Meditation – 13 July 2020

Irwin Greenberg – The Painter’s Primer… 2/5


20.   Don’t be envious of anyone who is more talented than you. Be the best you can be.
21.   Prizes are nice, but the real competition is with yesterday’s performance.
22.   Give yourself room to fail and fight like hell to achieve.
23.   Go to sleep thinking about what you’re going to do first thing tomorrow.
24.   Analyze the work of great painters. Study how they emphasize and subordinate.
25.   Find out the fewest material things you need to live.
26.   Remember: Michelangelo was once a helpless baby. Great works are the result of heroic struggle.
27.   There are no worthwhile tricks in art; find the answer.
28.   Throw yourself into each painting heart and soul.
29.   Commit yourself to a life in art.
30.   No struggle, no progress.
31.   Do rather than don’t.
32.   Don’t say “I haven’t the time.” You have as much time everyday as the great masters.
33.   Read. Be conversant with the great ideas.
34.   No matter what you do for a living, nurture your art.
35.   Ask. Be hungry to learn.
36.   You are always the student in a one-person art school. You are also the teacher of that class.
37.   Find the artists who are on your wavelength and constantly increase that list.
38.   Take pride in your work.
39.   Take pride in yourself.
40.   No one is a better authority on your feeling than you are.
41.   When painting, always keep in mind what your picture is about.
42.   Be organized.


Meditation – 06 July 2020

Irwin Greenberg – The Painter’s Primer… 1/5

Irwin Greenberg

He circulated this primer to his students at the High School of Art & Design and the Art Students League of New York. He died, age 87, in 2009.

  1.  Paint every day.
  2.  Paint until you feel physical strain. Take a break and then paint some more.
  3.  Suggest.
  4.  When at an impasse, look at the work of masters.
  5.  Buy the best materials you can afford.
  6.  Let your enthusiasm show.
  7.  Find a way to support yourself.
  8.  Be your own toughest critic.
  9.  Develop a sense of humor about yourself.
  10.  Develop the habit of work. Start early every day. When you take a break, don’t eat. Instead, drink a glass of water.
  11.  Don’t settle for yourself at a mediocre level.
  12.  Don’t allow yourself to be crushed by failure. Rembrandt had failures. Success grows from failure.
  13.  Be a brother (or sister) to all struggling artists.
  14.  Keep is simple.
  15.  Know your art equipment and take care of it.
  16.  Have a set of materials ready wherever you go.
  17.  Always be on time for work, class, and appointments.
  18.  Meed deadlines. Be better than your word.
  19.  Find a mate who is really a mate.


Meditation – 08 June 2020

A poem for World Oceans Day.

Surfer Girl


I’m walking on the beach this cold brisk morning,
the bleached sea grass bending in the wind, when there,
up ahead, in the pewter waves, I see a surfer in his wet suit,
sleek as a seal, cutting in and out of the curl, shining in the light.
I’m on the far side of sixty, athletic as a sofa, but this is where
the longing starts, the yearning for another life, the one
where I’m lithe and long-limbed, tanned California bronze,
short tousled hair full of sunshine. The life where I shoulder my board,
stride into the waves, dive under the breakers, and rise; my head shaking
off water like a golden retriever. I am waiting for that perfect wave
so I can crouch up and catch it, my arms out like wings, slicing back
and forth in the froth, wind at my back, sea’s slick metal polished
before me. Nothing more important now than this balance between
water and air, the rhythm of in and out, staying ahead of the break,
choosing my line like I choose these words, writing my name
on water, writing my name on air.

“Surfer Girl” by Barbara Crooker, from More. © CR Press, 2010.


You really should hear this… I’ve been obsessed with it ever since hearing it on The Writer’s Almanac way back in August, 2014.  Listen here.