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May 13, 2008


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Actually I think the metaphor is exactly about time...the times when we pause and breathe deeply, wondering whether to remain where we are safely or push ahead into the unknown. Age of course makes one pause - or rather speed up out of fear of not having enough time left to do what we need to do - breaking the glass , to me, really means taking that irrevocable step into the next phase of whatever it is that propels us. If anything, age is a great motivator for not waiting and thinking about it too long.

June and Jerry Underwood

Thanks, Sue.

I didn't mean to "call you out" exactly, although I guess that that question certainly does so.

I am always curious about the interface between people's lives and the metaphors they are attracted to. "Breaking the glass" is pretty strong, and yet it has all that glory of shattered crystal. It takes a heavy hand to break glass (or a big piece of concrete), so you can't be too prissy about it.

And then, of course, there's the timepiece inside -- which is ticking whether we break the glass or not. We might not be able to see that it's moving, but once it's out, it's really out.

I am, as you might suppose, another aging artist, who is very aware of time. But I haven't broken glass yet; it's the nipping at my heels of the old hound death that makes me trot.

Thanks for your interesting response.


What interesting questions...you've called me out and I'm finding it somewhat difficult to clearly articulate.

When I was writing this post, I was thinking of more than one area within the sphere of my "art." I have been studying several books that deal with returning to classical principles. My foundational training comes from the abstract expressionist school. For me, it is safe to create expressive paintings that rely on color and gestural marks for their visual energy and interest. One can "paint" without actually "Painting," not in the sense of the Old Masters. So for me, breaking the glass means that I must step past intuitive painting and look underneath for the mathematical foundations of great and lasting design. And I need to do this not only in the landscape work, but also in the abstracts I create. It's like coming back around to a new starting point, where you see how badly your work sucks and how far you want it to go :>}

In another sense, breaking the glass has to do with taking specific steps to promote my own work. I have been compromising my artistic goals by making "safe" decisions, primarily by putting "non-art" considerations before "art" considerations. Without going into too much detail, I realized I needed to make a choice whether I would continue to put other people's goals ahead of my own or if I could find the courage to "step into my own."

This means I must accept that my decision might ultimately force significant changes in my life. But to stand outside the glass, to just admire what I had accomplished because I was afraid of the possible consequences... this is a compromise of my dreams I'm no longer willing to make.

So yes...I broke the glass.

June and Jerry Underwood


This is a fine analogy, but it's like many a horoscope -- a bit general. The image is more precise than the meaning, if you get my meaning....

My question to you is, when have you had to break the glass? Have you had to do so more than once? Specifics, please, if you can.

I'm reading a bunch of books like [Charles] "Hawthorne on Painting" and the famous one by Robert Henri (can't remember the name). These are full of epigrams, sometimes even witty, but often contradictory. What I find is that when one of the epigrams catches me, it's because it signifies something in my own work. So I'm asking you -- what in your own work at the moment made this analogy important?

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