<table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tr> <td><font color="#FFFFFF"> <script src="/js/jquery.infinitescroll.min.js"></script> <script src="/js/imagesloaded.pkgd.min.js"></script> <style> .encloser { text-align: left; width: 100%; margin: 0 auto; display: table-cell; vertical-align: top; padding-right: 15px; padding-left: 15px; font-size: 1.0rem; box-sizing: border-box; } .rightArchive { text-align: left; width: 100px; margin: 0 auto; display: table-cell; vertical-align: top; font-size: 0.8rem; padding-top: 10px; padding-left: 15px; top: 80px; border-left: 1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .33); } .encloser table { margin-right: -10px; margin-left: -10px; } .encloser th { text-align: left; } .encloser td { text-align: left; padding: 0 10px 3px; } .encloser Xtd:first-of-type{ padding-left: 0; } .encloser Xtd:last-of-type{ padding-right: 0; } .encloser figcaption { margin: -1px 0 1px 0; font-size: 0.9rem; opacity: 0.8; font-style: italic; text-align: left; } } .encloser article 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margin: 0 auto; padding-left: 0; padding-right: 0; width: 100% !important; } .encloser td:first-of-type{ padding-left: 0; padding-right: 0; } .encloser td:last-of-type{ padding-left: 0; padding-right: 0; } .contentPageDiv img { max-width:100% !important; height: auto !important; } } </style> <div> <div class="encloser alignLeft" id="encloser"> <!-- Blog Name and subscribe --> <div> <div class="tableCellDisplay"><h1>&quot;Love is short, life is long&quot; blog by Patrick</h1></div> </div> <div id="articles"> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1396" target="_top">Wit and its lack</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 26, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>I've always had an interest in examining the meaning and essence of humor. &nbsp;As a student I decided that one of my lifetime quests would be to understand why we laugh. &nbsp;I'm still trying to figure it out. &nbsp;It still puzzles me. &nbsp;I've read a lot about it, and discussed it with my friends, but am no closer to fully comprehending it.&nbsp;</p> <p>I came across a few items yesterday. &nbsp;They've been around for a long time. &nbsp;The problem of answering a question under oath with a simple yes or no. &nbsp;How it can't be satisfactorily done.</p> <p>An old example is this: "Have you stopped beating your wife?" &nbsp;I recall that my father spoke of this one. &nbsp;But also how on another occasion I pointed out that using violence against women was no longer a laughing matter. &nbsp;After a second or two, he agreed. &nbsp;</p> <p>But the question remains relevant. &nbsp;It can't be answered without causing great confusion, and misleading consequences. &nbsp;</p> <p>A newer illustration of the same problem is this question: "Do you hide your pornography collection when guests come over?" &nbsp;</p> <p>Even as I type this I'm laughing. &nbsp;I picture a man squirming&nbsp;on the witness stand being grilled by a prosecutor. &nbsp;It can't be answered with a yes or no without blushing.&nbsp;</p> <p>Then I read about an earlier situation of the same sort, which is also funny. &nbsp;It's when a doctor was required under oath to answer truthfully either yes or no. &nbsp;</p> <p>"Was he your patient?"&nbsp;</p> <p>"Yes."&nbsp;</p> <p>"Did he die?" &nbsp;</p> <p>"Yes." &nbsp;</p> <p>"Thank you, that is all. &nbsp;No further questions."<br></p> <p>Apparently this was an&nbsp;actual&nbsp;incident, and led to the doctor losing his practice. &nbsp;In any case, it is kind of amusing. &nbsp;There must be others. &nbsp;Probably used&nbsp;in law schools.&nbsp;</p><p>(Some other questions can never be answered with a yes: "Are you asleep?")&nbsp;</p> <p>But why exactly are these examples funny? &nbsp;I guess it has something to do with the contrast between pure logic and life itself. &nbsp;How nuances, and shades of gray, must necessarily exist for humanity. &nbsp;Comedy appears when we try to be too literal, too rigid, in our thinking. &nbsp;It must drive researchers in the field of artificial intelligence crazy. &nbsp;</p> <p>Robots are strangely&nbsp;comical. &nbsp;Even frightening ones, like in "The Terminator" movie. &nbsp;We're always on the verge of laughing. &nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1395" target="_top">The ever new</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 25, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>Still reading the diary of a famous Parisian art dealer: Rene Gimpel. &nbsp;He writes about&nbsp;that fertile period between the World Wars. &nbsp;</p> <p>I've known people who wish they were born in a different place during a different time. &nbsp;They mean in the past. &nbsp;They dream of Paris at the beginning of last century, or New York in the 1940's or even 1980's, London, Berlin,&nbsp;or California during some previous decade. &nbsp;</p> <p>One of my most intelligent friends, a real art collector,&nbsp;pointing to the beginning of his driveway,&nbsp;said&nbsp;"the twentieth century stops here!"</p> <p>Not for&nbsp;me. &nbsp;I have no interest in being transported back. &nbsp;Or even forward. &nbsp;I enjoy studying these historical epochs, though. &nbsp;</p> <p>It's amusing to see how the dealer is flabbergasted at "modern" painting. &nbsp;All of his refined&nbsp;knowledge -- which he mistakes for complete understanding of the essence of art --&nbsp;is rooted in the years leading&nbsp;up to the appearance of Matisse and Picasso. &nbsp;Cubism enrages him. &nbsp;Even if he senses&nbsp;that he can't stop its disruptive success. &nbsp;This irrepressible&nbsp;emergence of The&nbsp;New stuns him. &nbsp;</p> <p>But painters can do, and will do, as they like. &nbsp;They might be nostalgic to the point where they can't let go of the achievements of the past and end up making pieces that fit in with those works. &nbsp;It's their prerogative. &nbsp;Maybe they think, well, what does it matter? &nbsp;In 200 years people won't be able to see the difference. &nbsp;</p> <p>On the other hand, as someone wrote, "either you're a revolutionary or a plagiarist." &nbsp;Actually, most artists are a little of both. &nbsp;For much of their lives. &nbsp;</p> <p>But it does take some balls to push&nbsp;into the outer&nbsp;unknown world, while simultaneously penetrating&nbsp;the deeper layers of the inner self, and make something from&nbsp;this sustained&nbsp;activity. &nbsp;</p> <p>Not that easy. &nbsp;Not for everyone. &nbsp;</p> <p>Either artists&nbsp;overrate the past and underrate the present, or vice versa. &nbsp;Almost no one gets it right.