Thursday, 26 March 2009

Inertia

As Beaudelaire knew, the painter who cannot begin to paint, and the writer who puts off writing, endure a living death of the spirit. As the seasons change, they are tormented by the combined eagerness of the senses and the passage of time. Frequently they are aware that everything around them gives urgent signs that this is the very moment at which to begin work, that this is the minute of all minutes that they owe it to themselves to preserve. No task is impossibly long or impossibly hard except the one that the painter or poet does not dare to begin. Bomberg, through no fault of his own, frequently put off starting. There were long periods when he was too despondent, too discouraged, to paint at all. But by delaying what has to be done one runs the risk of never being able to do it. Prolonged unhappiness, as Chateaubriand says, has the same effect on the soul as old age on the body: "one can no longer be active; one goes to bed."


-- Christopher Neve, The Unquiet Landscape

4 comments:

Serena said...

Are you o.k. Harry? Hope the cough/cold has cleared up now :o)

harrybell said...

Thanks for asking, Serena. The cough is lingering on, although I expect it to be gone in another week. But it seems to have drained me of all energy and I find any layoff from painting like this builds up a huge amount of inertia with consequent difficulty in getting back into the swing.

vfm4 said...

Christopher Neve is so right...

hope you're feeling better...

harrybell said...

Thanks, vfm4, I'm certainly in a better frame of mind, but the damn cough lingers on ....