These Are the Days We Are Given

These Are the Days We Are Given Acrylic 24 X 24

 

The Man wonders.

Why is it raining on me? When will the darkness end? Where am I going?  Am I going in the right direction?

The Man’s shoes squish and squeak on the wet sidewalk. His jeans wick water from below, making them cumbersome.  His baggage weighs heavy on his shoulder, pulling him downward. Tires hiss and splash as cars full of unnoticing Others race past.   A steady rain taps out a murmuring drumbeat on his umbrella while hot neon buzzes overhead.  Doors and windows are shut, blocking out the Man in the cold damp air

The Man considers his situation.

Raindrops in freefall, each separate and individual until their inevitable collision with the earth, where they join with the souls of all of the other raindrops and return to where they began.  The joy of the falling raindrop is not diminished by the knowledge of its inevitable homecoming.  The raindrop knows that whatever path it takes, and wherever it lands, it will join with others and become something greater than it was.

Drop by drop the minutes pass.  Night by night the years pass.  Sometimes things are as the Man wishes they were.  Even then, he worries about the coming darkness.  Sometimes, the cold rain comes. The Man feels resentful and put-upon.  The Man wonders what he ever did to deserve such a miserable plight.

The raindrops speak to the Man.

The raindrops talk to the Man about destiny.  The raindrops talk to the Man about how, step by step, drop by drop, we move towards something greater.  The raindrops tell the Man how they move from the oceans to the sky and then back to the oceans. The raindrops teach the Man about The Way.

The Man has a realization.

There is an order to all things. He is part of a much larger Universe. There is a Plan.  The Plan is not under his control. The Plan is too big to be understood from his vantage point.  The Man now trusts that all is as it should be. The Man knows that each day, each heartbeat, is a gift; and gifts are to be appreciated.  To be anxious is to not trust The Way.  A peaceful mind, even in times of darkness, is how we show gratitude and follow The Way.

The Man walks in the cold night rain with a neon buzz… He smiles. He understands. He is at peace because he knows.

These Are the Days We Are Given.

 

Image and text © 2017 James Golaszewski

Come What May

Come What May 28.5 X 18.5Come What May

I painted “Come What May” to serve as a reminder to myself and anyone else needing to be reminded that the goal of life is not to avoid the bumps, rather it is to engage with the universe and enjoy the ride.   You can go through life playing it safe, taking no chances, avoiding all conflict, not taking a stand on issues of consequence, not making a difference one way or the other… or you can put yourself out there and actually live, not just be alive.

To illustrate this point, I have used my old friend the bumper car.  There are a lot of similarities between life and a ride in a bumper car at the amusement park. During the ride things come at you from all directions.  If you get out into the stream of traffic and try to make a place for yourself, you get slammed around a lot.  In return, however, you are able to get in a few bumps of your own along the way.

Like life, the bumper car ride teaches us that we can survive life’s bumps and scrapes and we need not live in fear. It reminds us that we are not just along for the ride, in order to make the most of the experience we need to maneuver and engage with the other bumper cars. Just like the bumper car, we need to be confident that we can handle anything that comes our way, and we will be OK no matter what happens. Relax and enjoy the ride.

In my painting we see a bumper car that has been bounced around a bit, but it has survived and it stands ready, “Come What May”.

Image and text © 2017 James Golaszewski

 

Drifting On A Reflection

drifting-17-x-40-mixed-media-acrylic

Drifting

on a reflection.

 

Remembering

all that has passed.

 

Uncertain

of what may be next.

 

Believing

I can control my destiny.

 

Struggling

to row against wind and tide.

 

Futile

as struggling against a teardrop.

 

Surrendering

to the push and pull of the currents.

 

Safe

now in still waters.

 

Drifting

on a reflection.

 

 

 

Image and Text © James Golaszewski 2017

 

Hot Summer Night

hot-summer-night-17-x-40-mixed-media-acrylic

Hot Summer Night

Sitting

in the dark heat

of a humid summer night.

Listening to the night sounds.

Thinking

about life and people.

Things I do not understand.

Seeking clues, insight, understanding.

Watching

silent lightening.

At first over the horizon,

now nearly upon me, silent no longer.

Feeling

the sticky heat

becoming cooler and drier.

A welcome, yet frightening, change.

Uncertain

because change

can come at a high price.

The storm, much closer now, threatens.

Stars

still visible

above the soaring clouds

Provide a calming cosmic perspective.

Then

tendrils of light

spiral about in and out of the clouds.

Illuminating earth and sky in otherworldly light.

All

a prelude

to the main event.

A searing bolt connects the earth and sky

BAM!

A lingering flash.

An earsplitting blast.

The earth has been changed by the heavens.