</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1394" target="_top">Painting and preconceptions</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 24, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>The last few paintings I've made are some of my best, if by best I mean some of my most personal<em class="redactor-inline-converted">.</em>&nbsp; But I may not be seeing them right. &nbsp;Seeing them as they are in themselves. &nbsp;This is the point of art.</p> <p>I can't expect others to get what I'm trying to do. &nbsp;They aren't able to read my mind, my motivations. &nbsp;Especially by only looking at an isolated painting. &nbsp;But that will be what many&nbsp;are faced with, presently, and in the future. &nbsp;</p> <p>I've known artists who explain to me what each work means. &nbsp;But what if I'm not there to hear it? &nbsp;Does the work reveal its value anyway? &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Yesterday at a junk store&nbsp;I bought a ceramic vase. &nbsp;For a buck. &nbsp;It's hand-thrown, not cast. &nbsp;Made by a skilled potter. &nbsp;Unsigned. &nbsp;Beautifully glazed and formed. &nbsp;Not old. &nbsp;With a firing crack on the base. &nbsp;Otherwise perfect. &nbsp;</p> <p>Who made it? &nbsp;I don't know, and never will know. &nbsp;I like its anonymity. &nbsp;Modern paintings are always signed, and make&nbsp;it possible to track down the painter. &nbsp;Possibly even hundreds of years later. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>But Michelangelo never signed anything except for a single sculpture&nbsp;when he was in his youth. &nbsp;He considered it insulting. &nbsp;As if the&nbsp;style wasn't enough to determine its creator. &nbsp;As if it could have possibly been made by anyone but him.&nbsp;</p> <p>Michelangelo realized that he was inimitable. &nbsp;No one could possibly copy him. &nbsp;His art was as unique as himself. &nbsp;This, to me, is the ultimate sign of artistic greatness. &nbsp;</p> <p>Artists would do well to ask themselves what permanently separates them from others? &nbsp;What is it about their art&nbsp;that can never be reproduced? &nbsp;What is it about their work that&nbsp;is never mistaken for someone else? &nbsp;</p> <p>The property&nbsp;in their painting that rises above all tendencies to compare it with something else.&nbsp;That destroys every trace of <em>likeness</em>. &nbsp;Comparisons are indeed odious.</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1392" target="_top">Old unhappy painters</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 23, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>I began reading the newest book I bought. &nbsp;It's a breezy, anecdote-laden work. &nbsp;I race through it too quickly, and have to put it aside for a bit. &nbsp;The most memorable parts were the art dealer's visits to Impressionist giants' studios: Renoir and Monet.&nbsp;</p> <p>Renoir turns out to be a ghost of himself, but still having all his marbles. &nbsp;The body falls to pieces but the last to go is the fire in the eyes. &nbsp;Monet is better, and about the same age: 78. &nbsp;Two years older than me. &nbsp;But the comparisons end there. &nbsp;Except for one thing.&nbsp; Monet says he is "unhappy, very unhappy."</p> <p>Why? &nbsp;Because&nbsp;painting makes him suffer terribly. &nbsp;He starts a new painting with the highest &nbsp;hopes, bent on making&nbsp;a masterpiece, but it's nearly impossible. &nbsp;Over and over. &nbsp;Nothing but the worst kind of depression.&nbsp;</p> <p>I was&nbsp;surprised and pleased to hear of this condition. &nbsp;I'm not the only one who is mired in such a plight. &nbsp;I've often felt Monet's influence in my life and work, even though our styles couldn't be more dissimilar. &nbsp;Actually, I once made a copy of a Monet landscape for an antique dealer. &nbsp;It was the only time I ever did something so absurd. &nbsp;But I was broke. &nbsp;It ended up looking almost exactly like a Monet. &nbsp;The antique store owner always referred to me afterward as Patrick Monet. &nbsp;Kind of dumb. &nbsp;That woman.</p> <p>Yeah, it's easy to copy but hard to create. &nbsp;</p> <p>I also like how the artists of that time often deride so much&nbsp;of their work as trash. &nbsp;How they kick holes in their&nbsp;canvases, or&nbsp;slash them to ribbons. &nbsp;How they wish they could get them all back and repaint them, or throw them in the fire. &nbsp;</p> <p>These attitudes resonate with me. &nbsp;Endlessly crushing disapproval of themselves. &nbsp;With no one to blame except their own incompetence. &nbsp;Where are those painters&nbsp;today? &nbsp;I don't see them.</p> <p>As for the art dealer, he's a horse of a different color. &nbsp;Another thing that I've noticed in my own life. &nbsp;Those who sell or buy&nbsp;art are utterly unlike those who make it. &nbsp;Black and white, night and day. &nbsp;There's no real understanding between them. &nbsp;</p> <p> I'm prepared to say that the artists understand the non-artists better than the non-artists understand the artists. &nbsp;I was once a non-artist, but most non-artists remain that and nothing else.</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1385" target="_top">intermezzo</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 22, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>Hector is making four new large&nbsp;supports for my next paintings. &nbsp;So I have a few hours to kill, even though I prepared a small one on my own&nbsp;for today. &nbsp;</p> <p>When this happens I usually poke around the studio making small repairs here and there. &nbsp;Patching a wall, organizing my tools, straightening up my book shelves, etc. &nbsp;</p> <p>And often go to a nearby&nbsp;thrift store in Boyle Heights. &nbsp;It has a good selection of used books, and I bought two yesterday. &nbsp;I like how they just appear there, as if they're waiting for me. &nbsp;One&nbsp;&nbsp;is titled "Japanese Design Motifs." &nbsp;A thick, long book. &nbsp;$1.50. &nbsp;It contains hundreds of black and white line drawings of Japanese family crests. &nbsp;A real treasure for me, just when I was running out of patterns for my silkscreens. &nbsp;I can choose one of these motifs, a more universal&nbsp;&nbsp;one, and scan it into photoshop. &nbsp;Then I clone&nbsp;the single image into a several rows of itself to make up a sheet, which I take to a service downtown to have them burn a new screen. &nbsp;</p> <p>I've noticed lately some very skillful tattoos on IG. &nbsp;They look too sophisticated to be&nbsp;made up on the spot for a customer. &nbsp;Now I realize where many of them come from: this book, or one very similar. &nbsp;It'll be fun to choose a few. &nbsp;It probably contains dozens I could eventually use for my art. &nbsp;</p> <p>The second book I bought is also useful. &nbsp;I stared at it for a while before deciding. &nbsp;A heavy hardback with a damaged dust cover. &nbsp;"Diary of an Art Dealer." &nbsp;By Rene Gimpel. &nbsp;I seem to recall reading about it when it was published. &nbsp;This one is a first edition from 1966. &nbsp;$2.00.