This morning, I am remembering an honest, non-decorative painting that I showed at the inaugural exhibition of my Canyon Road Gallery in 1980. It featured three worried heads, with furrowed brows and rheumy eyes, set against a garish orange background. Across the top of the canvas, in big black letters, was the refrain, "Need Money, Need Money, Need Money." I wish I had purchased the painting*--but I didn't have the money!
Decades later, in the privacy of this Wednesday morning, I imagine that painting hanging on a wall opposite this writing desk. It wouldn't look nearly as good as the gold-framed painting of a Myanmar Tribal Woman that hangs in that place. And surely it did not/does not have the etheral beauty of the Richard Hogan oil that is winking at my peripheral vision and intruding into my consciousness. Had that painting been hanging there, next to the fireplace, it would no doubt be contributing to the creeping fears about my economy that I am working to erase. I take a moment to look at another work of art in my collection: Eugene Newmann's work on paper of three abstract heads (coincidence?? there are those who say there are no coincidences!) It is mesmorizing in its intelligent beauty. Over and over again, in one way or another, ART restores my confidence in Life. It refocuses my mind from worry to wonder.
Sometimes it takes an hour or so--like now!
At sunrise today, walking down the driveway with my dog, I found myself repeating, mantra-like, the refrain from that long-ago, orange painting: "need money, need money, need money."
But, I have money! Perhaps I should have been repeating "need more money, need more money..."
Now, with the sun beginning to shine through the window to my right, I widen my internal gaze to look at my whole picture. I am beginning to concentrate on the broad perspective of my financial reality. What can I do? I know! I can call forth my optimistic self--the self that has served the Gallery and me for over thirty years. This self notes, this morning, that although my bank accounts look and feel skimpy this month, there are countless options at my disposal. My best option is optimism.
Focusing optimistically, I begin to list the considerable professional assets of LDCA: a great staff; excellent artists; a beautiful space; the synergy of a creative team; a vision of a successful April, May, June...And I utter aloud my favorite cheerleading couplet: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it: Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."** And I move my thoughts away from the doom department into the place where ideas and opportunities are waiting for me.
Yes, these are tough times for most of us. We have difficult decisions to make. We have lost stuff: money, energy, faith...Promises have been broken. But we must, must, must find ways to retrieve those things. I want to do just that!
I am imagining a painting---exactly the same size as the "Need Money" painting---but instead of a garish background with troubled faces, this painting has a soothing green background and the three faces are smiling, confident and inspiring. The words, in GOLD, say: "Have Grace, Have Courage, Have Love." With those traits, along with a healthy dose of optimism and some energy and strength (physical/emotional) and the vision to see through a few veils of fear into an expansive view of a positive future, TODAY will be (already is) a wonderful day!
* by Clayton Campbell
** by Goethe