The Beauty of art part 12: The answers

Oh yes, you were right. The painter is indeed the Spaniard (Catalan) Salvador Dali. Even more of you would have recognized the artist if I would have chosen this very famous painting of his: The persistence of memory:

This painting is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where I saw his work for the first time. I more or less stumbled upon Dali's painting when visiting this museum together with a colleague during a business trip. I still remember that the shop in the museum sold watches that looked like they were melting. I considered buying one but decided not to, something I regretted later on.

The painting that was part of the Beauty of Art part 12, is called Raphaelesque Head Exploding. It is in the Scottish gallery of modern art, in Edinburgh Scotland.

Dali was a gifted painter already as a child and he moved to Madrid to study art at Academia de San Fernando. Like so many other artists I have written about in the Beauty of Art series, he went to Paris to develop his art even more. The genre Dali and others created is called surrealism.

Salvador became famous during his lifetime and he could dedicate his life to creating art. He was also lucky in love, finding the love of his life in Gala. She left her husband to be with Dali and they never parted. To him she was a soul mate and a muse.

Dali had tragedies in his life as well. The biggest blow was when his mother died in cancer when Dali was only 16.

"I worshipped her... I could not resign myself to the loss of a being on whom I counted to make invisible the unavoidable blemishes of my soul."
To me that is a beautiful description of a mother.

When it comes to your feelings regarding the painting, you mention "a visual description of having a hole in your head" ;) you like the colors and the way it has been painted and you mention that it resembles the building Pantheon. This is indeed the case,  the skull section is based upon the inside of the dome of the Pantheon building. Salvador admired the old renaissance masters like Da Vinci and Raphael.

To me, Dali's paintings are of the kind I can watch really long, and always find something new in them.  Most of his paintings I would not like to have (reproductions of) in my home, but the painting of the exploding head has a serenity to it that I could enjoy also in a home, not just in a museum,

I will conclude with a quote from Dali, one that fits him, or at least the image he wanted to convey of himself, well:

"Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure - that of being Salvador Dali"


The Beauty of Art part 12

Welcome to the Beauty of art part 12!

Please let me know

  • What the name of the painting is
  • Who the painter is
  • How the painting makes you feel

Your answers will come in a later blog post!


See you at the top of the ladder of impact

Do you ever tell your partner to do someting -  put the laundry in the laundry basket, buy vegetables on the way home, walk the dog -  just to find a dirty sock on the couch, end up with a dinner without vegetables and a dog who desperately needs to pee?

Do you ever send a mail to a colleague asking him/her to do something, just to notice days later that nothing has been done?

If this happens, do you blame the other person rather than yourself?

I currently have the privilege to attend an on-line course from Institute for Personal Leadership (IPL) about Driving Strategic Impact. In the first lesson we learned that there are four levels of impact.
Level number one: Generate robust insight and recommendations.
Such recommendations can be:
"Put the laundry in the laundry basket."

"Contact our colleagues on the other site and set-up a collaboration to get this important task done."

If you stop at this level, the outcome is likely to disappoint you. Maybe there is no reaction at all. Instead of considering your child disrespectful and your colleague selfish, increase your level of impact.
Level number two: Ensure your insights and recommendations are understood.
Talk to your child and explain that the magic of laundry transforming into clean and folded clothes, only work for clothes that are in the laundry basket. (Not for lonely socks on the floor or crumpled up t-shirts in the foot end of the bed.)

Stop mailing your colleague and start talking to her/him. Explain that the colleagues on the other site have knowledge that is needed for handling the assignment really well.

A lot of people stop at level two and rush on to their next task. If you really want to be the type of person who makes things happen (rather than just being busy), you should go for the next level of impact.
Level number three: Ensure action is taken based on your recommendations.
Make sure it is possible to act on your recommendations. Possible and easy.

If I would ask each family member to bring their laundry all the way down to the laundry machine in the basement, I doubt they would. So I ensure we have laundry baskets close to each bedroom. It becomes easy to do the task and then it gets done.

If you facilitate the first meeting between the colleagues who will benefit from working together, you will have increased the chances of the collaboration working out well.

The fourth level of impact is the most overlooked one.
Level four: Check if your recommendations delivered the desired impact.
This step is the one that really puts your ideas and recommendations to the test. My examples are simple and the outcome is likely to be close to what was intended. But for more complex societal problems; like providing health care and a good educational system, it is not a given that the ideas give the wanted impact. In fact, it is rather uncommon. We often hear politicians talk about all the great things they will do. And then they move on to their next task, without ensuring the right action is taken. We end up with a lot of nice words but few desired results.


I dare you to move beyond step two, all the way to step four! Then you  will become one of those who really make a difference.

See you on the top of the ladder!


