When I think about exiting this life, I think about the losses. There are the great ones, like all the people I love and can’t imagine parting from, and the beautiful and terrible world itself. Then there is everything I haven’t experienced: the countries not visited, the books not read, movies not seen; I could go on to an ever-expanding list. How wonderful and amazing that there is far more to do and see and learn than we can encompass in a lifetime. And how sad. I particularly regret the paintings I won’t get to make. I have more unfinished work and collage materials than I could get to in two lifetimes. I like having all that waiting in patient silence for me. I lament that I won’t ever get to feel that it is done. To feel that my work here on this earth has come to an end and I am ready to lay down my brushes. No, I can hear myself screaming: Wait! Wait! Not ready to go! Food I haven’t tasted! Streets I haven’t walked on! Flowering trees that will bloom! Oh, dear, I am going to miss all that?
Time marches on and I continue to grow in the power and knowledge I need in order to paint the vision. I think about how nice it would be to go on like Methuselah. Imagine what paintings I could make after another hundred years or so of experience and learning. I would produce miracles. I take more pleasure in my days now and appreciate my world more and more. Nope, not prepared to give up any of it.
The awful reality is that I will soon have to think of reducing my operation. My memory used to be better, but except for that I am still a fully functioning human being. Yet I am thinking ahead to the curtailed abilities that will perforce present within the next years. It behooves me to accept the truth of diminished capacity and to assume a simpler and reduced workload. How hard it is to accept these facts. And the facts are that I need to stop working to pay the high rent I pay now and to move to a smaller living space and a necessarily smaller studio. Damn, damn.
If there is a life after this one, I am putting in some requests right now. I want to be drop-dead gorgeous, brilliantly intelligent, enormously talented and filthy rich. And to be able to add to that list as the whim takes me. Some superficiality there, you say? Well, that would depend on what I do with those gifts, I say.
The Image above is Multiple Blue ©1993, acrylic on paper mounted on canvas, 48” x 38”.