Saturday, October 24, 2009


Unconditional love, unconditional acceptance, unconditional friendship....these all sound so appealing. And yet, I've been trying to get some inspiration around those concepts from my lake-photo excursions and I cannot. The weather has not been ideal; the lake has been lowered three feet for dredging and maintenance; the fall season got off to a freezing start...I didn't find what I was looking for, conditions were everywhere.

I was thinking about what unconditional means because my painting friends and I are going to do a group show and I was trying to think of a unifying theme and 'unconditional' kept popping into my head. This is because when we paint together, it's so freeing. We're supportive and loving, and we eat and chat and work and there's a sense of belonging and acceptance that is fuel for getting through other pieces of our life where this free condition does not seem to exist. And yet, we do offer advice and support to each oth
er on our drawings and our lives. It's just that it's non-judgmental.

But it's non-judgmental because it doesn't have to be. We've been together so long, over 30 years, that we have worked into this relationship. We've created our own safety zone. We have created our own ideal conditions.

The major forces in our lives -- love, honor,
respect, attraction -- all manifest themselves in some conditional way. Initial attractions -- with your friends, your job, your spouse, your town, your house, your kids, whatever -- usually seem ideal and they are spontaneous, so they have no time, no conditions. Over time however, conditions arise. That initial attraction is a powerful force that keeps you interested, but then the real relationship begins. There are points that seem perfect, points that make you question your initial attraction, and points that just exist because they are part of the trajectory path. However, the immense power of those major life forces -- love, honor, respect, attraction -- will build up over time and bring us to a higher level that has the depth of time, knowledge and experience. And at that point, you transcend conditions.

Conditions are of course transitory. They don't last forever. So I believe I have actually been inspired by my lake visits. I've been learning to appreci
ate the condition whatever it is, as a manifestation of underlying forces.

I have been reading Emerson this year, and I found a passage (from an essay on The Method of Nature) where I believe he's commenting on this same phenomenon.

"But let me discriminate what is precious herein. There is in each of these works an act of invention, an intellectual step, or short series of steps taken; that act or step is the spiritual act; all the rest is mere repetition of the same a thousand times."
What I'm calling "life forces" are Emerson's "the precious herein." The only dispute I'd have with Emerson on this subject is that the rest is not "mere repetition". We need the conditions, the repetitions, to be able to perceive the spiritual. And when we do we transcend them to exist in the pleasurable state of the unconditional.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Crisp light, crisp weather, crisp photos. The definition of crisp is brisk; sharp; clear; decided; lively; pithy; sparkling. That was the weather today, and I'm choosing that for the tone of the week. I'm not going to examine it too cl
osely, just live it and enjoy it.

September Table

Last Sunday was rainy, but actually really nice. Clare, Rene, and Sara came over and we painted out on the patio and my daughter joined us to draw too. The fine mist of the rain was pretty, and we were actually happy to be confined to close to the house where we could eat and talk. We grabbed flowers I had around the house, Clare's hat and champagne bottle, and we were set. It was a great day.