Why do I paint? Not for immortality but
to be as alive as possible and, while I am able,
to see more clearly and to express myself
as fully as I can while I am still alive.
I tell myself that I am not afraid to die
but hope to live into a good old age,
free of suffering, and then go peacefully,
merging into the great unity of everything.
Why then does it seem important to me
To be remembered fondly and
perhaps with admiration for who I was,
or for what I did and what I left behind?
If I were truly dead, would it matter?
What difference would it, could it make
if I were to be forgotten, since I know
that the end really is the end.
That I, me, ego will no longer exist
no Self to care about fond memories
or admiration for who I was
or what I did or did not do?
Here's the catch. I really am not
sure that the end really is the end
that I would not, somehow recall
a world of beauty that I left behind.
I desire some connection not just with
those who will come after me but those
who went before. But I would not wish
to disturb them in their peaceful oblivion.
I am less sanguine about the fate of art,
my own and that of others, especially
those works of quality which evoke feeling
or a sense of place to be remembered.
The best of what I do I want to survive, be kept
and passed on by family, friends or strangers
who can appreciate what I have done and,
if only for a time, to see what I have seen.
And I hope, someday, to pass on the art I own,
works by family, friends and other artists,
for others to enjoy. It would be a shame
if they were to end up on a rubbish heap.
So, yes, even more than a wish to survive myself
I am concerned with immartality; the wish for
the best and most creative of my paintings
to survive for other people to see
Not who I was, but what I created, and maybe
they will remember me, but even if they don't,
at least be glad that I was here to paint
and appreciate the work I left behind.