Dance of the Angels

Without the Darkness
We would never see
Angels dance
Among the
Stars
 

Image and text © 2021 James Golaszewski

 

DanceOfTheAngels_31X18_2021.jpg

Eden

When is enough enough?
We are encouraged by society to go through life constantly charging onward and upward.  Most often, this is as specific as the plan gets.  There is no particular destination, only the gut level need to keep moving on to the next step -  the next job or promotion, the next degree or certification, the next house, the next car, more chrome on the Harley...  
The problem with doing things this way is you never know when you have arrived, and consequently you are never satisfied.
Society encourages this approach to life. Those that seem to be content are disdainfully accused of having no ambition, while the perpetual scramblers, hustlers, and climbers are held in high esteem.  It takes courage to swim against the current, to be happy and satisfied with who you are, where you are, and what you have.
To be content is to live a prayer, to be constantly appreciative and grateful for the blessings you have been given. I believe the secret to happiness is within this concept - to recognize a good thing when you have it and to hold on tight with both hands rather than reaching for something “more” with the other hand.
Human nature being what it is, you may only realize you were in paradise after you leave.
This painting was inspired by my reflections on this topic. I take no credit for these insights, the wisdom is as old as humankind.  
The title of this painting is “Eden”.


Painting and text © 2021 James Golaszewski

Eden

Equanimity

Equanimity is a state of mind, or a state of being, in which your psychological, physical, emotional, and spiritual composure cannot be disrupted. This state of being results in a calmness that gives strength, stability, and resilience; especially in difficult times.

Contrary to intuition, equanimity does not mean the state of apathy or total relaxation. It also does not mean the absence of conflict, hardship, or stress. Rather, it is achieved by keeping dynamic forces in balance. When things are balanced, the stronger opposing forces become, the more stable you become.

Confused? Look at one of the many tall antennas that dot our landscape. These antennas are not held in place by massive steel beams. In fact, if you look closely you will see that many of the tallest towers balance on a single point. These tall spindly structures are held in place by a series of cables under tension. These cables, pulling equally in different directions, keep the towers firmly in place even when furious storms pass. The strength of the tower comes not from the rigidity of the tower frame; it comes from the strength of the balanced tension exerted by the cables.

I have expressed the concept of “Equanimity” in this, slightly surreal, landscape. The composition is based upon the Taijitu, the well-known symbol for Yin Yang.


Image and text © 2018 James Golaszewski all rights reserved

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Fresh Paint

“They” * say that it isn’t what you have, where you are, or what you’ve been through that makes you happy or unhappy, it’s how you think about it all.  Or, put another way, it is not what happens to you, but how you respond to what happens to you that determines your happiness and satisfaction.
It was thoughts about this concept that inspired this painting.  Mother Nature has chosen to see the onrushing winter as an opportunity to jazz up the landscape with some colorful foliage and a sky tinged with color from the rising sun, while a farmer has chosen to deal with his aging barn by giving it a fresh coat of paint.  

* NOTE: Who “They” are is a mystery to most, but I think I have it figured out.  In the English language, “They” is just a form of “Them”. From my misspent youth watching monster movies on TV, I know that “Them” are, in fact, giant mutated ants.  And I, for one, am not going to take advice from a giant mutated ant. 

Therefore, “They” are giant mutated ants. The proof is in the math. If X = Y, and Y = Z, then X = Z, or; if “They” = “Them” and “Them” = giant mutated ants, then “They” = giant mutated ants.  It is basic algebra, that is why they teach you this stuff in school.

So, I am not sure we should put much stock in what “They” say...

Image and text © 2021 James Golaszewski all rights reserved
 

Fresh Paint

It's Not About You

I love to watch the sunlight race across the countryside on partly cloudy days.
Each spot of the landscape is in a constant state of change, one second brightly lit, the next in shadow, and then back into the sunshine.  At the same time, other parts of the scene are also flashing back and forth from sunshine to shadow and the complete panorama is ever changing and never completely light or dark.  
The areas of shadow never last long, and each island of sunshine is made all the more precious by the knowledge that the shadows are approaching.   
The sunbeams and shadows dance and cavort across the countryside in patterns created by a creative collaboration between a blazing star millions of miles away, and ever-changing puffs of vapor floating a few thousand feet above our heads.

