Sunday, December 30, 2007

Extraordinary Way


Recently I finished a triptych measuring a total of 5’ high by 7 1/2’ wide; the largest painting I have ever created. It is unusual because it is a commission, and in acrylic, a medium I don’t typically use. Furthermore, it is an abstract painting (not typical for me) in three separate sections. The buyer is a friend and collector in Chicago. I enjoyed the process. It began with a mock up created digitally on a computer. I e-mailed them the picture, which they liked, and after we agreed on a price I was given blessings to begin. Acrylics offer many opportunities to create textures and reflections of light that more traditional oils do not. The downside is that they dry very quickly and so cannot be worked “wet on wet.” In the process I strayed from the original concept slightly, but by e-mailing my steps to the client, found that they liked my creative direction. Now, I am about to ship the piece and they are going to have a party after it finds it’s home in their living room.
I have found Internet radio, and it is wonderful. Anywhere in the world where there is an Internet connection, I can tune into commercial free streaming music that conforms to my taste and listen while I work or just for relaxing entertainment. By chance, I discovered Pandora.com, which tailors itself to the listener. Simply type in a song or artist, and it creates a radio station that plays music with the attributes you like. Yesterday I was listening to a station I created from a group that my daughter Sarah likes, called Shiny Toy Guns. They play techno trance music. In the mix came a song that caught my attention, so I jotted down the name. It is called Extraordinary Way, by Conjure One. The lyrics are available online and I find them speaking to me now that I am leaving the USA and burning bridges.

Song Text:
What I have is nothing to my name
No property to speak of
And no trophy for my game
Intangible and worthless
My assets on the page
My coffers are empty
Any offer of safety has faded away
But what I have
What I have is

On an ordinary day
The extraordinary way
You take what I can give and you treasure it
On an ordinary day
The extraordinary way
You turn to me and say, I believe in this

That makes me lucky
God, I'm lucky, so much luckier than I ever thought I'd be
'Cause what I have (what I have)
Means so very little to this world
A promise that I kept and a bridge that I saved before it burned
The sacrifice that I made
Brought me to my knees
A choice that cost me everything and set somebody else free
But what I have
Is the value that you see in these things

On an ordinary day
The extraordinary way
You take what I can give and you treasure it
On an ordinary day
The extraordinary way
You turn to me and say, I believe in this

That makes me lucky
God I'm lucky, so much luckier than I ever thought I'd be
'Cause what I have
Is the value that you see in these things

And everytime I forget those things you bring them right back to me

With your patience
When I'm blinding mad
And your passion
When I'm really, really bad
And your eyes
Taking in everything I am
And your body and soul and the way that you know
How I treasure you

On an ordinary day
The extraordinary way
You take what I can give and you treasure it
On an ordinary day
The extraordinary way
You turn to me and say, I believe in this

That makes me lucky
God I'm so lucky
So much luckier than I ever thought I'd be

On an ordinary day
The extraordinary way
You take what I can give and you treasure it
On an ordinary day
The extraordinary way
You turn to me and say, I believe in this


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Winter Wonder


The snow fell for hours, covering everything in a blanket of white. For years, I have wanted to snowshoe in the mountains after a snowfall. Yesterday, the sun shone in a cloudless sky and I called my daughter Sarah to come with me to hike. After renting snowshoes along with poles, we drove toward the Santa Fe Ski basin, which is the second highest ski area in the USA, at about 12,500 feet (3,810 meters). Just short of the basin, we pulled over to a trail where other cars were parked, and got out. I felt totally exhilarated. The sun shone on the snow, which leapt with dazzling diamonds of light. Deep greens of fir limbs peeked out from clouds of white, while stands of aspen trees rose in clusters to touch the turquoise blue sky. I walked over to public outhouse by the parking lot and as I entered, I felt Naomi with me. Her presence is unmistakable, and she conveyed happiness. “Oh, how I wish you could be with us and see all this,” I thought. Immediately, I felt her compassion, and I realized how free she is in her own world of wonder. Then, as I stood in the dank, darkened space, smelled the odors, and looked at the soiled toilet seat, I thought to myself, “She is intact, and feels no cold and does not suffer from heat . . . by God’s grace her needs are all satisfied and she is free from struggle. Furthermore, she is in space without boundary—an eternal being basking in pure light.”
As Sarah and I hiked she soon became breathless because she has been out of Santa Fe for so long and the altitude holds less oxygen. Stopping occasionally, the silence added to the magic of the setting. I snapped pictures and felt glad and also a tinge of remorse, knowing soon I will be in other places world's away from this one.
My plans for leaving continue to progress. February 1, 2008, I will go to Santa Barbara to see my parents for a week, and then fly to Belize to relax and begin my wandering. I desire to live among black people. My vaccinations begin this week; if a mosquito carrying the Dengue fever pathogen bites me, I don’t want my legs to fall off. Malaria is another danger I might face as I go into Africa. There are travel warnings for places that I want to go, including Israel, but I intend to visit the Baha’i World Center in Haifa anyway.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Depend On Love


What a blessing; to be connected with other souls and feel love that goes between us. As I prepare to go into the unknown, I will depend on love. It may seem foolish, but I like the challenge. Anyway, I will remember the Arabic saying, "Trust your neighbor, but tie your camel." The world has many pleasures and cruelties that await those who leave the safety of home, but I like to think that I can go forth as a strong emissary of love. Certainly, along with truth and beauty, there will be encounters with the “dark side.“ But this danger is smaller than my inner forces, and can even be a test to become stronger. Selling or giving away my comforts, as I have begun to do, is another way of testing. This is what I am called to now. I feel strong and want to step forth and meet the whole world on its terms.
I am also drawn to going to places where life is hard for people. Many millions of people live in poverty and hardship every day. Can I make a difference and reach out to them? I am happy to volunteer where I might be welcomed to lend a hand. I do not want to always live in luxury, separate from souls that struggle and know suffering. More and more, I do not discriminate between “other” and myself. “Other “ is me too.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Traveling Around The Sun


