The Artist Who Cares for Night Blooming Cereus
As years went by summer came and the flower bloomed. He came upon the painting on Facebook, and could only sigh…. His friend passed away after more than 30 years of fighting with cancer, the painted flower was long gone, and the location of the painting unknown.
Actually, he seldom paints flowers. For a guy that’s somehow unmanly, though he used to paint flowers for his job while designing for displays of lady’s fashion.
Over the past decades he has done caricatures, working on product design for television stations, and after moving to the US interior illustration for department stores. Usually half a year before the holidays he started to work on multimedia designs, incorporating various opinions, and present a good looking perspective painting to please his boss and the customers.
After retirement about ten years ago, he started planting in his garden, or traveling here and there. Life has been so much more relaxed and pleasant!
When he was young his artist father asked him to copy works by his father and other masters. Years later his father saw these copies and thought they were his own until he checked out the signatures! Now with his serious studies of how others approached oil painting, he realized that copying other works can be used to improve his brushstrokes, capture colors properly, and refine his skills. Doing so increases the rate of his learning and is instrumental for his major artistic leaps!
For example, he did a master copy of a lion which “helped” him finish a painting of a tiger. He’s not satisfied with the tiger, but gave it away when someone wanted it desperately for his father’s birthday gift! “I can’t imagine that a painting could bring so much joy to someone!”
Before retirement he planned and wondered how to making a living. Sell paintings in exhibitions? Find a gallery to promote his works?
Now he has pushed all these thoughts away! He only needs three meals a day and a bed to sleep in. As long as the basic needs are met, what’s wrong with an ordinary life?
Better to be painting for fun than as a job! Imagine the pressure driven by winning awards, and the hassles for framing art works, and socializing for exhibitions! Even if he can successfully promote his works, it only means a little more income when there is never enough time for art, and never the freedom to do art whenever he so wishes!
Frankly, it means letting go of painting for fame and profit! “I don’t mean to sound aloof from material pursuits… to enjoy art is the most important thing for the rest of my life! Everyone walks his or her own path. Sooner or later the path leads to the same end. It is up to us to live life in the way we want.”
Letting go! So much happier and relaxed doing painting! Now he can draw whatever he wants without caring for per square foot charges. Dislike an artwork? Throw it away! Start working on a new canvas! Or change a topic! Do what feels right!
One day he suddenly felt the need to let go further of his self-imposed limitations. Why not paint animals and not just horses? Flowers? Anything, as long as he is enjoying doing the painting? So he painted the Night blooming cereus… otherwise his house would be filled with only paintings and paintings of horses!
His son also loves painting, and frequents workshops to better his art. He would look at dad’s work, give critique, and help him improve his painting. Proudly, T. L. says, “In the past father taught son, and now son teaches dad!”
He is not happy to be called an artist. “Just beacuse I am doing something I love to do, so I am called an artist?”
Born among generations of artist family, he has not been the one that captures the most attention. But he has always loved art and enjoyed the beauty in the process of creation. “I cannot be more grateful for the fact that I can enjoy the rest of my life in doing art. My life shall henceforth not be lived in vain!”