&nbsp;&nbsp;It covers the years between the wars: 1918-1939. &nbsp;It includes many entries about the famous painters belonging to the School of Paris, where the dealer lived. &nbsp;Inside stuff&nbsp;concerning&nbsp;the so-called art world is&nbsp;always fascinating&nbsp;reading for me. &nbsp;</p> <p>It was only later when I examined the book at the studio did I learn that Rene Gimpel died in a Nazi concentration camp. &nbsp;This made the whole volume much more pertinent, the Holocaust being one of my scholarly passions. &nbsp;</p> <p>As I read the diary I will be aware of the abominable fate of the writer. &nbsp;All the fancy dinners at elegant restaurants, the highest fashions, the millionaire collectors, the music, beauty, and joie de vivre . . . and how it abruptly ends in catastrophe, the darkest&nbsp;crime in history. &nbsp;</p> <p>People ask me why I am so involved with the Holocaust? &nbsp;Because it shows me who we really are. &nbsp;Stripped of the veneer of civilization. &nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1384" target="_top">My own as much as possible today</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 21, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><figure><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1384/images/own yourself.jpg" data-image="60354441"></figure> <p><br></p> <p>The word "own" has a number of connotations. &nbsp;In the 1960's one of the slogans was "do your own thing." &nbsp;I thought it sounded like a good idea. &nbsp;I quit teaching school and started doing what I felt was my own thing. &nbsp;I made metal objects with a torch, and leather articles&nbsp;such as sandals, belts, and purses. &nbsp;Working my way closer to making art, which has turned out to be closer to my own thing, but also more difficult to accomplish.</p> <p>To make my own art showed me that I wasn't as clever as I imagined. &nbsp;My own painting wasn't my own&nbsp;painting, but rather copies of other people's painting. &nbsp;If you stood back and stared at a finished work it was easy to detect influences from well-known&nbsp;artists. &nbsp;Often several artists. &nbsp;They were all there, but put through my own grinder first. &nbsp;</p> <p>Painting places a high value on the artist's original personality. &nbsp;Does the painting reflect his own vision, his own technique, his own style? &nbsp;If the answer is yes, that's important. &nbsp;It's nearly paramount. &nbsp;In other fields&nbsp;it often makes sense to merely do what the guy down the street is doing. &nbsp;Success means effective imitation. &nbsp;</p> <p>In daily life it's no different. &nbsp;There are entire mobs&nbsp;of people who copy each other in how&nbsp;they talk, walk, think, dress,&nbsp;behave, feel, and generally go about living. &nbsp;This habit leads to a deadening uniformity. &nbsp;It can be very repellent. &nbsp;Even disgusting. &nbsp;It makes the original person keep moving, or go into hiding. &nbsp;Anything to get away from this vast&nbsp;smothering&nbsp;fog of herd-like mediocrity. &nbsp;</p> <p>What's the solution? &nbsp;For an insightful man or woman it's to methodically reclaim themselves. &nbsp;To find their way back to their unique self. &nbsp;A self that has been gradually stolen from them. &nbsp;Even half-consciously&nbsp;given away as a present. &nbsp;Or grudgingly&nbsp;as a sacrifice. &nbsp;</p> <p>This recovery process can take years, and only become&nbsp;partially achieved. &nbsp;But even that is a victory. &nbsp;</p> <p>Owning yourself is key. &nbsp;And subtler than it seems. &nbsp;Owning your house is easier than owning your&nbsp;body, which&nbsp;is easier than owning your mind. &nbsp;It's often&nbsp;a long road but it needn't be. &nbsp;It can take place right where you're standing. &nbsp;Right this minute.&nbsp;</p> <p>But what precisely&nbsp;does owning mean? &nbsp;To own is similar but the opposite from the word owe. &nbsp;We start off in this world with a sense of debt, as if we owe someone something, such as parents, society, religion, country, etc.&nbsp; But as we individually evolve&nbsp;we move from owing to owning. &nbsp;From feeling&nbsp;indebted and under pressure,&nbsp;to being in possession of our world, from being enslaved to being free. &nbsp;</p><p>Instead of yesterday's slogan of doing your own thing, today's could be <em>do your own self. &nbsp;</em></p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1382" target="_top">The pain of painting</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 20, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>I just wrote a long screed on the difficulties of painting. &nbsp;But I hit the wrong button, and it was erased. &nbsp;Maybe it's just as well.</p><p>All I did was whine, groan, and rage. &nbsp;</p><p>About painting.</p><p>And how I stayed up way past my bedtime grinding away on the&nbsp;latest work. &nbsp;All the while cursing my stupid life. &nbsp;</p><p>But I ended up with a really fine painting. &nbsp;Even though I asked myself a thousand times whether or not it's worth it. &nbsp;Whether a great painting is worth a ruined, desolate life.</p><p>I must have&nbsp;decided in its favor. &nbsp;Painting is worth all the excruciating misery it has caused. &nbsp;And continues to cause. &nbsp;</p><p>And there is no way of making a good painting without putting myself through the wringer. &nbsp;No way on earth. &nbsp;It simply can't be done.</p><p>I can not separate a creative act from intense suffering. &nbsp;Maybe others can, but not me.</p><p>To create is to voluntarily feel anguish. &nbsp;Over and over. &nbsp;</p><p>Where and when did I ever sign up for this? &nbsp;I don't recall it. &nbsp;Not at all. &nbsp;</p><p>Triumphant joy, but not without the most concentrated agony. &nbsp;</p><p>A bad deal. &nbsp;</p><p>But also the most iron-clad, infinitely binding&nbsp;contract. &nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1380" target="_top">A foothold in the passage of time</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 19, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>As I age it's not as if time goes faster. &nbsp;It's more like I'm conscious of time's movement. &nbsp;Time trots along as its usual pace, but now I notice it more. &nbsp;I sometimes imagine I can&nbsp;feel the ground under me moving. &nbsp;The earth rushing and whirling through space. &nbsp;</p> <p>When I was a boy of around ten&nbsp;I had a realization. &nbsp;It was in the family car as my mother was driving us to the country club. &nbsp;We always took the route along the Mississippi river, which flowed by on my right as we headed out of town. &nbsp;</p> <p>I was in the back seat, staring at the movement of a fly. &nbsp;Watching&nbsp;it flit from here to there. &nbsp;I asked myself if the fly was traveling at fifty miles an hour. &nbsp;If it was,&nbsp;it was doing it so leisurely, without any effort, or awareness. &nbsp;The car was moving, hitting on all cylinders,&nbsp;burning gasoline. &nbsp;The fly couldn't by itself move at fifty miles an hour. &nbsp;It wasn't even conscious of being carried along at that speed. &nbsp;</p> <p>I wasn't sure what inference I could draw from this fact. &nbsp;And today I still don't know. &nbsp;But it struck me as odd. &nbsp;As if humans could be like the fly. &nbsp;Carried along inside a bubble, without being aware of it. &nbsp;A bubble, within a bubble, within an even greater bubble. &nbsp;And so on. &nbsp;</p> <p>Was motion through space just like a baseball being tossed through the air? &nbsp;It seemed like it. &nbsp;Or was it like the fly being carried in a purposeful manner from here to there? &nbsp;Thoughts like this made me a little uneasy.