On days like this, an observer with an earthbound perspective could not be blamed for wondering why their world is constantly changing from sunshine to shadow. They may even be tempted to think they can somehow control things, or that they are somehow responsible for the sunshine or darkness.   

It is only when we step back and look at the big picture that we realize the dancing sunbeams and shadows are beyond our control.  Once you make that discovery, you can have no illusions that your actions can somehow control the patterns of light and shadow.  

It is only then that you discover the truth.

It’s Not About You.

Image and text © 2021 James Golaszewski all rights reserved

It's Not about You

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

New King James Version

© Image and text 2021 James Golaszewski

John 14_27

Just Along for the Ride

I love watching distant freight trains inch across the Midwestern horizon while I listen to the barely audible rhythmic rattling of the rail cars and the muted far away sound of the horn drifting across the prairie… so I painted this picture.  With some paintings, even though I create them, I am really “Just Along For The Ride.”

Image and text © 2021 James Golaszewski

Just Along for the Ride

State of Being

Everything.
Began in the Beginning.
A singular event when time, matter, and space were created.
All that was, is, or will be comes from this single event – even that which is us.
 
Starting.
From the center.
Expanding outward into the void.
Forming reality from emptiness and desolation.
 
Searching.
The man looks
Outward and inward.
Wondering, why was I created? 
 
Understanding.
That he cannot know
His purpose in the Universe.
As a brushstroke knows not its purpose.
 
Learning.
Life is not
A quest for meaning.
Rather, it is a State of Being.

Image and text © 2021 James Golaszewski all rights reserved

State of Being

This is Why We are Here (A Morning Meditation)

Why are we here, what is our purpose?
A question as old as sentience.
Maybe science has an answer. Among other things, Quantum Theory proposes that the universe consists of possibilities - possible realities.  According to the theory, things don’t become real until they are observed or measured.  The very act of observing them changes them - solidifying them from the infinite to the finite, from what could be into what is.   In other words, before they are observed they are just random possibilities, possible realities.  
Some have even proposed that your attitude, your outlook and expectations, can actually change the reality that is created.
The thing that fascinates me about all this, if it is true, is that the Universe needs us to in order to complete the creation process.  Like paint that is still in the tube, the universe is nothing but raw material until we make it real. Maybe our role in the universe is simply to appreciate its beauty, and to be grateful.
I was thinking about this concept one recent morning when I was tending to our horses.  A beautiful sunrise made the cold winter air more bearable. This painting was inspired on that morning. 
Thank you to Tristan Greene for an article he wrote that was published in Science Magazine. He provided the inspirational seeds that sprouted in my mind when they were properly fertilized with horse manure. 

 

Image and text © 2021 James Golaszewski

This Is Why We Are Here A Morning Meditation

Threshold

I
Am
Present.
In a moment.
Between
Day and Night
or… Night and Day?
A
Cosmic difference.
Yet, in this moment…
identical.

© Image and text 2021 James Golaszewski

Threshold

Turning Things Around

I tend to “drift with the current”, to let the direction my life is taking be directed to some degree by circumstances rather than rational well thought out choices.  This can lead to mixed results.

Many years ago I was studying Architecture and Art History at the University of Illinois.  My passion was painting, but I needed a “day job” to provide some sense of financial security.  I had “experience” as a security officer (long story to be told some other time) so I started the lengthy and arduous process of being hired as a police officer.  I applied at all of the police departments that were hiring within 50 miles of the University of Illinois.  The Champaign County Sheriff's Office was the first to call with a job offer.  I took it.  I did not plan to stay too long. Turns out, I loved the job so much that I spent 35 years serving as a Patrol Deputy for the Champaign County Sheriff's Office.

In this instance I was fortunate; circumstances led me in a good direction.  However, when the currents of life cause us to drift off in the wrong direction, we need to change course. 

Sometimes we need help.

This painting was inspired by my desire to express my thoughts about moving in the wrong direction.  We need to be willing to accept a little help now and then to make needed changes; and we need to listen to “that little voice” that warns us about danger and guides us down the path our life is supposed to follow.  Sometimes the guidance is as subtle as a summer breeze, and sometimes it will grab you and drag you in the right direction.

As with most of my paintings, the ship and tug are idealized caricatures rather than portraits of specific watercraft.  The ship is designed to resemble the style of ship used to move cargo on the Great Lakes.  

