J. M. De Lipsey
Why do I paint? It’s really not a difficult question. It’s the pure, painful pleasure of it. Painting brings a challenge of seeing. And by that I mean envisioning, musing, executing, problem solving and all the other “ings” that never quite seem to be settled. Painting brings an understanding of relationships, that the whole of nature is more than the sum of the parts, and it allows me to simultaneously meld thought and emotion while in complete consciousness. In Ranchspeak, I paint because I love it and I just can’t stop.
Many artists begin their biographies by stating that they were destined to become a painter or that art was their favorite class in school. Well, I never took an art class or picked up a paintbrush until well into my 5th decade of life. As a psychologist who specializes in social science research and the law, my career has been exciting, challenging and stressful. Perhaps decades of stress, the adversarial nature of the law or just sitting in countless conference rooms for prolonged periods of time eventually pushed me to a more rewarding life outside with my horses. Little did I know that my first experience of self-expression through painting would be a pivotal event, one that would set my life on a completely new journey.
Painting absorbs my complete attention and feeds my passion for the outdoors. Upon picking up a brush, quiet solace envelops my soul. Peaceful concentration takes “ahold” of me when I hold that brush in my hand. Having grown up on a ranch, being outdoors and riding horses introduced me to the outdoors; collecting bird eggs, plants, deer sheds and the like. But it wasn’t until I started painting that I really saw the beauty around me. Tree trunks are not brown, grass emerges in every color of the rainbow and the firmament glow expands beyond description. How could I have missed so much for so long?
Learning to “really” see the glory of nature and people as I paint is deeply satisfying to my soul. It simply pleases me. The anthropologist, Gregory Bateson, once said that religion and art are some of the few areas that allow one to act in complete consciousness. Now as a painter, many years after having read Bateson, I understand and embrace his meaning.