In Honor of the Dead

Today I’m rushed. I have a deadline. I don’t have the time I really would like to give my paintings. I have a show planned for May. Yet my mind is calm as I get into the paint. I begin my dance with brush and panel. I settle into the familiar and delicious feel of the paint as I mix the colors with my brush. I feel the indescribable contentment that comes from the oneness I have with my materials. I find the forms of my observed subject as I apply stroke after stroke. An unconscious rhythm evolves and I hope the result will be the creation of something that has meaning for at least one other person. 

5000 miles away a mother weeps for her dead son. A daughter prays for her injured father. Friends grieve their common loss. Beasts of destruction congratulate themselves. (I have a friend who tells me “evil does not exist”. I don’t understand this notion.)

Today I rush, painting as fast as I can in a kind of controlled desperation. I live in my calling. Tomorrow I might be dead.

25 thoughts on “In Honor of the Dead”

  1. Very mature words and very mature Artist. I appreciate you very much.

    Best Regards!


    ________________________________ De: DG Paints Enviado: terça-feira, 22 de março de 2016 16:44 Para: Assunto: [New post] In Honor of the Dead

    dmgrayart posted: ” Today I’m rushed. I have a deadline. I don’t have the time I really would like to give my paintings. I have a show planned for May. Yet my mind is calm as I get into the paint. I begin my dance with brush and panel. I settle into the familiar”


  2. A lot of songs by “The Golden Palominos” sum up the desperation of the human condition. I am listening as I sketch for a new painting. I worry for my 7 year old son as well as my daughters in their teenage years who are soon to inherit a very inolerant and violent world. I share your sentiment. At least we artists have a constructive outlet for our emotions. God bless all.


  3. You painting and continuing to do so is the best thing that you can possibly do not only for yourself but for the many others of us in the wake of these unending atrocities. It is life-affirming.


  4. Two thoughts:
    1. I believe in balance, therefore there would be no good without evil – this no matter how one sees the source of evil, in some forms it just exists.
    2. Yes, we all may die tomorrow so I follow what I told my students over the years: Plan like you’ll live forever, live like you’ll die tomorrow.


  5. I thought about you and was praying you were not there. Sadly, evil does exist and we all search for answers where there are none. The evil people need to know God and know how to love mankind not hate. It breaks my heart that innocent people loose their lives because of odorless all this


  6. For those of us who are parents – I worry about the intolerant and violent world my 7 year old son and teenage daughters will inherit soon. I thank God that I am an artist, for it opens a world where I can express my emotions in a productive manner. Art is one of the best emotional outlets that exist. I have to believe that good will triumph over evil.


  7. David,

    It is my sincere belief that though man is certainly capable of unthinkable evil, it isn’t something born into us. Hatred seems to be dormant inside of most of us; it is either cultivated or subdued.
    My first thoughts after I heard about this, were for the families, then for my own family; how I would feel if it were my loved ones. I listened to the cries for help I heard in the background: real people. It was horrible. I started to get angry.
    Often, the first responses I hear to these events is about the people responsible; what sort of cruelty should befall them. Those suffering usually fall quickly from focus. My only observation from this is that if I’m not mindful, I can drift into a socially acceptable path of hatred, myself. And where do I end up?
    I’m not going to allow this group to hijack my mind that way. Though it is tempting. Prayers for the victims.



  8. You are a extraordinary artist and now I realize you are also an extraordinary human being. I love your work and join you in your remembrance.


  9. I hope the thought that you might be dead tomorrow is not in any direct way, connected in your mind with the recent bombing.

    One should always live a life with the awareness of one’s mortality but certainly not with a daily sense of imminent threat. That threat is not there, for starters, and in any event would ensure a bleak existence of unnecessary and inappropriate angst and debilitating negativity, fear, and defensiveness. Many in our country are embracing mindless fear as a way of life. Don’t be sucked in. Life has always been dangerous, its just dangerous in different ways as time goes on and the world becomes smaller.

    We as a nation, with our allies, have declared war on terrorists. This is as it should be but realistically we must acknowledge that in doing so and actively fighting terrorism, we are inflicting death daily on not only the combatants in this war but unlucky civilians. The fact that civilian death is not “intentional” does little to comfort their families or un-kill the dead. They die daily in this war, the so-called collateral damage of inflicting death and damage to the monstrous enemies of the US and its allies. It is unrealistic to expect that there will not be casualties on our side in this war. The fact that war has evolved into such seemingly random violence—where innocents die in bombings who have no connection to the war—is horrific. But is it really more horrific than the myriad ways man has devised to conduct war in the past? To think that what we are seeing with modern forms of terrorism is essentially different from what has historically occurred—often on an even greater scale— is not realistic.

    Mankind is depraved. Mankind is compassionate. Man makes war and takes lives and man makes art and celebrates beauty. Keep it in perspective and in appropriate balance. Your life is statistically, more likely to be longer than your grandfather’s and his ancestors in turn.

    Looking at the big picture, we have come a long way but with a long, long way to go. I don’t think war is going away or our propensity to fight will change. It would appear to be in our DNA. Only the way we conduct warfare has changed.


  10. post script:
    I meant to end my letter with the thought that we MUST carry on with our lives as elegantly as we can manage—creating and sharing our creations whatever they might be. The only path past the ugliness, wastefulness, and destruction that terrorism embodies, is the sane world pulling together in the oppsite direction, toward life-affirming actions and beliefs.


  11. Sorry if I went off on a bit of a rant but it sounded to me as though you ended on a note of fear rather than fatalism. I am becoming increasingly flummoxed by those who believe the risk of becoming a victim of a terror attack is higher than it is merely because it is unpredictable. Perhaps I misconstrued the significance of your last sentence.

    I failed to mention how much I appreciated your description of the act of painting. It was pure poetry. Thank you.


    1. Yeah, I don’t really see where your “rant” was needful, but maybe you just needed to get it off your chest. My last phrase was neither from fear nor fatalism. It was simple a statement of the reality we live in today. Perhaps I’m not such a great writer. But I have encountered this before – especially on FB. Some people tend to find added meaning in my simple words.


  12. Thank you, David, for your very respectful tribute. You have very much deepened my appreciation for art and this very precious life that we have been given. I am so grateful to be able to paint.


  13. In my 65 years, I have seen goodness in humanity that I prefer to believe exists in most…and I have seen senseless cruelty that defies explanation. Keep painting, dear soul. You light the world with beauty.


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