Maybe if you’re like me, sometimes life and the ways of the world weigh a little heavy on you. The past several days, since J and I returned with The Boy from our trip, have felt pretty hard to carry for me, personally. I’ve gotten bogged down writing on a self-imposed tight deadline and it’s a weighty story (love is serious sometimes) and I’ve also felt a little closed in by the news cycle. Again.
And when this happens to me, I like to immerse myself in the goodness I can find, and that’s usually an everyday kind of goodness. J and The Boy are good and they live here. I talk to my friends, who are good, and that’s an everyday thing usually.
A lot of times when I’m draggin’ my wagon, I will ask J to ‘tell me something good.’ And he always leads that with ‘I love you.’ I used to try and hide all of my romanticism and optimism behind a hard cynical veneer, but like…what’s the point? Especially here. I’m soft. I’m sappy. And that’s actually where my greatness is. My sensitivity. My compassion. My openness. Why cover that up?
So today, I’m wrapping myself up in love. I love my son. I love my friends. I love my family. But I really, really, really love J.
And I love seeing other people happy and successful, particularly people who are everyday romantics like me. I’m not a visual artist. But I admire them. So today I’m going to promote some visual artists I love to look at on the heavy days, because they celebrate everyday love, just like I try to do in my writing. Check these websites out and look at this art and get lost in love for a while. That’s where I’m going to be today.
The first artist I’m promoting (by the way…I don’t know any of these artists…I’m not getting anything or expecting to get anything from them by promoting their work…I just love their work) is Curtis Wiklund. Here’s his website. He’s a photographer and a sketch artist and he has a book of sketches out…Us. Above is a sample of his work I came across on random social media. I’m glad he signed it because it was unattributed otherwise where I found it. (Please if you post someone else’s art…ask permission first, don’t steal it…that’s someone’s labor and livelihood, and holy moly, at the very least, attribute it clearly like I tried my best to here…give the artist the credit and visibility they deserve.) I love his work.
This piece is from a book by visual artist Phillippa Rice…Soppy. Here’s her website.
Like Mr. Wiklund, her work is autobiographical and about every day love. I love it. Yeah…it’s soppy. So am I. Not sorry. If you want to feel good, look at her stuff.
Puuung’s art sometimes reminds me so much of J and myself, it’s almost like they know us personally. Here’s the website. It’s drawings and animation.
And then there’s Catana Comics. Funnier and more lighthearted maybe than the others (although none of them are dreary and overly dramatic and that’s the point). Still very sweet and loving and optimistic. I love it.
I’ve been asked by friends and readers how I can stay functional and sane in the face of rampant dysfunction and insanity, and this is my answer. Maybe it’s not the silver bullet other people are looking for, but it works for me. I get lost in love. When everything looks to me like it’s turning to shit (and it does look that way…kind of often, unfortunately), I go searching for things that are wholesome and good and safe and kind and positive. They DO still exist. I know they do. What I have with J is good. It’s all the way, unequivocally, decidedly, without any doubt GOOD. And the knowledge that there are some things that are purely good out there…a baby or a little kid laughing…flowers in full bloom…finding some shade and a breeze on a hot day…the smell of baking chocolate chip cookies…a lasting hug from a strong, trusted set of arms…your favorite song popping up on the radio while you’re driving or unexpectedly on shuffle while you’re working out…anything a dog does…love. Love is always good. It feels good. It looks good. It sounds good. It IS good. And it still exists, because I have it. These visual artists have it, or they can at least see it…if they didn’t…they couldn’t make this kind of art. I write about love a lot in an attempt to not only fill my own head and heart and soul up with hope, but to hopefully spread it around a bit. Make people see the love in their own lives, wherever that is. Maybe it’s not romantic. Maybe it’s your kids…or your parents…or your brother or sister…or your friends…or the art you create…or the career you love…or some combination of all of that. Maybe it IS what you have with your romantic partner (it sure is for me). But get lost in that. Feel that. Creation. Flow. Friendship. Love, in whatever form it takes. That’s pure goodness. The world needs more of that. I’m lost in it today. I hope you get lost in it too. Maybe we could all get lost in it and then we’d be so occupied being lost in love we wouldn’t have the time or capability to damage and destroy and hurt anymore. To quote the great Ozzy Osbourne (this will make J happy…Ozzy is his guy…what a great person to quote in a post about sappy love-based visual art, right? My mind can connect up anything, it seems)…
“Maybe it’s not too late to learn how to love and forget how to hate.”