&nbsp; Hard to tell whether it was pleasant or nauseating. &nbsp;</p> <p>Could it be that individual humans move outward through space until they reach an end-point, which is death?&nbsp; The end-point is simply when they turn around and head back where they came from, centripetally instead of centrifugally. &nbsp;</p> <p>It's not like time turning backward, but like time circling homeward, like someone out gathering food and coming back with their arms full. &nbsp;Returning to the hearth. &nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1371" target="_top">The man is the son of the father</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 18, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><figure><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1371/images/dante painting.jpg" data-image="62833575"></figure> <p><br></p> <p>It's&nbsp;my daughter's birthday.&nbsp; &nbsp;Her mother is in LA, and we're all going out for dinner tonight. &nbsp;To Dante's new favorite restaurant in Little Tokyo. &nbsp;You wouldn't know it's her birthday. &nbsp;She's more quiet about it than I am about mine. &nbsp;I don't think I've ever met a more modestly self-contained person in my life. &nbsp;I suppose she was born that way. &nbsp;But it still makes me scratch my head.</p> <p>She can celebrate this: her first framed painting. &nbsp;Hector, the carpenter, is holding it up and I photographed it as he was working on it. &nbsp;It's now in the studio and Dante will see it in a few minutes, after she arrives. &nbsp;</p> <p>"It's not too late to start painting, is it?" she asked the other day.</p> <p>"Of course not. &nbsp;There are several examples of famous artists who began to paint after age 40." Actually not many. &nbsp;Dubuffet. &nbsp;Grandma Moses. &nbsp;Several outsider&nbsp;artists. &nbsp;</p> <p>A person is better off beginning before age 10 and never ceasing. &nbsp;Like Picasso. &nbsp;Like Michelangelo. &nbsp;But if that isn't your case don't let it stop you.</p> <p>I've mentioned before that it's a great benefit for a man like myself to have a daughter. &nbsp;It really has transformed me into the person&nbsp;I am today. &nbsp;It wouldn't have been possible otherwise. &nbsp;It's caused me to crucially alter my behavior toward women. &nbsp;Something I sorely needed. &nbsp;</p> <p>I'd say that one of the tragedies of my father's life is that he had six sons and one daughter. &nbsp;It would have made a world of difference if he would've&nbsp;have had&nbsp;six daughters and one son. &nbsp;&nbsp;His chances of happiness:&nbsp;six times greater. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Daughters and fathers have a sensitive, nearly sacred relationship. &nbsp;No one cracks jokes over it. &nbsp;This is not so between sons and mothers. &nbsp;That has an obvious humorous side. &nbsp;</p> <p>I'm eternally grateful for being a father of a daughter. &nbsp;Even my small world breathes easier because of this fact. &nbsp;I'm much less of a nuisance to everyone. &nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1370" target="_top">Humanity and its symbols</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 17, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>"Man and His Symbols" by Jung was first published in 1964. &nbsp;There was a photo of a strip of drawings done by someone&nbsp;under the influence of LSD. &nbsp;I pondered them. &nbsp;They supposedly show a process of disintegration. &nbsp;Or that's what some people concluded. &nbsp;I must have thought something similar. &nbsp;I had no idea how&nbsp;LSD would affect&nbsp;my mind.&nbsp;&nbsp;Nor any drug other than alcohol. &nbsp;I never touched them. &nbsp;I had no use for drugs.&nbsp;</p> <p>But as an artist it did pique my interest. &nbsp;Only mildly. &nbsp;It was more of a warning than anything.</p> <p>I found myself increasingly&nbsp;drawn to&nbsp;mystical philosophy. &nbsp;I read William Blake, who mentioned Swedenborg, and Boehme. &nbsp;Aldous Huxley was one of my favorite authors. &nbsp;I read his "Doors of Perception." &nbsp;It stimulated my thinking. &nbsp;I devoured more mystical philosophy: Meister Eckhart, Plotinus, and "The Cloud of Unknowing." &nbsp;</p> <p>Then one of my fellow teachers told me about taking LSD. &nbsp;He insisted that I should try it. &nbsp;I laughed and dismissed the idea. &nbsp;He was fired from his teaching job -- one that I was able to help him obtain --&nbsp;grew his hair long&nbsp;and&nbsp;a beard. &nbsp;</p> <p>Then my younger brother Matt, who was in art school, also told me about the time he dropped acid. &nbsp;"I looked in the mirror and saw my face melting." &nbsp;Strange. &nbsp;But interesting. &nbsp;I once again&nbsp;declined this experience. &nbsp;</p> <p>I finally quit teaching after two years, packed up, and drove to California. &nbsp;I was married and my wife and I rented&nbsp;an apartment in Santa Barbara. &nbsp;It was the fall of 1968. &nbsp;I remember it like it was yesterday. &nbsp;Mainly because of that original shattering experience with LSD. &nbsp;It was an Owsley tab. &nbsp;Or so we were told. &nbsp;Each of us took one. &nbsp;My friend from teaching days and his wife joined us. &nbsp;I had lost touch with him, but, oddly enough, as we were driving down the 101 freeway they happened to be in the lane&nbsp;next to us. &nbsp;A rare coincidence, for sure. &nbsp;Steve bought the LSD from a dealer in Isla Vista, where he was now living. &nbsp;</p> <p>Well, everything in my life starts with that unique moment. &nbsp;Everything before that was prologue. &nbsp;Everything afterward is consequence. &nbsp;I'll try once again to explain what took place. &nbsp;</p> <p>But it's nearly impossible to translate into language. &nbsp;It's beyond words, but also includes words. &nbsp;As someone once wrote: whatever you think it is, it isn't that. &nbsp;I definitely agree. &nbsp;</p> <p><br></p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1369" target="_top">Remembered scenes</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 16, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>&nbsp; Spinoza said it best: we remember what is simple and startling. &nbsp;My own brain is full of simple, startling things. &nbsp;Images, mostly moving ones. &nbsp;Words. &nbsp;Sentences and even dialogues. &nbsp;But it's not clear what it all means.