When Life Gives You Lemons, Paint Them

Whatever the objects of his attention, the painter will not make them say
what they are without thereby learning what he is.

— Jean-Paul Sartre

Just when I think I’ve about had it with party strife, microbes, blizzards, intolerance and inequality, painting comes along to pick me up.

Still-life painting helps you concentrate all your attention on what’s real (as opposed to what’s not) and the way in which the real presents itself to your eye and mind. A lemon, a  napkin and a pen, for example.

Contentment and self-satisfaction then come to you in proportion to the degree to which you can reproduce those two things (the real and its manner of presentation) through your choices of values, colors, and brushstrokes.

Painting insentient objects lets them speak and, as Sartre points out, helps you discover some rather intimate aspects of yourself. Why do you believe those particular objects wish to speak? Why speak to you and not someone else? Who taught you their language? You never listened to them before—where have you been all this time?

Much healthier than drugs and more reliable than meditation, painting gets you out of your misery and opens your eyes to the small wonders within and without.

“The artist is better and more subtle than a camera,” Paul Klee said.

“He is a creature on a star among the stars.”

Above: Pen Approaching Lemon. Oil on canvas board. 10 x 8 inches. Ships framed and ready to hang.