941_A Dog is an Aritst's best Friend_Maizy was rescued, snatched up from an Oklahoma “kill” shelter the day before she would have been put down. She is part Ridgeback and part Basenji. I am not sure if her incredibly gentle and grateful disposition is a result of her mixed breed or because of her miraculous last minute rescue. Possibly, a little of both.

She accompanies me to the art studio every day, and promptly sits upon her large olive green pillow right beneath my worktable upon arrival. In between naps, she gazes lazily out at all the busyness of the studio.

My dog is my best friend and a constant companion in my life of which the making of Art is the center. She did not choose this ArtLife, but she has no objections whatsoever to this particular orbit she shares with me.

I can’t imagine the studio, my life, without her in it.

Sometimes, when I am making Art I can let the fact that a painting that is not turning out as I would like, cast an overly serious tone upon the day. It is somewhat ridiculous, how at 6:30 am, all alone in a studio, how worked up you can become by something that is utterly subjective, completely random and virtually unseen by everyone but you.

Often, in the midst of my gathering seriousness, my eyes glance upon Maizy. She is reclined upon her soft pillow watching me. Her gaze is always attentive and loving. She is utterly present, and seems to often calmly emanate several potent queries…

“Why do you feel the need to go to all this trouble? You over there, tall man wearing absolutely silly paint covered clothes, “Bose” paint stained headphones straddling his ears, wearing not just glasses but also an air filter upon his face, are you really sure you need to be going down this particularly hard path that tires you so?

Are you maybe better off just slowing down a bit?”

I rarely take her advice. She is, after all, just a dog. But, I do listen to her. She does remind me that, in the end, I at least have a choice. We all do and Maizy, my dog, my co pilot, reminds me daily of this fact.

Having choices or at least the knowledge that we do, provides spaciousness to the daily routines of life. It turns out that the choices we make have a lot do with how things will or will not go in our day. This spaciousness, like the fresh air that surrounds us, is always available if only we can remember it’s there. I think Maizy just naturally knows this fact. She persistently reminds me to slow down and stop taking things so seriously.

And then, if I can remember, take a long, slow inhalation.

In gratitude, Nicholas