Human thoughts are experienced as imagination: portals into experience. The physical world is where we come to know the true value of our thinking. I have been having an imagination reoccur: I want to disappear into the matrix of the earth. Along with this inclination is to not carry anything with me, but be fluid and free. So what does this mean? To disappear means to vanish from being seen. Everyone has attributes that define the way they are perceived. Yet, definitions trouble me because I want to live in mystery. Mystery is where definition is uncertain, which intrigues me.
I imagine the matrix of the earth to be the womb of the world, where creation springs forth. Children are close to it, since they continue forming in it’s embrace. At this time in life, I am about to explore what it is to live without artificial boundaries. Some people, when they hear that in February I will be selling my possessions and wandering homeless over the globe, have come forth with concerns. But all is well, for I will be returning to my true mother, who will take me with her traveling around the sun.
Check out my new website for artistic photography by Steven Boone

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Grand Confusion


For the first time in 22 years I am single again. I pinch myself and realize that basically, I am the same. My values have not changed, I look the same, my voice is recognizable, and my studio phone rings as always. What are different are my obligations. I am not obliged by marriage. I feel freedom by being released, and also, my aloneness. Thinking about it, I realize for many in marriage, the obligation is a sweet imprisonment.
Jean came to my studio and got the divorce papers. We talked and as she was about to go, she looked at me and said “We are now officially ex’s.” We hugged, and as she turned to go, she cried a little. At least we are still deep friends. Certainly, there are many days ahead to celebrate together the good between us, and share it with the world.
I have been mentioning to friends that soon I will be selling my possessions and leaving to travel. Many fine discussions have ensued. The other day, voices from the spirit world added their note. When I awoke, I recalled a sentence I had just heard: “The vessel he entered was a grand confusion between his world, and the world outside him.” As it is with messages from the other world, these words, strewn together seemingly randomly, are powerful, mysterious, poetic, and also a puzzle. A vessel can be different things, like a blood vessel, but I take it to mean a ship, or large boat. Anyway it is a container for transport; something that allows for traveling. So, the transport is a grand confusion between inner and outer world. Thankfully, the word “grand” describes confusion. Grand can mean many things, but is quite positive in every respect. Synonyms are: impressive, fantastic, wonderful, enjoyable and memorable. Confusion has other connotations that are mildly negative. Like the state of being confused or perplexed. A chaotic or disordered state. Not thinking clearly or else unable to distinguish between people or things. The fact that the word “grand” comes before “confusion,” shifts the confusion positively. Also the vessel the person is entering is a grand confusion between the inner world and the outer. I like that, because it means the boundaries are falling into nothingness. What a crazy boat to embark in!
Readers, if you have any other thoughts on this dream sentence, please comment.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Leaving What Is Familiar


I am on a path of leaving what is familiar. In February the open road will stretch out before me, beckoning to places beyond the horizon. I don’t know where I will begin, but trust the way will be shown. My possessions will be a thing of the past and hopefully, I will only be carrying essentials.
Occasionally now, common places can remind me of goodness that will be left behind. On Thanksgiving day, I joined Sarah and Jean at our house for a relaxed afternoon, then dinner. The winter is coming, and as it became dark outside, while Jean was in the kitchen, she asked me to build a fire in the fireplace. After a little blaze was begun, I made several trips outdoors, gathering more wood. Coming into the warm indoors, seeing dancing flames in the hearth, and recognizing my lovely household of so many years, it suddenly struck me how good a home can be and why people are attached to their dwelling place. Then I thought with a hint of sad nostalgia of my coming homelessness and transition. Then again, it is okay; I am choosing it.
For years I have had a feeling that this world is only a place along the way—somewhere I am passing through. My spirit will always be restless here because as beautiful as it is, it also is the place of death. Beyond this material place, in the spiritual realm clear of space and time, where day never becomes night, deathless, sublime, and indescribable, awaits the true home I am destined for.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tuned Into Mystery


Recently, when I have mentioned to friends my intention to sell my possessions and become a homeless planetary wanderer, several have suggested that I am having a midlife crisis. Their idea is new to me, but sometimes others see us more objectively than we see ourselves, so I have thought about it. It is true that I will be divorced in a week or two, and I have felt unsettled for a couple years. My teenage daughter, Naomi, died in 1999 and there is no getting over it. What I have asked is, am I having some kind of existential crisis that is triggering tumultuous events around me?
The thing is, I feel I am in a broad spiritual current that is flowing into a fathomless sea. Of course I am going to feel somewhat lost because I realize how little control I have. I am not feeling grounded in answers, but this is okay. As I become more tuned into mystery, I don’t even want to presume to have answers—all I want is discoveries. As an artist, I thrive on surprise and revelation. For someone in need of security, I might not be the best partner. Anyway, I look forward to diving into the deep end. After diving into shallow waters and hurting my neck, I know I must go a different way. At this time, I am letting go of physical attachments. In ways, I am following in Naomi’s footsteps.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Embracing Life


I am in Chicago, the place Carl Sandburg called “Stormy, husky, brawling . . . city of the big shoulders.” November 11 marked my daughter Sarah’s 21st birthday. She is a student of dance at Columbia College here. It is a pleasure to see Sarah so eagerly embracing life, confident and happy in her surroundings. Now that she celebrates another birthday, she admits to being especially happy because she can go to any nightclub she wants. Indeed, she and two friends marked the occasion by making merry until 4 AM, dancing in a downtown club formerly off-limits.
Chicago is the place of my birth, and whenever I arrive, it is as if I hear a familiar echo of a long forgotten song. As I walk the streets, something comes up through the earth, and reminds me of the matrix from where I came into the world. I like the strength of this city. The skyscrapers are enormous; world renowned feats of architecture.
By day the skyscraper looms in the smoke and sun and has a soul. Prairie and valley, streets of the city, pour people into it and they mingle among its twenty floors and are poured out again back to the streets, prairies and valleys. It is the men and women, boys and girls so poured in and out all day that give the building a soul of dreams and thoughts and memories. From Skyscraper, by Carl Sandburg

