Uncertainty

Uncertainty 18 X 24 Mixed Media Acrylic

Uncertainty

The end of an uneventful spring day, some might even call it a boring day. There was nothing really exciting about it, nothing “different” happened.  It was a day like countless others that came before.  It is easy to allow it to pass unnoticed and unappreciated.

Now, as the long shadows come and night approaches, we look to the east and see storm clouds in the distance. Questions swirl. Is it building or dissipating? How close is it? Is it coming this way? Are there other unseen storms nearby? When will it get here? How bad will it be? Will it strike unseen and unexpected in the coming darkness? Will there be other storms? Will we be OK?

Uncertainty.

The storm brings with it a gift, the gift of wisdom. In the future we will know the value of an ordinary day, and we will be grateful. 

Created during the COVID-19 Pandemic / Image and text © James Golaszewski 2020

“In the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end.”                   

                 Fernando Sabino (from Portuguese)

A Fresh Slant

A Fresh Slant 22 X 24 Mixed Media Acrylic

A Fresh Slant

When attempting to solve complex problems or resolve contentious issues I always examine the problem from as many angles as possible. When pondering things that have the potential to upset me, I attempt to conduct the deliberations in the daytime because I have learned that the dark nights tend to foster dark thoughts, and the morning light always brings a more optimistic interpretation of the situation.

This composition is all about angles, from the diagonal rooflines and planks, to the slanting illumination from the early morning sun. The sunlight is important to this composition, because the low angled light of the early morning sun illuminates places that are normally obscured by shadow, providing “A Fresh Slant” on the situation.

Image and text © 2020 James Golaszewski

Come What May

Come What May

Wondering:

Enter the clamor

And expose yourself

To an onslaught from all sides

Or, remain at the railing, watching…

Options:

Are an illusion

Because to remain

Is choosing not to begin

And there is no life, until the beginning…

Hesitate:

You may get hurt

The metallic screeching

The lights and cascading sparks

The cacophony and chaos and uncertainty…

Destiny:

Is surely inevitable

The ride will come to an end

The length of time is not a choice

The richness of the experience is the only variable…

Watching:

Hit after hit

The others continue

Shaken by each impact, but joyful still

You enter, knowing your spirit will endure… Come What May.

Image and text © 2019 James Golaszewski all rights reserved

Puddle Stompin’ Boogie

Puddle Stompin’ Boogie 30 X 24

After a heavy downpour this summer, my 3-year-old granddaughter was walking with me as I was dragging my garbage can down our long driveway to the roadside.  As we walked I took a serpentine path around the puddles.  My granddaughter had a different strategy. She was taking an equally serpentine path with one significant difference, she was seeking out each and every puddle. As she got to each one she would take a running-jumping-full-body-double-footed leap into the deepest part of the puddle. KABOOM! Water would go flying in all directions and she would give a triumphant squeal, then she would target the next puddle.

I started to tell her to stop, then I had a realization. Sometimes you have to make the best of a bad situation.

When the cold rains come, get your umbrella and go dancing through life with soggy shoes, doing the Puddle Stompin’ Boogie.

Image and text © 2019 James Golaszewski

Well, if it rains, I don’t care
Don’t make no difference to me
Just take that streetcar that’s goin’ uptown
Yeah, I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland and dance a honky-tonk
And I’ll be buyin’ ev’rybody drinks all ‘roun’

From “Black Water” as written by and Pat Simmons.

When The Long Days End

When The Long Days End 24 X 48 © 2019 James Golaszewski Mixed Media Acrylic

This is my newest painting, “When The Long Days End “, showing a classic grain elevator embraced by a fall sunset. You will notice that even as the sun sets and the day comes to an end, the lights are on and it appears that work is still taking place in the upper longhouse over the horizontal conveyors.

Being “a man of a certain age”, I am at a point in my life where my thoughts easily turn to musings about the passing of time and how to make the best use of what remains of my life.

Some of my contemporaries have decided to take the approach that includes “downsizing” their lives and “elderizing” their homes (you know, a condo with no yard work, a walk-in tub, no stairs, wide doorways…) in preparation for anticipated frailty.

I know this is probably the most practical approach, but it is not for me.

These thoughts were on my mind, which led me to the desire to express these thoughts in a painting. The course of a lifetime is frequently compared to the four seasons, with spring representing birth and the energy, hope, and promise of youth; and winter exemplifying old age and death. Using this analogy, I am in the autumn of life, a season where the seemingly endless long hot days of summer give way to the short days and long cool nights of fall. 

I know the Grim Reaper and I will meet some day, but I am not going to make it easy for him and I sure as hell am not going to meet him halfway.  I still have things to do.

In other words, It ain’t winter yet.

There is still work to be done, When The Long Days End.

Image and text © 2019 James Golaszewski

24 X 48 Mixed Media Acrylic

At The End Of The Day

ATEOTD 2019

At The End Of The Day

“At the end of the day” is a phrase that, in current parlance, refers to what is left after everything that really does not matter is removed from consideration. The phrase is overused, but there is still some untapped wisdom to be found here if you apply the logic contained in this phrase to your life. In other words, ask yourself, what is left of your life after you remove everything that really does not matter?

