"Called To Presence" by Jim Carpenter, Acrylic on Paper, 9" x 22.5"
"Once the vision is in place, then the life will eventually follow. Be brave, idleheart!"
Being Present & The Idle Heart
Today is day 11 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Day Challenge. I've been focusing on the notion of being idle and using Tom Hodgkinson's book "How To Be Idle" as my reference guide. I'm doing this because sometimes I forget that I am actually retired and I fall into the old habit of thinking that painting full time, which I started 11 years ago for enjoyment, is a job. The idea of "job" eventually takes some of the fun out of it - and adds unnecessary pressure. What would happen if I were to look at my painting as something I do in the luxury of my leisure? What I'm discovering is that it gives me a new sense of freedom, and a new stash of bravery to support risk-taking.
"Called To Presence" is a painting that follows a familiar theme in my work. The long and narrow format is one of my favorites, and to me it is suited for storytelling and for a lineup of figures. What I sense in this painting is the meditative quality of the figures. They look contemplative - present to the world around them - observant. They are idle. Perhaps daydreaming. Meditating.
The title, "Called To Presence," refers not only to the figures in the painting but also to those who take the time to look at the painting and allow it to spark the imagination. Being present, being able to daydream, being idle, is something that is essential for creativity. It is in the idle moments that our imaginations can run free. It is in the idle moments that we can daydream and imagine a world that we would like to live in. And as Hodgkinson points out, "once the vision is in place, then the life eventually will follow." So, idleness is an essential element in a life of creativity. We have to have time to dream.