An Encounter with an Old Soul (Part 1)

September 29, 2008

Behind every painting, there is a story. At least!

I
often send out emailed pics of my paintings in progress, and share a little of the “story” that seems to inevitably unfold around each experience of painting outside, en plen air. Every time it’s different, and I’ve met such an amazing variety of people out there while I’m working away, splashing on the paint. From time to time I battle depression, if that is an apt term, and so I find that these golden moments sustain me, and I feel led to share them in the hope that they might also lift up others.

And it’s safe to say that I have never before in my life been more aware of such an uncountable multitude of people who are really having a hard time, on so many levels. It’s as if the Earth is crying. Yet something deep within me counsels that all pain is growing pain, and that despite our sense of isolation we are all woven of and into one great fabric, and remain each and every one of us part of some great and mysterious plan that leads on through the darkness to light, and will in the end leave no soul, not even one, behind.

Ready to Begin, on “Recycled” Canvas

Here is one such e-mail I sent out, on March 26, 2006. As it turns out, the first sitting on this one was also the last. Upon contemplation (and the relentless badgering of a couple of friends!), I decided that the painting was done.

Hey, Folks:

Here’s my new baby a’birthing, as of first sitting. It is called Saturday Afternoon. I had a grand time this afternoon, splashing paint around in a suitably mad fashion w/ a palette knife.


Saturday Afternoon, Bayside 40″ X 30″ P. Crockett

Several beautiful young kids came up, parents in tow,to ask questions and to watch. And, I think,to experience art.



One exceptionally beautiful five-year-old girl with kind, ancient, eyes approached me with no fear and asked,“Why do you paint?” I am rarely at a loss for words, but that one wasn’t easy. Her mom had walked up behind her and rested her hands lightly on the girl’s shoulders. They were both stately. Trying to help, the Mother sort of leaned down and coaxed, “Well, probably the same reason you like to paint, Honey.” I smiled and said, “Probably, yeah.” But the girl wanted an answer, and stood her ground. She was so solemn, and so beautiful, that I just wanted to pull her to me and give her a big hug.

So I thought a moment and then said, “I guess to help me really see the world. I think that there is beauty around us,a lot, but sometimes we forget to take the time to look.” She was paying careful attention; I watched her eyes subtly but carefully scan the horizon of great blue bay before us, and the palms, and the big sky above.


“You know what?,” I told her, “Sometimes, I don’t think I’ve really seen the beauty of a place at all until I’ve painted it.” The child nodded slightly; she understood. “And so I’d guess I’d have to say, that is how come I paint.”



She said nothing; she only stepped back, looked at the canvas and then once again to the vista beyond, and turned to skip away and join her friends to play. Her Mom smiled. “Special kid you got there,” I told her. “Yes,” she said.

Later on, just before the whole group moved on, the girl returned, alone, and stood just behind me, to my left side. I could feel her. I turned, and our eyes met. A simple moment, really. Big, beautiful brown eyes. So innocent, so open to the world. I loved her, perhaps by way of honoring that beautiful boy always inside of me, also with big brown eyes, also burning with that quiet hunger always resident in the heart of the innocent: To really know, to see, to understand, to love and be loved.

Or maybe just because

And then she was gone. Just a moment in time’s river, but I am left with this strange feeling that I’ve had one or two times in the last couple of months, actually more of a quiet conviction: that in all probability I may not see this child again while on Earth, but that we will meet again and recognize one another back in Heaven, and be glad. I cannot explain it, but am fully content with the mystery.

Love always, P.



An Encounter with an Old Soul (Part 1)

September 29, 2008

Behind every painting, there is a story. At least!

I
often send out emailed pics of my paintings in progress, and share a little of the “story” that seems to inevitably unfold around each experience of painting outside, en plen air. Every time it’s different, and I’ve met such an amazing variety of people out there while I’m working away, splashing on the paint. From time to time I battle depression, if that is an apt term, and so I find that these golden moments sustain me, and I feel led to share them in the hope that they might also lift up others.

And it’s safe to say that I have never before in my life been more aware of such an uncountable multitude of people who are really having a hard time, on so many levels. It’s as if the Earth is crying. Yet something deep within me counsels that all pain is growing pain, and that despite our sense of isolation we are all woven of and into one great fabric, and remain each and every one of us part of some great and mysterious plan that leads on through the darkness to light, and will in the end leave no soul, not even one, behind.

