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31 May 2016

PB & J, redux (+ Anna Deavere Smith on Discipline)


PB & J, redux
8 x 10 inches, oil on linen on panel, 2016
Private Collection

I sometimes paint a PB & J sandwich still life, and when I got this request for a commission, I couldn't resist! Hope you enjoy it.

Renowned artist, actor, playwright, and educator Anna Deavere Smith is a fellow alum of mine from Arcadia. Her book, Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts for Actors, Performers, Writers, and Artists of Every Kind, is a "compendium of immeasurably insightful and useful advice, titled after the famous Rilke tome" in which Smith shares her wisdom on confidence and what self-respect really means.

Reminiscent of this Zen quote I love, her statement, "Discipline — both mental and physical — is crucial" really spoke to me.

"For Smith, a dedication to discipline is the defining characteristic of the artist. A number of famous creators would concur, from Tchaikovsky ("A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.") to Chuck Close ("Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work."), from Anthony Trollope ("My belief of book writing is much the same as my belief as to shoemaking. The man who will work the hardest at it, and will work with the most honest purpose, will work the best.") to E.B. White ("A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.")"

"...That’s perhaps why successful artists and writers are so powerfully anchored to their daily routines and their quirky habits. There’s a kind of readiness for creation that the discipline of a daily rhythm induces. Smith captures it beautifully:
'Be more than ready. Be present in your discipline. Remember your gift. Be grateful for your gift and treat it like a gift. Cherish it, take care of it, and pass it on. Use your time to bathe yourself in that gift. Move your hand across the canvas. Go to museums. Make this into an obsession… 
What you are will show, ultimately. Start now, every day, becoming, in your actions, your regular actions, what you would like to become in the bigger scheme of things.'" [Source]
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Best,