Sunday, November 28, 2010


I use paint and brush to convey my artistic inspiration, but have also written a book and magazine articles and know the power and creativity of words. The Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Imagine! One word was the beginning of everything that is. That word might have been Be. With the word Be! everything was created in an instant. 

Words convey meaning. And this is why dictionaries are useful, since the dictionary contains the generally accepted meaning of words, so misunderstandings can be settled. Philosophers always establish definitions for the words they use before continuing with their thoughts. In the English language, there may be a quarter of a million words, but some words have multiple meanings. For instance the word can, means to be able to do something, but also signifies a sealed metal container, as when we say, a “can of beans.”

Poets use words to paint poetry. Politicians use words to convince. Enlightened beings use words to inspire and ennoble. A good string of words can become as iconic as the Mona Lisa.  Here are some famous quotes:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever. John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)

The Lord is My Shepherd. Bible, Psalm 23

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
 The Bible, Matthew 7:12

This above all: to thine own self be true. Shakespeare, Hamlet (Act I, Scene III)

An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind. M.K. Gandhi, (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948)

Sometimes in my writing I have used phrases that are highly personal. I realize they might be hard for others to understand, for instance my expression, disappearing into the matrix of the earth. The word matrix I use in the sense of the womb of the earth; a place where life arises, but more, it is also where substance returns after death, to be renewed and reborn. So what I have sought is to be close to transformation, find the primitive beginning, and lose the normal boundaries that separate life forms. It is a mental exercise and emotional longing that has allowed me a greater feeling of oneness and unity with the universe and led to revelatory experience. The other phrase I have used frequently is THE DREAM. Everyone experiences moments when they do not know what is real and what is not. It may happen between sleep and waking, or during a slip of consciousness, or a moment of confusion, or during a disaster when the thought arises, “this cannot be real.”  I have taken these odd moments a step further and arrived at the determination that this world is really a dream and that at the moment of my death so much knowledge and truth will be revealed to me that only then will I see my life in the physical body as if I had been sleeping—but have now awakened. Also, THE DREAM allows my consciousness to flow, since it has a life of its own and I see I am watching my life unfold until that anticipated moment of my own death.

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts...  William Shakespeare, ( 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616)As You Like It

Finally, here is another beautiful string of words which is like a painted masterpiece:

“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the entire earth.” Baha’u’llah, (12 November 1817 – 29 May 1892)

Sunday, November 21, 2010


"The world is incomprehensible. We won't ever understand it; we won't ever unravel its secrets. Thus we must treat the world as it is: a sheer mystery." Carlos Castaneda (25 December 1925 – 27 April 1998)

"The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery." Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992)

I rejoice in mystery because it holds possibility and surprise. The best way to embrace mystery is simply to not expect knowing the future, but simply let it unfold and watch. I know this practice goes against the teachings of most people . . . and that is to plan, plan, plan—so as to not be surprised by future events but rather to control the outcome.

Before I set out to travel around the world in 2008, I began anticipating the adventure. I told people that I wanted to disappear into the matrix of the world. One morning I awoke from a dream with a sentence I had heard fresh in my mind, (See my earlier blog, Grand Confusion). A voice had spoken for me to hear, and said, “The vessel he entered was a grand confusion between his world and the world outside of him.” I knew that “vessel” symbolized my being contained in travel, and furthermore the sentence referred to mind, because of the term “confusion.” I liked the thought of a “grand confusion” where the boundaries between my inner and outer worlds dissolved. This is the way I traveled and found many incredible experiences with people and places across the globe.
Yesterday, Heidi of the Mountains came to visit me, and in the late afternoon, as the sun was going down and the air chilled, we took a walk. I am new to this neighborhood and find that I like being elevated on a hillside so that I can easily see sunsets. As we began our sojourn, I noticed the western atmosphere changing, and the familiar colors of sunset coming on, but then, I made the mistake of slipping outside of mystery. After observing the sky, I confirmed mentally that this would be an ordinary sunset and not to expect any great surprise. We walked further, and the sky became more dramatic. Soon, I was giving myself entirely over to the mystery unfolding, and as darkness encroached and daylight ebbed away, the sky performed miraculous displays of color and it was if a great, unseen hand was painting a masterpiece before my astonished eyes. Without knowing what to expect from one moment to the next I frequently stopped walking to click pictures of the fabulous sight.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Surprise and Mystery

Recently, I went into the gallery that represents my work here in Santa Fe. The sales lady greeted me, and then she said, “Oh Steven, I need to ask you questions about a painting of yours." We walked into the room where my large mixed-media work, called Flying, hangs on a wall. This piece has been in the gallery a short while, and because I have been out of town, the saleswoman had not had an opportunity to speak with me about it. “People have made comments about this work . . . please tell me about the figure in the background.” Immediately I felt curious about what people had to say, so asked, “What comments have you heard?” She answered, “They like the piece very much but find the man in the background disturbing; threatening—as if he will do harm to the young woman.” Then she added, “One woman said she would buy it if not for the man in the background.”

I felt incredulous, and aghast. “That is a complete surprise” I said, “because the figure in back is my daughter! There are two separate images in this work, from two different days of photography. I put them together digitally.”

She said, “Someone said the mask is disturbing.”

“She is wearing a mask from Thailand.” I said.

I could not help but feel flustered and also miffed. The work has always delighted me and furthermore, I never intended anything threatening.

A couple years ago I spent time taking photos of models in my studio and had them play with cloths of white fabric as I snapped portraits. The images were made more dramatic because the studio was draped in black cloth . . . even the floor. So when the models moved about under my narrow skylight, I got dramatic pictures.

I put the two figures together in order to add surprise and mystery to the sensual scene, and make it more enigmatic.

How often is art like a Rorschach test for the viewer? Almost always.

To see more of my artwork, go to Steven Boone Fine Art

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Stopped In My Tracks

"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness." Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) famously wrote observations of life while living next to a pond. There is no pond near my current home in Santa Fe, but there are beautiful views, it is clean, quiet, and spacious enough, and I am in a good part of town, near the art galleries. I do not have Walden Pond, but just a short walk down a hill from my house is the Santa Fe River. “River” is a misnomer, because usually there is only a trickling stream of water that runs from a reservoir at the base of the mountains nestled by the city. Stone walls have been built alongside it in the event of an unlikely flood, but for much of the way, it is easy to walk by the stream and hop across with a couple jumps over rocks. Intermittent paths allow people to hike and enjoy the ecosystem.

While in my new home only a few days, life along the river has already captured me. I have not been able to resist taking long moments to look at the dazzling display of fall color occurring now. Especially the old cottonwood trees with their thick, gnarly trunks that twist upward and lift big branches full with displays of golden leaves.

During early morning and late afternoon, sunlight slants obliquely through the garnished trees, and I have been stopped in my tracks to be gathered into the sublime scenery. Leaving the street to clamber down embankments, I pause beside the stream and occasionally hear cars pass by, or see someone through the thickets. When a breeze blows, yellow-sheened leaves are shaken loose and drift lazily to earth, rustling as they brush against limbs and brambles and finally come to rest. Include the gurgling of a brook, bird songs, far-off dog barks and children’s laughter, the smell of water and freshly rotting leaves, dappled light and invigorating fluctuations of warm and cool temperatures in the sun or shade—and then I understand why Thoreau was inspired to write his book about the poetry of a pond.


"Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something. "
Henry David Thoreau