Thursday, December 2, 2010

neptunia and her beachball

It occurred to me if scientific thought and education based on cooperation rather than competition was encouraged, we'd have a much better chance of not simply surviving but flourishing. If the world was run on evidence-based science we'd be investing in major projects to develop and deploy clean renewable technologies. We'd work toward ending the spate of curable diseases and the hunger that kill eleven million children every year. Instead, we're seeing huge amounts of money being funneled into the hands of the super-rich who have no long range plan in mind at all other than increasing their own wealth in a world that's at the brink of disaster.

In the last 50 years, we've moved away from collective thinking - all over the world people are educated in the western style to compete. Higher education in much of the west is now so expensive that students have to plan on a high paying career that will allow them to pay off their loans rather than look forward to using their knowledge and skills for positive ends. We have impoverished graduates who can't find jobs in their chosen fields and a large segment of the general population that hates science. That's not only sad but also dangerous.

I like to read and there are so many fascinating discoveries and developments that sometimes I can get lost exploring for whole sections of days. The world is an intriguing, magnificent place where, if we were to admit it, we've caused many of our own problems. I've made it a habit of stopping reading the minute somebody says, 'We should all do so and so to fix this, that or the other thing' because that will never happen. I've heard it said that not everyone brushes their teeth and what could be more basic than that?

I guess what we can do is remain open to the possibilities of a better future for everyone and learn as much as we can on our own. That includes sharing what we learn with each other until we have a society that recognizes that large things matter.

Meanwhile, I give you Neptunia, one of those paintings that didn't work out as planned.



  1. "The world is so full of a number of things,
    I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings."
    (R.L. Stevenson - A Child's Garden of Verses)

    If we could only learn to appreciate them without the crazy wish to possess them!

  2. That includes sharing what we learn with each other until we have a society that recognizes that large things matter.

    We can only hope. I like Neptunia's eyes. They are expressive and sort of sad I think.

  3. neptunia is regal and, yes, i agree w liberality.... there's a sadness to her.

    i've just spent the last week or so marinating in local and national housing and income statistics, in prep for a big presentation to our local city fathers, asking for support. none of it is new stuff, but it was a stern reminder that there's enough of everything (food, money, space) in Canada, it's just very poorly distributed. demographics regarding Canadian wealth distribution are not much different from those of third world countries. we just have a few social programs to hide them behind.

  4. francis - There have been societies that managed to do just that but none of them (to my knowledge) became technically and industrially proficient. It would be a great leap if we could find our way back to that way of living while maintaining scientific advances.

    liberality - It's hard to know what we're missing, isn't it?

    gfid - I spent so much time reading and thinking about the wasteful madness of our culture while painting this one she couldn't be anything but sad.

    Now that the tourists have gone I've noticed there are a surprising number of street people begging for money in Halifax. It's not as bad as Portland was but considering the differences in climate, they are here in significant numbers. It's a pity and so unnecessary.

  5. i have absolutely nothing to add to what you are right, it is a pitiable situation and one, i fear, we will eventually pay for in a very uncomfortable way or a billion ways...

    tonight i prefer to focus on smaller things, like this lovely painting....i love her face, the framing you always do i always love, and how she's holding whatever i want it to be... but it's her face, including her hair and crown i love the most, something very sweet yet sad about her and after reading your post, i see why. xxx

  6. Imagine what a paradise this planet could be if we put our efffort into peaceful research instead of the development of bigger things that go bang...

  7. Oh, bah! Without competition, there would be no advancement! Hippie!

    What's that bullshit saw about how Switzerland is the most peaceful nation and all they've given us are watches?

    Easier to destroy than create, which kind of puts the lie to work ├╝ber alles. Humanity doesn't want to work for things.

  8. Your painting, me thinks, is a good example of how letting go of expectations can lead to WONDERFUL things. She is beautiful and wise.

  9. i would have preferred you not calling it a "beachball." even if you don't think the painting achieved what you wanted, i rather liked it. don't throw salt on your paintings, susan!
    /me throws a skittle at you.

  10. Neptunia holding the world in her hands, and what a mess we've made of it. Lovely painting, as always Susan.

  11. linda - Thank you. I'm very glad you can see what's best about this painting. I would have destroyed it and tried again had it not been that I got her face and headpiece just right. Sometimes I try too hard and sometimes I think I should just paint in oils or acrylics and be done with it.

    jams - Yes, it would be. dammit.

    randal - Yeah, look where all that competition got us. Free market principles work fine at a smaller scale but not so well globally when governments and banks are playing with the money supply while people starve. You know that :-)

    belette - How sweet of you to say so. The painting in its entirety got too dark and there's nothing to be done once that happens to a watercolor. She is just right though and I'm glad you like her.

    sera - Well, to begin with I'd drawn a very nice globe and then decided the reference was too mundane (:-)) and obvious. Then I thought to paint a very small mandala but I had to keep it light because of the background underpainting. The result isn't as I'd hoped but I'm glad you like it. I'll try to lighten up.

    ps: Salt can have an interesting effect on watercolor if used sparingly :-)

    marja-leena - Yes, it was supposed to be the world - or a seed of the world. I'm very happy you enjoyed seeing it.

  12. susan: I got your lovely gift yesterday in the mail, thank you so much. I am searching for something that I hope you will see beauty in to send to you--just because it's fun to do so. I am not artistic so it will be something I fancy and you may fancy instead.

    Peace sister.

  13. Before reading this very (fine) post, I was smiling while and immediately thinking of you and Neptunia when reading this.

    By the way, I am (almost) sure, following the link you will discover an artist after your heART.

  14. Operating in cooperation instead of competition. It's a radical idea whose time has come.

  15. liberality - So glad the twins have been reunited. Much love to you too, sister :-)

    sean - What a wonderful story and one that reminds me of when my son was born (the child looks much as he did at a similar age too).. we had a name chosen and when he arrived he had another and that's what he was called.

    lisa - I really wish that were so but it's going to take a miracle the likes of which we've never seen. Alien Mother Ship, where are you?

  16. Long trip and then bad news - I am just getting to some blog reading, in a break from other duties... I like Neptunia. I love the shapes within shapes, with the different sections separated from, yet interacting with and echoing the others. Like a mandala, with the planet in the middle - the sea in the middle. I crave a closer look at her head dress. Sea creatures? (star fish?)
    And I'm with the others here - her eyes are beautiful and a bit sad. But mostly they look like they're meditative, or prayerful eyes. Looking up?

  17. steve - Thanks for coming by during this time to leave your thoughts about Neptunia. The drawing I really do like a lot but then something happened with the background colors that I hadn't intended. Had I been working in oil I could have pulled off what I saw in my mind's eye so I'm a bit disappointed and feeling a little color shy at the moment.
    I'm very glad you like the essence and yes, she is looking up. I hope soon things are looking up for you too.