Road to Character

Phew – life moved really fast these first two months of the year! In my last post, I showed a few works done using Acrylic on paper. To be honest, I have always been a bit of a snob in my attitude towards the use of Acrylic paint as compared to Oil paint.

It guess it is a combination of the “plastic” nature of acrylic, combined with the quick-drying nature of it. And then there is that luminous, mystical transparency of oil paints. However, I have had some success with Acrylic done on paper (normally heavy Fabriano Hot Press Watercolor paper), and here I would like to share some of these with you.

These next two paintings were inspired by a view of farmland just west of Hamilton, New Zealand. I was driving on the freeway and as I glanced to the side I saw this open farmland, divided into blocks, with the sun and shadow playing on it.

Acrylic on Paper, 66 x 44 cm
Acrylic on Paper, 50 x 32 cm

The painting below is an invented landscape. It started off as an abstract but – as so often happens – it slowly evolved into yet another landscape!

Acrylic on Paper, 66 x 44 cm

The weeks since the start of the year have been quite a ride. Last December, a close family member passed away after a long, brave battle with cancer.  The few and short interactions I had with her and her two young, brave children in the last few days of her life had a profound impact on me.

I decided to deeply review and look into my own life, including my health, fitness and my personal direction in life. As I hinted in my last post, this drive has had an interesting cooling effect on my enthusiasm for painting, which has since evened out again.

I am now about two months into a surprising change in my life path. What started initially as an attempt to get rid of near-chronic fatigue has morphed into a passionate drive to improve my health, fitness and baseline level of happiness – in short, my total way of being.

I started with a zeal for weight-loss and fitness, but one of the first five lessons I learned centred around the brevity of inspiration. It runs out way before you reach the goal. So I soon realized any long term transformation – if it is to be lasting and significant – will be have to be based on humility and patience. In fact – character transformation, rather than body transformation.

In the book The Road to Character, David Brooks writes:

The humble person understands that experience is a better teacher than pure reason. He understands that wisdom is not knowledge. Wisdom emerges out of a collection of intellectual virtues. It is knowing how to behave when perfect knowledge is lacking.

I have managed to sustain this transformation drive now for almost two months, and I have learned many lessons on this first part of my journey – some expected and some surprising.

Although my blog started as a painting-related thing, I would love to share some of the insights and lessons learned on this journey with the followers of my blog in the hope that it may inspire you and allow you to learn from my experience. So watch this space!

In one sentence I will give you the key to absolute spiritual freedom: to be a self-actualized being, all you have to do is know, feel, think, and act like one.

Roy Eugene Davis – The Book of Life

If you are primarily coming to my blog for the sake of the paintings – I will continue to post some of my recent works, but be prepared for some motivational reading also!

Before I go – an excerpt from a poem by Wang Wei:

Oftentimes - with joy in my heart -
Alone, I roam here and there.
It is a wonderful thing
That I am aware of myself.
When the streamlet ends my trip
I settle down and catch
The moment of rising mists.
Now and then I meet
A furrowed dweller of the woods.
We chat and laugh;
Never do we want to go home.

Wang Wei, quoted in
Creativity and Taoism, by Chung-yuan Chang

It is a wonderful thing that I am aware of myself!

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you are happy and content.




17 thoughts on “Road to Character

  1. What gorgeous landscapes. I have seen some of your pictures on instagram via computer — without being able to comment — I’ve got a very archaic phone! It’s fun to see your post again here at WP. And your inspirational writing is very inspiring! Looking forward to learning more about your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed your post. Acrylics have just come back into my life for the first time in 40 years and I am so frustrated, but it’s the only way to get the results I’m after. I look forward to posts about your quest. And I do love Classical Chinese poetry!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Andrew, good to hear from you again. I always enjoy seeing your work on Instagram. Good luck with the acrylics. I have to say I am surpised at the depth and luminosity that can be achieved with them.


  3. Hello Fritz. It has been a while since I came here, but I took time today to buck my ideas up and get round to visiting people I have neglected. I have to say I love these acrylic numbers big time. They excite me. There is something in the colour effects that grabs me by the throat. The lower and the light of the wide-open scapes! And oh those red cliffs! To me, these are paintings of the new you, they show your health more than you could write about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marie. So sorry for my late reply. Thanks so much for your kind message. I am really happy to hear you like the acrylics – I was a bit snotty about painting with them at first, being plastic and all, but now I am amazed at the fine nuances of colour that can be achieved with them.
      I am currently devoting more time to my health through Yoga, proper diet and meditation, and – perhaps most important – a daily discipline of actively practicing JOY: you know, the skill of sitting back with a cup of coffee, not thinking about the next thing, looming disaster etc., but just feeling that ache from yesterday’s stretching, feeling gratitude for being alive, and so forth. This simple practice has really transformed my life in a way – not Tony Robbins style, just Fritz style – a small drop of joy, practiced in each day, repeated over 3 months, can actually change the flavour of the water…
      Anyway, I digress: interestingly, the higher joy saturation in my life has sort of removed my urge (or drive) to paint. I still wander into my studio every weekend, but I am just happy to see the light, falling askance on the potted ferns and carpet there in the corner. I don’t think it is a permanent departure, but for now I am following along…
      I hope you are well. This weekend I plan to mosey over to your site and see what you have been up to.

      Liked by 1 person

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