Damaged Goods

Damaged Goods  16 X 30 Mixed Media AcrylicFunny, how life imitates art. A few years ago I painted this picture featuring a big old tree missing one of its main branches as the focal point. Who knew that I would have a tree that looks just like this in my yard after a storm on July 13th , 2016?  Even better, who knew the missing 30 inch diameter, 55 foot long, branch would crash on to the roof of my house?

Eighty-Five mile per hour winds will do things like that to a fine old tree.

The tree removal company gave us the option of removing the remaining tree, or leaving it as is…

Guess what we decided to do?

Yup, it is still there. I respect the tenacity of life, of living. The remaining half of the tree will either live – or it will not. Not my call.

Here is the original essay for “Damaged Goods”.

I frequently hear people saying that life is a struggle. At one time, I dismissed these people as being pessimistic “glass half empty” people. As time passed and I gained more life experience I realized that the “life is a struggle” comment is really just a statement of fact and has no inherent negative or positive connotation. This started me thinking about struggles in general. I began to wonder if the things I have learned from over 34 years as a street cop about prevailing in a physical struggle might have some value when applied to the struggle of life.

One of the first things I learned many years ago as a rookie cop is – if you go into a physical struggle with the intention of not even getting your uniform dirty, you are going to lose. You will be focused on keeping your uniform clean and avoiding injury, rather than on winning. I am not recommending that you go into a situation, or life, intending to get hurt. My point is that you should not be focused on avoiding injury because when you get hurt (and you will get hurt) you give up. Why wouldn’t you? Your goal was to avoid getting hurt. You got hurt. Game over.

In a physical struggle, as in the struggle of life, you should be focused on achieving your goals rather than on avoiding pain. If you take a little damage along the way, don’t be surprised; keep moving.

I certainly hope you never find yourself involved in a physical confrontation. I mention it here because the same rules apply to the struggles of life. If your goal in life is to avoid getting hurt you will not be happy with the results. If you focus on avoiding pain rather than on finding joy, you will miss most of what life has to offer.

In this painting, I have used a fine old tree and a passing storm to express this concept. When you look at the painting, you will quickly notice that the tree has lost one of its major branches at some time in the past to a lightning strike or high winds, but it still embraces life and reaches for the sky with the branches that remain.

If you are actively involved in life, you are going to take some damage along the way. As long as you survive and thrive, there is nothing wrong with being “Damaged Goods”.

© 2016 James Golaszewski

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July 4th Blues

July Fourth Blues

I painted this in the middle of a long cold winter several years ago. I imagined a place of warmth and peace as I painted. I had to immerse myself in the illusion, and in the process I went a little crazy(er). As I painted I imagined myself in the world I was creating, walking down the road on the Fourth of July. The whole scene existed only in my imagination at first, and each element in the painting ended up with a back story (kind of like Bob Ross and his “happy little trees”).

To celebrate the 4th of July, lets take a walk together down this idyllic country road. You can’t see it in this tiny little image, but there is a dog in the yard of the house at the bottom of the hill. His name is Max, we can say high to him as we walk past.

A beautiful moment on a beautiful day in a beautiful place in the middle of summer…you are invited to stroll down the road and bask in the peace and beauty.

Image and text © 2016 James Golaszewski

“I guess my feet know where they want me to go…
Walking on a country road.”

James Taylor “Country Road”