Ready to Begin, on “Recycled” Canvas

Here is one such e-mail I sent out, on March 26, 2006. As it turns out, the first sitting on this one was also the last. Upon contemplation (and the relentless badgering of a couple of friends!), I decided that the painting was done.

Hey, Folks:

Here’s my new baby a’birthing, as of first sitting. It is called Saturday Afternoon. I had a grand time this afternoon, splashing paint around in a suitably mad fashion w/ a palette knife.


Saturday Afternoon, Bayside 40″ X 30″ P. Crockett

Several beautiful young kids came up, parents in tow,to ask questions and to watch. And, I think,to experience art.



One exceptionally beautiful five-year-old girl with kind, ancient, eyes approached me with no fear and asked,“Why do you paint?” I am rarely at a loss for words, but that one wasn’t easy. Her mom had walked up behind her and rested her hands lightly on the girl’s shoulders. They were both stately. Trying to help, the Mother sort of leaned down and coaxed, “Well, probably the same reason you like to paint, Honey.” I smiled and said, “Probably, yeah.” But the girl wanted an answer, and stood her ground. She was so solemn, and so beautiful, that I just wanted to pull her to me and give her a big hug.

So I thought a moment and then said, “I guess to help me really see the world. I think that there is beauty around us,a lot, but sometimes we forget to take the time to look.” She was paying careful attention; I watched her eyes subtly but carefully scan the horizon of great blue bay before us, and the palms, and the big sky above.


“You know what?,” I told her, “Sometimes, I don’t think I’ve really seen the beauty of a place at all until I’ve painted it.” The child nodded slightly; she understood. “And so I’d guess I’d have to say, that is how come I paint.”



She said nothing; she only stepped back, looked at the canvas and then once again to the vista beyond, and turned to skip away and join her friends to play. Her Mom smiled. “Special kid you got there,” I told her. “Yes,” she said.

Later on, just before the whole group moved on, the girl returned, alone, and stood just behind me, to my left side. I could feel her. I turned, and our eyes met. A simple moment, really. Big, beautiful brown eyes. So innocent, so open to the world. I loved her, perhaps by way of honoring that beautiful boy always inside of me, also with big brown eyes, also burning with that quiet hunger always resident in the heart of the innocent: To really know, to see, to understand, to love and be loved.

Or maybe just because

And then she was gone. Just a moment in time’s river, but I am left with this strange feeling that I’ve had one or two times in the last couple of months, actually more of a quiet conviction: that in all probability I may not see this child again while on Earth, but that we will meet again and recognize one another back in Heaven, and be glad. I cannot explain it, but am fully content with the mystery.

Love always, P.



An Encounter with an Old Soul (Part 1)

September 29, 2008

Behind every painting, there is a story. At least!

I
often send out emailed pics of my paintings in progress, and share a little of the “story” that seems to inevitably unfold around each experience of painting outside, en plen air. Every time it’s different, and I’ve met such an amazing variety of people out there while I’m working away, splashing on the paint. From time to time I battle depression, if that is an apt term, and so I find that these golden moments sustain me, and I feel led to share them in the hope that they might also lift up others.

And it’s safe to say that I have never before in my life been more aware of such an uncountable multitude of people who are really having a hard time, on so many levels. It’s as if the Earth is crying. Yet something deep within me counsels that all pain is growing pain, and that despite our sense of isolation we are all woven of and into one great fabric, and remain each and every one of us part of some great and mysterious plan that leads on through the darkness to light, and will in the end leave no soul, not even one, behind.

Ready to Begin, on “Recycled” Canvas

Here is one such e-mail I sent out, on March 26, 2006. As it turns out, the first sitting on this one was also the last. Upon contemplation (and the relentless badgering of a couple of friends!), I decided that the painting was done.

Hey, Folks:

Here’s my new baby a’birthing, as of first sitting. It is called Saturday Afternoon. I had a grand time this afternoon, splashing paint around in a suitably mad fashion w/ a palette knife.