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunday Times and Dry Leaves


The morning light pushed through the window blinds next to my bed, gently prodding me to arise. But it was not as if I heard bugles blaring, since the sun was still low on the horizon. I lingered and dozed a few more minutes. The autumn air felt nippy, and my covers warm. These days, my first waking sensation upon leaving the carefree realm of dreams, is feeling slightly oppressed by the burden of waking life. Saying a little prayer for assistance, within four minutes I had jumped up, dressed, combed my hair and shot out the front door. This is the first morning of putting on gloves and a coat. Unlocking my bike from the trashcan on the front porch, I pedaled to a popular local coffee shop, and sat down for my Sunday morning ritual of coffee and reading the New York Times. The Sunday Times is so beefed up, I bring a backpack with me to carry it home. It provides a week of reading.
I must say, the air is wonderful . . . I like the sound of dry leaves crunching underfoot.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Molting


A feeling is growing inside of me to shed what is familiar, and make a major leap into the unknown. It is an anticipation of growth that I liken to the process of molting, which is part of the life cycle of certain species, like snakes. They are amazingly agile creatures that can bend themselves into concentric circles. Their skin is extremely elastic, although covered with protecting scales. As snakes grow, the tough scales become constricting and must be shed to allow supple movement. A new skin grows under the old, and when it is time, the snake scrapes the edges of its mouth against a hard surface, such as a rock, until the outer layer begins to fold back around its head. It continues scraping and crawling until it is completely free of the dead skin. Amazingly, even a snake’s eyes have scales that come off during molting! Did you know that snakes never stop growing until death?
Imagine lifting scales from eyes and seeing afresh.
I can feel my own molting process beginning. An unstoppable yearning is growing within, to move into a free form. I am ready to shake away my past, and begin anew.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Give And Take Of Play


I am in Cincinnati for a funeral. Charles Tobias, my father-in-law for 22 years, died on Thursday. In various ways, he filled voids in my life that I felt from my own father’s immersion in his social work. Charles liked the give and take of play. We went to football and baseball games together in Cincinnati, took family vacations away from the mainland, played golf, enjoyed many fine restaurants and once when he came to Santa Fe, although he was seventy years old we went river rafting down rapids on the Rio Grande river—all fun activities I never shared with my father. A Harvard law school graduate, he enjoyed intellectual discussions that we pursued in politics, philosophy and life in general.
Charles did not talk much about the after life, and Jean said he did not believe in it. So I imagine his joy after he died to discover that he had only been dreaming, and his real life has just begun! Now he is reunited with his wife and ancestors in the eternal.

And now concerning thy question regarding the soul of man and its survival after death. Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter. It will endure as long as the Kingdom of God, His sovereignty, His dominion and power will endure. It will manifest the signs of God and His attributes, and will reveal His loving kindness and bounty. The movement of My Pen is stilled when it attempteth to befittingly describe the loftiness and glory of so exalted a station. The honor with which the Hand of Mercy will invest the soul is such as no tongue can adequately reveal, nor any other earthly agency describe. Bahá’u’lláh

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Love


As I pulled into my driveway today, a short segment on the radio about after-life experiences caught my attention so that I sat listening. Many people who have died and then been brought back to life have recounted similar experiences of the next world. When they get to the next side, they do not miss their bodies at all, and feel great joy, peace and love. While basking in the presence of God, sometime soon after arriving, the individual is visited by a holy being, and together they witness the person's entire life on earth. What matters most is how much a person has loved. Even small moments of charitable love can mean more than years of work.
I went to see the movie Across The Universe, by Julie Taymor. As one who had his coming of age in the sixties, I found this movie, laced with Beatles songs and following a twisting romantic plot rooted in the period of hippies, free-love and youthful anti-war uprising, quite fun. As an artist I am visually oriented, and this movie had lots of visual passages; even some psychedelic. Mixed with great music, it made me consider going again, this time with another former flower child to sit next to me.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Honey To The Bees


October always is a major month for the sale of artwork in Santa Fe. My opening at Adieb Khadoure Gallery last Friday attracted scads of people. It was a feel-good affair, with plenty of food, flowers, casual conversation, and of course, my paintings covering the walls of two rooms. That night in Santa Fe, there were at least thirty gallery openings. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is presently in progress. Each year it attracts enthusiasts from across the globe, and 800,000 visitors attend. Many of them take time to come up to Santa Fe; and they buy art.
The colors are reaching a climax about now. Golden aspen trees, purple asters, ubiquitous chamisa shrubs with their masses of dainty yellow flowers, Mexican sunflowers, and of course all the colorful fruit showing up at the farmers market. Tomorrow I am going up in the mountains to paint the quaking aspen trees with an artist friend. I am sure we will both have to catch our breath at the beauty. For an artist, these sights are like honey to the bees.
I have begun showing on a new website that is just getting established, called "Daily Painters Of New Mexico." All the art is small, intended to be done in a day, and put up for sale. Check it out! http://www.dailypaintersnewmexico.com

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Finishing One Part Of Life


Jean and I are moving toward finishing one part of our life together  marriage partners and beginning a new one as strictly friends.
I am feeling inclined to make a radical new start to my life. I want to sell as many of my possessions as possible, including my vehicle, putting away the leftovers in storage. Then I will leave the United States for at least a year on a solitary journey of discovery. Possibly, I will go around the world. I can paint, photograph, and write. I am feeling out my ideas, mulling them over, but certain that I will do this.

