Wednesday, February 6, 2013

to advance alone on beauty's path

There's a book I turn to quite often for comfort, to remind me that a life devoted to things like painting and writing, to those callings, is a profound and at times holy gift. From Vanished Splendors: A Memoir, by Balthus:

"Sometimes I feel annoyed and resentful over not having had the easy career, open doors, and royal welcome that some painters have found easily, perhaps too quickly. But I've always persisted on the path of solitude and exactingness. Painting cannot be done amid the world's hubbub, by adopting its rhythm and complaisance. It is better to seek solitude and silence, to be surrounded by past masters, to reinvent the world, not be cradled by false sirens, cash, galleries, fashionable games, etc."  

He also says:

"What matters is to advance alone on beauty's path, never straying, and so I never sought anything."  

He also talks about the exaltation of painting, his faithfulness to colours, and trying to attain "the secret of painting's quietude."

I've always secretly (or not so secretly) wished that I could paint, and this book always reminds me of that desire, as well.

Rob posted the rose painting I was talking about in a previous post on his blog and website. He was recently rejected, once again, for an Alberta Foundation for the Arts grant. He's been painting for over  25 years and has received, I think one grant from the AFA. None from the Canada Council. One from an Edmonton granting agency. He applied to be part of the Biennale show at the Art Gallery of Alberta - rejected. I think he's decided it's all enough then, and to stop applying, stop putting himself in the way of rejection and to just persist on the path of solitude and exactingness. There's a wonderful peace in that choice. Because it's true that what really matters is to advance alone on beauty's path....trying to attain the secret of painting's quietude...


  1. The quietude of the studio is a gift.

  2. Beautiful. And yet, advancing alone on beauty's path necessitates there's at least one person out there caring. So it seems to me.

  3. Very true Stephen. And yes - I completely agree Margaret - a wonderful gift. Thank you both.


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