Saturday Afternoon, Bayside 40″ X 30″ P. Crockett

Several beautiful young kids came up, parents in tow,to ask questions and to watch. And, I think,to experience art.



One exceptionally beautiful five-year-old girl with kind, ancient, eyes approached me with no fear and asked,“Why do you paint?” I am rarely at a loss for words, but that one wasn’t easy. Her mom had walked up behind her and rested her hands lightly on the girl’s shoulders. They were both stately. Trying to help, the Mother sort of leaned down and coaxed, “Well, probably the same reason you like to paint, Honey.” I smiled and said, “Probably, yeah.” But the girl wanted an answer, and stood her ground. She was so solemn, and so beautiful, that I just wanted to pull her to me and give her a big hug.

So I thought a moment and then said, “I guess to help me really see the world. I think that there is beauty around us,a lot, but sometimes we forget to take the time to look.” She was paying careful attention; I watched her eyes subtly but carefully scan the horizon of great blue bay before us, and the palms, and the big sky above.


“You know what?,” I told her, “Sometimes, I don’t think I’ve really seen the beauty of a place at all until I’ve painted it.” The child nodded slightly; she understood. “And so I’d guess I’d have to say, that is how come I paint.”



She said nothing; she only stepped back, looked at the canvas and then once again to the vista beyond, and turned to skip away and join her friends to play. Her Mom smiled. “Special kid you got there,” I told her. “Yes,” she said.

Later on, just before the whole group moved on, the girl returned, alone, and stood just behind me, to my left side. I could feel her. I turned, and our eyes met. A simple moment, really. Big, beautiful brown eyes. So innocent, so open to the world. I loved her, perhaps by way of honoring that beautiful boy always inside of me, also with big brown eyes, also burning with that quiet hunger always resident in the heart of the innocent: To really know, to see, to understand, to love and be loved.

Or maybe just because

And then she was gone. Just a moment in time’s river, but I am left with this strange feeling that I’ve had one or two times in the last couple of months, actually more of a quiet conviction: that in all probability I may not see this child again while on Earth, but that we will meet again and recognize one another back in Heaven, and be glad. I cannot explain it, but am fully content with the mystery.

Love always, P.



An Encounter with an Old Soul (Part 1)

September 29, 2008

Behind every painting, there is a story. At least!

I
often send out emailed pics of my paintings in progress, and share a little of the “story” that seems to inevitably unfold around each experience of painting outside, en plen air. Every time it’s different, and I’ve met such an amazing variety of people out there while I’m working away, splashing on the paint. From time to time I battle depression, if that is an apt term, and so I find that these golden moments sustain me, and I feel led to share them in the hope that they might also lift up others.

And it’s safe to say that I have never before in my life been more aware of such an uncountable multitude of people who are really having a hard time, on so many levels. It’s as if the Earth is crying. Yet something deep within me counsels that all pain is growing pain, and that despite our sense of isolation we are all woven of and into one great fabric, and remain each and every one of us part of some great and mysterious plan that leads on through the darkness to light, and will in the end leave no soul, not even one, behind.

Ready to Begin, on “Recycled” Canvas

Here is one such e-mail I sent out, on March 26, 2006. As it turns out, the first sitting on this one was also the last. Upon contemplation (and the relentless badgering of a couple of friends!), I decided that the painting was done.

Hey, Folks:

Here’s my new baby a’birthing, as of first sitting. It is called Saturday Afternoon. I had a grand time this afternoon, splashing paint around in a suitably mad fashion w/ a palette knife.


Saturday Afternoon, Bayside 40″ X 30″ P. Crockett

Several beautiful young kids came up, parents in tow,to ask questions and to watch. And, I think,to experience art.



One exceptionally beautiful five-year-old girl with kind, ancient, eyes approached me with no fear and asked,“Why do you paint?” I am rarely at a loss for words, but that one wasn’t easy. Her mom had walked up behind her and rested her hands lightly on the girl’s shoulders. They were both stately. Trying to help, the Mother sort of leaned down and coaxed, “Well, probably the same reason you like to paint, Honey.” I smiled and said, “Probably, yeah.” But the girl wanted an answer, and stood her ground. She was so solemn, and so beautiful, that I just wanted to pull her to me and give her a big hug.