</p> <p>Why does this fragmentary scene stand out? &nbsp;Why does a&nbsp;passage from a book stick in my mind? &nbsp;Or that&nbsp;stranger's face? &nbsp;I fail to see&nbsp;a&nbsp;pattern. &nbsp;But there must be some purpose at work. &nbsp;A subterranean activity going on, even while I sleep. &nbsp;Maybe mostly as I sleep. &nbsp;I don't know.</p> <p>I notice&nbsp;a lot of advice on social media clustered&nbsp;around this thought: keep your dream alive! &nbsp;Don't give up! &nbsp;</p> <p>It seems a bit ridiculous. &nbsp;But not entirely. &nbsp;To me better advice might be make your dream become conscious. &nbsp;Transform&nbsp;murky hints and shadowy emotions into bright, full&nbsp;consciousness. &nbsp;Give solid form to your gossamer&nbsp;dreams. &nbsp;</p> <p>As a young person I was at the mercy of erratic feelings. &nbsp;But today those feelings have become more intelligible. &nbsp;They've turned into a plausible narrative. &nbsp;Something that can be further changed into art. &nbsp;Into paintings. &nbsp;</p> <p>If I'd like to create paintings that adhere to a viewer's memory I'd be wise to follow Spinoza's insight. &nbsp;Make it simple and startling. &nbsp;That way it'll penetrate. &nbsp;It'll find an opening into another's life. &nbsp;</p> <p>Simple and startling is tricky. &nbsp;Maybe artists&nbsp;start&nbsp;off that way, but&nbsp;we become immune to their strategies. &nbsp;They&nbsp;stop&nbsp;stopping us.&nbsp; Nor does the initial reaction&nbsp;remain in our memory. &nbsp;But at least it was there momentarily. &nbsp;Most don't even get that far. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>But forgetting is just as important as remembering. &nbsp;We're not meant to pack our minds with useless dreck. &nbsp;Any more than to fill our guts without ever shitting. &nbsp;It's good luck to have a touch of senility. &nbsp;To let so much of my life slide into nothingness. &nbsp;Where it belongs. &nbsp;</p> <p>Eventually only the simple and startling endure.&nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1368" target="_top">Mental tidbits</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 15, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>I'm working on a new painting. &nbsp;And a new support, one made by our barrio woodworker, Hector. &nbsp;His shop is a block from me, and we collaborate well together. &nbsp;I showed him what I wanted and he realized it perfectly. &nbsp;A beautiful blank framed surface, which I immediately covered with two layers of joint compound. &nbsp;Fantastic. &nbsp;It sends me into orbit.</p> <p>I have dreams of a grand finale of magnificent paintings. &nbsp;A veritable world-shaking&nbsp;eruption. &nbsp;Give me another ten years. &nbsp;A decade of stupendously unceasing&nbsp;creativity. &nbsp;</p> <p>I get carried away imagining it . . .</p> <p>But you don't paint with only your hands and your eyes. &nbsp;You paint with your brain, your heart, your soul, and your balls. &nbsp;Every part of you. &nbsp;With the whole being. &nbsp;With your vision, your dreams, your fantasies, your nightmares, and your delusions. &nbsp;</p> <p>The whole schmear. &nbsp;</p> <p>Philosophy fans like to quote Hegel: "the real is rational, and the rational is real." &nbsp;Not bad. &nbsp;But not quite the way it is. &nbsp;</p> <p>Go outside, open your eyes, drive down the street, pick up a newspaper, turn on the tv, or click through the internet . . . &nbsp;then try to tell me the real is rational. &nbsp;</p> <p>What "real" are we talking about? &nbsp;What rational?&nbsp;</p> <p>The staggering profusion of my world is very&nbsp;bizarre. &nbsp;I look pretty closely, too. &nbsp;I'd have to conclude that the "rational" itself&nbsp;is kind of unreal. &nbsp;It doesn't have much to do with the world I deal with. &nbsp;</p> <p>The everyday&nbsp;world, the one not overlaid&nbsp;by a veneer of abstract idealism, is real. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>The rational, intellectualized, conceptualized, religiously designated, world&nbsp;is unreal. &nbsp;It doesn't mirror what's happening. &nbsp;Nearly always it's&nbsp;only&nbsp;a faint&nbsp;pipe dream. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Everyday life, the one we enter and struggle with until we croak, is (unluckily)&nbsp;real enough. &nbsp;But hardly rational enough. &nbsp;It's a motley blend of everything under the sun. &nbsp;Behind the sun. &nbsp;Outside of the sun. &nbsp;Crazy. &nbsp;Wild. &nbsp;Real, yes,&nbsp;rational, no. &nbsp;Why kid yourself?</p> <p>The real...reality...is indeed rational: but&nbsp;only&nbsp;partly so. &nbsp;It's also irrational,&nbsp;illogical, and&nbsp;an airy&nbsp;phantasm as well as a concrete thing. &nbsp;</p> <p>So, in speaking of reality don't forget to include all the&nbsp;unmethodical madness. &nbsp;They can be found together in the same place.&nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1367" target="_top">Time and Love</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 14, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><figure><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1367/images/time that was.jpg" data-image="42664388"></figure> <p><br></p> <p>I posted this yesterday on FB and IG. &nbsp;People seem to like it. &nbsp;I'm glad they do. &nbsp;I think it's a successful painting. &nbsp;To me this means it's both original and beautiful. &nbsp;A difficult thing. &nbsp;</p> <p>Not the most original, or most beautiful, painting that exists. &nbsp;But it might be able to be found in the back room of such immortal pieces. &nbsp;It should hold its own over time.</p> <p>In fact, time is the theme of the painting. &nbsp;The broken circle represents a moment of time. &nbsp;Something that begins, follows a pattern, but doesn't end up where it started, and is compelled to carry on.</p> <p>"I came up with a new concept of marriage," I told Dante. &nbsp;"I've always been critical of marriage by the State or church. &nbsp;That's not good enough for me. &nbsp;I invented a new ceremony. &nbsp;It's based on our conversation the other day."</p> <p>"All right."</p> <p>"I see two people standing face to face. &nbsp;Maybe outside in a natural setting. &nbsp;Only two of them. &nbsp;There's no reason for anyone else to be present. &nbsp;They look into each other's eyes and say simultaneously&nbsp;'all I have is yours.' &nbsp;Then they kiss soulfully, dreamily, passionately, and hold it for a few moments. &nbsp;That's it."