HOW TO WORK WITH PLEASURE AND PAIN
“In Tibetan Buddhism there’s a set of teachings for cultivating compassion called mind training, or lojong. One of the lojong teachings is, “Whichever of the two occurs, be patient.” This means if a painful situation occurs, be patient, and if a pleasant situation occurs, be patient. This is an interesting point. Usually, we jump all the time; whether it’s pain or pleasure, we want resolution. So if we’re happy and something is great, we could also be patient then, and not fill up the space, going a million miles an hour—impulse shopping, impulse talking, impulse acting out.”
(Pema Chodron; From her book Practicing Peace)
Dec. 3, ‘14
Gray, foggy, wet and a penetrating 37 degree temp. The snow showers forecast for yesterday afternoon and through the night was more like rain than snow. Where I am, anyhow.
I made sure to get up early this morning so I had time to chip away at the growing pile of paintings in my work area. Soon, I’ll need to get cooking and then pack the soup I plan to make, then get myself ready to leave to go to my mother’s house for lunch. I’m making one of our favorites, Cream of Tomato.
I have little recollection as to the actual day I did this painting. In the margin I’ve called this painting an ‘experiment’ but have no recollection as to what the experiment actually was. I know where I was parked because of the angle of the buildings and because I know what side of the street they’re on. I’m thinking that the day was a Sunday because the light in this painting seems to be morning light and because I also know that I had Sunday’s off from work and was free to go somewhere to paint morning light. And because I’m parked on the side of the street where I’m facing the buildings, it’s a time of day when a parking space is actually available.
I’m fairly sure that I saw the Town Parking officer who patrolled the streets, marking the tires of parked cars with chalk, ready to issue a parking ticket in case that car was still there when he came back in 2 hours. I saw him just about every time I was there. He never chalked my tires when I was parked and working on a painting. We exchanged pleasantries, sometimes I’d show him my work and ask his opinion, he’d offer a few encouraging words and then he’d tip his hat and was gone.
The Litchfield Green is a place that was always attractive to me, since I was quite young and went there on an outdoor painting adventure with a friend who was in art school and this was her assignment. It was a wonderful experience. We’d both been raised in the area so had been on the Green many times before but this day, it was if we’d caught some kind of euphoria and were seeing the Green with different eyes – the good, the bad, the ugly…. – and it was all wonderful!. I think this experience was enhanced because we were both becoming more aware of ourselves as artists and saw so much around us with which we identified and wanted to use in our art to say what each of us needed to say. So, perhaps I view the Green as a wellspring….
The most I can remember about this painting is that it exists because I needed to say something about these shapes and the color of the sky – or perhaps I needed to say something about how the color made me feel. I know that when I was done adjusting the color, it made me feel great.