So I thought a moment and then said, “I guess to help me really see the world. I think that there is beauty around us,a lot, but sometimes we forget to take the time to look.” She was paying careful attention; I watched her eyes subtly but carefully scan the horizon of great blue bay before us, and the palms, and the big sky above.


“You know what?,” I told her, “Sometimes, I don’t think I’ve really seen the beauty of a place at all until I’ve painted it.” The child nodded slightly; she understood. “And so I’d guess I’d have to say, that is how come I paint.”



She said nothing; she only stepped back, looked at the canvas and then once again to the vista beyond, and turned to skip away and join her friends to play. Her Mom smiled. “Special kid you got there,” I told her. “Yes,” she said.

Later on, just before the whole group moved on, the girl returned, alone, and stood just behind me, to my left side. I could feel her. I turned, and our eyes met. A simple moment, really. Big, beautiful brown eyes. So innocent, so open to the world. I loved her, perhaps by way of honoring that beautiful boy always inside of me, also with big brown eyes, also burning with that quiet hunger always resident in the heart of the innocent: To really know, to see, to understand, to love and be loved.

Or maybe just because

And then she was gone. Just a moment in time’s river, but I am left with this strange feeling that I’ve had one or two times in the last couple of months, actually more of a quiet conviction: that in all probability I may not see this child again while on Earth, but that we will meet again and recognize one another back in Heaven, and be glad. I cannot explain it, but am fully content with the mystery.

Love always, P.



An Encounter with an Old Soul (Part 1)

September 28, 2008

Behind every painting, there is a story. At least!

I
often send out emailed pics of my paintings in progress, and share a little of the “story” that seems to inevitably unfold around each experience of painting outside, en plen air. Every time it’s different, and I’ve met such an amazing variety of people out there while I’m working away, splashing on the paint. From time to time I battle depression, if that is an apt term, and so I find that these golden moments sustain me, and I feel led to share them in the hope that they might also lift up others.

And it’s safe to say that I have never before in my life been more aware of such an uncountable multitude of people who are really having a hard time, on so many levels. It’s as if the Earth is crying. Yet something deep within me counsels that all pain is growing pain, and that despite our sense of isolation we are all woven of and into one great fabric, and remain each and every one of us part of some great and mysterious plan that leads on through the darkness to light, and will in the end leave no soul, not even one, behind.

Ready to Begin, on “Recycled” Canvas

Here is one such e-mail I sent out, on March 26, 2006. As it turns out, the first sitting on this one was also the last. Upon contemplation (and the relentless badgering of a couple of friends!), I decided that the painting was done.

Hey, Folks:

Here’s my new baby a’birthing, as of first sitting. It is called Saturday Afternoon. I had a grand time this afternoon, splashing paint around in a suitably mad fashion w/ a palette knife.


Saturday Afternoon, Bayside 40″ X 30″ P. Crockett

Several beautiful young kids came up, parents in tow,to ask questions and to watch. And, I think,to experience art.



One exceptionally beautiful five-year-old girl with kind, ancient, eyes approached me with no fear and asked,“Why do you paint?” I am rarely at a loss for words, but that one wasn’t easy. Her mom had walked up behind her and rested her hands lightly on the girl’s shoulders. They were both stately. Trying to help, the Mother sort of leaned down and coaxed, “Well, probably the same reason you like to paint, Honey.” I smiled and said, “Probably, yeah.” But the girl wanted an answer, and stood her ground. She was so solemn, and so beautiful, that I just wanted to pull her to me and give her a big hug.

So I thought a moment and then said, “I guess to help me really see the world. I think that there is beauty around us,a lot, bu
t sometimes we forget to take the time to look.”
She was paying careful attention; I watched her eyes subtly but carefully scan the horizon of great blue bay before us, and the palms, and the big sky above.


“You know what?,” I told her, “Sometimes, I don’t think I’ve really seen the beauty of a place at all until I’ve painted it.” The child nodded slightly; she understood. “And so I’d guess I’d have to say, that is how come I paint.”



She said nothing; she only stepped back, looked at the canvas and then once again to the vista beyond, and turned to skip away and join her friends to play. Her Mom smiled. “Special kid you got there,” I told her. “Yes,” she said.