</p> <p>"I like it."</p> <p>"Well, here is the point. &nbsp;When they say 'all I have is yours' they're vowing to share all they have with each other. &nbsp;All I have is good, although&nbsp;not complete and perfect. &nbsp;For a true marriage we want to share all property but also all being. &nbsp;All I have and all I am. &nbsp;The kiss means all I am is yours. &nbsp;It's a sign of strong physical mutual desire."</p> <p>"That covers it."</p> <p>"This kind of marriage leaves no room for anything else. &nbsp;It's total and honest. &nbsp;Of course it can only take place between two people who are infinitely trustworthy. &nbsp;People who rigorously abide by&nbsp;their every&nbsp;spoken word. &nbsp;It's founded on perfect entrustment. &nbsp;It wouldn't work for insincere types. &nbsp;Only for those who are embodiments of truth."&nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1363" target="_top">Life is long, art is longer</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 13, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p><br></p> <p>"That's what I'm looking for," said Jackie. &nbsp;"Some get-out-of-town money."</p> <p>"It can be done. &nbsp;You can do it. &nbsp;I've done it, and not just once." I said.</p> <p>"But I'm broke. &nbsp;And behind on this month's rent."</p> <p>"If you're really serious about leaving LA then there're things you have to do. &nbsp;But they can be irrevocable. &nbsp;I mean certain bridges will be burnt forever."</p> <p>"I could sell my paintings, take Brando, get in my pickup and head out . . . "</p> <p>Brando is her dog. &nbsp;A beagle. &nbsp;I bought it for her as&nbsp;a Christmas present 15&nbsp;years ago. &nbsp;Jackie's lived in the same apartment all this time. &nbsp;She's also married. &nbsp;But, still, broke.</p> <p>She&nbsp;was waiting for some paintings to dry and sat down next to my table, where I was having an early dinner. &nbsp;After two glasses of wine I was in a more talkative mood. &nbsp;Plus she was inclined to listen, always something difficult for her. &nbsp;But it wasn't new information. &nbsp;We've had similar conversations many times. &nbsp;</p> <p>As a younger artist she's facing the same obstacles that I once&nbsp;faced, but superficially different. &nbsp;I told her about the time I drove across America with my daughter who wasn't quite two years old. &nbsp;Just the both&nbsp;of us. &nbsp;What a ride. &nbsp;It hurts to think about it, forty years later. &nbsp;</p> <p>"I was out of money. &nbsp;At the top of the Rocky mountains. &nbsp;Nothing. &nbsp;Zero. &nbsp;I coasted downhill."</p> <p>"Where was this?"</p> <p>"Colorado. &nbsp;I knew there was a small town, and old mining town not far away. &nbsp;I realized I'd have to stop and come up with some cash. &nbsp;I had a stack of small bronze sculptures in the car, but they were harder to sell. &nbsp;So I grabbed this gold ring that had a ruby set into it. &nbsp;It was dropped off at my gallery and the owner never came back for it."</p> <p>"So it wasn't even yours?"</p> <p>"Well, no. &nbsp;I guess partly mine. &nbsp;But I had no idea where the guy was. &nbsp;Or his name. &nbsp;I had set the ruby for him. &nbsp;I think it was either his ruby or his ring. &nbsp;I forget which. &nbsp;It was left at the gallery for six months. &nbsp; And now it was closed. &nbsp;Anyway, I decided to sell it for gas money. &nbsp;We coasted into the town, parked, and I looked for a jeweler. &nbsp;I found one on the main street and told him I was broke and he bought it for $50. &nbsp;I was so&nbsp;relieved. &nbsp;Then after eating&nbsp;two ice cream cones, I&nbsp;filled up the car, and drove on."</p> <p>"It wouldn't take you far today."</p> <p>"It didn't back then, either. &nbsp;I had to&nbsp;call my parents and tell them I was headed their way. &nbsp;They wired another fifty bucks to me in Omaha. &nbsp;I got to the&nbsp;Western Union a few minutes before closing time and was surprised to find money waiting for me. &nbsp;Life pitches in and rescues someone from disaster. &nbsp;Now and then. &nbsp;As long as it doesn't happen too often. &nbsp;But there were many other desperate&nbsp;times, too ."</p> <p>"Things are not like that today. &nbsp;I've driven all over California with a truck full of paintings and didn't sell one."</p> <p>"Because you didn't need to. &nbsp;You still had a little money left. &nbsp;But when you're dead flat broke you'll part with them. &nbsp;For gas money. &nbsp;And food. &nbsp;You haven't reached that point yet."</p> <p><br></p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1362" target="_top">So many clues</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 12, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>Each day brings&nbsp;fresh clues to a mystery that only becomes deeper. &nbsp;Mysteries are solved by a proper use of clues, but some&nbsp;mysteries only grow larger because of clues. &nbsp;</p> <p>Life is like that. &nbsp;You imagine you've reached the end, an empty room like a windowless, doorless&nbsp;cell. &nbsp;But an inadvertent tap on a wall opens to reveal something more, a whole landscape beyond. &nbsp;And this landscape goes on until reaching&nbsp;the edge of high cliff. &nbsp;But it, too, has a secret path to the bottom. &nbsp;</p> <p>And so&nbsp;it continues . . .</p> <p>There is no end. &nbsp;Only new openings that beckon. &nbsp;</p> <p>I'm starting another painting after I finish writing this. &nbsp;Many years ago I came to the conclusion that painting, as a gift, had no conclusion. &nbsp;I could work every day until I died and still wouldn't be perfectly, permanently, satisfied with the results.&nbsp;</p> <p>Painting is&nbsp;proof of&nbsp;an afterlife. &nbsp;Maybe it&nbsp;needs&nbsp;at least a thousand years of unremitting effort. &nbsp;No painter on earth could be pleased once and for all with his painting. &nbsp;He demands&nbsp;more time. &nbsp;Always.</p> <p>The next world is perhaps filled with painters. &nbsp;Still furiously busy. &nbsp;Still getting better. &nbsp;Still savagely focused. &nbsp;</p> <p>Painters aren't delighted when Friday afternoon arrives. &nbsp;Or depressed by Monday morning. &nbsp;The weekend never ends for a painter. &nbsp;Never begins or ends. &nbsp;&nbsp;Non-existent.</p> <p>A painter doesn't paint in order to quit&nbsp;painting. &nbsp;In order to take a break, or a vacation, or retire. &nbsp;He paints in order to never stop painting. &nbsp;He's discovered his own variety of endlessness. &nbsp;He has no fears about it, nor great hopes for it. &nbsp;</p> <p>He's fine&nbsp;with the journey. &nbsp;An&nbsp;eternal&nbsp;trip&nbsp;in one place. &nbsp;In front of a blank surface.