See more Steven Boone paintings.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Familiar Haunts


The last time I saw Tanja Mennone was six months ago when I was in Bari, Italy. Now we are together again, in San Francisco. She is visiting the USA with her friend Alessandra and the last few days I have taken them to my familiar haunts in the “city by the bay.” Several times Tanja has remarked how “open” everything feels. I think I know what she means. In this country there is great mobility and it seems whatever you want to do is possible. Italy is more circumscribed and delineated.
This morning we parted ways. They are renting a car and driving to Yosemite, Death Valley, Las Vegas and then to Los Angeles for their flight home. I am flying to Santa Barbara, where I will retrieve my van from my parents home and begin driving back to Santa Fe.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On The Road Again


On the road again. Yesterday I drove eight hours, from Santa Fe to Scottsdale, Arizona. My friend John welcomed me, even though he had arrived home from a month in Europe the evening before. We have known each other since high school. I am looking for a gallery to represent me in Scottsdale, which is a busy art market, especially during winter months. Tomorrow I continue on to Palm Springs, California to visit Adagio Gallery where my paintings are shown, I will give them new work, and take older pieces off their hands. Then I continue to Santa Barbara where my parents, brother and sister live. After a few days there, I will fly to San Francisco to meet a couple Italian friends who will show up at the same time. I can be a good American host, since I know and love 'Frisco. After four days, I return to Santa Barbara to begin my journey back to Santa Fe. The round trip drive is 1872 miles.
Scottsdale is hot! Recently they had ten days in row of temperatures over 110 degrees.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Blood


Off and on for years, I have been attracted to blood as a symbol. Blood is juicy, passionate, and intense. What a wonderful color blood is. It also represents life and death. Recently I have made some photo images using blood as metaphor. When I work on them, it is heart wrenching, and I feel tired, as if I am in battle. I have wondered why I am wrapped up in these images. Particularly at this time in my life I keep coming back to blood symbolism. I realize, my heart is wounded and I am in catharsis. After a year of separation and patience, Jean and I are moving toward divorce. Yet, we remain steadfast friends, and love each other.
To see my images, go to my Flickr site.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rainbow Of Chaos


Art is food for the soul. Everyone buys food to eat, but few can afford the luxury of art. Thankfully, where wealth exists, also there is art, and artists have always existed. I live in the second biggest art market in America. Amazing, that a little mountain town like Santa Fe can claim this distinction. People come here for many reasons, but especially for the offering of art.
Paul Cezanne once said that, “We live in a rainbow of chaos.“ Last Friday, my gallery told me to bring a large painting from my studio to the gallery because a collector from Houston wanted to see it. This man is a lawyer, and needed a painting for his office. An appointment was arranged. I brought the painting, and it was hung in a room devoted to my art. Meanwhile, a couple from Dallas walked in who happen also to be collectors and already owned six Boone paintings. We had a delightful meeting, and presently they fell in love with the new painting. Then the Houston man and his wife arrived and began deliberating the paintings while the other couple kept in the background. They also liked the new painting. After discussion, they chose another, called Blustery Summer, (shown above), a smaller piece, because it would fit better. The woman from Dallas gave a whoop in delight, and every one came together in jubilation. Each person was happy . . . and this is what art can do.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Eternity In An Hour


“When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.”
Paul Cezanne  (French, 19 January 1839 – 22 October 1906)

This is a beautiful statement because it simply accomplishes so much in the way of art criticism, which often is full of hyperbole. If we think of nature, we naturally think of beauty: flowers, sunsets, beaches, forests and misty mountain tops. Let me add that it is also: naked flesh, all creatures, bloody wounds, storms, wide eyed babies and old folk croaking their last breath. There is much to compare and all quite stunning. Great artists have to accomplish breadth in their work. Not a task for the faint hearted.

“To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour. ”
William Blake  (English, 28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What Is God?



What is God? This is a question that man cannot solve. Even if the brightest minds of all time gathered to ponder and arrive at an answer, they would inevitably fail, insomuch as the thing created can never comprehend that which created it.
In thinking about creation and eternity, I realize how severely limited I am, being a finite point in the infinite.
God is All-Wise, Perfect, and All-Knowing. He alone is without limitation. Being Perfect, He also beholds perfection. Can we behold perfection? Baha’u’llah has said: “Nothing do I behold except that I behold God within it, God before it, and God after it.” This must mean then that He is beholding perfection. Somehow, He must have closed His external eye and opened His inner eye. The external eye could not fail to see human misery, abnormality, suffering, war, famine, disease, premature death etc. Who sees perfection with their external eyes? Yet Baha’u’llah was not blind to the world and its dilemmas. So how could He perceive these predicaments and behold God within them? I will ponder this for awhile. In the meantime, feel free to post a comment if you have thoughts to share.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Nothing Stays The Same


Nothing stays the same. The moments we enjoy are fleeting. This makes the loveliness of the rose more precious since we know its beauty will soon fade and vanish before our eyes. Likewise, if we are in desperate situations that we long to escape, patience will see us out, for change is a given. In some seemingly inextricable situations, death is the savior from life. In those situations we can only try and change our inner perceptions of outer circumstances. As Naomi said, “Hardships can make us stronger. Every situation in life has some good in it.”
Andy Warhol said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” The freedom to change is a blessing and curse. If we are stuck in routines which are unfulfilling, but are afraid to shift into new ones, then the unfulfilled promise of freedom becomes our curse. Likewise, sometimes, shifting paradigms at first are painful and can make us curse. This is like an athlete training for gold, feeling such pain he thinks he can’t go on, then, remembering his goal, says to himself “no pain, no gain.”

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Circle In The Water


"Glory is like a circle in the water,
Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself,
Till by broad spreading it disperses to naught."
William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

I wonder at the circles my life is creating. Many have already “dispersed to naught,” and some continue to ripple outward. Interestingly, my artwork will ripple in the world for many years, since it is designed to have a lasting impact as long as it is seen. Relationships continually send ripples; when we interact with others, we are changing each other in subtle ways that carry forth in subsequent moments.
My book “A Heart Traced in Sand,” continues rippling in the great pond of life. People continue to write me letters of praise, telling how moved they have been reading it.

Each life sends out ripples, and we are all in the same water, so must know on some level the movements. Even thought can ripple waters . . . how many times have you heard someone say “It is amazing you called, because I have been thinking of you.” Their thinking rippled the water enough to wake your unconscious into sending messages to your mind and cause you to call.