Later on, just before the whole group moved on, the girl returned, alone, and stood just behind me, to my left side. I could feel her. I turned, and our eyes met. A simple moment, really. Big, beautiful brown eyes. So innocent, so open to the world. I loved her, perhaps by way of honoring that beautiful boy always inside of me, also with big brown eyes, also burning with that quiet hunger always resident in the heart of the innocent: To really know, to see, to understand, to love and be loved.

Or maybe just because

And then she was gone. Just a moment in time’s river, but I am left with this strange feeling that I’ve had one or two times in the last couple of months, actually more of a quiet conviction: that in all probability I may not see this child again while on Earth, but that we will meet again and recognize one another back in Heaven, and be glad. I cannot explain it, but am fully content with the mystery.

Love always, P.



An Encounter with an Old Soul (Part 2)

September 28, 2008



When you put something “out there” on the Internet, you have no idea where it might wind up.

Among the friends who received the above email was one who lives in New York City, a gifted man working as a language translator. He in turn forwarded the email to a friend of his named Danielle, a professor of French Language and Civilization at Sorbonne University in Paris. (There is no question that the Internet has become the fundamental infrastructure for the “global village” foreseen in the 1960’s.) I was thrilled that the painting and story had most unexpectedly made its way to the Sorbonne! One never knows…

Here is how she responded to my friend’s email, as then forwarded to me:

…agréable de recevoir de tes nouvelles. Le tableau est magnifique, à la frontière entre le figuratif et l’abstrait et avec une force qui nous submerge. Quant au texte, il est vraiment émouvant; cette rencontre entre un homme, plein de sensibilité et cette petite fille est unique.

Ils se sont compris parfaitement et peut-être que plus jamais cette petite fille ne sera aussi merveilleuse: elle apprendra à dire ce qu’il faut au moment où il faut et… tout sera perdu.



And here, the translation he kindly provided me:

It’s so good to hear from you. The painting is magnificent, on the border between the figurative and the abstract, with a force that pulls us in. The text is truly moving. This encounter between a highly sensitive man and this little girl is very unique. They understood each other perfectly and perhaps this little girl will never be as wonderful as now: she will learn to say what is expected at the moment, and then… all will be lost.

I’ve never written Danielle and expressed how good it made me feel to receive her e-mail, nor what a wonderful gift I feel was so casually made through that note. Until today. Thank you, Danielle. I appreciated your insight, and its truth. It was indeed a singular moment in time, and I suppose somehow precious for that very reason.

And the greater truth, of course, is that they all are. As so beautifully expressed by Robert Frost, Nothing gold can stay. And I think too of the words of Tennessee Williams, in the closing paragraph of his magnificent 1948 essay, On a Streetcar Named Success (and actually, I think of the last sentence here quite often) :

Then what is good? The obsessive interest in human affairs, plus a certain amount of compassion and moral conviction, that first made the experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that’s dynamic and expressive–that’s what’s good for you if you’re at all serious in your aims. William Saroyan wrote a great piece on this theme, that purity of heart is the one success worth having. “In the time of your lifelive!” That time is short and it doesn’t return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, and the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, Loss, Loss unless you devote your heart to its opposition.



The strange and undeniable truth is that anything, no matter what, would be a HUGE drag if it lasted forever. And when we get caught up in the humdrum or workaday doldrums, it seems that it will remain so forever. But it won’t.

And, in the same mystical field of my “inner peripheral vision” that I somehow knew that one fine day I would once again meet up with that little girl, in Heaven, I feel this:

That it will all seem different on our death beds.



In the final moments before that great transition, each simple breath will resound with meaning. A new and vast perspective will somehow “click” and all things fall into place. Maybe because we will have been finally and at last stripped of the grinding and awful delusion that “we have forever,” all that we have known will somehow shine with its own light, and be transformed in our understanding.

In the end, it will seem all too short, all of it, and thus unbearably sweet.

Even the roughest and most dreary parts of our experience: the supremely challenging times and our darkest nights that seemed to never end, the dead-end moments of utter “failure,” the moments of inconsolable grief that seemed to erupt from within our broken hearts and then sear and finally consume us,

All of it. It will all suddenly somehow fall in to place, and the details may blur (or perhaps not) but the picture as a whole emerge most clear, and the times of our life will seem whole after all, and unbearably sweet, and all too short.