</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1361" target="_top">Spooky</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 11, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>Reading philosophy that resonates with me. &nbsp;So much of life doesn't resonate. &nbsp;It doesn't move me. &nbsp;Doesn't enter my consciousness and lodge in my memory. &nbsp;</p> <p>I look at my library and realize that many books, even though I conscientiously devoured them, leave no trace. &nbsp;Just like food I've eaten.</p> <p>But other books, things, and&nbsp;people, do leave a lasting mark. &nbsp;I'm not sure why. &nbsp;It might go back to ancient theories of atomic particles having definite shapes whirling&nbsp;around until they bump into&nbsp;matching formations. &nbsp;These particles don't just collide, they fit together, clinging.</p> <p>Max&nbsp;Stirner heavily underlines the fact that modern humans, just like the older ones, are spooked out. &nbsp;</p> <p>It's a funny term for a 19th Century philosopher to use. &nbsp;But very meaningful today. &nbsp;Yes, people are spooked by a number of things. &nbsp;And not just mythical "primitive" people, but even the ones at the top of our technological culture. &nbsp;</p> <p>What does it mean to be spooked? &nbsp;It means to be haunted by some kind of barely perceptible presence. &nbsp;Not just the famous "ghost in the machine," but even further, such as the machine-less ghosts out there. &nbsp;And in here, as well. &nbsp;The feeling of sacredness, the Holy Ghost. &nbsp;The <em>esprit de corps</em> of a collective undertaking. &nbsp;The soul of a dead person, or the fixating idea of an absent lover. &nbsp;All sorts of spooks, who haunt us every which way.</p> <p>When humans "grow up" they eliminate most spooks. &nbsp;They no longer think spirits dwell in every object they encounter. &nbsp;They aren't afraid of ghosts hiding under their bed. &nbsp;But they merely allow the spooks to change places. &nbsp;Now there are spooks who belong to The Earth. &nbsp;Or spooks who watch over the spooky designation called&nbsp;America. &nbsp;National spooks. &nbsp;Racial spooks. &nbsp;Even spooks who guide the progress of science. &nbsp;</p> <p>Being spooked out can be given a positive spin: it's called being "spiritual." &nbsp;Or a negative one: the work of the Devil. &nbsp;</p> <p>Why does this exist? &nbsp;This haunted dimension. &nbsp;There are answers for that. &nbsp;Psychological, philosophical, scientific, sociological, historical, and so forth. &nbsp;Take your pick. &nbsp;</p> <p>But whatever explanation you prefer, you'll never wholly&nbsp;obliterate&nbsp;existential&nbsp;spookiness. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Because in some way it's what you are. &nbsp;</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1359" target="_top">Speculations galore</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 10, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>Almost halfway through an unusual book. &nbsp;I thought it was time to buy it on Amazon, and have a gander. &nbsp;The title bothered me. &nbsp;But I realized that this might be a good reason to draw closer. &nbsp;Why should I be affected by the title of a philosophic work written over 150 years ago?</p> <p>"The Ego and&nbsp;His Own" by Max Stirner. &nbsp;A translation from the German "Der Einzige und sein Eigentium." &nbsp;Apparently a more literal translation would be "The Unique and its Properties." &nbsp;A subtitle reads "The Case of the Individual Against Authority."</p> <p>Lately I choose&nbsp;books that deal with freedom and its obstacles. &nbsp;For two reasons: keeping this aging brain in shape, and&nbsp;because I want to understand the best way to become a better artist. &nbsp;</p> <p>Hegel's "Logic" is in the mail and will arrive at the studio by the time I finish with&nbsp;Stirner, who in fact was a student and intellectual foe of Hegel and the "Young Hegelians." &nbsp;Marx apparently wrote his famous manifesto&nbsp;after reading and being adversely affected by Stirner.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>So? &nbsp;Well, I like what Stirner has to say. &nbsp;Actually Max Stirner is an invented name. &nbsp;A nom de plume. &nbsp;His birth name was Johann Schmidt. &nbsp;Or John Smith, in English. &nbsp;Pretty tame. &nbsp;I've always found that people who rename themselves fall into a certain category: they have a burning need to distinguish themselves, to stand out from the others, to make themselves seem more special, with a thirst for fame and money. &nbsp;</p> <p>John Smith must have felt a bit helpless and inadequate. &nbsp;Max Stirner was a great choice for an alter-ego. &nbsp;A little like mild-mannered Clark Kent becoming Superman. &nbsp;I get it. &nbsp;Makes sense. &nbsp;</p> <p>Actually my German grandmother's maiden name was Schmidt. &nbsp;Could I be related to the revolutionary author? &nbsp;When she told me this fact I noticed that she was looking downward, somewhat shyly, as if she, too, was aware of the commonness of being a mere Smith. &nbsp;But Schmidt and Smith come from "smite," like the work of a blacksmith. &nbsp;A strong man in the village. &nbsp;Thor. &nbsp;Vulcan. &nbsp;Nothing to sneeze at. &nbsp;</p> <p>Back to the book.&nbsp;&nbsp;I noticed a strange thing. &nbsp;Even though Stirner had no knowledge of a subtle form of Buddhism, and in fact he disparages Asian thinking, his central thesis is very reminiscent of Zen. &nbsp;</p> <p>I googled Max Stirner and Zen and, sure enough, found a recent paper written about this unusual connection. &nbsp;</p> <p>Both Zen and Stirner emphasize the&nbsp;individual's rare success at attempting to rid itself of alienness. &nbsp;Humans are unique but hardly anyone is able to fully realize this. &nbsp;No&nbsp;one lives this most important truth. Everyone is caught and pinned down by alien fixations. &nbsp;Who is uniquely free? &nbsp;</p> <p><br></p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1357" target="_top">A passion for thinking</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 09, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><figure><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1357/images/Dizzy.jpg" data-image="10596247"></figure> <p><br></p> <p>My father was a large, quiet man. &nbsp;A civil engineer by education, and&nbsp;the president of a construction company specializing in heavy industry. &nbsp;It was started by my grandfather in the 19th Century and continues today. &nbsp;</p> <p>"We're .&nbsp;.&nbsp;thinkers," he said, looking sidelong at me, from under his heavy eyebrows. &nbsp;</p> <p>Really? &nbsp;I didn't quite know that. &nbsp;It would have explained his seriousness and his reluctance to engage in idle chatter. &nbsp;A man of few words, but each of them carried weight. &nbsp;I can probably recall every sentence he aimed at me. &nbsp;They wouldn't fill more than&nbsp;twenty pages. &nbsp;Maybe closer to ten.