In the end, we have to be aware of the ripples we send into the world, making them positive. Think what our planet would be like if we all were positively conscious this way.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Artist’s Fortunes


Artists are often romanticized for living lives of creativity and passion, outside the typical norm of society. It is also a sometimes brutal path, as Van Gogh and many other famous artists have shown. Being married to a creative muse is a fulfilling and demanding relationship. The outer world comes second. But the outer feeds the body, and has rules for gaining favor and privilege. The inner muse could care less. And this leads to conflict that often ends in some inevitable suffering. How often has it occurred that an artist is consumed in his creative work, making masterpieces that the world is not ready to absorb? Meanwhile, the artist’s fortunes steadily diminish to poverty. So many have died paupers, and later, the world throws accolades on their graves. Mozart, Rembrandt, Turner, Van Gogh, and the list goes on . . . all impoverished when they died. Yet, we would be impoverished if such beings did not give us of the richness of their inner life.
I am exhibiting this weekend at PhotoArts Santa Fe, and although there are many people who give me compliments for my work, sales are not happening. So I think of the good company I am in, and I am thankful for my creative comrades, living and dead, and I send them my love. It is the best companionship.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dreams


On weekends, I go to a movie. Usually, it is hard to choose, since there are more than one I want to see, and more coming all the time. Last night I went to Paprika, a movie that reviewed favorably in the local press. It is an animated Japanese film with the plot based on the thin line between our waking and dream life. In the film, the protagonist is a researcher who has one foot in both worlds, and finds herself embroiled in a fight to keep a new tool that allows people to experience each others dreams, from falling into power hungry hands that would use it to control lives.
Imagine, we spend one third of our lives asleep. How much of that time is dreaming? For a long while I have noticed that when I wake from sleep, I am a bit sad. I guess that it is because I am stepping from the rich, boundless world where dreams live and spirit roams free, back into life as usual in a very limited body within this material existence. Also, my dear Naomi, ( A Heart Traced In Sand ) who I am so bonded with, exists in the other world, closer to Spirit and the freedom of dreams.
Well, at least in my creative living, I can bring the unconscious and dreaming into relation with conscious existence and make art.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Adventures in Wonderland


"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where --" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"--so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

The wide-eyed wonder of Alice is understandable because she lived so fully in her moments. I comprehend, since I am in my little boat of existence, floating in wonderment in a fathomless universe. I trust currents and fate. The strongest current for me is creativity. These days, I am preparing paintings for my annual one-man show at Adieb Khadoure Gallery in Santa Fe, opening August 17. Also, I am a featured photographic exhibitor at the upcoming Photo Arts Santa Fe Festival, July 20 - 22. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The World Is One Country


Europe has come home with me to the United States. Friendships forged in Italy, Spain and France, continue here. I lost weight on my travels, and now I eat less and ride a bike. Some of my attitudes have changed, and I see more clearly how all people and nations are interdependent. Baha’u’llah, spoke over a century ago, saying, “The world is one country, and mankind its citizens.” He also said, “It is not his to boast who loveth his country, but it is his who loveth the world.”
I took many pictures while traveling. The painting above is from a photograph I took in Puglia, Italy. To see more, go to the Steven Boone website.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Cinderella


Time is relativity, which helps explain why five days in Paris, now that I am leaving, seems like one. In Spain, my hours extended languidly in the mountains, like the sun crossing the sky. With only nature and a few friends to occupy my thoughts, lassitude existed in each moment. Stepping from that world into the swirling cultural vortex of Paris, a city with 2,160,000 people, the atoms of my being are stirred with a different excitement. Paris has over 70 Museums, monuments and cultural tourist stops. Some of the best art in the world is housed in Parisien Museums. Stimulation comes from every direction, jostling me to think and act. In a state of hyper-experience, moments pass by quickly. I am now engaged and dancing to the rhythm, but it is time to leave. I feel like Cinderella, who at the stroke of midnight, finds her time at the ball has been all too short.

Monday, June 04, 2007

This Is Paris


I sat down with a couple of friends at a table outdoors at a crowded Paris café in the Latin Quarter. The evening was approaching midnight, and as we began talking, straining to hear each other amidst all the other simultaneous conversations pouring forth from the boisterous mob, a slight, elderly Parisian woman placed herself firmly at the curb and began singing. It was hard enough to hear our conversation, and now there was singing nearby to contend with. The woman wore makeup and dressed daintily. Her voice sounded frail as she gazed upward, sometimes using her hands for effect, and threw her melodies out to the group gathered directly in front of her. For some people, it was too much to compete with, and soon someone shouted at her, “ Shut up!” She ignored the insult and kept on without the least change of expression. Another man went up, put money in her hand and began singing alongside, but mockingly. She was unfazed. In between listening to my friends, at times I caught myself listening to her, surprised to hear some pleasing melodies in her song. When she finished, she put forth a cap for contributions, and then walked to another street corner to continue singing. “This is Paris,” I thought. All sorts of characters thrive here, adding their distinct form of panache to the pot of stew.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fabric Of My Existence


It is almost three months since I left Santa Fe and arrived in Sicily. With only a few possessions, and without usual contacts with the outside world, the song of the wanderer has become my anthem and rhythm of life. All I have are moments, and each is a gift. Furthermore, what I do with these gifts is entirely my choice. Being able to choose is perhaps the greatest gift.
In Barcelona, over the centuries, a dazzling mosaic has been created and continues to unfold. I immerse myself and become part of the picture. While absorbing influences and making contact with this pulsing life, I change and transform. What is experienced becomes the fabric of my existence that continually is woven into an ever-evolving tapestry.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Commune With Ghosts


SATURDAY, MAY 26
Walking into the ruins of a home arouses many thoughts and powerful emotions. To explore the remnants is to commune with ghosts of lives past. Many people avoid such places and find them creepy. As I explore the abandoned dwellings near Darrical, it is obvious nobody comes to these buildings with their crumbling walls and broken roofs open to the sky. Often, thickets of shrubs surround them, and occasionally a tree has grown inside. Yet doors still open, and I enter like a guest, wandering room to room through the silence, observing the hand of time slowly obliterating vestiges of lives once lived.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Play From The Heart