And, if that may be so, then why not now?



So, as the light of another day fades outside my windows, and another calm Sunday eases gently forever into memory, I feel it past time for me to step up and away from the glow of this too-used computer, at last! And in parting, I say once again

Thank you, Danielle.

Merci bouceaups


An Encounter with an Old Soul (Part 2)

September 28, 2008



When you put something “out there” on the Internet, you have no idea where it might wind up.

Among the friends who received the above email was one who lives in New York City, a gifted man working as a language translator. He in turn forwarded the email to a friend of his named Danielle, a professor of French Language and Civilization at Sorbonne University in Paris. (There is no question that the Internet has become the fundamental infrastructure for the “global village” foreseen in the 1960’s.) I was thrilled that the painting and story had most unexpectedly made its way to the Sorbonne! One never knows…

Here is how she responded to my friend’s email, as then forwarded to me:

…agréable de recevoir de tes nouvelles. Le tableau est magnifique, à la frontière entre le figuratif et l’abstrait et avec une force qui nous submerge. Quant au texte, il est vraiment émouvant; cette rencontre entre un homme, plein de sensibilité et cette petite fille est unique.

Ils se sont compris parfaitement et peut-être que plus jamais cette petite fille ne sera aussi merveilleuse: elle apprendra à dire ce qu’il faut au moment où il faut et… tout sera perdu.



And here, the translation he kindly provided me:

It’s so good to hear from you. The painting is magnificent, on the border between the figurative and the abstract, with a force that pulls us in. The text is truly moving. This encounter between a highly sensitive man and this little girl is very unique. They understood each other perfectly and perhaps this little girl will never be as wonderful as now: she will learn to say what is expected at the moment, and then… all will be lost.

I’ve never written Danielle and expressed how good it made me feel to receive her e-mail, nor what a wonderful gift I feel was so casually made through that note. Until today. Thank you, Danielle. I appreciated your insight, and its truth. It was indeed a singular moment in time, and I suppose somehow precious for that very reason.

And the greater truth, of course, is that they all are. As so beautifully expressed by Robert Frost, Nothing gold can stay. And I think too of the words of Tennessee Williams, in the closing paragraph of his magnificent 1948 essay, On a Streetcar Named Success (and actually, I think of the last sentence here quite often) :

Then what is good? The obsessive interest in human affairs, plus a certain amount of compassion and moral conviction, that first made the experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that’s dynamic and expressive–that’s what’s good for you if you’re at all serious in your aims. William Saroyan wrote a great piece on this theme, that purity of heart is the one success worth having. “In the time of your lifelive!” That time is short and it doesn’t return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, and the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, Loss, Loss unless you devote your heart to its opposition.



The strange and undeniable truth is that anything, no matter what, would be a HUGE drag if it lasted forever. And when we get caught up in the humdrum or workaday doldrums, it seems that it will remain so forever. But it won’t.

And, in the same mystical field of my “inner peripheral vision” that I somehow knew that one fine day I would once again meet up with that little girl, in Heaven, I feel this:

That it will all seem different on our death beds.



In the final moments before that great transition, each simple breath will resound with meaning. A new and vast perspective will somehow “click” and all things fall into place. Maybe because we will have been finally and at last stripped of the grinding and awful delusion that “we have forever,” all that we have known will somehow shine with its own light, and be transformed in our understanding.

In the end, it will seem all too short, all of it, and thus unbearably sweet.

Even the roughest and most dreary parts of our experience: the supremely challenging times and our darkest nights that seemed to never end, the dead-end moments of utter “failure,” the moments of inconsolable grief that seemed to erupt from within our broken hearts and then sear and finally consume us,

All of it. It will all suddenly somehow fall in to place, and the details may blur (or perhaps not) but the picture as a whole emerge most clear, and the times of our life will seem whole after all, and unbearably sweet, and all too short.

And, if that may be so, then why not now?



So, as the light of another day fades outside my windows, and another calm Sunday eases gently forever into memory, I feel it past time for me to step up and away from the glow of this too-used computer, at last! And in parting, I say once again

Thank you, Danielle.

Merci bouceaups