This is ONE OF 3 responses to Vol 14 John 13 ("The Suffering Continues")...
Here is the story of Roland. Roland turned out to be an artist.
In his youth Roland came from a wealthy family that revered Politics, Sports and Art in that order. Roland's older brother took up debate and became a lawyer then a politician. Roland was an easygoing, relaxed and happy type and didn't want to trouble himself with the anxiety of competing with his older and smarter brother. So, Roland decided to take baseball.
It didn't take him long to see that it took a lot of practice and painful exercise, plus he didn't have the natural skill that some of the others had, so he shortly gave up sports and became an artist. His mother gave him great encouragement in drawing pictures and sculpting imaginary elephants (which at first seemed like blocks of mud to him but made his mother happy and he felt great). It was easy to make better pictures and sculptures so he kept up with it. Besides it was fun. In his family money was no problem and he drifted through college with a 3 point average, learning the artistic jargon and all about famous artists and techniques of art.
After he got out of school, he traveled around the world, enjoying the fun of seeing new places and people and of making sketches of various places because it gave him the excuse of something to do. He had skill and did an excellent job of both painting and sculpting. He got better as he did more. He opened an art gallery with money loaned to him by his mother. He was a pleasant person and mixed well with his mother's wealthy friends. He got good newspaper writeups from friends on the newspapers who commented on the naturalness and happiness reflected in his painting and sculpting.
In one of his rare New York Art magazine reviews, the reviewer commented that the lack of inherent agony in his work showed classical dilettante characteristics. His gallery was filled with both his pictures and sculptures and those from other artists around his City. He was generous with praise to the artists he showed in his gallery. He priced his personal pictures high and didn't paint many.
The gallery was successful. He made enough money to live comfortably. He married happily and had two sucessful children. He had a happy life and died at 68 from a heart attack due to clogged arteries resulting from his high chrolestoral level. His epitaph read "Here lies a great artist unappreciated in his time who brought happiness to those around him by his art." The New York art magazines didn't mention his passing.
Was he successful?
Does an artist really have to suffer to be successful ?
Does agony have to show in a work of art to be artistic?
Does an American Artist have to be recognized by New York Art magazines and newspapers to be a great artist?