top of page

Beginner’s mind


“I Think I Might Be Dreaming, no. 5″; 48″ x 48”; oil & collage on canvas

Several years ago I read that Michelangelo on his deathbed said: “It is a pity I am dying when I am just beginning to know my craft.” He was not young, had been working at his art for a long time. I have an old, worn paperback book about him and his sayings, yet I still wonder how so many pithy statements managed to be saved in print. I am grateful they were. It is all so pertinent to the mind of an artist and the practice of making art. There is always so much to learn.

I just ended an eight day stay in Ottawa. A mixture of work and play yet all pleasurable. First the vernissage for my exhibit at the Orange Gallery on Thursday evening. Then I gave a talk about my work on Saturday. I taught two workshops focusing on colour, one on Sunday and Monday, the second on Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday after the class I flew to NYC where I am now, will be until Monday. Then back to Nova Scotia and back to painting. In between the art events I went swimming, took saunas and steam baths and soaked up family.

So then, what did I learn from this intense week. A lot about listening, looking, seeing how other people think, about their work, about their lives. My life has always been focused on my work. I’ve been lucky to be able to do what I want but also I do it at the sacrifice of other things. The main other thing is security. I choose to jump into the unknown not only visually but also to be able to make the visual product. It is important to take chances with painting, try to extend beyond what is familiar. After all, why do it if it isn’t a challenge, if I’m not learning more about my craft.

It’s a balancing act. Much of what I need to make my art is beyond my means but I can’t do anything without it. So I do it.


bottom of page