“So it is with You” 24×24, oil on canvas $400.00Buy Now

When You See Water 

By Alice Walker

When you see water in a stream
you say: oh, this is stream
When you see water in the river
you say: oh, this is water
of the river;
When you see ocean
you say: This is the ocean’s
But actually water is always
only itself
and does not belong
to any of these containers
though it creates them.
And so it is with you.

When I set out to do this art/poetry thing, I knew the temptation would be this: any painting could be “about” any poem. I could create and match almost at random and the something visual would correspond, however minutely, with the something written without any great effort on my part.

I was thinking about several poems today and the painting isn’t necessarily “about” any of them. I was thinking about water. I was only slightly thinking of it being contained.

Or maybe I was.

In college, I attempted a few abstract pieces, but I remember when deciding what to include in my senior show I made sure that there were plenty of “good” representational paintings so as to give validity to my abstracts: see, she can really paint, that one is just her messing around. I would not let the abstracts stand on their own two feet.

Even now I feel that old temptation. And a new one. The temptation to pick a well-defined path. To be an abstract artist or to be a wedding painter, or to be a painter of birds. I get the benefits of niche. I get the ease of marketing when your product is specific.

But, I suppose, I can’t be contained. Painting has to be about discovery. Like my birds, I feel myself flitting from one thing to the next, hoping, somehow, all of it reveals some mysterious “signature style”.

The contemporary world seems obsessed with specialization. STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) is the new buzz word in education and those souls, God bless em, calling for STEAM (add in ART!) don’t seem to be heard on quite the same level.

Then I remember that Picasso painted both of these:

91d5b43a8fc96378298abf44b4ed7d7a pp-e1

I hear he did okay.

For now, I’ll be content with rivers, streams, and oceans, and, if I’m lucky, some body of water I’ve not yet discovered.



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