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  • Writer's pictureStuart Sheldon

Ready. Aim. Activate!

The first step in my larger work ever

The first step in The Best Books Ever Written, my largest work ever. See it at Art Basel!

I just finished my first book (for the fifth time). A Lonely Fool’s Masterpiece took 7 years and countless edits to complete, but it is really done. And it will be a New York Times bestseller.

I have already seen to that with my just-finished painting, The Best Books Ever Written, in which the most wonderful books of all time engulf the title page of my manuscript, infusing it with their magic and making it one of them. The Miami Herald just named it “Pick of the Week” leading up to Art Basel.

Miami Herald Pick of the Week leading up to Art Basel

Miami Herald Pick of the Week leading up to Art Basel

For those who don’t know me, this is my modus operandi. I paint the things that matter most to me into my life.

Now XVI - Smiles Undeniable as Warm Rain in the Tropics, acrylic & chalk on canvas w/ poetry, 40" x 30", 2002

Now XVI – Smiles Undeniable as Warm Rain in the Tropics, acrylic & chalk on canvas, 40″ x 30″, 2002

After a devastating divorce at 35, I hit rock bottom. I retreated to my art studio where, for two years, I imagined and obsessively painted the silhouette of the woman of my dreams. In each of these 35 works, she stands with arms raised, triumphant, curvaceous and confident, her outline composed entirely of the tiny painted word NOW.

Each letter no bigger than a baby's eyelash

Each letter no bigger than a baby’s eyelash

Soon after I finished this series, I met my wife, and the silhouette is exactly her body.

I’m not here preaching The Secret or anything hokey like that. I’m just saying that, for those things you desire most in the core of your being, it is ON YOU to manifest them. The world doesn’t give a damn about your dreams. Your action is all there is. For me, that action is art-making.

What is your action?

My new wife and I built our lives in an enchanted floating houseboat world just beyond the Golden Gate Bridge and immediately set our sights on a child. We got pregnant quickly and all seemed ideal. Then, unexpectedly, we miscarried.  We got pregnant again. And again, out of the blue, we miscarried. Eventually, three miscarriages that first year introduced the sickening fear that parental joy, our most sacred goal, might elude us forever.

Bounce, acrylic and antique Betty Crocker Cookbook recipes on panel, 40"x60, 2007, Stuart Sheldon

BOUNCE, acrylic and antique Betty Crocker Cookbook recipes on panel, 40″x60″ 2007, Stuart Sheldon

When Jodi got pregnant a fourth time, with nowhere else to turn, I began a series of paintings called BOUNCE, as in bouncing baby, designed exclusively to storm God’s office and demand our child.

Within months, with Jodi sick and on bed rest, and amidst the worst storm in 50 years, our beautiful son, Kai, arrived. Early … but safe and perfect. Gratitude, the mother of all virtues, overtook us both … and it still dominates our lives.

In a lecture a few weeks ago at University of Miami on The Art of Reinvention, I told a roomful of 20-yr-olds that success is about being proactive and not reactive. Far too many of us are waiting for things to happen to us. Hopefully, things will work out, we tell ourselves. Instead, we must disrupt and engage. Be clever and memorable. And take chances. These are the actions that place our finger on the scales to give us an edge.

The hard part is not doing what you want but knowing what you want.

What is your BIG goal?

Think hard about exactly what it is that you desire. And then, do something focused only on that goal! For me, it’s time to find a publisher, which means hustling to find an agent. I have formally activated the search with this new painting and the series that follows. And I trust the universe will deliver. You are all invited to my book signings wherever they may be in the future.

But first, come to the show for The Best Books Ever Written during ART BASEL.

Join me at the opening THIS FRIDAY NOV 21, 6pm-10pm. And the ART BASEL opening, THUR DEC 4, 5-8pm.

I am thrilled to be part of a wonderful new art collective called meetinghouse, a group of talented makers devoted to the process of creation as much as to the product that emerges. 

And speaking of the process:

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