Tragic things will happen - and it will be OK

When I was five two cats and a dog came into our family. My brother and I were thrilled. I was so happy to have Randi, Videmiss and Ludde in our lives that I told all about it at day care. A girl looked at me and said:
"I am not allowed to have pets. My mother does not want me to become sad when they die."
Now I am a mother myself, in addition to being a dog and cat owner. When pets have died I have coped with not only my own grief, but with my children´s as well. And yes, it hurts. It cuts deep into my mother-heart to see their pain.

The mother who denied her child years of joy with a pet to protect her from the pain when the pet would die, is not the only one reasoning this way. Maybe you also want to avoid pain, and above all, shield your kids from pain?
  • Do you stop yourself from falling in love to avoid the pain of rejection?
  • Do you choose the career you think will be safe for you, rather than the one that excites you?
  • Do you avoid the really big and interesting assignments at work because you are afraid to fail?
  • Do you hold back friendship and love to more easily cope with a possible loss of your friend or lover?
  • And... Do you teach your children to do the same, to protect them?
Those of you who follow this blog, know that we have lost two fantastic pets (Only life knows its length, So much love, so much pain) in just two years. This has of course impacted our family.

When our 13 year old middle son wrote a letter to his future self for an assignment in school, he wrote a truly profound sentence. A sentence that shows that having pets not only gives years of joy and friendship. It also gives life lessons that many grown-ups I know have not yet learned. He wrote to his future self:
"Tragic things will happen - and it will be OK."
Tragic things will - inevitably - happen. You may be able to protect your child from the loss of a pet by not having a pet. But what about the loss of a grandparent? The loss of a job? The loss of yourself, of a friend, of a lover? 

You cannot protect your child, or yourself from pain. And you don't have to. Because even though tragic things will happen, it will be OK.

When you truly understand what this means, you will be able to love and live life to its fullest. 


The Beaty of Art part 11 - The answers

Did you know the answers to tbe Beauty of Art part 11?

The painting is one of many that illustrates the biblical story  "Song of songs". The painting is Song of Songs IV.

The artist is Marc Chagall, or as he was named when he was born in what was then Russia, today Belarus: Moishe Shagal.

The painting makes you think about: 

Ikaros, Russian icons, dreams, warmth and strength.

I also feel the warmth thanks to the beautiful, strong colours and when watching the painting I feel like I am in the middle of a storybook.

Like so many other painters of his time, Marc Chagall went to Paris to develop his art. He returned to Russia to marry Bella, the love of his life. He described their first meeting as follows:

"Her silence is mine, her eyes mine. It is as if she knows everything about my childhood, my present, my future, as if she can see right through me."

His plan was to return to France shortly after the wedding, but the first world war stopped them from leaving Russia.

A few years later they went to France again, where they lived happily while Marc continued with his art work. He was so involved in it that he did not realize the dangers that the second world war brought for jews like himself. In the nip of time he and his wife were able to flee to the US.

When Europe was free again, Marc returned to France.

Marc Chagall survived two world wars and lived to be 97 years old. During his long life he created art in many different ways and styles.  Picasso supposedly said:
"When Matisse dies Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is".
Those of you who enjoyed the movie Notting Hill, may remember that this Chagall painting, La Mariée,plays a role in that movie, as you can see in this 2 min long youtube clip.

Thanks for participating!


The Beauty of Art: Part 11

Welcome back to another Beauty of Art! Please let me know what you know and think about the following painting:

What is the painting called?
Who is the artist?
How does the painting make you feel?

The answers, including yours, will come in the next blog post!


Do you make pear-turns in your life?

My oldest son will soon turn 16. In Sweden, that means he can start to drive. Or rather, it means he can start to learn to drive. With a tutor next to him. To become a tutor, you need to attend a course.

We were lucky, the course instructor we had was very easy to listen to. He had a lot of experience as a professional teacher for driving students and he conveyed his learnings in a funny way.

One of the many things he shared, was that drivers-to-be often make "päronsvängningar" or pear-turns. On the white board he drew a picture like this to explain that expression:

Instead of looking where they are heading, the students often look at what they are afraid to collide with - be it a parked car or a side walk - and they do not turn towards their actual goal until rather late, making the turn pear-shaped.
"Look where you're going"
is an obvious statement that comes to mind and that we as tutors will most likely tell our students over and over again.

When I listened to the story about the "päronsvängningar", it occurred to me that the same applies for life in general. We want to keep our eyes on the goal, but many focus on their fears, their possible failures and disappointments, and take pear-turns on their way to their goals.

If you go straight towards your goal and ignore your fears, you will simply pass them by. 

The more you focus on the fears, on what worries you or what makes you unhappy, the bigger pear- turns you will make and the longer it will take you to reach your goal.

I am sure the coming two years of driving with my son will be interesting. We will learn a lot about driving and most likely a lot about life as well. Especially during each pear-turn.