May 22,
“You will like it here,” Pepa said with a big smile as I got out of the car at Plaza Nuevo in the old, medieval quarter of Granada. As we exchanged goodbyes, her eyes brimmed with laughter, and then she sped away.
Left alone on the street I soon found a room to put down my backpack, and went out walking, curious to see an important Spanish metropolis. It is cosmopolitan, but homespun, with fewer of the grand buildings and monuments of cities like Paris, or even a similar sized Italian city like Florence. Nonetheless, the bohemian atmosphere captures my imagination and I can understand how Spain has bred many great artists. The celebrated dramatist, Federico Garcia Lorca (1898 – 1936) came from Granada, and also was murdered here by fascist supporters. I have never seen a city so marked by graffiti. It is everywhere, and although some might find it repulsive, I look at the artistic, (if delinquent) merit, and the vibrant, primal qualities of line, color and subject. It adds a psychological twist to a place that is known for attracting students, intellectuals and artists.
Along a tree-shaded walk by La Alhambra, the famous city of Sultans and Kings that is now part of Granada in the old quarter, a young gypsy fellow caught my eye. He sat on a bench, strumming his guitar, with his brown dog at his feet. Both appeared ragged, and the youth had a hardened look, wearing sunglasses that hid most of his face. His long greasy hair, his scraggly, thin beard, and dirty fingernails, told me he lived on the street. Yet, to let it be known that an aristocrat lived behind the veneer of a vagabond, he wore a coat with fox fur collar. It was open in front down to the navel, revealing his bare chest. I slowed my walk and took a picture, then approached to ask if I could take more. He spoke in accented but quite understandable English, and replied, “it will cost you.” I had no coins, and pulled my pockets inside out to show him.
“Then you can’t take pictures.”
Sitting down on the end of the bench, I said, “You are playing your music for free.”
“Yes, well this is my life. “
“And you play from the heart.” I observed.
He resumed strumming flamenco chords. I quickly fell under the spell of the pure sound from his beat-up, old guitar. As I listened, a full, strong feeling grew inside. Looking around, I wondered at the people walking by, tourists who did not slow down, but cast furtive, passing glances our way. He began singing a soulful flamenco song.
“What was that?” I asked when he finished.
“Lagrimas Negras, (Black Tears) from the CD Bebo & Cigala, and he wrote down the words so I could buy the CD.
As we talked about his life, and a little about mine, I understood how he unequivocally lived a gypsy life—without illusion of what he was missing in exchange. A bit of sadness was in his philosophic attitude about the sufferings he bore and how it cut short his relationships, for he could not offer anyone much more than his song. Reaching in my wallet, I found a five euro note for him. He barely touched it, but gently pulled it to his side of the bench. Brightening up, he said, “Now you can take as many pictures as you want.”
I never saw his eyes behind his sunglasses when we exchanged hearty handshakes goodbye. As he took up his guitar again and I began walking away, I imagined there was a hint of the same laughter that was in Pepa’s eyes when she dropped me off in Granada.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The River Of Time


THURSDAY MAY 17
Carol asked me if during my travels, I get tired of a place and want to move on to the next adventure. In the ten weeks I have been on my “artistic odyssey,” it has seemed as though moments are seamlessly woven together into a whole. I am in a dream, and it is unfolding on its own. Each part is important and not to be rushed along, but fully experienced. I am not in a hurry to finish anything in order to get to something else. The river of time has me entranced from moment to moment and I simply experience traveling downstream, enjoying the ride, knowing ultimately I will arrive in a great ocean, but the river is already part of this ocean I am journeying toward.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

All The World’s A Stage


TUESDAY, MAY 15

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Each has his entrances and exits, and each one in his time plays many parts.” Shakespeare

Darrical, Spain, is a small stage with so few actors as to be almost a one-man act. The backdrop is simple: a tiny mountain village with no shops or telephone wires, just a cluster of whitewashed houses on a steep hillside. Many of the homes are empty and falling down. The only noises to break the silence are birds singing, roosters crowing, dogs, goats with bells around their necks, wind in the trees, the river, the buzz of flies, and occasional sounds of human activity.
The actors are few, so each plays a noteworthy part. There is a drunk, a mysterious kleptomaniac, a town majordomo, an old goat herder and his wife the cheese maker. My hosts are Carol, a reserved Scottish actress and director, and Rolf, her jolly German jack-of-all-trades husband, who plays accordian and sings folksongs. They are in their mid-sixties. Higher up the hillside, in one of Carol and Rolf’s houses are two delinquent German teenaged girls and their German government caretaker, who monitors their reformation from drugs and loose living. Further down the hill are a couple of British expatriates, also in their sixties, who are retreating from livelier days, and spend time tending a small English country garden, hidden in a bamboo forest by the river. I am in the mix—a traveler/artist/writer, referred to as “cowboy.” Other free spirits come and go, like the artist Pepa, a vibrant young Spanish woman who speaks fluent English, and lives in Darrical part time. All the characters mix feely and loosely.
Since there are so few actors and actresses on this stage, each is keenly aware that all are important and gifted players. How wonderful, when Rolf, sweaty from working in the sun, throws off his shirt, takes up his accordian and begins singing. Carol has been in a subplot of her own for years, trying to get people to quit throwing rubbish down the hillside or stuffing it into empty houses. Instead, trash bins are now at the village entrance and are emptied once a week. She and Pepa put on an art festival once a year. The German girls are almost always with their caretaker, who watches them like a hawk lest they run away from the stark life imposed on them. They smoke cigarettes and sunbathe nude around their house. Sometimes they join our group for conversation in Spanish, German and English. I paint the village scenery, standing in one spot for hours, staring at the white walls. Pepa sometimes models her stunning Spanish features for me, and I have several times gone photographing her among the streets and ruins. Meanwhile, there are always swallows among us, singing the score to our little Spanish melodrama.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Primeval Callings


