Felt Fragments of Forever

In every moment, in every thing, eternity is present.

— Wols

Painting trains you to find the “ungraspable abstract” in things, the eternal forms obscured by ordinary perception, and to render them as your emotions dictate.

It’s both those qualities—the eternal and the emotional—that make good paintings so pleasing.

Paintings are felt fragments of forever.

Paintings are poignant, too, because our deaths never lie far off.

Death’s prospect claims our every waking moment, crying Carpe diem! at the top of its lungs. Good paintings remind us to seize and celebrate all our days—even the cold and rainy ones.

These days—reluctantly—I’m learning to paint sitting down, a wholly new experience that one painting teacher insists will soon become my preference. He well could be right. The Surrealist Wols advised painters to imitate housecats in front of the easel. “While working,” he said, “you have to imitate the cat, staying as still as the furniture around it.”

Wols also advised painters to recognize that, like the ethereal behavior of housecats, the objects they paint defy explanation.

“Nothing can be explained,” Wols said. “All we know is appearance. The abstract that permeates all things is ungraspable.”

Above: Pitcher, Plate and Cup. Oil on canvas board. 10 x 8 inches. Ships framed and ready to hang.