"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Art: the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

Self-Portrait (Bonjour Mlle Cone), 1907
-Pablo Picasso

On Tuesday, October 25, 1881, a young boy was born. This promising boy was born in Malaga, Spain (Google) to Don Jose Ruiz y Blanco (1838-1913) and Maria Picasso y Lopez. The young boy's name was Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso.

Many, if not all, know him as Pablo Picasso. (1881-1973)

He was the first child and the older brother to three young sisters.

The Picasso family was a middle class family; their father a painter, an art professor and a curator of a local museum.

Picasso demonstrated extraordinary talent in art, and a great passion, and skill, for drawing in his early years. According to his mother, his first words were "piz, piz", which is short for lapiz, the Spanish word for pencil.

Portrait of Franèoise (1946) 
-Pablo Picasso

By the age of thirteen Picasso's father determined that his son was a better painter than he and gave up painting. 

After the family moved to Barcelona in 1895 following the death of Picasso's young sister, Conchita, from diphtheria, he became enrolled at the School of Fine Arts where his father was a professor. Story has it that Ruiz persuaded the school officials at the academy to allow his son to take the entrance exam for the advanced class. This process often took students a month, but Picasso completed it in a week, and thus, the impressed jury admitted him immediately. 

Picasso was just 13. 

Portrait of Igor Stravinsky, c. 1920
-Pablo Picasso

At 16 years of age Picasso's father and uncle sent him off to Madrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando, the country's foremost art school. This was the first time Pablo was away from home and on his own, but with all his talent, and with such a grand opportunity for formal art training, it still couldn't eliminate his dislike for formal instruction, leaving him to quit attending classes soon after enrollment.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Picasso would go on to become one of the greatest and most influential artists of all times. Picasso is commonly regarded, along with Henri Matisse and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the three artists who most defined the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the 20th century, responsible for significant developments in painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics.

He is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for a wide variety of styles that are encompassed in the most commonly accepted periods of his work: the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1905–1907), the African-influenced Period (1908–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919).

-Pablo Picasso

Webster defines masterpiece in three ways; a person's greatest piece of work, as in an art, secondly, anything done with masterly skill, and finally, a consummate example of skill or excellence of any kind. I think a fourth definition could easily be added that simply states; see Picasso's work.
Picasso's lifetime work is full of masterpieces.

And as I sit here reflecting upon the many masterpieces created by Picasso I can't help but wonder what masterpiece I'm capable of creating.

Many of us diligently try to create masterpieces in our children and though our intentions are noble and grand it is often without fail that we come miserably short of that irresistible, albeit well intentioned, but misguided and dangerous goal.

Children are to be raised in a manner that will provide them with the greatest opportunity of becoming a civil human being; caring for others more than themselves, and with an eye on becoming a productive person that will value the importance of a job well done. They are not to be painted into a perfect corner for the world to admire like piece of art in a museum, with the praise directed towards the parents with little regard for the integral part the child and, or young adult, played in who they've become. We as parents will greatly aid our children in becoming who they will become, but ultimately the child will make the final decision upon who they want to be and what they want to do with their life as they grow older. We as parents can only give the painter- the child - the right tools to create with, at the end of the day they will be the one that signs their name to their work.

The masterpiece is as much about the journey as it is about the final product.

"Mother and child" (1922)
-Pablo Picasso

There are other times that our masterpiece is painted on the canvas that is called our profession, career; our work. We give long hours to our work to gain success, grow our position within the company and to increase our finances. And though being good at what we do and taking our work serious is vitally important, perspective and balance must be obtained or our painting will become a flawed rough draft that shows signs of promise, but is dominated with fundamental errors and a lack of any value; artistic or otherwise.

So what masterpiece is worth creating and vesting our time in while pursuing?

The answer; our life.

I think we would all agree that there is nothing more important than our life, and what we make of it.

Like a piece of art, our life will always be on display for the world to see, observe, analyze and to judge. People will create and develop their own opinions concerning the shape and angle, the color and hue of the artwork displayed on the canvas that is called our life.

This is a good news, bad news proposition.

The good news about this fact is that we all have a direct and influential impact on our life; our masterpiece. The bad news is that we all have a direct and influential impact on our life; our masterpiece.

Our life is what we make it.

"The actor" (1905)
-Pablo Picasso

Masterpieces often stand on their own; apart from the others. They are unique, inspiring and become the standard, an example of excellence, in their given genre and, or art-form.

Our life can take on those same qualities and attributes of inspiration, uniqueness and examples of excellence.

Remember the good news, bad news scenario?

Well, the choice is entirely ours on the outcome of our gem; our treasure.


Picasso, like many great artists, found inspiration in other things to create his wonderful works. Inspiration is powerful. One who watched this year's Academy Awards, or any year for that matter, can attest to the power and inspiration many silver screen gems can, and do, provide. Both art, and film, have a profound ability to initiate a conversation in our mind, stir excitement in our heart and to resonate deeply within our soul. They are that powerful. And though film and art have been around for centuries the greatest masterpiece ever created has been present for more than 2000 years; the Bible. In Greek the word inspiration literally means 'God-breathed'. 2 Timothy 3:16 gives us these words; "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" God's word is powerful; God's word is encouraging; inspiring. The key point to remember, like God's word, our life can be encouraging and inspiring to others also. It will never reach the amount of people the bible has, or touch souls as profoundly as His word has, but we can still have an impact far greater than we could ever imagine on others. We all have the potential to inspire others. Our life truly can be a masterpiece, void of perfection, but attractive still the same, for the others to take notice; to be inspired.

