The Joy of Man’s Desiring

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Here is a small painting made yesterday afternoon of a character from a favorite book of mine by Jean Giono, The Joy of Man’s Desiring. I think Bobi is the better psyche of every man who isn’t starving to death. He brought joy, hope and juggling to the oat peasants of Grémone Plateau when they needed a way out of their miserable routine. I have come back to this book in some manner every spring for the past twenty years.

I think my work can be interpreted as reactions from a man like Bobi if he was magically whisked off the plateau and set into modern times a hundred years into the future. He had the strength and sense of the best farmers among men. He could shear a sheep and create a gelding, even with a full stomach of bread and cheese. But he treasured most the fool in the man who can make the hardest of lives livable with minimal, but repeated effort of color and comedy. Make flowers grow out the kitchen window where the cash crop was sown. Use the grain surplus to feed starving songbirds, so songs could be heard. Flowers and song and a pipe to smoke. Then off in the night to save the next sodden clump of dirt farmers plagued with the worry of how life should go.

Poor Bobi. Poor us. He materialized in the brown salt grass beside the highway in March, took a thoughtful look around, spied the dead deer unnamed and untouched sunk in the fine gravel, and promptly leapt to meet the grill of a speeding Mack truck.


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