Reflecting

Reflecting 31 X 17 Mixed Media Acrylic copyScientists that study time tell us that time is not linear. They say it is something like looking out of the window of a moving train. You see the scenery as it passes your window – so from your perspective, each scene you pass comes “after” the scene before. But in reality, all of the scenery already exists, you only experience it in a linear fashion. Each tree is not formed for your viewing pleasure as you pass, only to dissolve into nothingness after you have passed. The tree is there, whether you are looking at it or not. The tree was there before you got there, and it is still there after you pass.

Is it possible, therefore, that all of the “live life in the moment path to happiness” gurus are wrong? Are we causing ourselves unnecessary stress and frustration by trying to follow this unnatural path? If we go against our nature and “live life in the moment” are we narrowing our field of view and throwing away one of the biggest gifts the Creator has given us, the gift of self-awareness?

If the past, present, and future are not separate things and they are part of the continuous flow of time, maybe reflecting upon your past and speculating about your future is the only rational way to experience your life.

I was thinking about this when I created this painting, which I titled “Reflecting”.

In “Reflecting” the tree exists simultaneously in five realms, the abstract (shadow of the tree on the house wall), the conceptual (reflection of the tree in the window), the tangible (fallen leaves on windowsill and tall grass), the metaphorical (the autumn colors represent the cycle of life), and the immediately relevant (the viewer, standing in the shade of the tree, feels the coolness and comfort provided by the sheltering tree).

“Reflecting” asks the question – rather than having a narrow focus on the here and now, should we be more reflective in our approach to life? Is it possible that the past is not gone, the present is not random, and the future is limited only by our ability to move towards uncertainty?

Painting and text © 2016 James Golaszewski

“Time and space are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live. A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Albert Einstein

 
There are three methods to gaining wisdom. The first is reflection, which is the highest. The second is limitation, which is the easiest. The third is experience, which is the bitterest.

Confucius

[Could Confucious AND Einstein be wrong?]

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Near Miss

 

Near Miss 30 x 30- Mixed Media Acrylic © 2016

Near Miss 30 x 30 Mixed Media Acrylic

Fear is a funny thing.

 

Many things we fear never happen, and yet the fear of the frightful event can cause as much or more disruption and damage than the fearfully anticipated event would have caused if it had actually happened.

In “Near Miss”, a barn that has weathered many storms is situated amid waves of undulating earth while a storm passes harmlessly in the near distance. As a way of calling attention to my belief that there is beauty in even the gloomiest situation if only you look for it, there is a faint rainbow at the leading edge of the rainfall. As a design consideration, the rainbow is muted so the colors of the rainbow do not dominate the composition. This is a rainbow that will only be seen by someone looking for it.

In this composition, the curves of the terrain are intentionally left uncluttered by trees, hedgerows, or farmsteads in order to exaggerate the similarities between the rolling hills and rising and falling waves.

To further the maritime allegory, the form of the old wooden barn has been manipulated so that its lines resemble the hull of an old wooden ship while at the same time the sweeping curve of the sagging roof mirrors the curve of the surrounding countryside. Taking the barn/ship metaphor one step further, the rusty metal roof of the barn was given an overall copper tint; old wooden sailing ships frequently had copper cladding on their hulls below the water line.

Nothing helps you appreciate the good things in your life like a Near Miss.

Image and text © 2016 James Golaszewski

“I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

Mark Twain
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

One Precious Day

 

One Precious Day 30 X 16 Mixed Media Relief Painting

One Precious Day  30×16 mixed media acrylic

One Precious Day

 

You think that this is just another day in your life…
It’s not just another day.
It’s the one day that is given to you – today…
It’s given to you.
It’s a gift.
It’s the only gift that you have right now…
…and the only appropriate response is gratefulness.

(Louis Schwartzberg, photographer)

Louis Schwartzberg is a contemporary photographer that has spent his life taking time-lapse photographs. He also made a short film, “One Precious Day”. During his remarks introducing the film, Louis says, “we are all connected to a universe that celebrates life”. In that one casual sentence, he sums up some thoughts that I have used entire paragraphs to try to express.

The use of the word “God” can be off-putting to some. I am not sure why it is controversial, to me acknowledging that there is a God is to admit that I am not the highest power in the universe. The form God takes and the methods we use to honor God and interact with God are certainly open to debate, but who among us is so arrogant as to believe there is nothing greater than us? Who can watch a sunrise, or a thunderstorm, or look up at the stars at night and conclude, yup, this all happened by accident, and I am in charge here…

As we begin a new year I wish you all well, “One Precious Day” at a time.

Image and text © 2015 James Golaszewski, except as noted