Thursday, September 3, 2009


I painted this two weeks ago, it's very small. I have nine or ten other paintings waiting to be scanned or photographed. I have become slightly reclusive, but I don't feel guilty about it. Time alone can be very therapeutic. I see my friends and enjoy the outside world, but on my own terms.

When I was 18 I went to San Francisco to study art, I was ahead of many of my classmates. Like my hero Balthus(it rhymes with recluse), I began painting and drawing as a very young child. It's the best training you can have, to learn to draw as you are learning everything else is a gift. I am thankful for it, art is intertwined with everything I have ever known. So, I pleaded with the school to let me skip the preliminary courses but, we never saw eye to eye. They argued that they were foundation classes, and I argued that they were a waste of my money! Needless to say they won, and I got A's with no effort. I was able to complete my assignments quickly, I used all of that free time exploring the city; climbing fire escapes, sneaking into hotels, running from crackheads, looking for the best views, using the neighboring apartment complexes heated pool, and just having the perfect time.

Now, it seems that I get a surge of energy at night, especially on the weekends. Maybe I am more nocturnal than reclusive, so often they seem to go hand in hand. I could use that energy to go out at night and party, and I do. However, more often than not I give into the urge to devote myself to the process of painting. It's more fulfilling than anything else I could do. I feel that there are secrets to attain, ideas to discover, magic waiting to happen, ideas wanting to come to fruition, and just so much more to learn.

I recently read Bathus' memoir. It was written before this death, and published after. This was done at his request. He is another famous recluse, he was rarely photographed and never gave interviews. He resisted any attempts at creating a biography, at his retrospective at Tate Modern he simply stated "Balthus is a painter of whom very little is known," Knowing how much he prized silence makes me deeply thankful for his words, they have been inspiring and comforting. When I read them I feel like I am reading the letters of a friend whose ideas and philosophies are the same as mine. Often a chapter starts in the middle of a thought. He discusses his painting rituals and a fear of dying before his work can be completed. I understand that and internalize it, I cannot put off what demands to be done. It would be wrong to. I am a servant of painting, painting does not serve me. Painting will continue if I don't, and it must be ritually seized.

So, with this comes a process of reconciliation. A balancing act. Having the right energy at the right time, acting when the idea strikes, and choosing not to become a recluse and not to feel guilty.

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