime even thrives or a person that is detroyed.

    • oldereyes Says:

      I think I know I’m going to make it through whatever happens, too, but I have trouble keeping my chin up. I, too, use This Too Shall Pass a lot. The way I heard it is “What you survive defines you.”

      I’m glad you like my work. It’s been fun showing it to people after keeping it on a shelf in my closet for years.

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