Child of The Universe

child of the universe 18 x 24 2019

Child of The Universe 

Time passes.   Things and people come and go.  The sun rises and sets.  Days pass, each different than the one before.  We know this.  Yet we try to hold on, to make time stop.  We want this moment to linger.  We fear change, and resist it at every opportunity.

However, would we have this moment if we had held on to the last?   Would we be “here” if we somehow managed to stay where we were?  In fact, would that not be a prison – being trapped in place and time?   Would we be “here and now” if we never left “there and then”?   Maybe, like a mother bird pushing a baby out of the nest so it learns that it can fly and it does not have to be earth bound,  we are pushed relentlessly forward by time so that we learn that we are children of the universe, and our spirits are destined for eternity.

In “Child of the Universe”, I use the imagery of a hawk soaring over a well maintained old barn to express these thoughts.

 

Image and text © 2019 James Golaszewski all rights reserved

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They Who Dream By Day

 

 

They Who Dream By Day

I consider myself to be a dreamer, and I find myself drawn to others of like mind. To many, the label “dreamer” is considered to be an insult, meaning that one makes unachievable and fanciful plans that fly in the face of “reality” at the expense of using their time and energy on more practical pursuits.

In this context, “reality” is used as another word for limitations. I am not trying to say there are no limitations, because clearly there are. Rather, I think the limits we perceive are not where we think they are, they are mirages of barriers that may be somewhere over the horizon. Limitations need to be challenged. Barriers must be tested.

Like most things, dreams come in various sizes and shapes. Some dream of solving the problems and puzzles that confront humanity, while some dream of simpler things that are more personal. While I appreciate the big dreamers and am grateful for the fruits of their pursuits, I feel more of a kinship with the “day dreamers”.

I remember a study I learned of in Psych 101. As I recall, in this study there were two sets of subjects. They subjected both groups to an increasing level of pain, supplied by an electric shock. They were instructed to continuously rate their level of pain. One group had a big red button in front of them. This group was told that they could press the button at any time and the pain would stop. The other group had no button and was told they had no control over the pain. Both groups received identical electric shocks, which gradually increased in severity. The group that thought they could make the pain stop whenever they chose to rated their level of pain as being significantly less than that reported by the group that thought they had no control.

I think our dreams serve the same purpose as that red button, they offer a way out.

Whether or not we push the button is up to us. It takes courage to dream. In addition to exposing yourself to ridicule and sideways glances, many fear that allowing yourself to dream can expose you to regrets if the dreams go unfulfilled. What true dreamers know, however, is to just have the dream is liberating. The pursuit of the dream may never be necessary. It is only required that the dreamer intends to pursue the dream “someday”. The mere existence of the dream has a healing effect on the life of the dreamer. It is the concept of the dream that can keep us alive.

“They Who Dream By Day” was inspired by something I saw while on patrol one day.  I stumbled upon a scene very similar to what is depicted in this painting. There was an old and neglected sailboat on a rusted trailer parked next to a dilapidated barn; weeds and grass were growing around and through the trailer and boat. The boat was in a condition of general disrepair. Birds and critters of all descriptions had set up housekeeping in the boat. It was a veritable “Barnyard Ark”. It was obvious that the boat had not been moved or received any attention for quite some time.

I wondered what circumstances caused this vessel, clearly intended for the freedom of open water, to be abandoned next to a barn in the middle of an ocean of corn and soybeans. I imagined it must have been placed there by a fellow dreamer, one that intended to repair it and use it someday as a gateway to maritime adventure.

I hoped that the dream was still alive.

In many ways the actual creation of this painting reflects the challenges and struggles that confront dreamers.  When I started I had the inspiration (dream), but the composition and technical details regarding the creation process were unresolved.  Usually I will work out all or most of these details before I start.  In this instance, I wanted so badly to express this idea that I started it before I knew exactly how I was going to proceed.  This created the risk that I was going to waste time, energy, and expensive materials.

I knew that if I waited to have all of the answers before I asked the questions, I would never begin.  Consequently, this piece was very challenging to complete and I nearly abandoned it in progress several times – the artistic equivalent of parking it next to the barn and letting the weeds consume it…

In the end, it turned out exactly as I had envisioned it.

I was going to title it “Someday”, but in the end I decided to base the title on a quote that I love from “Eleonora”, a short story by Edgar Allen Poe.

“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. In their gray visions they obtain glimpses of eternity; and thrill; in waking; to find they have been upon the verge of the great secret.”

Happy New Year, and dream big in 2019.

Image and text © 2018 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

August

August 15 X 48

August.

The last gasp of full Summer.

Delightful hot days and warm nights.

Joy, tempered by the knowledge that Summer is near its end.

Melancholy, assuaged by the anticipated beauty of the approaching Autumn.

Then, Winter.

 

Image and text © 2018 James Golaszewski

 

July 4th Blues

July 4th Blues

July 4th 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, let’s 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 © 2018 James Golaszewski

 

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

James Taylor “Country Road”

 

The Storm Within

The Storm Within 14 X 36 Mixed Media Acrylic 2018

The Storm Within

This is a view of the Chicago harbor lighthouse as seen from within the harbor, looking east toward the protective breakwater, rising sun, and Lake Michigan. The sky is clearing and the lake is calm while the water in the harbor is unnaturally unsettled and choppy.  This is contrary to expectations.  There is no apparent reason for the water within the harbor to be turbulent while the surrounding lake is calm and the sky is peaceful. Yet the water in the harbor is clearly agitated.  This should not be so.  The harbor is supposed to be safe, calm, and protected.  What is wrong with the harbor water, has it gone crazy?

This painting is about PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), The Storm Within.

 

Image and text © 2018 James Golaszewski all rights reserved