"Acrobat and Young Harlequin". 1905
-Pablo Picasso 

I think the singular thing that one needs to be reminded of is the fact it's a poor decision to be unique just for the sake of being unique. There has to be substance that transcends any style that may be involved. We all have idiosyncratic behavior that is all our own; individual to us, but we have to be very careful that our sometime odd and offbeat characteristics don't become the distinguishable qualities that we are known for and recognized by. Odd, anti-social and eccentric behavior doesn't make you unique, it often is the backdrop for a person who is desperately lost and lonely, wanting only to be recognized and wanted. When I think of unique I think of rare and uncommon; singular and standing alone. John 1:14 states; "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth". The fact that God's word became flesh and produced Jesus Christ, who later would die on the cross to save mankind from his sin's, is remarkable, uncommon, and rare. The fact is it's singular and stands alone. God is eternal, all knowing and perfect. He is unique. And it is this kind of uniqueness that has the ability to transform one's life and save one's soul.

Leaning Harlequin. 1901
-Pablo Picasso


In order to get to your final destination, or experience a vision, or a dream that you cling to, you first must have a standard that is greater than yourself, a standard that will enable and aid you in getting where you want to go; where you want to be. We all believe in something, and greater the resolve and intensity in which we believe in something the more that idea, philosophy and belief is cemented in our mind; deeply rooted in our heart. Picasso was the standard for many things pertaining to art. His work in the area of Cubism still stands alone some 100 years later. It is the standard. It has been reported that Picasso looked at very few paintings to get his inspiration, but did consider three pieces of art beautiful, and to be standards in their own right. They were, "The Luncheon on the Grass" by Édouard Manet, painted in 1862 and 1863, " The Maids of Honour " by Diego Velázquez in 1656. Velazquez was considered the leading artist of the Spanish golden Age. And finally my personal favorite, "The Women of Algiers (In Their Apartment)" painted by Eugène Delacroix in 1834. After the death of Delacroix the painting was moved to the Louvre in Paris, where it is still held today.

"The Women of Algiers" (1834)
-Eugene Delacroix

And like art life has a standard and that standard is Jesus Christ, and His word. The bible states that Moses wrote 613 laws, David wrote fifteen, Isaiah wrote eleven and Micah reduced it to three; "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). In the end, God gave us two commands in Matthew 22: 36-40;

 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as
yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." 

In the end, we are to love God with all our heart and soul, and to love others as we would love our self, that is the standard. And out of that standard; belief, flows every decision and choice we make. That standard will shape the masterpiece we paint that is called our life. 

That standard will shape our heart.

-Pablo Picasso

Masterpieces are valuable.

Very valuable.

The highest priced painting ever sold was the creation of Paul Cezanne. His painting, "The Card Players", painted in 1892-93, sold for $250 million to the Royal Family of Qatar in 2011. 

"The Card Players" (1892-93)
-Paul Cezanne

This famous painting has been praised for its fabulous psychological intensity in the faces of the players, thus deeming it a post-impressionist masterpiece.

Picasso has three of the top ten paintings ever sold. His painting entitled "Dora Maar au Chat", painted in 1941, sold for $106 million in 2006 and his 1932 painting entitled Nude, Green Leaves and Bust sold for $110 million in 2010. The highest selling Picasso ever sold was sold in 2004 for $124 million. This painting by Picasso of a little boy holding a pipe was painted in 1905. Picasso painted this during his Rose Period; he was 24 years old.

The painting is entitled; "Garcon a la pipe".

-Pablo Picasso

And though those pieces of art are the highest priced Picasso pieces ever sold, it is his masterpiece entitled "Guernica" that he is remembered for most and is considered one of his  most recognizable pieces, if not the most recognizable.

Guernica (1937)
-Pablo Picasso

Guernica was created in response to the bombing of Guernica, Basque Country, by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces, on 26 April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. It was during this time the Spanish Republican government commissioned Picasso to create a large mural for the Spanish display at the Paris International Exposition at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris. Guernica painfully displays the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world's attention.

The original resides in the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.

A little side-note... I think it is worth mentioning that three of Picasso's four greatest works of art were all created after he turned 50.

In the end, our masterpiece is never fully finished, never fully developed or created until we pass from this earth. Every day that we are living, and breathing, we have an opportunity to brush the canvas of our life with meaningful relationships, color it with worthy choices and selfless behavior, and draw upon it with good decisions. 

We are all capable of moving beyond living a rough draft of our lives.

The choice is ours.

Our masterpiece is ours to create.

Let's begin today! Remember, Picasso greatest work occurred well into his fifties, and beyond. Picasso lived to be 91 years of age.

It's never too late to start anything.

What self portrait are you painting?

How much is your masterpiece worth?

"Olga in a Hat with Feather" (1920)
-Pablo Picasso

In the next couple of weeks I will share how we live this masterpiece that is called our life. I will write about the 7 most important questions we all need to ask our self and reflect upon. The answers we have will determine how we live our life, and how well we will live the rest of our days. The questions have to do with origin, morality, meaning and destiny. And finally deal with answering the haunting questions: Who are you? What do you believe? What is your life's purpose?

sbb 27.2.12

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