I

have learned

I am but a small piece

of all that was, is, and will be.

As

I watch

God paint the sky

On “A Hot Summer Night”.

Painting and text © 2016 James Golaszewski

Kilroy Lives Here

kilroy-lives-here-8-x-48-mixed-media

Kilroy Lives Here

During WWII, the United States Armed Forces personnel started what would now be referred to as “viral” graffiti. The graffiti consisted of a simple image of what looked like a bald man peering over a wall combined with the text “Kilroy Was Here”.

kilroy

Ever since, this graffiti has been left in odd and unexpected places wherever members of the United States Armed Forces serve.

I have always respected the people that serve in the United States Armed Forces. I admire the heroic way they deal with the stresses of their service combined with the quiet humility they display upon returning to their civilian lives. It has been my experience that most of the returning soldiers keep their exploits to themselves, quietly picking up their lives where they left off. Most often, it is only when reading an obituary that I discover that someone I had known for years as a postal worker, doctor, truck driver, or farmer, had been a decorated veteran.

This painting is a tribute to the veterans that return to their pre-service lives to live unassumingly and inconspicuously among us without fanfare and braggadocio.

Thank you.

Image and text © 2016 James Golaszewski

The Day After Yesterday

the-day-after-yesterday-23-x-30-mixed-media

The Day After Yesterday”

We had a few clouds blow into our lives over the past couple of years. Some small, some not so small. Small or large, however, they all seemed like a big deal at the time. Some of these clouds were on my mind this morning when I went out to feed and water the horses. When I walked outside I was greeted by a beautiful sunrise, which reminded me of a lesson I learned long ago but momentarily forgot (if I could remember everything I once knew, I would be a genius). It is commonplace, in times of difficulty, for us to think that things will be better tomorrow.

Or, as “Annie” sings:

The sun will come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on
’til tomorrow, come what may!
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow
You’re always a day away!”

Tomorrow, the day after today. By definition, however, tomorrow never comes. Even the ever-optimistic Annie admits it… “You’re always a day away!”

So what are we to do? Are we doomed? Nope. You learn to find your Peace, even on a cloudy day. Today. Or, put another way, “The Day After Yesterday”.

Whenever my life gets – how should I put this – let’s just call it …interesting, I have to stop and remind myself that a sunrise is much more beautiful when there are a few clouds around to accent the brilliance and beauty of the sun.

Life is like that too.

I think George Harrison had it more right than Annie:

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right.”

This painting of 1949 Chevrolet is one of the first paintings I sold in a professional setting. It was sold years ago as the result of a show at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, a beautiful museum that I highly recommend.

Image and text © 2016 James Golaszewski

Tomorrow” is a song from the musical Annie, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, published in 1977. The number was originally written as “The Way We Live Now” for the 1970 short film Replay, with both music and lyrics by Strouse.

“Here Comes the Sun” by George Harrison from The Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road.

A Little Late Getting Home

a-little-late-getting-home-24-x-33-mixed-media-acrylicSome experiences are so enjoyable that we are tempted to try recreating them at a later date. However, life has taught me that any attempt to do so will lead to an unsatisfactory result.

I first noticed this phenomenon as a child. There were times when all of the kids on the block would get together for a sandlot baseball game, a pick-up football game, a snowball fight, hockey in the park on a big frozen puddle… times when everything would come together to create a magical experience. Later, in an effort to recapture the magic, we would gather the same people in the same place at the same time of day and everything would be EXACTLY the same and …. pffft. Nothing, it was just not the same.

Disappointment.

My realization was confirmed as the years passed. You can never recapture the wonder and beauty of a sublime experience. What you can do is recognize the magic when it occurs, try to make it last as long as possible, and treasure it as the miracle it is.

When I am in the midst of the adult equivalent of the perfect sandlot baseball game, I try not to hurry through it. I know it is something to be savored, so I do what I can to make it last as long as possible.

When this happens, I am always “A Little Late Getting Home”.

To express these thoughts I painted a scene with a hot air balloon aloft at dusk. Most hot air balloons are set up for daylight-only operation and it is unusual to see one airborne after dark. In this painting the sun is setting and night is rapidly approaching but my balloonist is in no hurry to return to earth. Instead, he fires his burner to slow his descent and maybe even ascend once more. He savors the moment when the sun slips away and releases the sky to the waiting stars, hinting at another universal truth… Even though you can’t recreate a perfect experience, there will be other, different, wonderful experiences in the future.

A careful viewer will note a sprinkling of early evening stars and a very faint jet contrail crossing the sky, hinting at our restless nature and our ingrained urge to move from where we are… to whatever comes next.

Painting and text © 2016 James Golaszewski