New Year’s is a holiday that speaks to our fear. We are born into this world knowing only pain and joy. Fear comes when we realize there is more pain to come, and hope exists because of our desire that there be less pain and more joy. Each choice in life will bring either more pain or more joy. We desperately try to hold onto our joy and fear its loss; hence the human drama.

We celebrate New Year’s because we realize, “Crap, I thought I was going to die this last year or be sick, penniless, homeless, and unloved. But, as it turns out…I made it another year, and those things that I fear haven’t happened. I know, to celebrate, I’ll go poison myself with alcohol.” 🙂

There are no holidays in May, June, July, August, September, and only one barely in October. How hard would the winters be if we didn’t have Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s, and Easter to look forward to. Winter would seem so infinite, oppressive, dismal, and long. New Year’s plays a pivotal role as it signifies that we are over the hump, summer is on its way and the days are getting longer.

In reality we should have New Year’s in March with the spring equinox rather than in December with the winter solstice. After all, that is when everything comes to life. But, I digress.

Resolutions- I’ve never made a real resolution before, but this is one that I know that I will accomplish. My resolution is to finish the Monsterpiece.

Speaking of fear, fear has been my stumbling block for the last year with regards to my Monsterpiece. If I am really honest, when I started I had no idea how to make what I wanted to happen…happen. I entreated artists who have done works with multiple figures on a grand scale to help me. I didn’t get from any of them what I needed; most with few exceptions didn’t know a whole lot more than I did. I wasted a lot of time and money on them.

However, the very information that I sought came by doing rather than by learning. What I did know however, was that I needed to do the work in order to make the piece successful. But…I was too lazy and too scared to act on this knowledge. What I needed to do was do the work- but I didn’t. I should have done individual studies for every element in the work. I should have done a study of every face, every tree, every coke bottle, and every hand, but I didn’t. I thought I could be like Norman Rockwell and just project it, but even though Rockwell projected, he did a projected drawing study and then painted that projected drawing, I didn’t even do that.

I was afraid that I couldn’t pull it off. I was afraid that I lacked the ability to capture a likeness. I was afraid that without projecting I would screw it up. What I didn’t realize was that projecting was the exact problem. As for my thesis presentation, I thought that the committee would see my intention, that I had attempted something grand, and I attempted something bigger than any student (at least that I know of) had tried. I thought that they would understand and pass me anyway. They didn’t. What they did say was that I needed to finish it…I dreaded that. I dreaded that I would be forced to face my fear. I was afraid that I would try to finish it, and I would fail. I was afraid that I would get to some point and the house-of-cards would come crumbling down because I hadn’t done the requisite studies and preparatory work.

All I have done since France was free draw and paint. My likeness capturing ability has improved as has my ability to see and my speed of execution. I don’t fear anymore, or not as much as I did.

Drawing my mother was a big test- a subconscious self-imposed test. At a deep level, that I wasn’t even aware of, I felt that if I failed to capture her likeness, she would know I was a fraud. This is the woman that has demonstrated the best approximation of unconditional love that I’ve ever seen. In addition, she demonstrated that love toward me. Failing in her eyes would be the most painful. But, I didn’t fail, and I continue to succeed.

So it comes back to the original assertion: All of life is pain and joy. These are two sides of the same coin. Fear is the great inhibitor. Even if we are miserable, we would rather stay in that status quo than change, for pain may be just as likely to come from that change as joy is.

Look, I am not perfect. I write a lot about being a better human, about being a more spiritual being. I am not the perfect example of how to deal with all human and spiritual interactions. I only quest to be better, to be honest with myself…and now to be honest with my art. My fervent hope is that you all are inspired to be your best, you are your happiest, and you are your most content by me sharing my journey.