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Heather Burnell Art

As Long As You Live, Keep Learning How to Live

As Long As You Live, Keep Learning How to Live

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This quote is by the Roman philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 1 BCE – CE 65).  If I had read about his life before I decided I liked this quote and would turn it into a painting, I may not have created this painting.  His life seemed to be the antithesis of positivity.  For example, he was the tutor to Emperor Nero, one of the most tyrannical leaders in history. But I kept digging into his biographies to try to find a snippet of positivity.  Besides the quote in this art piece, he said, "... it follows that we don’t want to change because we believe we are already excellent."  It's easy for me to dismiss this quote because I struggle with being "enough."  But I can certainly think of areas of my life that I don't work on because I'm "comfortable."  These quotes make me want to look at myself to see where I'm "comfortable," and where I need to continue to learn.

Seneca was a stoic philosopher.  Honestly, I didn't really know what that meant until I dug into his biographies.  If you're a Star Trek geek like me, a great analogy is that stoics were like Vulcans.  They believed emotions were bad.  This is another reason why Seneca is my least favorite person I've quoted in my art work.

Lesson learned (so I AM still learning!): Read the quotation's author's biography before embarking on the artwork! 

A few notes about the piece:  The letters were done in Photoshop, and each letter is a flower.  The word is placed on the dictionary definition for that word.  For example, I ripped the definition for "live" out of a vintage dictionary, pasted it on the canvas board, then pasted the word on top of that.

The flowers are 3D and made from molding paste then painted.

It is 16 x 20 x .75" on birchwood cradleboard. 


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