The Person Yet to Be

August 15, 2013

Rudbeckia at Molbak's Nursery

Rudbeckia at Molbak’s Nursery



“Attention has created experience and, significantly, the self stored in your memory, but looking ahead, what you focus on from this moment will create the life and person yet to be.”
— Winifred Gallagher, Rapt:  Attention and the Focused Life

Last week I mentioned my struggle to draw and paint regularly.  I know that in order to get better at art, I have to work at it.  I’d love to make it a daily priority, but I’ve come to realize that I just can’t commit to that right now.  Instead, I’ve resolved to draw or paint something on my “free” days, the days I don’t go to work at the library.  So that is what I will focus on from this moment.  I am a woman with a plan!

“The choice of where we put our efforts is also connected to how much we are willing to learn as we get older, and whether we can once again grow into a new consciousness and new forms of commitment, acquiring new skills.”
— Mary Catherine Bateson, Composing a Further Life:  The Age of Active Wisdom

Watercolor and ink sketch of rudbeckia

Watercolor and ink sketch of Rudbeckia

Another watercolor sketch of Rudbeckia

Another watercolor sketch of Rudbeckia

9 Responses to “The Person Yet to Be”

  1. Judy Says:

    I love that last quote. I am amazed at your art! Beautiful!

  2. L. Nicole Christie Says:

    Lovely paintings!

    • Rosemary Says:

      Thank you! I personally don’t know if I like the photos more, or the paintings. (I really like my photos, but now everyone takes so many photos, I feel sometimes that good photos have no value!)

      Regardless, I so appreciate you taking the time to say you like the art.

  3. Diana Studer Says:

    my mother taught herself Russian in her sixties. My own 60 is hurtling towards me and I need a goal. Not Russian!

  4. shoreacres Says:

    One thing I’ve learned is that “working at my art” can be defined much loosely than I used to think. Once I decided that I was going to post only once a week, give or take, I found that my writing began to improve because I spent more time thinking about things. Research, pondering, looking for connections – it all is part of the process.

    I suspect the same might be true for a painter or photographer. Deciding what to focus on, choosing a medium, exploring the nature of the subject itself – there’s so much more to it than camera settings or brush choice.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Sometimes people ask me, how long does it take to write a blog post? And I can’t answer that. I am ALWAYS, in some part of my mind, looking at the world and screening sights and experiences through the lens of whether to share this with readers or not. By the time I actually sit down to write a post, the actual minutes might be quite short because the post has already germinated and taken shape in my mind long before. Like you, I imagine, I never know what connections I will forge from among the streaming images and words and experiences, but I have been at this long enough now to trust that some things will pull together enough for a short message.

  5. camilla wells paynter Says:

    Such beautiful paintings! It’s hard for me to believe that you feel the need to “get better,” but the artist is always her own best-and-worst critic, I suppose. I think, “if I had half that skill, I’d be satisfied,” but of course, I wouldn’t! Having the skill wouldn’t change my personality at all!

    I love that first quote! I think of what I am focusing on, too, in terms of my attitude: am I grumpy? rushed? irritable? harried? critical? Is this the seed of the bitter life and person to come? Perhaps now is a good time to take a breath and consider who I wish to be in the world. The idea that what we focus our attention on determines who we become….it’s frightening in a way, but implies great power of self-determination.

    Shoreacres’ comment strikes me as equally wise. For my part, I just decided that the weather was too nice right now, and I’ll paint again in the winter.

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