Sunday, February 21, 2021

Artnotes: Don't Worry Be Happy


“Worry and Gloom are the roots of all the powers of Evil”    Rabbi Jacob Joseph of Rashkov (disciple of Baal Shem).
Oysters for Lunch  Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/canvas  9.5 x 13 "  24 x 33 cm
I have been reading Tales of the Hasidim, a sort of short story collection of various ancient leaders in the Jewish movement.  I am not Jewish; I am not much of a “believer” in any religion (I spent 9 years in Catholic school).  I would love to believe, but in fact, I know too much.  I like many religions, and enjoy the stories and ways of thinking that make them: the pageantry of Christian Orthodoxy, the hospitality of Islam, the way Buddhists can make cleaning the kitchen floor an art form. I am the opposite of anti-religious.  Religion is where I learned most of the guiding principles of my life.  And I have faith that I will be all right.
Defunct Church, Cantelupo (where the word canteloupe comes from) Italy   Acrylic/canvas 
top: Blair Pessemier  13 x 16"  33 x41cm   bottom:  Laurie  10.5 x 16"  27 x 41cm  450 each
I read voraciously, and every so often I can’t bear another story about an unhappy childhood, some teenager sleeping with his friend’s mother; divorce; coming out; a grisly murder with unhappy clues. I am never going to be a brilliant businessperson, or lose weight, despite how many books I read.  So I am reading about leading a happy life: Tales of the Hasidim.
Pear  Laurie Fox Pessemier  acrylic/loose canvas 12 x 8"  30 x 20 cm  250.00
I quit worrying.  As a young person, I was a fantastic worrier. I'd worry in the night about going blind or getting encephalitis.  My family could worry about anything, from the very unlikely (weather catastrophes, plane crashes) to the almost certain to happen (kids leaving home), to things impossible to change (the past), to your average what-will-happen-at-work today worry.  Members of my family were immobilized by these fears, and as a consequence lived a limited life.  
Comune Stimigliano Pessemier  acrylic/canvas 16 x 10.5"  41 x 27cm  550.00
I started segregating my worry time to between 1 and 2:30 in the afternoon (Bill Clinton, who had many worries, inspired me:  compartmentalizing, he called it).  I would try to concentrate my worries into that period, and often I would forget and have to wait until the next day.  Once I got it sort of under control, I could try to stop the worrying in the night, reasoning that it would be a good item for tomorrow’s worry period.  A friend told me “you can’t do anything about your worries in the night, wait until tomorrow”.  And I would sometimes find those night time worries would have evaporated by the next morning. 
Side Altar of San Bernadino Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/cardboard  11 x 9"  28 x 23cm  175.00
I realized worrying got in the way of what I was meant to do. And it was making me a selfish person.  Although I can still worry at times, I am no longer too “wound up”, or too worried, to act.  I put worry aside, and feel so much happier.
Cyclamen  Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  9 x 10.5"  22 x 27cm  350.00
And then I fell onto Baal Shem and Rabbi Jacop Joseph, and hey, this is nothing new.  Now I am reading about the Art of Memory, so I don’t forget.

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