“To be an artist is to believe in life.” Joan Miró
I may be the world’s pre-eminent practitioner of faux-naif–expressionism. It is the only way to describe my completely idiosyncratic approach to painting.
For me, painting began and continues as a form of therapy. I was on a kind of six-month enforced sabbatical and watched a documentary — Seymour: An Introduction — that my sister Linda told me to see.
Directed and produced by Ethan Hawke, it focuses on a 92 year-old New York piano teacher named Seymour Bernstein that Ethan met one night at a dinner party. During a subsequent conversation, Ethan confided a growing and incapacitating stage fright to Seymour. Their ensuing discussions and friendship form the basis for this loving but probing portrait of that quite unusual man.
During the movie, Seymour spoke about living a joy-filled life, and that phrase struck a chord in me. As an exercise, I laid out a kind of matrix of different areas in my life and imagined what I’d be doing in each quadrant if I were actually living such a life.
The result was that I started painting. I bought a bicycle and started riding again. And I started writing again. Since that summer of self-(re)discovery, I’ve made a dozen paintings I’m happy with. And I’ve written a lot. The adventure continues.