THURSDAY MAY 10,
Now I know what it is to be a bird following primeval callings, traveling across continents. In Darrical, Spain, I feel as though I exist among my fellow travelers. Swallows have just arrived home from their winter sojourn in Africa, and seem quite happy here in this mountain village with its little river running through it. About the same size as sparrows but sleeker, most of them are black with white breasts, and coloring around their beaks. They fly right into the whitewashed houses, inhabited or not, and sometimes build nests on them. To sit and have a meal on a veranda is to also experience birds that come and visit only feet away. They don’t walk on the ground, or pick up scraps; they simply alight on a wire or ledge, join the occasion for a while and leave.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Leaving Venice


SUNDAY, MAY 6
Each time I think of leaving Venice, my heart says no. It is strange, the powerful grip I am in. Like a lover that cannot bear to leave his beloved, only longs for more time together. This afternoon, all in a few moments, I saw placid water reflecting harmoniously the blue sky and the colorful light from homes, bridge, and boat. Suddenly, with the whisk of an oar, the water rippled and the perfect picture vanished. So now, my watery Venetian reverie is disturbed by fate. Currents take me onward, to Spain and other adventures.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Shifting Sands Of Time


FRIDAY, May 4
People who know Venice understand that it is beautiful and grand, a place of joy, and also sad. Bells ring, violins play, and there is laughter in the streets and from the café’s. Lovely footbridges arch over innumerable canals. Walking in the narrow passageways, the little common plazas called campos offer meeting places throughout the city. Shops offer art, finery, delicious food and drink, as well as everything else needed for comfort and convenience. To feel deeply all this, is also to understand that Venice is a castle made of sand, always crumbling bit by bit. It is ephemeral, like a dream. Everything creaks and sways, and the walls crumble. A feeling exists that it could all simply disappear.
Somehow, I relate mystically, and understand that beauty, comfort, and fortune are likewise fleeting and even as a dream. Everything enjoyable is also disintegrating. The grand sand castle that is our earthly life today is gone tomorrow. So now, I live the dream, and understand that in the end, all is endless transformation and beingness, ultimately gathered up in eternal spirit. All we can claim is spirit, and we must be conscious of how it is eternal, beyond the shifting sands of time.

Monday, April 30, 2007

A Gilded Dream


MONDAY, APRIL 30
Venice is a gilded dream, an exotic floating city attracting vessels from every port across the globe. People arrive in droves to experience it’s spellbinding magic. There are no cars, and over 400 foot bridges crossing 100 canals. The Grand Canal is the main thoroughfare, and has been called the most amazing street in the world. It’s waters bustle with gondola’s, small water taxi’s and Vaporetto’s which are big public transport boats that hold up to 150 people. Grand homes and palaces from the past line both sides, reflecting many centuries of architectural styles.
Echoes of Venice’s aristocratic past are everywhere, like the peeling of the church bells that sound all over the city. Once ruling by might, even as a powerful Republic, now it finds itself a wizened ambassador, settled, and welcoming the world with stately charms.
I am inevitably quite happy in Venice. My Venetian friends always make my stay special: I visit homes, go to parties, share meals, visit friend's store's, walk together and have good companionship.
My apartment is near the famous Rialto Bridge, which crosses the Grand Canal, so I am in the thick of things. From my flat window, I can see a human river drifting in both directions among shops lining the narrow passage below. Once on the street, to go in any direction is adventure.
It is all so heady, that I think maybe I am dreaming.

Monday, April 23, 2007

An Old Olive Grove


MONDAY, APRIL 23
It is impossible to imagine Italy without olive trees. The two have woven inextricably together over the centuries. Orchards are scattered everywhere over the countryside and trees are carefully preserved from one generation of landowner to the next.
A friend and I went out looking for a scene to paint. Driving toward our destination, we missed our exit and turned around. At that moment, I saw in the distance a dazzling landscape and insisted that we go explore. An old olive grove stood adorned with a carpet of blazing red poppies. It was as if a cache of rubies had been strewn over the land. The trees were old, some 500 years or more, with huge gnarled trunks. The limbs and branches produced lots of little silver-green leaves.
While we painted in the afternoon light, a caretaker arrived. We were a bit nervous about intruding, but he said he was happy we had chosen this place to paint. The olives and poppies had called us, and this gentle man appreciated that we honored the beauty.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Flux Of The Street


Polignano, Italy
He appeared with two friends and stood nearby, watching me paint. His friends interest soon waned and they caroused off, but he stayed close by. I continued at my easel, painting a tall narrow house, rising from the foot of a small public square, with a few trees in the foreground. The afternoon light illumined the surroundings under a cloudless sky. He watched in silence only a couple feet away, studying my every move from over my shoulder. After awhile, I felt something unusual was occurring. Breaking the silence, I asked him a couple questions, and learned he was eighteen, liked skateboarding, did a little artwork and originally came from Romania, where he began school late, at eight years old. His handsome look was of the sensitive type. I painted, and noticed feeling slightly uncomfortable at moments, being that my activity was so closely observed without falter and in silence. Other friends arrived, watching, then leaving to play soccer in the streets. The lad’s mother strolled along, spoke in English then disappeared. He did not leave my side, standing motionless for what seemed like an endless sojourn. I felt him become an extension of my being, and was embarrassed if I made a mistake and had to correct myself. Late in the afternoon, he said, “I have to go now.” We smiled, said “ciao,” then he vanished.