Not to oversimplify, but it could be said that what you do with your life is defined by how you spend your time. Consider the phrase, “spend your time”. It is one that we thoughtlessly toss around so much that we rarely stop and think about how meaningful it really is. The word “spend” is of particular importance here. We can bring it into sharper focus if we change the word “time” to “money”. It then becomes “spend your money”, a phrase we all understand.

We are always aware of roughly how much money we have, and we adjust our activities to match our resources. We are careful what we do with our money because we know it is in limited supply and we don’t want to waste it or do something stupid with it. We fuss and fidget and plan how we are going to spend our money. Before we spend money, we usually pause and ask ourselves, “Do I really want to spend my money on this?” After we spend our money, we want to “have something to show for it”.

Should we treat the gift of time any differently?

We tend to be more thoughtless and careless about how we “spend” time. This is a strange phenomenon because time is really the most precious commodity. It is possible to make or borrow more money once you have spent what you have, but there is no way to make or borrow more time. To make matters worse, there is no way to know how much time is left in your “account”.

Once we have “spent” our time it is gone forever. While we give careful consideration to how we spend our money, we waste away the seconds of our life engaged in mindless activities, pursuing meaningless goals, worrying about things we cannot change, and being angry about things that are unimportant.

Photographer Robert Polidori once said, “A good picture asks certain questions and answers only some”. In “At The End Of The Day” I explored some questions about being more mindful of how I spend my time.

I realize that we are powerless to be conscious of every second of every day. We would drive ourselves crazy if we tried to squeeze every drop of potential out of every second, or if with every tick of the clock we panicked because another second had passed from our lives. What we can do, I think, is stop every now and then to remind ourselves of the wonderful gift of time that we have been given and to make sure we are spending it wisely.

I have learned that the best way to stay on course while navigating unfamiliar terrain is to stop occasionally and determine exactly where I am in relation to where I want to be. If I find I have wandered off course, I forgive myself for being fallible, and realign my course with my intended goal. I try to apply this principle to my life, as well. It is helpful for me to frequently take a look at my life and determine where I am in relation to where I want to be. For me, it is fitting to do this “At the End Of The Day”.

Image and Text © Jim Golaszewski 2019

“It gets late early out here”
Yogi Berra

A Dream Before Waking

A Dream Before Waking

The painting was inspired by “that flying dream” that everyone has at one time or another.  In the painting the sun is just starting to rise, awakening the slumbering dreamer…. or maybe the sun is setting, allowing the dream to continue.

The painting it while thinking about dreams, the kind that you have while you sleep and the kind that you have while you are awake.

 

Image and text © 2019 James Golaszewski

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.” – Muhammad Ali

 

 

Dance of the Angels

Dance of the Angels 31 X 18 Acrylic Mixed Media on panel

 

Dance of the Angels

Without the Darkness

We would never see

Angels dance

Among the

Stars

 

Image and text © 2019 James Golaszewski

31 X 18 Acrylic Mixed Media on panel

 

For the science-curious among us, here is some information from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration):

“The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) are the result of electrons colliding with the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere. (Protons cause faint and diffuse aurora, usually not easily visible to the human eye.) The electrons are energized through acceleration processes in the downwind tail (night side) of the magnetosphere and at lower altitudes along auroral field lines. The accelerated electrons follow the magnetic field of Earth down to the Polar Regions where they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms and molecules in Earth’s upper atmosphere. In these collisions, the electrons transfer their energy to the atmosphere thus exciting the atoms and molecules to higher energy states. When they relax back down to lower energy states, they release their energy in the form of light. This is similar to how a neon light works. The aurora typically forms 80 to 500 km above Earth’s surface.

Earth’s magnetic field guides the electrons such that the aurora forms two ovals approximately centered at the magnetic poles. During major geomagnetic storms these ovals expand away from the poles such that aurora can be seen over most of the United States. Aurora comes in several different shapes. Often the auroral forms are made of many tall rays that look much like a curtain made of folds of cloth. During the evening, these rays can form arcs that stretch from horizon to horizon. Late in the evening, near midnight, the arcs often begin to twist and sway, just as if a wind were blowing on the curtains of light. At some point, the arcs may expand to fill the whole sky, moving rapidly and becoming very bright. This is the peak of what is called an auroral substorm.

Then in the early morning the auroral forms can take on a more cloud-like appearance. These diffuse patches often blink on and off repeatedly for hours, then they disappear as the sun rises in the east. The best place to observe the aurora is under an oval shaped region between the north and south latitudes of about 60 and 75 degrees. At these polar latitudes, the aurora can be observed more than half of the nights of a given year.

When space weather activity increases and more frequent and larger storms and substorms occur, the aurora extends equatorward. During large events, the aurora can be observed as far south as the US, Europe, and Asia. During very large events, the aurora can be observed even farther from the poles. Of course, to observe the aurora, the skies must be clear and free of clouds. It must also be dark so during the summer months at auroral latitudes, the midnight sun prevents auroral observations.”