Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Anyone who stands for freedom is on my pedestal

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances
the freedom of others.
Nelson Mandela

It's portrait time again...

The weather was fine last night.
Far more comfortable for an evening of painting.

First block out the light and dark colors...

I usually use a bigger brush (this one) at this stage and a smaller one
for the details in the end...

can't have Nelson Mandela without strong colors...
strong colors for a strong man.

And there you have it.

I guess i could have made more of an effort to hide those words
"CAMPFIRE SONG" in his hair.  ;-)

Truth be told - i never noticed them much
until i was done. 

Several years ago, I read his book "LONG WALK TO FREEDOM"
and it reminded me of how so many of us take our own freedom for granted.

a lovely signature, wouldn't you say?

While i am a huge advocate of "knowing thyself"...
i also believe we make the world a better place
when we open our hearts to others,
and understand that there is room for everyone.

I still don't understand what most wars are about.
I suspect i never will.

Call me naive...

So here's the book i'm currently reading and loving...

You can often tell the character of a person
by the words he (or she) writes... especially if they are personal letters.

This is a book of letters Vincent wrote to his brother and friend, Theo, and
your love of the man grows with each page read.

His words speak to me of kindness and struggle and generosity and loneliness... and such heart.

Here are 3 passages that i found beautiful:

Oh, if only every artist had something to live on,
and to work on, but as that is not so,
i want to produce, to produce a lot and with a
consuming drive. And perhaps the time will come
when we can extend our business and be
more help to others.


Come now, isn't it almost an actual religion
which these simple Japanese teach us,
who live in nature as though they themselves
were flowers?


...you cannot study Japanese art, it seems to me,
without becoming much gayer and happier,
and we must return to nature in spite of
our education and our work in a world of convention.


Beautiful, yes?

Being an artist sometimes means
feeling out of place in the world.

It's important for us as artists
to see the value in what we do.
To feel good about why we do it.
Too many of us still try to justify why we create,
or we downplay it as "just a hobby".

We create because we must.

Van Gogh created because he needed to.
Because it made sense of what he was feeling at the time.

His words remind me that there is room for everyone,
that many of us face the same struggles (whether in 1850 or 2012),
and his writings make me feel at home again.

Thank you all for visiting.


  1. Feeling out of place, misunderstood, ignored, useless, etc, are all very familiar feelings to creatives. Every now and then I am full of doubt about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it... Another timely post from you, Pauline. Thank you for the Van Gogh book recommendation. I'll have to get hold of it.

  2. Stirring words in your post and another great portrait. I love the campfire song in his head. It's kind of like you're giving us a message of how he was singing along while busting up all those rocks.
    Stay inspired!

  3. Wow your portrait of Nelson Mandela is amazing. He is an inspiration to me. And yes, many of us do take our freedom for granted.

    As for Van Gogh's words, it really struck a chord with me. I should pick up this book, as it seems it's full of wisdom and beauty. I always ponder why I create and if I should be creating whatever it is I am doing. Very beautiful passages.

  4. Found you through Creative Everyday! Love your blog and this portrait is exquisite! : )


  5. I LOVE your portraits - always a treat - your talent is amazing!

    Featuring two very different yet so inspiring men is what makes your blog such a treat!

  6. Fantastic work here!! :]
    Beautiful portraits... you have such a gift, Pauline.
    Thank you so much for sharing your talents, thoughts, and life with me.
    Love how you incorporate meaning to your artwork. ~xx

  7. Portrait is fantastic, I bet the man himself would love it.

    Great words you have shared with us all too, thank you.

  8. What a lovely post, Pauline. Your portrait of Mandela is wonderful. There has always been a soft spot in my heart for Van Gogh, and of all the amazing paintings by "the masters" I've ever seen in galleries, his "Poplars" made me weep as I studied it.

  9. Absolutely fantastic portrait and wonderful post ~ (A Creative Harbor)

  10. It is always so inspiring to hear the voice BEhind the artist, the pressing voice that says "Go This Way, Fear NOT, YES!!" This is what I heard throughout this post. It is what is so generous about your blog, the wonder of knowing what you are/were thinking or reading or listening to. I know I have a conversation going all the time and I often take it for granted, but reading yours makes me lean in a little closer on my own.
    On another note, the way you paint is fascinating to me. My ways with paint and subject never take the path I see yours taking. It is extraordinarily inspiring to see "BEhind the curtain" and then to notice what's MY "BEhind the curtain."
    Thank you for sharing and I am so glad you are finding the evenings cooler and more paint-worthy!!
    Stunning portrait of one of my greatest heroes.

  11. Wonderful portrait! I always enjoy reading your posts, Pauline--you have such a beautiful way with words (and paint).

  12. Your portrait of Mandela, a great hero! is awesome, you are such a very talented
    Hugs Anja

  13. Oh Pauline, how do you always seem to know just how I'm feeling and address with your gorgeous paintings and beautiful words of strength. Thank you my friend xx

  14. The portrait is really awesome! Great likeness and he does deserve bold colors. ;)

    I always loved that Van Gogh painted because he just had to paint. Creation for the joy of creating. Wonderful! :):)