I remember him, and I am sure he too remembers me—and our chance encounter in the flux of the street.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Random Act Of Kindness


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11
Sometimes while I am outdoors painting, my activity arouses people’s curiosity. In the old quarter of Rutigliano, in a neighborhood of stone streets so small cars cannot enter, I set up my easel and painted. A dozen or so curious people at various times arrived at my side to look. Youngsters especially were unafraid to approach. An old, slow moving, toothless fellow came along and took a pleasurable interest. He spoke but I could not understand, so I said in Italian, “I am an American artist, and can speak a little Italian, but not very well.” Turning to go, he halted and speaking in Italian, asked if I wanted a cigarette. After he was gone, I returned to my painting, and a few moments later he re-appeared and asked if I would like it if he brought some coffee. I said, “yes,” then he disappeared around the corner and five minutes later brought me espresso. For his random act of kindness, I thanked him profusely. He vanished again and I painted in earnest because the sun was moving across the afternoon sky causing the light and shadows to rapidly change so that my subject looked different with each passing moment. Twenty minutes later the fellow came again and strolled up, holding a plastic bag in his wrinkled hand. He opened and held it out, and I saw a pair of used, but nice, Italian leather shoes. Momentarily confused, I wondered what he was doing. The shoes looked about my size, and he pointed to my feet and then put the bag in my hand. Looking up into my face with a smile, he said something. I leaned over and kissed his whiskered cheek, then he shuffled away.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Artist Eyes


This morning before dawn a rooster crowed, setting off a cacophony of barks, howls, chirps and more crowing. Usually I fall back asleep, but this morning I dressed and walked out into the dawning day to watch the sunrise over the sea. The old woman next door was already sweeping the street in front of her house, and a rooster crowed loud and hearty from behind her backyard fence. A dazzling red orb hung over the sea horizon as I arrived, and in the opposite direction, Mt. Etna’s snow covered peaks were turning pink; awash in supernal rose-color hues of dawn light. A few men were already fishing out on the black lava flow, waves crashing in white foam at their feet.

In the afternoon I walked around the old quarter of Acireale. It must be strange for local people to see me in their streets looking so intently at everything. I stop and take pictures of sights that they are accustomed to and barely notice anymore. Like the centuries old, graffiti marked, crumbling, cracking walls. To my artist eyes, the aging walls, color and textures are fascinating and like a big abstract expressionist canvas. Nothing man-made in the United States has this kind of age to it.

Friday, April 06, 2007

An Old Vine


THURSDAY, APRIL 5
This morning I walked along the sea wall to the coffee bar by the tiny harbor. Cappucino is served in a little ceramic cup with a froth of white milk on top. Standing at the counter, I finished it in five minutes. Working men came to the bar, usually ordering espresso’s that are served in even smaller cups. A drink of water is offered first, to wet the mouth, then the espresso goes down in two satisfying sips.

Arriving back at the apartment, the produce man was sitting in his truck out front. I picked out a zuccini squash, but did not need anything more. As I began to pay, he put the squash in my hand, spread his feet, faced me squarely and touched both my shoulders. Then, with a look that said, “ this grand acquisition of your's is not going to make me rich,” he waved me off, touching his fingers to his lips and kissing off, as if to say, “ it is yours, and bon apetito.” It was a bit of a joke for both of us, and I laughed, saying grazie as he climbed back in his truck.
Yesterday I went to Messina in search of the Museo Regionale where a couple of Caravaggio paintings are on exhibit. The drive took 45 minutes to the city limit, then, I had to squirm in traffic snarl. Arriving at the museum, it was chiuso, closed for the day. I thought, this is part of the 15% chaos to be expected along the way. Nonetheless, I did not like having come so far to be denied. Furthermore, the sky was cloudy and occasionally spitting raindrops. Traffic was bad, the streets noisy and not particularly interesting, and I felt I was not accomplishing anything. Frustration grew, and then, serendipitously, I felt a spirit touch me. In the next moment, fresh air flowed into my lungs and with each drink of breath I felt more relaxed and rejuvenated. Grace had come. Standing near a busy market, with the wet, rubbish-strewn street at my feet, an old vine tied to a fence caught my eye. A wisteria was blooming, with pale purple flowers in delicate masses spreading along the railing. The moment I leaned forward to look more closely, I found an incredible fragrance permeated the air. Just the contrast of circumstances was wonderful in itself. In the midst of feeling denied, a reminder of renewal and beautiful life. Grace works without effort.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Struck With Awe


SUNDAY, APRIL 1
At unexpected times, I am struck with awe by the sublime beauty of people. At the Villa Del Casale, several times I was swept into a crush of ebullient teenagers, a high school group on an educational outing. Packed together in the narrow passages, I observed their facial expressions, conversation, dress, manners, etc., but most of all, the incredible uniqueness which made each individual special to the group. The miracle of this!
The other day Giuseppe was in Rome, so he arranged for his younger brother, Mario, to meet me at a park in central Acireale, then take me to their apartment where I could connect my computer to the Internet. As I sat in the car, he arrived on his scooter, and hopping off, he came to my window with a warm, open smile. “Hello, I am Mario, brother of Giuseppe. I take you to our apartment. Follow me.” All in a moment, I could see something quite beautiful and suddenly felt touched by the youthful vigor of the youngster arriving in the midst of the crowded streets, handsome face grinning from under his helmet as he pressed forward to greet me. Without effort, the lightness of being, élan, and beauty infused my consciousness. Silently, I was dumbstruck that an ordinary scene could impress me as so special, and that nobody else noticed.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Letting Go


FRIDAY, MARCH 30
The moments when I am conscious of the presence of grace are mysterious and powerful. Before it happens, ego control must be abandoned, a difficult matter when control is greatly desired. The other day, I took up the task of a 2-hour journey to the center of Sicily, to visit Villa de Casale, a Roman estate of grand proportions built in 3-4 AD. It is famous for its extensive mosaics, well preserved because the place was flooded and encased in mud until only recently when excavations revealed the splendor.
The drive to Catania is a bit hectic, and the city is even more so. The chaotic streets had me desperate to find the highway towards Caltagirone, an inland city which is on the way. I let go of trying. Instead, Spirit would do it—a higher power to make the crooked way straight. I pulled into a busy gas station, then went inside, map in hand. The girl behind the register spoke no English and could not help, so I turned to the young fellow next to me. He said, “I am going there. Please follow me.” The trip out of town was convoluted, and I followed him for about 45 minutes until we came to Caltagirone.
It has happened before, that the first person I approach, a complete stranger, has offered to guide me exactly where I want. Furthermore, it seems a larger hand is at play. When ego is not involved, angels can direct the drama.