Love for one’s work

“Bound and Wounded” 7×5 inches, oil on panel @Wally Workman, SOLD

My feverish and unsatisfactory attempts were themselves a token of love, a love which brought me no pleasure but was nonetheless profound. – Marcel Proust

“Martyred Lover” 10×8 inches, oil on panel @ Meyer Gallery, Park City SOLD

In Swann’s Way, Proust’s narrator describes his relationship with the art of writing in the above quote. At a recent afternoon tea, (I heart afternoon tea), conversation turned towards the discussion of the enjoyment of one’s work. There were three of us there: myself, and two writers. The first writer somehow evaded directly answering the question, only glibly admitting that she never suffered writers block… a malady she assigned to those more original than herself.  The second, meanwhile, declared the joyful and meditative states induced by the activity of writing. As for myself, I love my work but rarely do I enjoy it. Drawing is pleasurable because it is immediately gratifying. Perhaps this is why I jealously guard my drawings and am reluctant to show them; they are my private joy. Painting on the other hand is too difficult and slow going. So why do I paint? For the same reason why Proust’s narrator pursues writing: love.  If drawing is the seed of an idea, then an oil painting for me is that idea fully realized. I am grateful for the privilege of making art for a living and my love for painting is deep and profound. And so I dedicate myself to something more tangible than that loaded word, art, and do my work as a craftsman would: day to day and with consistency. I am reminded of that artist’s adage: we do not have the right to the fruits of our labor, only to the labor itself. Or some such thing…

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