Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Time In a Paint Tube

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali has to be one of my favorite paintings of all time. It strikes me as a painting one could meditate on just by staring at those limp clocks in a landscape that seems to recede to infinity. This is a piece I wish I would have conceived of.

In fact, in the early 1970's, time struck me as being some sort of mysterious, transcendental force that we are all caught up in, slowing drifting down an invisible river, with all of its flows and eddies and -- on occasion -- rapids; no way to go back -- only forward, until we plunge over the edge to the ends of our lives.

Time IS transcendental -- I can't really explain what it is about time that has always fascinated me. Images like The Persistence of Memory come the closest to expressing a sense I get about the infinite. And for a former scientist like me, I can't reconcile those feelings with logic or the scientific method. Those feelings just -- ARE.

Some things have changed over the years regarding how my time is used, however. My senior year as a microbiology major (who had additional scientific interests to explore) began a process of becoming very busy for the first time in my life.

Then came grad school. I easily put in 14-16 hour days, seven days a week. I used to child grad students about how much time they spent in the lab -- until I became a grad student myself. The frustrating part was: no one (other than other grad students or faculty members -- former grad students themselves) understood how consuming grad school is for science students. People would ask me to do things with them or volunteer to do stuff for the church -- and I couldn't. No time!

It's kind of that way now, too. Trying to survive financially in art is another all-consuming activity. A gallery owner in Scottsdale, AZ told me the successful artists he knows work at their art 8-10 hours a day, seven days a week, no hobbies or outside interests other than what they need to do to make art.

So between grad school and painting, I've become somewhat of a hermit -- not because I'm trying to avoid society, but because I need to paint and then sell those paintings.

And -- the older I get, the faster time seems to slip away from me. I rarely have opportunities to meditate on the idea of time anymore. I miss that.

But hopefully, I'll continue to make artwork that will be appreciated by others in whatever time I have left.

No comments: