Our power in our later life 

will give birth to many wonders

 So says William Martin in his book The Sage’s Tao Te Ching, Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life. Does this mean that in my case I will write the great American novel or an epic poem that sets the world on fire? Will my pastel and paint meanderings astound the jury at the Whitney? On some level, I’d like to think so. But I have learned to interpret those two short lines in a different way, and these are the wonders that are beginning to birth in me as I grow older: a need to look more deeply and see more clearly, to listen more completely, to wait more patiently, to embrace solitude and silence, to cherish people instead of things and moments instead of hours, to judge less harshly, to desire less adulation and acquire more empathy, to give consolation rather than seek it, to ask for help when I need it, to simplify the life around me and enrich the life within.

The creative process at this time is an expression of these areas of growth, just as it was always attune to whatever was going on at any particular stage of my life. In high school I drew portraits of friends. Later, it was paintings of my children and a fascination with the human figure. This obsession with solid form and life by the ocean grew into rock scapes, and it continues today. Yet I can definitely see why older artists tend to veer toward the abstract, for it is beginning to pull at me as well. What is going on in later life is often so internal that there is no concrete way to express the whole of it. Wonders is as good a description as any.


At The Edge   Pastel, 44 1/2” x 30″

11 thoughts on “Wonders

  1. I so resonate with your remarks, as always, Pat, especially “cherish people,” which I find overtaking any other of my activities or concerns. It’s a selfish thing, because it gives me comfort. You are one I cherish.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Pat, I have been reading your words of wisdom for months now and have found myself in such awe, I could not find the right words to thank you. For me, unexpected chronic illness has brought a fresh awareness of the aging process. Your thoughts always lift and inspire me. Thank you for this.


  3. Hi Pat,
    You have expressed the process so beautifully! I find when I think of what I’m going to paint ( my studio is ready and waiting) I realize my whole style has to change… I think now in areas of color, details blurred, figure merging with ground… which, of course, is a reflexion of my life. I like that you have called your piece “On the edge”. I read a beautiful book lately ” Falling into Grace” by Adyashanti. It’s a lovely image… as you said, “embrace the solitude, look more deeply, see more clearly…” Lots of love, Taunyee

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Taunyee. I’m so glad you have a studio all set up and I look forward to seeing the direction your work takes. (I’m going to find that book. ) Love, Pat p.s. You’d be surprised at how well our tai ji group is doing, but we still miss you.


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