&nbsp;&nbsp;His solid&nbsp;reserve seemed very disconcerting. &nbsp;How did he manage those long silences? &nbsp;Maybe he was thinking hard. &nbsp;About what? &nbsp;Probably about business problems. &nbsp;And some other issues. &nbsp;</p> <p>I can understand him&nbsp;better today. &nbsp;I think a lot about painting problems. &nbsp;Which are tied to major life problems. &nbsp;I try to discover where they intersect and how they shed light on each other. &nbsp;How else would I be able to avidly paint nearly every day for nearly sixty years? &nbsp;</p> <p>A canvas answers many questions but then raises many more. &nbsp;It's a long essay. &nbsp;A series of epigrams loosely bound to each other. &nbsp;</p> <p>If my father was a silent thinker my mother was an expressive rambler. &nbsp;I must be a combination of the two, with something else thrown in. &nbsp;</p> <p>Take the above painting. &nbsp;I completed it yesterday. &nbsp;It's an image of my fervid brain. &nbsp;How it cycles through its favorite themes hour by hour. &nbsp;</p> <p>Does it get anywhere? &nbsp;Does it arrive at anything? &nbsp;I used to imagine that it does. &nbsp;But today&nbsp;I have my&nbsp;doubts. &nbsp;</p> <p>If we step far&nbsp;back and gaze&nbsp;down at the track of a life it wouldn't look that impressive. &nbsp;Just a snarl of lines, crossing each other, over and over. &nbsp;</p> <p>A spinning top that starts out whirling like a tornado&nbsp;only to slow . . .&nbsp;wobble . . .&nbsp;and&nbsp;fall&nbsp;over on its side.</p> <p>C'est la vie, folks.</p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1353" target="_top">Two as one</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 08, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><p>I think about&nbsp;the problems of the world and how they are affected&nbsp;by pairs of connected&nbsp;humans. &nbsp;</p> <p>The most primitive basis&nbsp;of society is two people. &nbsp;These two exchange everything always. &nbsp;They gradually form alliances with other pairs until the world becomes as we know it today. &nbsp;Separated into cultures that reflect through a glass darkly&nbsp;the fundamental dynamic of the original two. &nbsp;</p> <p>Expansion&nbsp;and developing&nbsp;complexity diminishes, dilutes, and deforms this&nbsp;primal unity until it's a mere shadow of itself. &nbsp;The world evolves into an intensely heterogeneous&nbsp;multiplicity at variance with itself. &nbsp;Harmonious reconciliation becomes very&nbsp;challenging. &nbsp;As if everything must come to a halt and start over.&nbsp;</p> <p>"So then as far as true love goes it must have these two principles," I said to my daughter. &nbsp;"Total sharing and mutually satisfying, sober kissing in the clearest light."</p> <p>"Yes, this is necessary." &nbsp;From a combined male and female perspective. &nbsp;We're discussing ideal inter-communion.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Each of the two conditions is necessary but insufficient by itself."</p> <p>"Right. &nbsp;A great kisser may in fact&nbsp;be selfish and unwilling to radically&nbsp;share all."</p> <p>"Or, on the other hand, a person may be eager to fully share but is unable to be passionately kissed."<br></p> <p>"Yes. &nbsp;Both conditions must be met, or true, perfect, love is&nbsp;unable to be born."</p> <p>"Well, it looks easy enough. &nbsp;A lot of people must truly love each other. &nbsp;On the other hand, there seems to be a sizable number who attempt relationships that can never qualify as ideal&nbsp;love. &nbsp;A major cause of this bogus, corrupting style is economic inequality. &nbsp;Rich and poor can never love each other. &nbsp;The rich will cleverly&nbsp;exploit the situation,&nbsp;and the poor can only pretend to love. &nbsp;They're permanently at odds. &nbsp;True love is neither bought nor sold. &nbsp;It can only exist&nbsp;by fully sharing. &nbsp;Erasing all egocentric withholding."</p> <p>" . . . and&nbsp;mutually, freely,&nbsp;kissing."</p> <p>"But think how hard that is for a rich person. &nbsp;They say it's no crime to be poor, but it might be a crime to be rich. &nbsp;If not a crime then an irresistible&nbsp;temptation to take advantage of the poor. &nbsp;Which is a vice, a kind of degeneration,&nbsp;if not always a crime."</p> <p><br></p></div> </article> <article> <div class="padtop30" style="border-top:1px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .25);"><a href="/blog/post.html?postid=1352" target="_top">the generations</a></div> <div class="postDate opacity60">September 07, 2017 </div> <div class="alignLeft"><figure class="text-center"><img src="/users/PatrickMcCarthy1576/blog/1352/images/Kisses at High Noon.JPG" data-image="42449324"></figure> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;"A Kiss at High Noon" by Dante McCarthy, 2017</p> <p><br></p> <p>Dante is continuing to surprise and impress her father. &nbsp;Her work already&nbsp;looks masterful, but she's only&nbsp;in the larval stages. &nbsp;Also, she's so cool and calm about it. &nbsp;Unlike her parents, who, although talented, were&nbsp;given to endless fits of rage and emotional storms. &nbsp;</p> <p>All this makes me wonder. &nbsp;It definitely takes generations to make an artist. &nbsp;This is more true than ever. &nbsp;In Hollywood many people get important jump starts in life because&nbsp;their parents or even grandparents came to LA seeking to make their way in the available&nbsp;creative fields. &nbsp;</p> <p>When the parents ended up in some ancillary job&nbsp;barely touching on the arts it still&nbsp;matters for the following generation. &nbsp;The baton is handed on, even if the next&nbsp;hand reaching out&nbsp;is slow to grasp it.</p> <p>An artist's destiny is fateful. &nbsp;It's steeped mainly&nbsp;in dread&nbsp;as well as a little&nbsp;exhilaration. &nbsp;I've fought against my destiny, and my daughter has done the same with hers. &nbsp;Although less violently. &nbsp;Not to mention signs of it already appearing in my grandson. &nbsp;</p> <p>An artist's life is only worse when it's a life denied. &nbsp;When a gifted&nbsp;artist refuses to be an artist and settles for something non-creative. &nbsp;It then becomes nearly&nbsp;suicidal. &nbsp;&nbsp;A most unspeakably miserable&nbsp;life. &nbsp;Dragged out in tormented, smoldering, bitterness. &nbsp;&nbsp;Look away . . .</p> <p>So much sadness circles around a painting, song, or&nbsp;poem. &nbsp;Like a&nbsp;pack&nbsp;of howling&nbsp;wolves.&nbsp;</p> <p>But the world's disapproval simply adds&nbsp;fuel to the fire of divine genius. &nbsp;It can extinguish weak&nbsp;flames but it turns&nbsp;strong ones into massively&nbsp;all-consuming&nbsp;wildfires. &nbsp;</p> 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