I tried to give the ship and tug authentic sounding names that were not full of obvious meaning.  However, I did not select the names at random.   The ship name has a dual reference. First, my mother grew up in Argo, Illinois.  Second, the ship name is a reference to the mythological voyage of Jason and the Argonauts. The tug name is intended to hint at any positive influence we encounter as we chart the course of our life.  

We can all use a little help when we are “Turning Things Around”.

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."  — Lao Tzu, 6th century BCE

Image and text © 2018 James Golaszewski all rights reserve

Turning Things Around

Uncertainty

The end of an uneventful spring day, some might even call it a boring day. There was nothing really exciting about it, nothing “different” happened.  It was a day like countless others that came before.  It is easy to allow it to pass unnoticed and unappreciated.
Now, as the long shadows come and night approaches, we look to the east and see storm clouds in the distance. Questions swirl. Is it building or dissipating? How close is it? Is it coming this way? Are there other unseen storms nearby? When will it get here? How bad will it be? Will it strike unseen and unexpected in the coming darkness? Will there be other storms? Will we be OK?
Uncertainty.
The storm brings with it a gift, the gift of wisdom. In the future we will know the value of an ordinary day, and we will be grateful. 

“In the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end.” — Fernando Sabino (from Portuguese)

Created during the COVID-19 Pandemic / Image and text © James Golaszewski 2020

Uncertainty

Weathered

“Nothing lasts.                                                                  Nothing is finished.                                                          Nothing is perfect.”
A partial truth.
Not impermanent - evolving.                                                 Not unfinished - eternal.                                                       Not imperfect - weathered.
I am.

 

© Image and text 20121James Golaszewski

Weathered

When The Long Days End

This painting shows a classic grain elevator embraced by a fall sunset. You will notice that even as the sun sets and the day comes to an end, the lights are on and it appears that work is still taking place in the upper longhouse over the horizontal conveyors. 

Being “a man of a certain age”, I am at a point in my life where my thoughts easily turn to musings about the passing of time and how to make the best use of what remains of my life. 

Some of my contemporaries have decided to take the approach that includes “downsizing” their lives and “elderizing” their homes (you know, a condo with no yard work, a walk-in tub, no stairs, wide doorways…) in preparation for anticipated frailty. 

I know this is probably the most practical approach, but it is not for me. 

These thoughts were on my mind, which led me to the desire to express these thoughts in a painting. The course of a lifetime is frequently compared to the four seasons, with spring representing birth and the energy, hope, and promise of youth; and winter exemplifying old age and death. Using this analogy, I am in the autumn of life, a season where the seemingly endless long hot days of summer give way to the short days and long cool nights of fall.  

I know the Grim Reaper and I will meet some day, but I am not going to make it easy for him and I sure as hell am not going to meet him halfway.  I still have things to do.

In other words, It ain’t winter yet.

There is still work to be done, When The Long Days End.


Image and text © 2021 James Golaszewski 

When The Long Days End

Where the road turns

What will you do, when you get to the place Where The Road Turns?
As we go through life we map out our future with hopeful anticipation.  We make a plan, which then leads to expectations. We become attached to our plan, it comforts us, it gives us a sense that we can control, or at least predict, what will happen next… but we can’t, really… can we? 
Nevertheless, we travel down the road we think we have chosen, advancing towards our desired destination. Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, we encounter a bend in the road that we have not anticipated.  The road turns, leading us in an unexpected and unwanted direction.  We become angry.  This is not supposed to happen. This is not in my plan. I like my plan better. Where is this road taking me? Our inner 5-year-old wants us to ball up our fists, stamp our feet, and scream, “I don’t want to go that way!”.
Still, we are not without choices. Where we go may be beyond our control, but how we go is up to us.  We can continue on with anger, resentment, and bitterness in our hearts, or we can go to places we never dreamed of with a sense of gratitude and wonder. 
We can take comfort in the fact that whichever way the road turns; every step takes us closer to Home.

Image and Text © James Golaszewski 2021

Where The Road Turns

James Golaszewski

Golaszewski’s paintings are inspired by his discoveries and realizations about life, nature, and humanity. His unique insight is born from the juxtaposition and intermingling of his two disparate career paths – artist and Deputy Sheriff. As an artist, Jim Golaszewski studies how things appear on the surface. As a Deputy Sheriff, Golaszewski is a student of human nature. A thoughtful essay discussing the artist’s inspiration accompanies each painting.