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I just arrived in Marbella, a small coastal town in southern Spain. There was so much preparation, so many little things to take care of before I left that I hadn’t thought too much about how it would feel to be here. I have learned over the years that dropping into someplace entirely different is always incredibly stimulating and rejuvenating. It almost doesn’t matter where you go but just that you do. It fuels the creative fire, at least for me, big time. The only criteria that seem to matter is that you end up someplace very different than where you began.

These days I just go on faith that once I get someplace all the headaches of getting there – crunching my 6’ 4” frame into those seats for 10 hour flights, paying all that money to fly as well having the stress of wrapping everything up before leaving will all be worth it.

I arrived late in the day yesterday and actually hadn’t slept at all on the plane. So it wasn’t really till this morning, oddly waking up at 5:30 am and deciding to go for a long run along the beach, that it dawned on me that I was someplace different.

As I picked my way down the narrow cobbled streets towards the beach, swallows swirled above me. The sun was just rising and it cast a beautiful orange light on the town’s old stone and stucco walls. These walls are centuries old. Every building, every wall has such rich color and texture because there has been so much time involved in its creation.

I immediately thought back to just a few weeks ago where in a painting video I was talking about creating rich surface and texture in art. I mentioned this very idea of the benefit of time. That often in making art, the more time you spend en route to figuring out your painting, mistakes and all, that usually the painting will end up much richer and more interesting. The basic idea being that the more you participate with your art, the more time you spend on it, the more of you will be in it.

Time is not something that we generally measure or calibrate our creative efforts with. I don’t think too much about it. The idea of time, for me,  is usually partly one of frustration because I have so little of it. There always is so much to do. But here, as I am running through this town it occurs to me that this principle, this factor of time is a big part of why this place is so mesmerizing, so beautiful.

These walls have taken centuries to become this way. Interestingly, time feels slower here. People are less in a rush.

Maybe time shouldn’t always be thought about in terms of its relative scarcity. Maybe time is a positive force in our life and art, but we just are moving so fast all the time that we don’t notice it. It passes without our effort. It is perfectly even and only becomes fractured when we do.

The whole town is still asleep. Even the dogs seem uninterested at this early hour and barely look up as I run by. Empty wine bottles still sit upon sidewalk café tables, leftover from long, slow dinners last night.

On this bright early morning, it seems that it is just me that is moving fast.

My pace does seem a little too fast. I check my running watch and although this isn’t a particularly fast pace for me, I decide to slow down anyway.